Monday, March 1, 2010

"I Can, Too!"

Large isn’t the first word I’d use to describe my son’s bedroom. Or the second. Or the third. You know the kind--it’s the starter-home special, the just-big-enough-to-fit-a-(small)-bed-and-maybe-a-dresser second bedroom. But Honey Bear and I are magicians, or maybe just delusional, because my son’s bedroom contains the one (small) bed, not one but two dressers, and a poofy rocker-recliner the color of warm caramel.

The rocker-recliner’s great. We found it on clearance at our local if-we-teleported-the-place-to-the-East-Coast-it-would-squish-the-entire-state-of-Rhode-Island furniture outlet, and it’s so soft and, well, rock-y. Honey Bear has visions of someday moving it to the family room (when we actually have a family room, that is), but right now, it lives in I-gots’s room, in the corner. And gets in the way.

That's what it was doing last week, at least. I-gots--that's what my son called himself up until a few days ago--wanted to play in his room, so my eight-month-old daughter and I were sitting in the chair, watching, and throwing off I-gots’s groove. A random toy had somehow slithered behind the rocker-recliner, and that, of course, was the toy he wanted to play with.

“You can’t get it right now,” I told him. “We might squish you.”

(We’re not quite as big as the furniture outlet, mind you, but then, I-gots’s not quite as big as Rhode Island.)

“I get it!” he assured me.

“No, I-gots. You can’t.”

So I-gots backed out of the tiny gap he’d been trying to squeeze through, and I thought to myself, “See what a good mother I am? And I-gots is such an obedient child.”

Well, I-gots is pretty obedient, but on that particular day, he was in more of a problem-solving mood. If he couldn’t get the toy from one side of the chair, then maybe he could get it from the other.

I realized what he was doing once he started pressing himself into the other gap, and responded accordingly.

“No, I-gots,” I repeated. “You can’t get the toy right now.”

“I get it!”

“No, honey,” I said, a little less patiently this time. “You can’t do it!”

And then I-gots reared back, in all of his two-year-old glory, and put both little hands on his hips, and exclaimed, “I can, too!”

His words--and mine, after hearing myself say them like that--stunned me. Of course he COULD do it; in fact, when I looked down at that moment, I realized that the toy was right there, a few inches in front of him, barely behind the chair at all. But hearing myself say that out loud--“You can’t do it!”--made me realize how much I never wanted to hear myself say that again.

I want to be I-gots’s cheerleader. I want to be the supporter of dreams. I always want to be able to say, “Yes, I-gots, you can.” Because even if he can’t, he has to learn that for himself. No one, especially me, should tell him otherwise.

I am Mom, after all, and that makes me, if nothing else, a believer.


Myrna Foster said...

Rah! Rah! That and you want to enforce the "I can" stage before the he goes into the "I can't" stage. I hate hearing my kids say, "I can't do it. It's too hard."

ChristaCarol said...

Aw, lady, your story gave me chills at the end :) I've been lurking for a while (um, ashamed to say I can't remember if I've commented before lol...I blame mommy brain). Loving all the interviews. I awarded you over at my blog :) And it took me a second to get Igots is I-Gots LOL, I was reading it ih-guts lol. Clever! I like. And we all catch ourselves doing something we don't want to do as moms, but us moms are human, and slip from time to time. As long as we don't get carried away. ;) And the fact you're cognizant of it makes you an even awesomer mom.