Monday, December 04, 2006

Independent JP

One of the things we’ve been working on with JP lately, and when I say “working on” I mean “harping on and teasing relentlessly,” is his being more independent. Now, we don’t expect him to work or fend for himself totally, or even help out with rent. He’s only five-years-old, so he’s got another five years before he has to think about that. But there are certain things he should be able to do without us – get his own cookie, get out of the bathtub, and find his own clothes in his drawer, for example. C is good about doing things on his own, once he’s reminded that he can. S can, but refuses. That’s just S. JP doesn’t seem to have any clue that he is capable of walking into his room on his own and locating a pair of socks because his feet are cold.

Tonight I happened on him as he tried on this new-found independence. He was getting his own drink of water from the kitchen sink. I watched him from the dining room as he hoisted himself onto the sink, holding himself up on just his elbows. His legs swung from side to side as he traded the cup from hand to hand and turned on first the hot water, then turned it off, then the cold water, traded the cup back to the other hand, filled it, and turned the water off. He looked like a 1980s-era Soviet gymnast fighting to keep his balance. Either that or one of those people who are born without any limbs but have learned to live on their own regardless of their limitations. But that may be demeaning to the people with no limbs because they are surely more capable than JP is right now. He is the one most likely to come to me in our 1200 sq. ft. house and ask where someone else is. Chances are he had to step over or around that person to get to me to ask his question.

I have no doubt he’ll grow into his own independent nature, and I know it’s not right to put so much pressure on him. It’s just that there is a lot to be done around here with four kids so we tend to expect them to help out, by helping themselves if not each other, at an earlier age. The sooner JP can help himself to the simpler things, the easier life will become for us and him. And the sooner we know that he can care for himself, the sooner we can send him to the Czech Republic to begin training for the 2016 Summer Olympics.