This column from 2012 is similar to what I wrote last week for Des News. It’s good to have big plans, but the best way to make them happen is by taking small steps. My 4-year-old whom I talk about in this story is now almost 10. She has mastered the art of shoe-tying, but while her goals change, her frustrations remain. Frankly, I’m the same. I have to remind myself that progress is progress, whether it comes quickly or slowly. Here’s to another day of inching forward.
The Cowarts have set a lofty goal this month. We are teaching our four-year-old how to tie her shoes.
This is a big deal. My goal as a parent is to raise children who need me less and less each day. Such an endeavor can be, and most often is, painful for both parent and child.
My pain stems from the need to feel needed, and while I rejoice with each milestone met- potty-training, cutting your own pancakes, putting on underwear not backwards- there is a pang in my heart knowing that eventually my children’s independence will march them right out the front door for good.
The children’s pain has a different root. Every milestone for them is a mountain of challenges. Hand-eye coordination, patience, and the ability to follow directions are qualities found lacking in our household, yet these are the very same qualities necessary when learning how to walk, feed, dress, and yes, tie one’s shoes.
Our daughter began her shoe journey with excitement. She has decided to do a one-mile kids’ race in April. She has learned from her mother, and rightly so, that such an undertaking requires new running shoes with real laces. Laces which require tying.
She was going to learn a skill that her big sister has mastered! This, obviously, is a skill that separates the kids from the babies. Eager to graduate from that category, she sat down with her sneakers and hefty set of expectations.
All that disappeared not two minutes later when the little girl we call “Bug” hadn’t mastered this feat with 100% perfection. After twice failing to make perfect bunny ears, she threw the shoes on the ground and commenced whining.
Have I mentioned that patience is a virtue we have little of in our house?