"I can do it myself!" my daughter huffs as I'm trying to help her get dressed. This has become the mantra in our house. It seems like no matter what she's doing, she's eager to prove herself. Sometimes she can do it (although maybe not all her teeth get brushed) and sometimes she can't (the skill of squeezing toothpaste onto a toothbrush continues to elude her), but more and more, she wants to show her self sufficiency.
As a parent, I'm proud of her accomplishments and encourage her to do it herself. Yet as a working mom who's incredibly overextended, I sometimes find I don't show enough patience and step in too quickly when time is of the essence. As soon as I do, I realize the mistake I've made, robbing her of her independence.
At meal times, she helps me set the table and offers to help cook dinner. It takes twice as long and it's twice as messy, but way more fun for both of us. Pouring milk is still a challenge but she continues to insist she can "do it herself". We ended up with spilt milk the first few times, but she's getting the hang of it now and the extra mess is so worthwhile.
I remind her (and myself) that mistakes are how we learn new skills. She forgives me my impatience and I forgive her the extra mess. It's a tender moment for both of us.