I Can Wipe My Own Ass

One of the joys of being a parent is being needed; our kids are called dependants for a reason. Everyone likes to feel needed from time to time, it gives us a sense of purpose and who doesn’t like to feel important now and again. Yeah it can be frustrating and tiring at times, but deep down we all love it really.

As much as I like that my kids need me for things, I have always tried to encourage them to do things for themselves (within reason of course). I’m of the opinion that they will learn and discover a lot more by having a bit of independence rather than me doing everything for them, and if they feel that they do have that license they will have a happy upbringing.

However, I’m not wishing their childhood away and by no means do I want them to not need me any time soon. I thought that it would be a gradual transition over years and that I would have a chance to slowly come to terms with them not needing me so much; so I was absolutely not ready for the gargantuan change in my oldest son Rudy since turning 5. It’s only been a few weeks and the difference is mind blowing, it has totally caught me off guard. He starts school in August this year and I have been telling him that he is going to be a “big school boy”, I didn’t think he would take it quite so literally.

There are some things that have slowly started to phase out over the past few months; he used to always need me to read him a story before going to sleep, then it became every other night, until now when he simply says goodnight and goes to bed on his own. This I can deal with, as it has been slow and therefore doesn’t feel like such a big change at once.

But there are other things that have changed almost overnight; he now wants to wash himself at bath time and dry his own hair afterwards (apparently I don’t style it right, he’s 5!!!!), and it is these little changes that I am so taken aback by.

It was only a month or so ago that I was working from home one Friday afternoon, on a skype call with one of the directors from my work amongst others, when Rudy ran into the kitchen and shouted at the top of his voice “I need a poo, can you wipe my bum when I’m done?”. Now as embarrassing as that was when everyone on the other end of the call burst out laughing, it’s one of those ‘nice to be needed’ moments.

Now, only 4 weeks or so since his 5th birthday, he sits in the living room and asks Alexa what the weather is going to be like tomorrow so he can plan his day, and picks his own outfits to match what I am wearing so he can “be just like daddy”.

Whilst it’s really amazing to see him becoming so independent and to watch him learn and grow, I really wasn’t prepared for it being such a big change so quickly. As annoying as it could sometimes be when there was only one thing he would eat for dinner, missed out number 15 when counting to 20 or needed help wiping his ass, it still gave me that sense that he needs me to help him.

I know that he still does need me, just for different things now, and it’s just another part of the learning curve that is being a dad.

Written by Stewart Strachan for his blog, Diary of a Glasgow Dad!

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