The other day Adam let me sleep in a little. I'd been up late trying to organize some things (those projects that seem endless) and when he knows that, he'll generally catch the girls before they can descend on me and shoo them downstairs, get them settled for the morning, and work in his chair. On this particular day, I walked downstairs and noticed the girls were dressed as they ate their breakfast.
One four year old preschooler, in a dress and leggings. And...wait, who is that? Who took my six year old and replaced her with a teenager?
I don't mean that in a who lets that little girl dress like a hoochie way. She was wearing jeans, ballet flats and a cute top. But suddenly, she didn't look like a little girl anymore. I would have worn that outfit. She looked put together and sophisticated as she flipped through a magazine with one hand while eating cereal with the other. I was truly taken aback. She just looked...older.
Now, it helped that the magazine she was reading was Sparkle World, and she was eating cheerios out a plastic purple bowl. But it was one of those shocking moments that I realize she really is growing up. And she knows it. She's already trying to assert her independence.
She walks into dance alone. She moved up to the next level team, and one of the perks of this "promotion" is that they no longer have to sit with their mother in the outer waiting room for their class to start. They can go to the inner waiting room, change their shoes, stow their bags, and warm up with their teammates. She LOVES this. She wants to get to dance early, solely so she can take full advantage. So far, in my peeking, I've noticed that the girls are taking this promotion super seriously. They chat quietly while they stretch and help each other with tough steps.
Her clothes are no longer dominated by characters or cute graphics of smiling fairies. Jeans, cute tops, and her Little Miss Matched gear dominates. She buys her clothes from the same departments that upper elementary kids do, and she looks it.
Ever since she got her ears pierced, she's become obsessed with cute earrings. She drools over the accessories at her favorite stores. Plenty of these stores sell make up too, and she's realized that make up isn't just for dance competitions. Obviously, she's not allowed to wear it. But that hasn't stopped her from lusting after all those sparkly products.
When it's time to choose a new book from the library or the bookstore, she wants a chapter book. When she picks a movie, it's a "big kid" movie, not one of those silly princesses (that honestly, she's still loving just as much).
She gives herself her medicine at night and cleans her own ears. She can't do her own hair yet, but she can brush the tangles out. When she's thirsty, she gets herself some water. She can ask permission for a snack, but get it herself. It's not the preschooler "I do it myself!" anymore. It's just...independence.
She wants independence. When we sit in Starbucks, she wants to order for herself, pay for herself (she's started asking for gift cards and carrying her little bits of cash), take herself to the bathroom. She wants to be right up in the front seat of the car with me (which is NOT going to happen - she's not even close to being ready, to say nothing of being legally allowed.) She's realizing she's her own person and she is tiptoeing toward that.
It's too fast. I'm not ready.
You know how she wants to pick out and wear all the earrings? She can't change them herself, and she still cries when I change them. Not because it actually hurts, but because she is still thinking back to her clip ons and thinks it might.
She still far prefers baths over showers. In fact, the only times she takes showers is when I basically force her.
She plays like a six year old. She plays incessently with her dollhouse, her little figurines, and her American Girl.
When she reads by herself in bed, she'll add a few picture books to her bookmarked chapter book.
She's still a kid. And I hope that she stays that way, at least for a while.