The Curious Case of the “I Can’t Do It”s

Warning: I am going to break your heart, but I promise to also mend it.  Read fast and you’ll get to the good feels.

Yesterday we went back to camp with our friends Sarah and Rock.  The rain kept us out of Central Park, but we had a great time again in the gym.  The group was mostly boys and they were full of energy!  It was easier to navigate getting to the gym this time, and the skies were clear so I wasn’t running away from the rain in the morning.  Our bus ride up was great too, see picture below of my professional commuter, complete with hand down his pants.  Ridiculous.


So Harry was in to camp and as far as I could tell had been looking forward to it.  He had been talking about the different activities since the last visit, so I figured he would be pumped.  We got there and he was really in to it. Everything was really physical, as most things are with toddlers.  He was doing his best to run, and I think he must have gotten really tired because all of a sudden, we were sitting and he was loosey goosey and insistent on laying down.  He tried to tug on my heart strings by saying things like, “Lay with you, Mama? I love you, Mama. Cuddle, Mama.”  I obliged at first but then began to get firm with him as he got a bit whiney.  Out of nowhere, the tears started flowing.  When I asked what was wrong, he sobbed, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it”.  I tried to console him, I tried to be firm, but he kept repeating himself, occasionally adding other heart breaking things like, “Harry want to do it”.  Rock and Sarah were amazing and tried to redirect him, but he was determined on crying and having a complete meltdown.  When he began to yell I tried to reset the situation with a time out which totally worked (that and a snack).

I had a moment when he was sobbing in time out where I felt like I could totally let this break me down.  I felt bad for Harry because he was feeling bad for himself.  Just like he said, he wanted to do whatever “it” was, but couldn’t.  Then, suddenly, I had a couple of great thoughts.  First, I pondered ‘Where does feeling bad for yourself get you? No where!’ and I knew I had to push him through this tough time.  Then, I had a more important thought.  This doesn’t have to be about his inabilities.  All toddlers go through this, so this could very well be a normal feeling.  He was watching older boys as well as some his age, and felt like he wanted to do what they were doing.  My son wasn’t born with a crazy drive, but I will help him find it!

I don’t want to always talk about sad stories and how I feel badly or how Harry is different, but it’s often a reality and it warrants discussion.  I’ve learned quickly that when you don’t talk about things, it bothers you.  I tend to be honest now to a fault, which truth be told was always a quality I have had but it’s now much more intense.  Sometimes I put people off with what I say and how honest it is, but I think it’s important to speak your mind.  (As long as it’s not at the expense of someone else’s feelings)  With allllll of that being said, I can’t put to words my gratitude for these experiences.  I said it before and I’ll say it again, Sarah and Rock are angels and I’m blessed to have met them.  Harry has much, much more work to do, but I’ll be happy to help me along the way as will all of these great people in his life.


Finally meeting his friend Eric! (who loves wine)


A favorite of Harry’s and Mama’s – flag football!!


Cuddly naps on the bus ride home. What a great day.

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