Friday, August 17, 2012

Independence

Maybe it was the fact that yesterday stared with a walk down memory lane as we all talked about favorite Baby Abby moments, or maybe it was the fact that I was able to spend another day getting a sewing project nearly finished, but today I was tuned in to just how independent Abby has become. Now, she has always had a mind of her own, but lately I've noticed that she just doesn't need me around quite so much - and that is a good thing.

Today I saw several signs of her budding independence:

  1. Playtime: Over the last week Abby and I have certainly had our share of playtime together. We've played Barbies and Disney Princesses, we've colored pictures, we've played doctor/dentist, and we danced to some pretty fun tunes, but she has also spent time playing on her own. Most of the time it is in the sunroom/playroom, but today she even went up to her room to play for a bit. Some of you with kids may think that isn't quite a big deal, but for Abby it is. This is the same kid that in the past has needed me in sight everywhere she has gone. There was no way that she would be in her room alone, without Mom to entertain her. I love the fact I can get things done, and I know that she is amusing herself. There were even a couple of times today when she didn't follow me to the bathroom - and that is huge!
  2. Helper Abby: One of my biggest cooking challenges is timing. I find it so difficult to have everything ready at the same moment, so that nothing is too cold by the time we sit down to eat. Tonight I got pretty close. It was round about when I was mashing potatoes, and Jason was checking the chicken, that I turned to find Abby wanting something to do too. Instead of trying to shoo her out of the kitchen (which would have been typical of me - useless, but typical) I gave her some jobs, and she did spectacularly. Tonight Abby set the table, with very little prompting from me. I simply handed her the tools and she did the rest. When I looked to see how she was doing everything was neatly in its place, knives and forks were laying straight on napkins that were pushed to the side to make room for our plates. She even was in charge of drinks and went to find out what Dada wanted with dinner. Now, that would be enough in itself, but she ate well - finishing all her chicken, and even cleared her plate when she was done. I was sure to tell her how very proud of her I was. It made me think about the countless times she does that stuff through the day. She knows now that when she doesn't want the rest of her popsicle, she is to put it in the sink, I don't have to remind her anymore. She's also gotten into the habit of throwing things out, without a reminder. A couple of days ago I had a moment of panic when I realized that she was no longer chewing the piece of gum I gave her. I asked her where it was and where had she put it, imaging it smashed into the carpet somewhere. Her simple response? "In the trash." Sure enough, when I went to look there it was. She really is becoming such a wonderful helper.
  3. "Abby do it.": Some of you may know that there are many times when Abby still refers to herself in third person (many of The Greats do, you know), and one of those times is when she is insisting she doesn't need my help. She will grab whatever it is I am trying to help her with and emphatically state, "No, Abby do it!" I have to admit, it isn't always easy for me to hand it over, knowing I could get it done so much quicker, but that isn't what is good for her, so I step back and let her try. This seems to be happening more and more, with anything from buckling her own seatbelt to tying her own shoes (which right now she just twists, but she will sit for quite some time "practicing" that difficult skill). She wants to give it a try and will happily remind me when I need to back-off. She is also willing to take my suggestion to give things a try when she asks for help. Often (mostly when she's looking for something) she will come to me without even giving it a go, today she asked for help and I told her that I would help after she gave it a try. She accepted that and went to look for what she wanted. She didn't end up finding what she was looking for, but in the process she found something better - we were both happy with the outcome.
I love seeing these signs of her independence and her maturity, and just when I thought I couldn't be prouder of my little girl, she goes and hits me with a day like today - marvelous!

She even helped Dada wash his car after dinner. Once again,
what a wonderful helper!

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