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Now that my girls are 5 and almost 4 years old, it's time for this mom to draw some lines in the sand. I have to reassess and reinvent boundaries and expectations to inspire self-sufficiency for their sweet young lives. Yes, I will continue to cook food and provide cuddles. Yes, I will continue to wash dirty clothes and return each sock and shirt to their rightful places—folded. Yes, I will continue to help them and love them and tell them to not argue over the Legos because "your sister is your best friend."
But I'm also committed to stop enabling them to call for help when they don't truly require my help. My girls are good girls (and, proud mom warning here, they're very capable when it comes to day-to-day activities). Now that they're marching out of the toddler phase and into the school-aged chapters, I want to make sure these little ladies continue to develop in a positive way. No lazy bums growing up here. A few of my brand new rules around here for 2016 that I'd like my kids to be aware of:
1. I will not singlehandedly search for and/or opt to locate anyone's missing toys by myself.
Your toys belong to you, you play with them every day, you know how and where you play with them, so you must keep track of them and not chuck them behind the bed in a spontaneous hyper stupor where they remain missing forever. Toys are your responsibility. I might help you look for them, but only after you've looked high and low and over and under for them on your own.
2. I will not wipe your pee.
But why? Because you're old enough to do it, you know how to do it, you're fully capable of doing it and I'm getting a bit impatient being yelled at with "I'm doooooone!" as you wait on the potty for me to come running to you. I will wipe No. 2 for sanitary reasons, but No. 1 is all you. (Personal note: I'm most likely going to continue to wipe my youngest's tinkles just because she's not exactly that adept at getting everything clean yet.)
3. I will not get you dressed for school.
I will help you select appropriate outfits, do your hair and assist with complicated ties and/or buttons, but I will not dress you like an infant. Because you're not an infant. (This one, again, is mostly for my older daughter. Please refer to reasons cited in previous paragraph.)
4. I will not clear your plates from the table after meals.
Technically, this isn't a new rule at our house, but I do love this particular rule. We started the whole doing chores thing at the age of 3, and man, is it in full effect these days. Don't forget your cup. Don't forget the napkin. Don't forget the spoon that dropped on the floor while you were playing patty cake with your sister across the table. Is that piece of your sandwich left behind on the table? Please clean it up.
5. I will not hold your toys and/or items you brought along for the ride for you.
You want to bring your doll to the market? Sure, but I won't hold her if you don't want to. That stuffed animal is necessary for our trip to the zoo? OK, but if you get tired of holding him we're going to leave him with the lions. You get my point. You bring it, so you're responsible. Because you're old enough now.
Why am I so mean and nasty for the new year? Besides teaching my kids kindness, compassion, a strong work ethic and respect for others, one of my biggest wishes for them as they grow is to feel capable and comfortable of their own self-sufficiency. And that starts with them wiping their own butts now.