Here's my favorite quote from the card:
One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to allow them to develop the belief, "I am capable."
So, the trick is, what is pampering and what is legitimate help? It comes down to knowing my child. When I decide whether help would be pampering, I have to keep in mind what are C's capabilities, both overall and under specific conditions. What things can she do by herself all the time, and what things does she need a little scaffolding (ala Vygotsky's theory of the Zone of Proximal Development) to accomplish?
Just now, C is providing me the perfect real life example.
She brought me a baby doll and asked me to help her take off its pajamas. I know that she has taken off the pajamas by herself before without a problem. But I also know that today she has a little bit of a cold and a lower tolerance for frustration.
So I encouraged her.
"You want to undress your baby. You're frustrated because it's not coming off easily this time. Keep trying. I know you can do it."
"Help me! Help me! I can't do it." she whined and started to cry.
I reminded her that I can't understand a whiny voice and to use her strong voice.
"Mama, will you please help me?" she said very pleasantly.
"How about I hold the baby steady so you can use two hands to get off the pajamas?"
She makes a half-hearted attempt at tugging on the pajamas. "I can't do it! Help me!"
"Here, use this hand to pull the baby's arm up and this hand to pull the sleeve down, like this. See? You did it. I bet you can figure out how to get the other sleeve off."
She fiddled with it for a minute and brought it back to me with another whiny, "I can't do it! Help me!"
Another reminder to use a strong voice.
"Mama, can you please hold the baby again for me?"
I held it. She tried again, but got mixed up and pushed the sleeve up and pulled the arm down. I showed her again, without actually doing it, how to pull the sleeve down and the arm up and out. She tried again and got the second sleeve off this time.
"You did it! I bet you can figure out how to get the legs off yourself."
She ran off happily to play, and I got to enjoy listening to her sweet voice talking to her doll in imaginiative play while I finished writing this post.