I’m fascinated watching my son. He’s on his stomach, supported by his hands, and reaching for a toy. He can’t crawl yet, but he’s well on his way there; he picks up his knees, scrunches his body, reaches forward, rocks. But he can’t do it yet.
So he’s reaching for the toy, and his fingertips keep grazing it, but not enough to get a grasp of it. I stand there, watching, fascinated, for about 5 minutes until he manipulates himself enough to reach it. I was so proud, and I knew then what it meant to shep nachas.
But seriously, the whole time I was watching I was sorely tempted to just give it to him. He wanted it, he couldn’t reach it, why watch him struggle when I can just make it easier and give it to him. It was very easy to counter that logic; he needs to learn, and try, and struggle, or he’ll never learn, or reach any developmental milestones if I just hand everything to him. I’m sure most mother’s would agree that I did the right thing by letting my kid do it all by himself, even if there was a kvetch or two along the way.
So why is parenting so clear and straightforward when our children are infants, but when they get older we just lose our way?