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The three most common words in our household are currently, “I do it!” This phrase is often spoken in an urgent, indignant tone by my two-year-old, who thinks he can do everything. From strapping himself into his car seat to feeding the dogs to pouring milk into his cup, my toddler erroneously assumes he is competent enough to handle every task that comes his way. He gets mad at me if I do something he thinks he can do. He will shut the door to the dryer in protest just so he can be the one to open it again. It’s cute and irritating all at the same time, because clearly there are things he has no business trying to do. Kim John Payne summed up the two-year-old mentality best in his book The Soul of Discipline. He coins two-year-olds “little emperors” and says the following about them: “They are waking up to the world around them, discovering their own willpower and feeling a sense of omnipotence not matched by ability.” So very true. And yet, that’s an uncomfortably accurate description of the attitude of many adults as well, myself included.

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