Sometimes, when you try to give your child a little independence, things don't work out exactly as planned. And that can be all to the good. Mistakes are, after all, part of the learning process. But when those mistakes happen in front of judgmental passers-by, well, it's no fun for mom. I found that out first-hand when I let my 3-year-old go through the turnstile herself when exiting the subway earlier this week, after much begging on her part. As she pushed her way through, the turnstile whacked her in the back of the head. But she was all smiles -she had done it herself! Unfortunately, the moment was marred (for me, not her) not by the minor head injury but by the woman who witnessed the incident and hissed at me, "I saw that!"
All by Myself by Mercer Meyer, an unidentifiable animal known only as Little Critter (and supposedly a porcupine, as the knowledgeable staff at my fabulous local children's bookstore informed me), does a number of tasks all by himself. But in a nice touch, the pictures sometimes belie the words - as the text tells us he can tie his shoes all by himself, we see that in fact he can tie his shoes - to each other! - while his attempt to pour juice for his sister results in quite a mess. And at the end of the book we see that of course mommy is irreplaceable for certain things - a story, a cuddle. That is, comfort and love. A book with a retro feel (first published in 1983 it looks even older to me) and a timeless message this somewhat forgotten classic along with the others in the Little Critter series is worth a look.