Impossible, you say? Like I care?

  20080406-097

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.