A couple of months ago, Jaycee turned 8. Eight was a number that seemed to signify she was not little anymore.
This fall, she'll be in second grade. That seems like a "big girl" age too.
Jaycee is getting older, and she's maturing too. She's listening to me often when I give her a direction. I also don't feel like I have to have a death grip on her hands in public to keep her from running off. Sure, she still has the occasional spontaneous sprint from me in public, but it use to be EVERY time I took her out.
Yes, Jaycee is getting older. And I've been trying to make adjustments for her, allowing her to have more independence and freedom. Sometimes, you just do things for your child and you keep doing them out of habit. Then one day, you realize that maybe it's time to adjust for maturity.
First, we got her a new bookshelf to house her collection of movies. She has several DVDs of Barney, Wonder Pets, Signing Time, and Winnie the Pooh. For the past several years, I have kept her movies locked in her closet to keep them from being destroyed. Jaycee use to put the movies in her mouth and bite them. Then, they wouldn't play or skip, and we would both be frustrated.
Now, Jaycee has all of her movies within reach. She loves it! And she's doing a great job. She's keeping the movies on the shelf and handling them with care. It was a big step for the both of us.
Then, there is the whole bathroom situation. At home, Jaycee needs minor assistance. In public restrooms, I usually go in the stall with her to help her and make sure she doesn't run away from me. Recently, she walked into a public bathroom, went in a stall, and shut the door on me. Message received! I stood outside the stall like a weirdo watching through the cracks in door to make sure she was doing all the necessary steps. She did, and I was proud. From then on, I have been letting her go to the bathroom stall by herself. It's been another big, mature step for her. To think, one day she might be able to go inside the bathroom totally by herself. Wouldn't that be something?
Finally, I decided that Jaycee and Elijah (age 4) needed to try to buckle their own seat belts. We spent several days learning how to pull the seat belt out while holding onto the silver buckle. Elijah did it by himself first. We clapped and cheered. Jaycee was still struggling. She would pull the seat belt out but only make a half-hearted attempt at buckling it. If she didn't get it on the first try, she was done.
A couple of days ago, the kids climbed into the van while I went to get the mail. I thought that maybe if I left, they'd make a better attempt. I came back and both children were buckled in! It was magical!! Elijah didn't know how Jaycee got buckled in, so it was clear that she did it herself. First time ever for her!! I think she's only done it twice so far, so we are still working on it. She is content to let me do it, so I'm trying to take a step back and let her try.
Yes, Jaycee is growing up. There are a thousand little steps like this that we have yet to master. But, she is making steps to independence. It's exciting.