Friday, May 29, 2009

Compassion and independence

One of the things I'm most excited about with Caden's growth as he prepares to turn 4 is his increased independence and desire to help others. More regularly he wants to dress or bath himself, prepare his food and clean up (which requires frequent trash can inspections to ensure he didn't clean up TOO well), even help me get ready. Sometimes he will bring a coat for me to wear outside, or stand by the door with my keys and sunglasses. He has even tried to help put on my shoes and socks. Yesterday after the Tank packed his lunch for work, Caden carried the lunch box over to the front door and placed it beside the Tank's keys and cell phone, ready to go.

He also is more willing to try something new after seeing another child do it. I can try and try to get a backward roll out of Caden but it's not until he sees another kid roll over that he points to himself to say "My turn! I want to do it!" He definitely wants to keep up with his peers and it is a huge motivation for him.

Sometimes he will stop to help strangers. He has a wonderful sense of compassion and seems to always be scanning people around us to make sure everyone is happy. Crossing the grocery store parking lot recently, I reminded Caden of the rule to hold hands. He spotted a woman in front of us with no hand to hold so he reached out and placed his hand in hers, much to her surprise. I quickly apologized but she was delighted, saying her children were grown and she missed holding a little hand. So the three of us entered the grocery store holding hands.

The Tank and I took Caden to an event at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fairegrounds this past weekend. Many of the vendors were in character, dressed in period costumes and speaking in an Elizabethan accent. As we walked through the stalls, a woman selling pickles passed by us. The pickles were stored in 2 big barrels which she pulled along behind her on a wheeled wooden cart. It was a hot day and as we ascended an incline, the pickle lady started to slow. Ever-performing, she implored event goers to buy her pickles to lighten her load. Caden saw her struggling and without signaling his intentions to mom and dad, quickly grabbed part of the handle to her cart to assist her up the hill. I don't know how much he actually helped but it was adorable to watch. When we reached the top of the climb, he was obviously proud of himself and gave the woman a hug.

I love that Caden increasingly wants to do things on his own. It's easier on me but more importantly, I hope that desire continues as he grows into an adult. I don't want him to be comfortable depending on others if he is capable of performing tasks independently. And I admire both his ability to see when someone needs help as well as his quickness to jump in and do what he can. He reminds me to look around and see what I can do for others. It comes so easily and naturally to him and it's an inspiring character trait.

He's growing up. He's reaching out. My baby has become a boy.


Loren Stow said...

That is so wonderful to read! You must be soooo proud of Caden, he sounds like such a wonderful boy! I hope that Malakai can one day also be as compassionate and caring!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful soul. Great post and way to go Caden! I can just imagine how he made the older ladys day when he grabbed her hand to walk in the grocery store.. precious!