Mr. Independence

A few weeks ago, I went in to put Dylan down for his nap. The moment we entered his room, he jumped into his bed, grabbed his blankie and pacifier, covered himself with the blanket, looked at me and said "Bye bye."




"You don't want Mami to put you down?"


"Adios," he says with a smile.


And just like that, my son had kicked me out of his room for the very first time.


I didn't see it coming at all. Of course, I was aware that three-year-olds begin experimenting with asserting their independence, but to be honest, Dylan never seemed that much interested in independence. Playing on his own? Never. He was never one to sit quietly with his toys and play quietly by himself. Putting on and taking off his clothes on his own? Same thing. He could do it, and usually did at the most inconvenient times (like the other day when he took off his pants at McDonald's), but if I asked him to take off his shirt he usually responded with "Mami do it," then proceeded to whine and moan and refuse to take it off until I ended up doing it for him lest we spent all day sitting by the water-filled tub waiting for his bath.


Imagine my surprise, then, when out of the blue he decided to take a nap all by himself that day. The next day he did the same thing. Then, two Mondays ago, Dylan decided he wanted to start wearing big boy underwear again. This is not our first foray into potty training. He did it great for two months at the beginning of the year, then lost all interest and no amount of bribing, begging, or pleading would make him put in the slightest bit of effort. As you can imagine, I was very skeptical about starting to potty train him again -  especially as we are going on vacation very soon - but if he wanted to do it, then who was I to say no??? Happily, he is doing great, we've had very few accidents so far, and he is very proud of his new big boy status.


Other aspects of Dylan's new desire for independence have not inspired too much enthusiasm in me. First, he began refusing to sit on the grocery cart when we went to the store, preferring to walk next to me, touching everything in his path and lengthening our shopping trips by nine trillion hours. If he fell and I tried to console him, he'd push me away. Then he decided he wanted to be alone all the time. If I happened to walk near him while he played Daddy's keyboard, I was usually greeted with a wave of his hand and a hearty "No...Adios!" The sound of doors slamming at my approach was beginning to set my nerves on edge.


I have to admit, I was a bit hurt at first by his rejections, although I knew that it had nothing to do with his love for me and more to do with his desire to stand on his own. I knew he was hitting an important developmental milestone and that it was all part of growing out of toddlerhood into boyhood. Still, it took me a little while not to run after him when he went up the stairs, not to open his door immediately after he closed it and make sure he was not destroying his room or hurting himself in any way. It took superhuman effort not to run to him and hug him and rub his 'ouchies' and chant the magical "sana, sana, colita de rana..." which is the Puerto Rican cure for all spills and falls.



Tries to get his own snacks from the cupboard, too

Finally, I started to relax and enjoy Dylan's new independence. I could actually fold laundry or clean the kitchen while he was awake. I didn't have to find ways to entertain him all the time. Best of all, no more Pull-Ups. Imagine that! Just as I was starting to get used to all of it, though, something happened. I'm not sure what, exactly, but suddenly my boy is clinging to me again, running to me when he falls, looking to put his head on my shoulder as sleep takes over him. I am once again allowed to rock him and sing him lullabies at night, and if I step more than five feet away from him during the day he begins a frantic "Mami, come. Mami, come!"


Every so often, though, I hear the "adios!" that signals his desire to be alone for a bit. It doesn't bother me anymore. We are finding a new balance. Mr. Independence is still around, but even he needs a little help every so often, and I will always be here when he needs it.


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  • I can totally relate to this entry! Lucia went through the same phase and now Joaquin is now "yo solito" for everything!

  • In reply to NinaGoyco:

    Crazy, isn't it? Just happens like that, from one day to the next they suddenly want to do everything on their own!

  • Dylan has a wonderfully understanding mommy. What a lucky little guy!

  • In reply to emmabradshaw:

    Thanks, Emma...I try!!!! :-)

  • It's weird....we want them to become appropriately independent, but it's hard too allow to happen, at times. Sure went through this Mike & I drove our oldest son, Justin (15 yrs. old) to basketball camp in Bloomington/ Normal, IL...set him up in his dorm room & left. We probably won't hear from him, until we pick him up....hope he's doing alright....I guess no news is good news....very strange. (I did tell Mike- on the drive home yesterday- don't expect that I'll be so calm, when we hopefully drop him off at college in 3 years!) So fast they grow up....good & sad & scary, etc.- all at once!

    P.S. Hope you're all settled in nicely in PR! Hello to all your family & enjoy!

  • In reply to kathikubal:

    OMG, I think I would have been sobbing the whole time...can't even imagine! Hope he had a great time at camp!

  • Aiii que fuerte!!! : )

  • In reply to camoll:

    Asi mismo...pero bien chulo a la misma vez! :-)

  • Don't worry, Khadine, you will still be the best, prettiest, most important person in his life for a couple of years (then the "cool" factor kicks in)!

  • In reply to Ileana:

    Thanks, Ileana! I'm enjoying it while it lasts. I know the teenage years will be here before I know it!

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