All By Myself: Why we Should all Be More Toddler

Baby Lighty has always been of the independent kind. He’s normally quite confident and social, and once he’s used to a place and the people, he’s happy to go off and do his own thing. For a while now, he’s been (willingly!) helping us to clear the table after dinner, load the dishwasher with the items that we deemed to be safe and generally likes to help us around the house. On the whole, he’s quite capable for his age, and – something which made us incredibly proud – passed his two year check with flying colours. But what we didn’t bargain on when we began to relish how capable he is, is this massive independent streak that we seem to be in at the moment. Or, in Baby Lighty’s words, the fact that he really, really wants to do everything, as he would put it, “BY MYSELF!”

Yep. All by myself. That’s what I’m contending with nowadays. Literally everything that I suggest we do, or Baby Lighty himself suggests we do, is met by the loudest cry of “I do it BY MYSELF!” (usually with emphasis on both syllables of ‘myself’: “BY MY-SELF!”. You know, just for emphasis.).

I guess in someways, this is great: it frees me up to do more, and, in theory should help us get out of the house quicker of a morning. But let’s face it, at two and a half, Baby Lighty’s take on being helpful is more like Mrs Lighty’s take on a hindrance. So what is it that Baby Lighty insists on doing “BY MYSELF?” Here’s a little sample of Mr. Independent:

  • “I open the door BY MYSELF!”
  • “I put my coat on BY MYSELF!”
  • “I get in my seat BY MYSELF!”
  • “I did the tomato sauce all BY MYSELF!”
  • “I reach for it BY MYSELF”
  • “I put my trousers on BY MYSELF!”

But you know what? He has no qualms in trying these things. Whether or not he can do them, is another matter. I’ve noticed this with his speech already. He’s the prime example of someone trying to learn a language. If he’s not sure of the word, he’ll just sound it out, or try something similar in an attempt to get Mummy and Daddy to understand. A recent example was when he said to Mr and Mrs Lighty, “I had the green plate early“; he didn’t quite get the ‘earlier’ part right, but he tried, and we knew what he was trying to tell us. It’s a far cry from the bilingual-yet-rusty Mrs Lighty, who would worry about getting the exact phrasing just right in her second tongue of German before giving it a go.

And further proof of his self belief: we’ll often hear Baby Lighty giving himself his very own little pep talk! Referring to himself in the third person, we’ll hear him pipe up with “You can do it, [Baby Lighty]!” When do we lose that sense of self belief?! When do we start to think, “actually, no I can’t do it, I can’t do it by myself or otherwise”, and the fear sets in instead?

I’m not sure when any of this happens, but as someone who has recently been struggling more and more with self doubt, I look at him, so engrossed in his tasks, so unselfconscious as he goes about telling himself that he can do it, and I feel so much love. So much pride. And so much longing to be even a little bit like that.

I know it’s not something that we can always control. I know this more than most. Self doubt eats away at you, and sometimes it takes something big to turn it around. Anxiety gets the better of you. And fear sets in. Fear that you’re not good enough. That you can’t do whatever it is you want to do. That you’ll do something wrong, something against the rules.

I’m not the only one that suffers, I know. There are plenty of us out there that suffer from self doubt, but of late it’s really been getting the better of me, almost to the point of putting a stop on my dreams. It hasn’t done that just yet, but there’s still time. It still might. 

But at least I have a little something to help the battle: Baby Lighty. I know that it won’t happen overnight, but I think it’s definitely time to at least start believing that I can do all the things I want to do, whether by myself, or with a little help from my friends. And I hope that if you’re suffering from self doubt, you too can take a leaf out of Baby Lighty’s book. It’s time that you start believing in yourself too.

It’s time that we were all a little more toddler.

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14 thoughts on “All By Myself: Why we Should all Be More Toddler”

  1. Sorry to hear you are suffering from some self-doubt – it’s always hard to believe in ourselves even when we have the most encouragement but it sounds like Baby Lighty is a great act to follow with his self confidence! He is such a clever little boy and if you ever feel any self doubt, just look at him because you made that! All his achievements and accomplishments are because of the way you as a parent have helped him grow so whatever else happens – you’ve got an amazing little boy right there xx

  2. I’m glad to read that baby Lighty is inspiring you and will hopefully build upon your confidence. I think we have so much to learn from toddlers who just seem to embrace things and get on with it #dreamTeam

  3. Ooo yes if we could bottle up some of that toddler confidence, we’d be millionaires! We’ve got a very independent 3yo in our house, except when it comes to shoes (even though she can actually do that!). She will refuse to let me help her with her coat or her tights (!) or opening the door, but the minute I ask her to put her shoes on, she claims she can’t do it! Haha. The mind of a child! #dreamteam

  4. This is a hard battle, but one that we all suffer from now and then. However, don’t worry, our little ones are a reflection of us and looking at Baby Lighty, you should be proud of what you have achieved and accomplished. #DreamTeam

  5. I love the way you’ve written this. A different angle for talking about anxiety. Something I suffered with in the last trimester of my second pregnancy and related to work. Unfortunately work was making me doubt myself due to a variety of reasons. Some toddler confidence would be awesome. #DreamTeam

  6. Our children can teach us so much! I remember when my boys were the same way. My oldest never lost his confidence but he does sometimes struggle with self-doubt on occasion. He is a teenager though so it kind of comes with the territory. My youngest, on the other hand, he definitely struggles with self-doubt but its more because he sets high standards for himself and wants to do it Himself as your toddler does. But when he fails at it, the self-doubt kicks in and he wants to give up. I don’t let him though. Failure is a part of learning and growing. I remember when he was so confident in himself as a toddler though. Always wanting to do what big brother did but on his own:) #DreamTeam

  7. Yes! We all need to be more toddler like. That’s for sure. Well done Baby Lightly on all those ‘all by myself’ statements. This is brilliant Nic. Really brilliant. It makes such a difference when children are willing to give things a go, even if they are not particularly sure if they can do it. Keep that confidence Baby Lighty. #DreamTeam xx

  8. Oh Nic. This made me feel really emotional. You should be so incredibly proud of your little man. The belief and the confidence he has in himself has been nurtured by YOU! You have given him that strength and he is a real credit to you. Self doubt is such a monster and it eats away at us, but you absolutely deserve those dreams. Sending love and hugs xxx

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