When did my baby girl grow up?
Lately it has become very apparent that she’s growing up faster than my mind will let her. As we moved things from Mama’s house to their various new homes over the past couple of weeks, we decided to move the like new twin mattress and boxsprings into our Princess’ room, as her mattress has seen better days. We got the set into the house, and the next day we started making the move. We began by stripping her bedding and lifting up her mattress. As we prepared to carry it and the boxsprings out, I noticed our Princess looked upset.
She began crying. “I don’t want a new bed. I like my old one. Why do I have to be the one to change?”
I was taken aback. What? I realized I hadn’t discussed it with her at all. Just with the Fella. You mean you have a mind of your own about this? You have a preference?
Wow. When did that happen?
So in the end we switched out Cooter’s mattress and boxsprings. Apparently our girl sleeps just fine on her old one. Our Princess was happy once again.
Until the following afternoon. I had brought home Mama’s lovely touch lamp–you touch it to turn it on and off. I thought it would be nice in Princess’ room and that she’d like to have her Maemae’s lamp. She’d been using a lantern-type lamp that was actually supposed to be in Cooter’s room. As I brought it in and told her, she gave me a look, and said, “Mama, I don’t want that lamp. I like the one I’m using. Why aren’t you asking me about any of these things?”
Ummmm, because in my mind and heart you are still four years old, just beginning to explore what it’s like to be you…..not nine and pretty sure of your likes and dislikes and who you are.
I get that part of it is that she doesn’t handle change as well as some do…..not sure where she gets that from. Ahem.
Well, yes, she is my child in that respect. And I remember nine. I remember thinking that I was about to be two-digits old. That nine is the last single digit age. Yes, I was a bit angsty even then. And sentimental.
In that respect we are just alike.
But I think it’s likely that I was not as sure of my tastes and preferences at age nine. At least I didn’t feel as free to share them as she does. That’s something I’m glad she didn’t get from me. She is finding her voice a lot younger than I did, and for that I am grateful.
There are still things that she doesn’t get a say in: how far she can ride her bike, if she can roam all over the neighborhood like she wants, if she can have dessert without eating a balanced meal, if she can have Sprite whenever she wants, and things like that. For goodness’ sake, I’m letting you dress yourself for the most part child, what else do you want from me?
Autonomy. To come into her own. I get it.
My Daddy used to call my children when they were babies–“a puddle of people.” As they would lay in his arms and stare up at him, he said they were “imprinting.” And then they started becoming their own little people.
I don’t know if it’s because of her usual sensitive, sweet nature, quirky sense of style, health issues, or simply because she’s my baby girl, but I have not let this little girl grow up in my mind at all. Until she found her voice and told me what she wanted. It’s an interesting thing to try to grasp. That this little one, born in Japan, who smiled and giggled as the cherry blossoms fell down like snow around us as she rode on her Daddy’s shoulders during her first spring, is entering a new phase of her life. She will be in a different age bracket on her next birthday–a pre-teen.
I just can’t even.
But I have a feeling that this sweet girl who gets her height from her tall Daddy, this baby who is nearly as tall as I am and wears the same size shoes, will always be ready for a hug and a kind word.
Just so long as I don’t go trying to change things without talking with her first.
I guess I’d better make a note of that.
My little bird is trying out her wings.
Another Princess story written by her big sister is here.