When we moved into our apartment, Madilynn refused to come down the stairs by herself. After about a week, with some assistance and modeling by Big Brother Dietrich, she started to scoot down the stairs on her bottom. This past week, she began walking both up and down the stairs, rather than crawling or scooting. This growth and learning happened in less than two months time.
Madilynn enjoys helping with everything I do. She wants to help cook. Instead, I let her help set the table. She beams with pride each time. She helps with the laundry. Sometimes this help is undoing part of what I already finished. Other times, I laugh as she runs excitedly to take Dietrich’s clothes up to his room. (The longer part of this story: I already put away her clothes. When I instructed Dietrich to help, he protested. I said, “Fine, I’ll take care of it,” in a tone that meant his lack of obedience would have consequences. Madilynn jumped at the opportunity to help and turned Dietrich’s attitude around in the process).
In other milestones, she has far to go. For example, she does not want to use the toilet. She thinks her training potty is a chair to sit on while playing her toy piano. The one time she barely tinkled in the potty, she freaked out and started screaming for me to put a diaper back on her. Clearly, she is not ready for this step in growing up.
Yet as I watched her walk up the stairs, saying, “I can do it, mama,” after each one, I knew: Today she’s walking up the stairs, but one day, all too soon, she will be walking away from the shelter of our home. Madilynn’s independent nature seems much more exploratory than Dietrich’s does. He tells me all the time that he is going to stay with me forever. I know, too, that this will not last.
When I was a little girl, my daddy used to sing “That Little (Boy) Girl of Mine” to me. As I watched Madilynn walk up the stairs and thought, “today up the stairs, tomorrow out of our lives,” (quite the melodramatic mama moment) I thought of the words again. Off and on, I sing the same song to my children.
The greatest blessing is in spite of their strong-willed independence, they still like to cuddle and they love giving hugs and kisses. In spite of how intelligent and grown up they think they are, they are still little. I think I will take this advice: