Wednesday, March 7

Growing Up

 My little Beth is growing up so much lately!  At the start of Lent, we implemented a (very basic) chore system, and Beth has taken it to the next level.  Every day she begs for a chore and, well, there's only so many days a week to clean the windows!  I've been coming up with odd tasks for her to do but she loves helping Mommy with chores.  I should add that we're paying her a dime per task (Luke too, when he helps out) and teaching her to separate her money into three jars- spend, save, tithe.  We'll use the tithe money during Lent somehow and she's still thinking about what she's saving her money for!

All of this, plus probably a bit of her age and other factors about her temperment, means she's going through a "phase" right now.  It's not a bad phase, but I just can't think of  better word to describe how she's sort of changed in the past few weeks.  She's become more-than-ever eager to do things on her own, things like prepare a snack or breakfast, get out her school supplies, or fold a pile of clothes all by herself.  Especially kitchen items though, so much so that I've rearranged the pantry a bit so that she can reach some breakfast and snack items, and I've very much reassured her that she'll be more than welcome to cook on the stove and wash ALL the dishes in a couple of years!  That day can't come soon enough for her though! 
getting snack ready for me

I've gone back and forth with my parenting style, sometimes letting her venture out and discover things completely on her own (even since she was a baby) and sometimes micro-managing her activities.  As she's gotten older I've realized there's a balance of somewhere in between.  I'm desperately trying to hold on to these last few years of her being a "little" girl, and she's desperately trying to grow up and be a big girl.  She's started to use language that has made me realize she's developing a new sense of autonomy, saying things like, "I don't have to do what you say," and "I don't want to, I'm going to do what I want instead."  The first few times it made me feel angry, but now I just have to laugh a little to myself because she's so stinking cute!  I'm certain that her language and her attitude of wanting to be self-sufficient means she's heading into a mental growth spurt of sorts, and I'm waiting to see how else it's going to play out!

Despite what appears to be grumpiness or a bad attitude (sometimes), she's still amazing at her ability to talk through and rationalize her feelings and attitude.  She knows when she needs to cool down and will tell me she has to go into her room for a few minutes, and when she comes out in her own time we talk about her choice of words, how we both felt, and what we can do to make it better the next time.  I just don't believe how rational she is and how well she can put her feelings into words.  Sometimes she'll also draw it out for me, and those pictures really are worth 1,000 words!

I hear her talk to Luke and Jack and it stops me in my tracks because I know she's learned "that tone" from me.  She's very aware of everything Ryan and I talk about; we can't even spell words in front of her anymore as she quickly figures out what we were talking about!  I feel like this next step in child rearing is going to be very mentally challenging for me, forcing me to face things about myself that I don't care for as I try to set a good example for her. 
folding clothes
We're both becoming very excited about starting kindergarten in the fall!  She knows she'll be homeschooling and joining the "big girls" next year as she enters the girl's club with our homeschool group.  She's made some good friends this year and I'm really looking forward to seeing those friendships mature and blossom as she gets older.

I know I should be jumping for joy that she's able to- and wants to- help me more around the house.  She can change Jack's diaper!  She can put on Jack's shoes!  She can get cereal for breakfast, organize the bookshelf, and wipe off the table!  It's just making me face the fact that my little girl is growing up, and I'm not sure how ready I am for the next stage!

As she continues to grow mentally and physically, I've seen her grow spiritually as well.  She seems to understand concepts of God and life that should be way out of her league, but I've learned that's probably where the saying, "Out of the mouths of babes" comes from!  She's always telling me she wants to do God's will for her life, and I encourage her but I also try to steer her into very kid-friendly topics.  I am a little concerned she'll be a bit scrupulous!  I want her to have a healthy understanding of God's love for her!

I guess whether I'm ready or not, she's growing and I've got to figure out how to keep up!  I'm ready to see what her future holds!

Valentine's Day, but one of my favorite recent pics


Nicole said...

what a great journey you are on! let her do those things because it will be such a source of pride for her, and a relief for you when you realize you don't have to do it, ha! there are so few parents like you who actually question what they are doing and let their children teach them things. you are doing a great job!!

Nicole said...

well maybe that wasn't fair - i think a lot of parents are questioning what they do and letting their children teach them. you are just brave to post about it!

ashley said...

you are such a good momma!! she is a beautiful girl!

mama schmerb said...

You are doing an awesome job. You are raising an adult, not a child, because in 10+ years, it will be easier, because you have laid good ground work. She is, of course, you and Ryan's child. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree ;)
Proud moma and mamaw <3

But, these years are precious!!!

Julie said...

Hmmm... That is exactly how I imagine you to have been at that age, Steph! I completely understand your feelings about watching her grow up and feeling hesitant about your readiness as a parent. Already at 21 months I am thinking about how I should try to explain things about life later on so she feels safe to be herself, whoever that may be, and not be pigeon-holed by society's portrayal of what girls and women should be. Maybe that is why tonight seems destined to be an insomnia night :) you are doing. Great job and Beth is so darling. She can come help me fold my mountain of laundry anytime :)

Neen said...

She is beautiful doing it also.

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