Last fall, I started teaching my four-year-old son how to feed the dog. I was pleased that we had found a chore that he could claim as his own. With some prompting, he would scoop a cup of food from the bin in the laundry room, carry it into the kitchen, pour it into the dog’s dish and return the empty cup to the bin. He seemed to really enjoy the ritual of this chore.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before sensory-seeking beat out routine for dominance. Philip soon discovered that it looks really cool if you spin the cup of dog food rather than just dumping it in the dog’s dish. …continue reading
Abandoning the shopping car beside the milk display, I dash between refrigerator cases of eggs and butter, hoping to cut him off before he makes it to the frozen foods.
I’m too slow. He’s almost made it to the liquor department by the time I catch him. Either he ignored, didn’t understand or was too distracted to respond to my calls of “Philip, STOP!”
Then there was the time I let my cart roll into the tomato display as I sprinted through the produce department to catch Philip just as he reached the bananas. No tomatoes were harmed.
I’m certain that I have chased Philip through every department of the grocery store at least once. I try to ignore the looks from other shoppers and employees. “It doesn’t matter what they think,” I tell myself.
Philip is approaching a height and weight that exceeds the maximum of the seat in the grocery cart. Letting him push our shopping cart is good heavy work for him and allows him to contribute to our weekly shopping trips. As long as he is propelling the cart forward, he doesn’t feel compelled to run off.
Obviously, though, we do have to stop in the aisles to grab a loaf of bread or compare prices. When I do, I hold his hand to keep him beside me. When it was time to transition out of a stroller, I spent quite a bit of time teaching Philip to hold my hand like this. While he occasionally struggles free from my grasp on our walks, he actually seems more comfortable holding my hand. It has become part of our routine. Doing so at the grocery store has become a habit, too.
However, when I visited his preschool in the fall, the teacher was specifically working on increasing Philip’s independence. He is now expected to walk down the hall between the lobby and the classroom without holding anyone’s hand. …continue reading