Small children are very capable. I see this on a continual basis with my three small children. But it took me a while to come to this realization.
While I was older and my only sibling was born, I came away from his infancy with the impression that babies were very fragile. In college, I was invited to hold a baby that was only a few days old. I was so scared I was going to drop the wee thing and permanently damage it. Thankfully, that didnít happen. It wasnít until several years later that I learned how resilient babies were and that you have to work really hard to drop a newborn. They just arenít that squirmy.
When I had my oldest, I had developed enough experience with babies that I wasnít scared of him. But I was still very clueless. It was my husband who started pointing out how capable my son was.
I was set on the normal path of stopping his growth because I didnít think he was old enough to do things. But at the age of two, my son learned to ride a bike. At the age of three, he was riding without training wheels. Both times, I tried to say he wasnít old enough to do it. How wrong I was. Now the child is a cycling machine. He loves to ride his bike and he will do it for hours.
What I learned from him prepared me for my second child. When she came along, I had already had a taste of what small children could do. I remember mentioning to my doctor at one of my daughters check ups that she could only put on half of her clothes by herself. My doctor gently reminded me that my daughter was barely two and that it would come in time. It did.
Now that I have a third child, I am excited to see what she will do. Already she has shown me that it is possible for children to roll over starting from the day they are born. I didnít think it was possible. I know that when she is strong enough to crawl and walk, she is going to be chasing her siblings all over.
Thanks to my children, I have learned that it is okay to expect small children to be able to do a lot. Should I expect a newborn run after her brother? No. But I can encourage her to lift up her head, to sit up. Should I expect my preschoolers to lift 50-pound weights? No. However, I should expect them to fill up their own water cup and to be responsible for their toys, clothes and other belongings. Children are capable little human beings.
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at email@example.com.