My husband and I are arguing over how old our son has to be before we should expect him to tie his own shoes. He says any self-respecting 5 year-old should be able to master this. (Sidenote: the man doesn't even tie his own shoes. He just loosens them up until the laces are short enough that they don't drag on the ground.) I say... well, I say if I wait for the kid to try and do it himself, I will never make it out the door before sunset. Also? I have the patience of an agitated wrestler on steroids, and can't think of anything worse than teaching my child such a tedious job. (Oh please. You already read about my stance on potty training. Is it any surprise that I am hoping one day he magically wakes up and can tie a bow?)
I haven't always been this way. Take the whole bottle thing for instance. (No, I did not breastfeed. And no, I will never tackle that subject here, as my inbox can only handle so much hate mail. Let's just say... my baby can have my sanity, dignity, and vanity. But not my nipples, thank you very much.) My kid loved that bottle to the point that I thought he would end up drinking his morning coffee out of it later in life. Such an image led me to tear that thing out of his hands at 10 months. Luckily, the transition was no problem. (How, you ask? Simply fill that sippy cup with the sugary goodness of apple juice. And I'm not talking the watered-down version. Heck, use Sprite if you have to. I know, it should be plain old water. Perhaps this is why my child still shudders at the thought of a beverage without sugar. Whatever. My technique worked**.)
Same thing with the binky. When the little guy was 18 months old, I grabbed the binky out of his mouth, threw it across the room, and said, "you don't need this anymore, right?" I'm sure he complied out of shock and horror; or perhaps it was because I honestly couldn't find the binky after it went flying and he had no choice. Either way, that was the end of that.
Fast forward to present day, and I can barely get my child to wash himself in the tub. We are talking about a kid who taught himself how to read. And speak Spanish. Heck, he can even count to 10 in Chinese. But pick up a washcloth or shampoo his hair? Forget it. The reason I don't force the issue is that I can't really envision a future scenario in which this is a problem. Eventually he will have a girlfriend who is not impressed by the smell of dirt. (Yes, I acknowledge that laziness may be part of the problem. The other day? I saw my son drop a piece of pasta on the kitchen table and proceed to lick it up with his face, rather than a fork.)
Where did Mommy the Enforcer go, you ask? She got tired (read: became totally obsessed with Facebook). And realized that kids can, and will, figure things out on their own. The world will not stop spinning because my child can't hop on one foot. As for those shoelaces of his? When he gets tired of falling down, I'm sure he will figure out how to tie them. And if not... well, apparently his dad has a solution for that one.
**I have no idea what I am talking about. Please consult manuals by people who actually worked hard for their college degree for any honest-to-goodness parenting advice.