Posted in Independence

Careful What You Wish For

I am so happy to have Natalie, from My Crazy Busy Life, here this week on Small Moments Mondays to share a small moment with us.

I wish I lived closer to Natalie because she’s the kind of girl with whom I’d go out for drinks (yes, multiple) and laugh until we cried. She’s funny, down to earth, genuine, and kind. I am so grateful to have her as my friend.

This post tugs at my heart, as Katie is preparing to start preschool next week…a huge change in our life. Natalie’s words are so lovely.

Thank you, Natalie, for sharing this here. I am so grateful for your generosity!

Careful What You Wish For by Natalie

For the past year or so, I’ve hoped the preschool would start a carpool, drop off line. I thought it would be great if I could let my youngest out at the door so I didn’t have to get out and walk her in. That way, I wouldn’t feel so guilty about dragging myself out of the house in my pj’s & attempting to inhale my first cup of coffee.

Not that long after Christmas break, I got what I wished for. The school sent home a letter that they would begin a preschool drop off line. I should be ecstatic right? I should feel over-the-moon-happy about it. I mean, this is EXACTLY what I wanted. Right?

One morning during the drop off, I look at my little girl- my baby- looking so big in her booster seat and waiting our turn. She was so excited about getting dropped off, “just like her brothers.” And it hit me. She would be starting kindergarten soon. She’s no longer a baby, toddler, or even preschooler. My little girl was officially a kid.

That one moment changed how I viewed the carpool lane. It was no longer a convenience. It was moving us forward to another phase of life.

Each little thing you cross off the list… The bottles, the diapers, bloomers with dresses, carseat, then eventually you realize their physical need for you is gone. They are physically capable of walking into school safely. Physically capable of getting through life without you. I’m now in the phase of guiding her to who she is meant to be.

That moment made me intensely miss the days I still had a baby.

Please go say hello to Natalie over on My Crazy Busy Life. Don’t miss Best Birthday Card Ever, Finding Your Words, and Sweet Home Chicago.

You can also find Natalie on Twitter. Go follow! You’ll love her, I promise!

Should I Worry?

So, Katie and I have been so excited to select a gingerbread house this year, a house that we could build together, as we have every year since she was old enough to sit upright in her high chair.

We went on a special Mommy and Katie trip to Target to choose a house.  We perused the offerings, a house, a village, a castle.  I was getting so excited that it was bordering on ridiculous.  I left the decision to Katie, who immediately chose a train.  A train, people!

So, I accepted her decision and told myself that I could make it work.  I would help her to make the best gingerbread train in the history of gingerbread trains.

Here’s the photo on the box…

We began our assembly last evening.  I carefully broke apart the premade (yes, premade!) gingerbread pieces and snipped the tip off the premade (yes, premade!) icings.

Then, out of nowhere, Katie asserted herself.  She looked at me and said, “I can do it.”

Gulp.

I was promptly and completely booted to the sidelines.  I was but an observer in this gingerbread extravaganza.

So, I sat back, thinking that she would surely need my help if I just waited it out.

Yeah, not so much.

She figured out how to get the pieces together and we let it sit overnight to harden and planned to decorate it this morning.  As I was falling asleep last night, I was thinking about the photo on the box that I had memorized.  I thought about lining the colors up and ever-so-carefully placing the candies on the train, exactly as the box depicted.

When we returned to the train this morning, Katie turned to me and said, “I can do it.”

Again.

Seriously.  She so didn’t need me to guide her.

So, I tried to control myself and gave her the space to figure it all out.  I expected havoc, or at least some plea for help.  I mean, she’s three, so how far could she really get on her own?

The only part she let me do was the icing application.  She told me where she needed it and I squirted and smoothed.  She chose and applied all of the candies and stopped what she was doing only long enough to tell me how much fun she was having and just how much she loved me.  I got six kisses before we were done.

She kept referring to the box, and in an attempt to push her to be more creative, I told her to use her imagination and make her train unique to her, to truly make it her own. I could see myself in her and wanted her to feel more freedom to paint outside the lines than I do.  There was an ache in my chest, a worry that I have somehow limited her.  I lack creativity and I want so badly for her to be different from me in that way.

And here’s what her train looked like when she was finished with it…

And that, my friends, is a better job than I could have done.

She’s three!

And a bit OCD, just like me.

There was a part of me that was so proud that she had observed the train so closely.  But, a bigger part of me was a bit sad that she wasn’t able to reach beyond that, to use her imagination to make the train unique.

Should I have thrown the box away before she could study it?

Should I just embrace that she has inherited my love of order and predictability?

Should I push her outside of her comfort zone?

Should I worry?

It Might Be Time To Let Her Grow Up…Just a Tiny Bit

If I could freeze time and forever keep my kids little, I wouldn’t even hesitate to do so.

I love the squishiness of their little bodies and the wonder that they see in everything.  I love holding them and feeling the way that they just melt into me.  I even love the way that they are still dependent upon me for so many things.

I won’t even pretend that I’m one of those moms who eagerly awaits the first day of school, sleep away camp, proms, graduations, and weddings.

I’m the mom who truly mourns the end of babyhood and toddlerhood and I’m often in complete denial that my children are getting older.

I’m starting to realize, however, that it might be time for me to fully acknowledge that Katie is a preschooler and as such, she is ready for some big girl stuff.  (Thank goodness for Craig’s calm demeanor and his encouragement to let them grow and change.)

This is a picture of Katie’s bed:

Katie's bed as it was when we brought her home from the hospital and as it still is.

Yep, our three-year old still sleeps in a crib (and yes, we still use a video monitor on her).

I’ve often joked that we were going to keep her in her crib until college. And while that’s clearly an exageration,  we did plan to keep her in her crib until Matthew was sleeping through the night, as we thought it would be easier to handle one nighttime challenge at a time.

Well, that day has come.  Matthew’s been consistently sleeping through the night for a few weeks now.

My list of worries for why making the switch from a crib to a toddler bed worries me is long.  Here are several of them:

  • Will she still nap?
  • How will we make sure she stays in her bed?
  • Will our great sleeper suddenly start waking in the night?
  • Will bedtime be stressful?
  • Will she wake us up at say, 5:00 am, by standing at the side of the bed and giving me a heart attack?

Although my worries are plentiful, I’m beginning to feel that the list of benefits to her being in her own big girl bed is growing longer.

And as much as I dread the switch, there’s also a tiny part of me that is eager to see her face as she realizes that she’s being given a bit more independence.

There will be tears…and they will all be mine.

If any of you have any tips on how to make the transition go smoothly, I eagerly welcome them.

The Most Difficult Part …

…of being a parent for me has always been knowing that one of my jobs as Katie’s parent is to help her to learn independence, in varying degrees, starting from the very first days of her life.

We taught her to fall asleep on her own, without needing us to rock her until she was sleeping.

We encouraged her to sit independently…

to stand, to walk…

…to run. 

We encourage her to participate at gymnastics, playdates, and birthday parties without needing us by her side.

In a few short years, we will drop her off for her first day of kindergarten and we will sit in the car, holding hands and crying, as we know that everything that we have done for her thus far has been to foster a sense of self and independence so that she wouldn’t completely depend upon us.

Then, years down the road, she will leave for college, most likely never to return to live at home with us.

And as much as this will hurt, I pray that we have given her the tools–independence, self-confidence, determination–to be just fine on her own.

This is our job as parents.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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