We all know kids grow up fast, yada yada yada. Of course there are the physical signs of pants getting shorter, shirts getting tighter and feet getting squished into sneakers like sausages, but it’s the other ones that really get you. I’m talking about signs of maturity that signal your babies are not babies anymore. The ones that maybe, just maybe, start to indicate they don’t need you as much as they once did. These are the ones that get a momma right in the gut.
My almost five-year-old daughter decided it would be cool to lay three of these little signals on me all in one day. Last week when it was time for her and her sister’s bath, you know, they one we’ve been taking religiously since she was born. The bath where they play with little rubber duckies and splash each other until there’s more water on the floor than in the tub. Yeah, that one. Well, out of the blue, my daughter asks me if she can take a shower instead. What? A shower? Grown-ups take showers, not my little babies! I just looked at her and asked why she wanted to do that. “Because I do.” That’s always a great answer. Before I could respond, little sister chimes in with a “me too”. Oh no, I’m out numbered, yet again. I stop and stare at them and ask why again. The litany of “please moms” start. Ahh!
I know, you’re probably asking what’s so wrong about letting them take a shower? Nothing at face value. But to me, it’s just shows they are growing up. They don’t need mom to scrub them down. It’s one more thing they can do on their one. It’s one more apron string that needs to be cut. Yeah for independence. So, I let them take their little shower, with some supervising to make sure they were actually getting clean. Of course they loved it. Afterwards, my daughter declares, “I’m not taking a bath anymore. I take showers now.” I know little sister is going along for the ride too. Ugh. I think a piece of my heart broke a little.
If that whole scenario wasn’t bad enough, later that night my daughter tells me she wants to sleepover her grandmother’s house. What? This coming from a child who hates sleepovers? Are you feeling alright? Stop growing already, will ya? The whole idea was born when I told her grandma was coming over to watch her and her sister the following night, the night after the first shower that was oh so wonderful. My daughter went on to tell me grandma would not be coming over; she and her sister were going to sleep over there instead. Of course I get a little “me too” in the background. I swear they’re like Thelma & Louise. Anyway, she told me to call daddy and grandma to check. With the joint “yes”, another little piece of my heart fell. What the heck is going on here? Where have my babies gone?
After declaring showers and sleepovers for all, my daughter also did something else that hasn’t been seen in my house for a very, very, very long time. She decided that would be a good night to sleep in her bed all night. When I woke up at 5:30 to go to the gym and released there was no wall between me and my husband, I panicked for a minute. Where was she? I got up and tiptoed down the hallway, took a peak in her room and saw her sound asleep. I hung around the doorway until I saw her back moving. Just needed to make sure, you know what I mean? Once I saw she was fine, I tiptoed back in disbelief. Not too much love loss here on the growing up scale, but still it was the third blow to my momminess in less than 24 hours. This girl is relentless.
So, it’s been a week. We’ve successfully slept over grandma’s house, taken only showers, and slept in our own bed for a few nights (I still got her on this one!). I know these are only footprints on the path to growing up, but they don’t hurt any less. It’s great to see them grow, but sad at the same time. I’d like to keep my girls babies forever, minus the diapers and midnight feedings of course! Sigh.