If my DS is saying these things I take it as code for, "I can, but right now, at this moment, I would like your help." Maybe he's feeling a little off, or regressing, or just needing to feel like my baby for the moment. He will be 6 in January and this still happens from time to time. Usuallly I don't battle it and just step in and be helpful. Like I would for say, my DH if he couldn't find his watch (for the one millionth time
). Yes, it's *his* responsibilty and he's perfectly capable of looking for it himself, but I step in because he asks me too or sometimes even when he doesn't. KWIM? Usually if I don't make a big deal of behavior like this, it moves on when DS is ready to be doing things for himself again. All too soon, he'll be right back to, "NO! I can do it myself!"
In those moments however when I just need him to do it for himself, (usually it's just a mental leap I can't seem to get over for whatever reason), I use a playful approach (ala, Lawrence Cohen): I grab a couple of his favorite stuffed toys and start a dialog between them:
toy#1: "Ya know, I don't think John knows how to dress himself!"
toy#2: "OH Yeah! I've seen him do it lots of times and he can!"
toy#1 "Ah, I don't believe anything till I see it!"
toy#2 "You are so so wrong about John. He can dress himself!"
*DS starts very sneakily putting on his clothes behind the toys backs*
I just go on and on making the dolls fight (in a very silly way that is) until DS usually jumps in front of them and says, TA DA! This NEVER fails.
So, I help, or I'm playful and help him help himself. In both cases, I stop and focus on him because that is what he needs for whatever reason in that moment. In either case, the underlying need (of attachment) is met.
The best and hang in there!