“Hey!” I say brightly, trying to convey FUN and AWESOMENESS. “I know! Let’s practice tying your shoes!”
He sees right through me, and slumps to the floor in despair. He moans that it’s hard and he doesn’t want to. According to him, he will never be in a situation where he must tie his own shoes. He is never without his dad or me, or some grown up. I picture a middle aged man wearing Velcro shoes…he has to learn! I make him a deal; 5 minutes of his time, 5 minutes of practice and that’s it! And no need to get upset, because we will practice until you get it!
He reluctantly agrees, and we sit on the floor armed with shoes. I show him the first part, the criss cross and he gets it! I give him high fives and he is all smiles. This is easy!
Then we get to the second part, and the sky opens up and the world comes crashing down based on the level of yelling and tears. He can’t do it! He told me that he wasn’t going to do it! He sobs and shoves his shoe away. My mind flashes back to a little girl’s tennis shoe flying across the room as she was learning to tie, and I get it, I get him. I see that little girl wailing in frustration in his tear streaked face.
I gently put the shoes away for today and give him a big hug. He sniffs, comforted and sock footed. I sigh, breathe him in. We’ll try again tomorrow. We’ll try again tomorrow.