Watching my children become more independent doesn’t really make me nostalgic or sad. Perhaps because I view their independence as an important parenting goal. Perhaps because I enjoy watching them learn and grow so much. Or perhaps this is because their stages of dependence can drive me nuts.
IP is in full on independence mode. Her current favorite phrases these days are:
“I got this!”
“Mommy, look! Look at me!”
(usually as she does something extremely dangerous)
It’s amazing to watch my daughter, who last summer wasn’t even walking, get herself into and out of her carseat, run down the sidewalk after her big brother, or climb up on the big kid swings on her own. It’s thrilling to watch her turn into her own little person as she figures out how to move along on a scooter or insists on carrying the tortillas at the grocery store. What is doubly fantastic is the way she bounces back after set-backs. She hit her head on the sidewalk the other day after trying to get into her carseat. After a quick recovery, she was ready to climb out again once we got home. Sometimes she falls and skins her knees, but she is always up again soon, dusting her hands off and raring to go. Watching her push herself is amazing.
But it is also exhausting.
When people learn how to do things, they are usually very slow at first, like when I was first trying to figure out Vinyasa yoga poses, shooting a left-handed layup, or even just lesson-planning in my first year teaching. When we are learning new skills we take longer, we have to feel things out. It’s normal, but it can be painfully tedious for the ones watching us.
So now getting into and out of the car is a ten-minute production, well, because “I got this!!” Dinner because an acrobatics show when our little toddler stands up in her booster seat and says “Mommy! Look at me!!” Yesterday we took forever to walk two blocks because she and her brother decided to re-enact the Silly Walk sketch from Monty Python.
So, as my little girl continues to hit milestone after milestone, I’ll continue to stand by and try to keep her from hitting her head on the sidewalk, and kiss her skinned knees. I’ll watch her grow and learn with pride.
And I will plan on every task taking twice as long as it should, because, well . . .