Tuesday, July 23, 2013

They're Only Little Once...

My kids are almost old enough to allow me the once-forgotten luxury of showering undisturbed. Almost. The days of taking five minute showers for fear of someone breaking something (or each other) are mostly behind me. Mostly.

But then, there is my six-year-old. She sometimes forgets that she is a “big girl” and reverts to toddler-like behavior. Especially at bedtime, when she stomps her feet and cries, “I don’t wanna go to bed!” She is usually beyond tired, but she insists that she can hang with her big brothers, who have a somewhat later bedtime.

Her behavior is probably mostly my fault. She’s my last, my baby, and I’m in no hurry for her to grow up. Heck, she still sleeps in my bed. But it hit me this weekend, when she was too scared to go down the slide at the waterpark, that I’m doing her a disservice by keeping her a baby. I’ve got to let go, loosen the reins. A little—let’s not get crazy or anything.

This morning, I made sure all three kiddos were occupied, then I hopped in the shower. I was literally in the middle of shaving my armpits when I heard a light tapping at the door, followed by some incoherent mumbling. I sighed, then told her to come in because I couldn’t understand her.

“Mommy, I need you to put the password into your phone.” She had apparently grown tired of listening to “22” on repeat, but my iPhone is set to Auto-Lock after five minutes.

I sighed again, because my daughter is very smart but sometimes doesn’t think about what she’s saying and sounds less intelligent than she really is. I’m hoping this is because she’s six.

“Pumpkin, do you really think I can do that right now?”

She listened to the water from the shower. “No.”

“I’m almost done in here. I’ll do it when I get out.”

“Okay.” Disappointed, she left the bathroom. A few seconds later, she bounced back in without knocking. “Mommy!” she said with the voice of a child who has thought of A REALLY GREAT IDEA. “Mommy, you can just tell ME your password!”

I considered it for about half a second, but then I had visions of unauthorized app purchases and came to my senses. “No. I’ll be out in a sec.”

She left, disappointed once again, and I turned off the shower and got out. When I came out of the bathroom, she was sitting on my bed, waiting. I put in my password, and gave her the phone. She touched the arrow to play the next song then skipped off, singing her own version of the lyrics to “I Knew You Were Trouble.”  

As I watched her go, I reminded myself to enjoy these in-between moments, where my daughter is caught somewhere between a child and a preteen. I’ll blink, and before I know it, she’ll be screaming at me about some boy I won’t let her date and rolling her eyes as she tells me to lighten up about choosing a college. But another voice also reminded me of that saying, “You’re not raising children, you’re raising future adults.” I can enjoy her childhood, but I can’t force her to stay there. I’ve got to let her grow up. I can do this. I have to.