Friday, January 28, 2005

It is like something is missing...

MB has gone to spend the weekend with her cousins. It has been quiet since she left early this afternoon. It has been eerily quiet. She has gone away before, but never has it felt like something is missing. My family is just not quite complete without her around. I keep waiting for her to start talking about something, or to start arguing over something with me. Even Kate has been a little reserved this evening without her big sister around.

Today I learned how responsibly independent MB can be if (1) I let her try to do more things herself and (2) she wants to be.

Last night MB packed her own suitcase for her trip. She would not let me help her, and I figured that I would just repack it for her this morning. When I checked it this morning I ws very surprised to find that she had packed appropriate clothes including underware, socks and nightclothes. The only things I needed to add were some heavier shirts for colder weather(which to her defense were in the wash when she orginally packed) and a dress for church. Additionally everything was organized an neatly folded. Lesson one for Mommy.

Lesson two was at lunch time today. I had just sat down to nurse little EM when MB said that she and Kate were ready for lunch. I told them they would have to wait about 20 minutes. MB said that she would do it, so not wanting to argue I agreed to let her try. Besides asking me how much time the chicken nuggets needed to go in the microwave, she prepared the entire lunch herself, and served it to herself and Kate. Not only did she nuke nuggets, she also served baby carrots, potato chips and water to drink. The two of them sat and ate a quiet and peaceful lunch while I nursed the baby. I could have spent 10 or 15 minutes in a stand-off with her over fixing lunch (believe me we have done it before), and I probably would have had I not been nursing and already anticipating a nap once she left. Instead in less than the time we would have spent arguing she prepared the meal and was really, really happy over it. Maybe I should have her fix my lunch sometime :).

"This is wonderful" I tell myself. But there is a nagging voice saying to me that she shouldn't do these things yet. She is too young. Is it really okay that I give her this much independence? But then I think about how some of our biggest battles come from me not letting her do something she wants to do. Now some of them are for safety reasons and I will battle as long as I have to over those, but some of them are because in my mind I am saying a 4/5 yr old should not be doing that yet. These are things like preparing her own lunch, helping Kate dress, etc. Maybe it is time that I give up total control over these things and let her try to do more. She really does shine when she is allowed to "help." Have you ever seen a child beg to wash windows? Mine really does, and yet freaks out when asked to pick her toys up off the floor. Go figure...

DH and I have had a nice evening. We got takeout Chinese for dinner and picked up a couple of movies with the gift card he got for Christmas. Tonight we watched Terminal. It was a pretty good movie. Very Tom Hanks. It was a good movie for tonight. He also picked up I, Robot which I guess we will watch tomorrow while we are being iced in.

Now it is 11:oo and the little ones are asleep. I should probably join them. I will need to get going in the morning to run a few errands before/if the weather sets in on us. I can promise you that Milk and Bread are not on my shopping list.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Mathew 6:21



Jess said...

Well, I have been going through similiar things with my 7yo. NOw, before bed I make sure that 3 bowls are washed, with spoons inside and the cereal on the table. Then when I get up, I make my coffee and indulge in about an hour of Bible Study time. My 7yo gets up, makes his and his 3yo brothers cereal (I also put a milk sippy cup in the fridge for the 3yo who doesn't like his milk *IN* his cereal). Then later on my 5yo (who's a late sleeper) gets up and makes her own. She only needs help if the milk is really full. I really feel no guilt over this. It allows me to have precious relatively uninterrupted time for myself in the morning which makes me a better mom for the rest of the day. :-) So I think you are doing great. You are, with supervision, letting her be independant. As long as she's not testing your boundaries I think it's awesome!!! And pakcing her own stuff and making lunch is *not* testing boundaries. She gets to be proud of herself, and you get to be proud of her. Children are so little I think instilling some responsibility that they can be proud of is a good thing. :-)

Jess said...

Amy, I hope you don't mind but you are featured at my blog. You deserve to have more readers! I know once they "meet" you they will be addicted like I am!


sisterscooby said...

Hi there! Came across your blog while visiting some of my daily reads. I am looking forward to reading more and totally enjoying what I am reading now. Pop by and visit me sometime!

Sherri aka Scooby

A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.