It never ceases to amaze me how much Elizabeth learns and absorbs. She recently started to clamor to be put down on the floor so she can play independently instead of being perfectly content to snuggle in somebody's arms for hours on end. She is absolutely fascinated by our dog and watches him constantly when she can see him. Getting to him is one of the reasons she's desperate to start crawling. (What she doesn't yet realize is that even when she's more mobile, he's still going to be faster and more agile than she is and will be able to get away quickly.)
On the crawling front, Elizabeth is able to roll herself around pretty ably and get up on her arms, but the only direction she's been able to scoot herself is backwards. This fact irritates her very much when she realizes that she's expended a great deal of energy in going away from her objective instead of toward it.
Yesterday, she was on the floor playing and I was sitting next to her. She saw a toy just out of her grasp and strained hard to reach it, brushing it with her fingertips and trying hard to grasp it. My first instinct was to move the toy into her hands, but I stopped myself. Let her be independent, let her do it herself, a little voice in my head whispered. Instead of putting the toy closer, I put my hand behind her feet and let her push off. She scooted forward and in a matter of seconds was happily chewing on her toy.
I think most parents' first instinct, when they see children straining hard for something that would be so easy for us, is to do it for them. It's hard to watch a child struggle when you know you could make it easier. My lesson yesterday was not to step in and make it easier by moving the objective, but rather to ease the path by giving a little support from the rear. I hope that as she and her struggles get bigger that I can remember that wisdom!