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Monday, October 21, 2013

My Big Little Girl

I will be the first to admit that I don't do everything right as a parent.  Some things I don't realize that I'm doing wrong.  Like it took me 3 months to figure out that all I had to do was tell Bailey to push and she could put her arms in her sleeves all by herself or that if I say "Step in," she will just step right into her pants like a big girl.

I mostly let Bailey do things by herself.  She's a pretty independent kid.

She loves to color (though she calls it pellowing and we're not sure where she picked that up) so I just hand her a coloring book and some crayons and let her go.  She mostly doesn't make messes except for crunching Cheerios into the carpet or trying to pour juice out of her cup.  Even her messes are relatively easy to clean.

Part of the reason she doesn't make big messes is because I don't give her extremely messy things to play with.  Bailey only plays with paint in the bath tub and she can't have markers or pens or anything that will mark on skin or isn't easy to get off of a wall or table.  Also, when she eats something messy I generally feed it to her.  I don't give her soup, cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal unless I can feed it to her.

The truth is I know this is wrong.  This is a parenting mistake.  I'm keeping her from learning an important skill simply because I don't want to clean up a big mess.  I had the same problem allowing her to hold her own bottle which is why she never did until we switched to sippy cups with handles.  I'm willing to take responsibility for this mistake, but I also know that with Bailey's second birthday rapidly approaching (only 12 days left!) I really need to allow her learn this skill.

So today I tried to remedy that mistake.  For breakfast I decided not to make oatmeal as I had originally planned.  I went with something a bit easier, quicker, and cool so as not to "burn that baby" (which is what Aaron says when he wants to keep her from touching something hot).  I put her in the high chair with a banana, a spoon, and a small yogurt cup and let her loose with it.

An hour and a half later she was covered in yogurt and still trying to lick it off of the banana which she was using as a second spoon.

She required an immediate bath when she was ready to get out of the high chair.

I plan to follow through with this lesson, letting her eat her yogurt and oatmeal by herself whenever possible.

I know that she enjoyed it.

She may have gotten more yogurt on her body than in her mouth, but she had fun in the process and for the most part she used the spoon the way it was intended to be used.

My baby is growing up so fast, pretty soon I'll be able to give her cereal with milk and brothy soups and she won't spill a drop.  Part of me can't wait for that day, but most of me is terrified that she's growing up to quickly.

She already has enough hair for a decent ponytail (which took a little longer for her than for most kids since they had to shave part of her head when she had her surgery) and she can walk to the car all by herself and she even climbs in her car seat for me without help.  She's such a good girl that she sometimes seems older than she really is.  While I'm worried I'm going to blink and she will be a teenager, I'm also so proud of her and I know that when she is all grown up she's going to be brilliant and beautiful and perfect, and I can't wait to see what she becomes.

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