I love watching my kids do things together.
Whether it’s walking down the beach hunting for shells, playing in the backyard on the trampoline, watching a movie or putting Legos together, it does the mind and soul good to see them as little partners in anything. When it happens, it’s embraced because there are times when it doesn’t end well with one lashing out at the other for some odd reason.
Last Saturday morning was, however, one of those proud times. It was “Buddy Day” at Beckett’s dojo, Chesapeake Martial Arts. Now a purple stripe belt, Beckett brought his little brother for an hour introduction to tae kwon do.
We didn’t really have any expectations going in. In the past, Carson has been reticent to do these sorts of things on his own without his parents. Whether it’s shyness or lack of confidence or a combination of them both, we have typically needed to get involved to help, such as in youth soccer previously.
However, on this particular day, all Carson seemed to need was his big brother and it was special to observe.
At first, it looked like Carson may have been having some anxiety as he had a clamp on Beckett’s hand. Beckett would stretch his arms over his head and there Carson would be clinging onto his big brother’s hand while getting extended to the tops of his toes.
Eventually, though, he seemed to obtain a certain comfort level and he didn’t need the physical assurance so long as his big brother was nearby.
I will never forget the smiles on their faces as they took part in the session together. Carson’s face was one of pure delight as he was doing what his big brother was and that doesn’t happen too often as a result of some physical limitations he has. He might not have been kicking his leg as high as Beckett, but he was with him the entire way and did the best he could to keep up.
After several drills and instructional moments, it came time for Carson and all the other “buddies” to break a board and receive their white belts. He didn’t break it on the first try but he quickly did on his second attempt.
He then jumped in place and was so happy with himself. So thrilled we couldn’t wrestle the broken board out of his hands until we got home. He also proudly wore his belt for most of the day and got a kick out of watching himself on videos the entire week.
Tough love hurts.
That’s what I have been feeling the last several months as we continue to work toward making our kids more independent.
I am the worst in the house at helping the kids too much. I oftentimes baby them because it’s the path of least resistance and I have to stop. My weakness is best on display in the early morning before school if the kids hold the man-up advantage.
It’s a lot to juggle to get everyone, including myself, ready for the day before 8 in the morning. Sometimes there are breakdowns and rarely are they from my sons. What usually gets me hot under the collar is when they won’t get themselves dressed, despite having the clothes neatly placed next to them and constant reminders.
Another thing that annoys me is when they don’t eat the breakfast that’s sitting right next to them because they would prefer to play with their trains or toys or electronics.
The other morning I put my foot down, although it’s not the first time. This time it was Beckett that was seemingly ignoring me and waiting for me to dress him, probably because I had done it so many times previously. I admit to often taking the easy route and helping him get dressed, despite the fact he can do it by himself. It’s a matter of time and less aggravation.
The other morning I gave him a little test. I told him I was putting his clothes next to him and that he had to take off his pajamas and take them back upstairs as well as brush his teeth and do something with the crazy bed head, which I do help him with still.
He waited until I gave the five-minute announcement to do anything and he subsequently panicked a bit and said I was rushing him.
While he did manage to get his clothes on quickly, he forgot to brush his teeth, put his glasses on and his hair was still a disaster.
As I was cleaning Beckett’s glasses, something he should have done, of course, and wetting his hair down so he didn’t look like he just rolled out of bed into the classroom, I noticed Carson standing by the door with his book bag waiting patiently. Only problem was Beckett’s distractions meant Carson didn’t get a quick once over. He still had his pajama bottoms on and I mistakenly called him Beckett, who had been monopolizes my attention for several minutes.
He thought the fact I called him the wrong name was hilarious, and he immediately called me his mom through sign language. He has been having fun with that running joke all week, constantly placing his extended thumb to his chin rather than his forehead, which is for dad, whenever he sees me. He just laughs and laughs.