Sunday, March 29, 2009

miss independent

This girl is growing up so fast! I am blown away by how independent she has become this past year. I believe that by attending school she has become more independent than she would otherwise be at this age. Now I am all for her being an independent child, but Todd and I find ourselves having the occasional battle over something that she may not be ready to do by herself, which of course she disagrees with. She usually speaks her mind with a loud, "I DO IT BY MYSELF!". We have found that in most cases it is best to just sit back and let her give it a try. She will usually let us know if she ends up needing help. As part of her growing independence Olivia enjoyed her first extended time away from Mommy and Daddy recently. When we went to San Diego both of Todd's parents and my Mom helped to take care of her. She did great being away from us. I knew she would. She was constantly busy with everything from tap class, International Night at school, a couple of visits to see friends and a Birthday party! I think for most of our trip she did not even realize we were gone.

We were disappointed that we were going to be missing International Night at her school. It is an annual event in which each classroom represents a country. They study that country in the month leading up to the event and that night each child gets to visit each country to enjoy food and learn about it's culture. When they arrive each child gets their own passport. As they go from one classroom to the next they get a stamp in their passport showing that they visited that country. Olivia's classroom represented Mexico. My Mom was kind enough to make a Mexican soup for everyone to enjoy. The classroom was decorated with artwork that the kids worked on in the weeks prior to the event. My Mom said that Olivia really enjoyed going to each classroom to get her stamp, but that she was not very interested in trying any of the food. I guess she did wash her hands in each country of her favorite school activities! And she and her classmates created some artwork to represent the country of Mexico. Here is Olivia's artwork. I am still trying to figure out what it is supposed to be.

Olivia also was invited to attend the 16th birthday party of a family friend while we were away. She was very excited to get dressed up in her party clothes and spend time with her "peoples". That is what she calls the people in her life... her "peoples". Olivia loves going to parties. She does quite well in understanding that when you attend a birthday party for someone else you have to sit back while they open their presents. In this case she was invited to help open the presents, which made her very happy.

One of the newer aspects of Olivia's independence is that she is sleeping in a "big girl" bed...well, at my Mom's anyway. We thought it would be best to try it at her house first before making the transfer at home. Up until now Olivia was still taking naps in a pack-n-play at my Mom's. She has totally busted out of that and it just does not look comfortable. My Mom recently purchased these mesh bed rails that she attached to my bed in my old bedroom. So now Olivia can actually sleep in my old bed! I love that. The first time she tried it she did great. She did not try to escape and she went right to sleep. See, my biggest fear about making this transition is that Olivia will go from this fabulous sleeper to a child that constantly gets out of bed for no reason, just because she now has the freedom to do so. I guess I need to give my daughter a little more credit because she has now slept in the "big girl" bed for many naps and a few overnights and she has handled it like a pro! I think secretly I want to keep her in her crib because it is really the last thing I have before she is no longer my "baby"...sniff, sniff. It cracks me up though, seeing this little girl in a big bed. I think it is time to go bed shopping for Miss Independent!

Because Olivia wants to do so many things by herself I thought it was important for her to have some things around the house that are her size. The Montessori method of teaching believes that in order for children to become more independent they must be able to do things that adults do, but in a smaller version...more or less. For the longest time I have wanted to buy her some step stools, so that she could reach the sinks to be able to wash her hands without our help. I also wanted her to have a pint size table and chairs in which she could sit and have a snack or just work on her activities. I looked into buying these items and the prices scared me away. Luckily we have a family friend who is a very talented woodworker. He offered to make everything for Olivia! She now has two step stools so she can wash her hands in the kitchen and in her bathroom. She also has a small shoe rack that she can place her shoes on once she takes them off. Best of all, she has a wonderful table and chairs that have already given her much enjoyment. We are very grateful to Dennis for doing this for us and for Olivia. Olivia is grateful too as she has informed us that she loves Dennis very much!

As sad as it is for me to see her "baby-ness" slip away, I am so proud of the independent little girl she has become lately. We do have to remind her from time to time that she is only two and there are certain things that she simply is not allowed to do yet. I think that her eagerness to learn and try things on her own is great. I hope that she holds on to that desire for all of her life. For now our job is to point her in the right direction so that she grows up to become an independent and strong young lady.


Anonymous said...

I loved my extended visit with Olivia. She kept me entertained and exhausted! International night was awesome, and her hands were extremely clean by the end of the evening. Now I look forward to her excitement with Easter. She makes each holiday so much more special.

Anonymous said...

Wow she sure is getting grown up. I love the pictures of her sleeping in the big sweet...She is growing up too fast please tell her to slow down until Aunt Sue Sue can see her again.
Love Aunt Sue Sue

Anonymous said...

That is when you say...let's have another! Love my sweet GodDAUGHTER!