Impossible, you say? Like I care?

by doodaddy on April 10, 2008


That would be one big bubble.

Growing up, it sometimes seems, is repeatedly trying things that seem impossible, then learning through  disappointment that, yes, in fact, mostly they are impossible. And then deciding that you don’t give a crap about whether they’re impossible, you’re gonna do ’em anyway.

In the backyard today I was watering our vegetable patch and Boobaby was eating birdseed, kicking her ball, and generally whooping it up. Until she wanted to take over with the hose, that is.

Boobaby uses a watering can all the time, but today only the hose would do. It’s big for her, but it’s been weeks since I’ve been able to surreptitiously "help" her. Nor did she allow me to turn down the water pressure or set the nozzle to a moderate spray — she wanted to power-water the daffodils from thirty feet away, just like I’d been doing.

She tentatively squeezed the trigger and released a squirt that watered the lawn of the neighbors across the street. "Point it down, dear," I suggested. She watered her pant leg.

I was about to start with the here-let-me-show-you approach but I held myself back. Boo readjusted her aim and grip on the handle and tried again. This time she scored pretty close to the lemon tree, though that hadn’t been her original target. By the time she’d tired of the high-pressure hose, she’d watered her window, my shoes, the grill, and — alas! — one of the dozens of daffodils.

One of my biggest challenges as a parent is knowing how much help to give when Boo is struggling with something new. I want her to succeed authentically on her own, but on the other hand, sometimes she needs some help.

Thankfully, she’s at an age where I can just ask her if she wants my help.

"Good try there, on the hose, darling," I tell her as we slump damply into the house. "Should I have helped you with it?"

"No help you," she starts. ("You," you see, is me.) She goes on to insist pridefully, "I watered the ‘dils. ‘Dil water."

"Yes, yes you did," I repeat, subconsciously noting which sections of the garden still need water. "Lucky daffodils!"

She smiles and moves on to the next challenge. I don’t doubt that, whatever it is, she’ll refuse my help yet again.

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tagged as in pride,teaching ·

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie April 12, 2008 at 7:13 pm

She sounds like a perfect, normal child and you, a perfect, normal parent.
It’s only just begun!
Wait until “you don’t do it like my teacher said!” And I am a teacher two doors down!!!!!!


cake April 14, 2008 at 1:21 pm

that incident sounds so much like an afternoon in our back yard last week, it’s uncanny. i was trying to work a bed in the vegetable garden, and i let cosmo have the hose. knowing how much he loves it, i thought it would occupy him for a long time, and i could get something done. but he kept shrieking for help every time he decided he needed to redirect the hose, but just wasn’t strong enough to maneuver it on his own (i.e. every 30 seconds). his favorite line is “I do do it.” until he can’t, and then “help! please” but it has to be NOW!


doodaddy April 14, 2008 at 7:22 pm

I get just about the same, except that half the time Boo calls herself “you” — so it’s really confusing when she says “You do it!” Does that mean you, as in me, or you as in you? You-you or me-you?


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