Skip to content

Baby Steps

2012 July 12

Yesterday Little D and I were in Trader Joe’s. She loves the little taste testers they give out so part of our ritual is that she gets to grab one (or in the case of cookies, three) as we make our way down our grocery list. So she did, and we moved on to the next aisle.

Once there, she asked me if she could run back and throw her little sample cup in the trash near the testing station. I didn’t feel like traipsing back there, so I said sure. Go for it. Quickly. And then come right back. And go in that direction (the one that would not take her near the entrance to the store).

This meant her leaving my line of sight, completely, going back and around to the other aisle.

A woman a few feet away with a toddler and a baby in her cart said it first, “Wow, I am so not at that stage yet.”

Guess what, mama? Me neither. I had to take a deep breath while D scurried away from me, and I don’t think I let it go until she came flying back around the corner.

I replied, “Trust me, I am just getting used to it.”

And the sad part is, I am. I have said time and again that I don’t believe today’s world is one in which I will be able to let my kids out of sight, even for a moment. I read the horrific stories online, I watch Dateline, I know what lurks around every corner, even in the suburbs, and my imagination absolutely gets the best of me.

But Little D turned five a few months ago…and suddenly something changed.

She craves a little independence. She wants to be able to stand outside the house and wait for me while I run inside to grab my purse. She wants to go and throw out her sample cup at Trader Joe’s. She even wants to go into public bathrooms alone…sniff, sniff…and ew.

And as her mother, I have to take those baby steps in order to let her take those big strides.

So I let her run away from me yesterday in Trader Joe’s. I couldn’t see her at all for maybe 15-20 seconds.

And then she came back. And we moved on to the cereal section. And you could almost see her standing a little taller, smiling with a little more confidence, feeling like a big girl.

And nothing had happened. Well…at least nothing bad.

*Photo via here


5 Responses leave one →
  1. July 12, 2012

    This made me cry. Bawl, in fact. As much as I’m a firm believer in letting them take these steps (and a relative fan of the unfettered, free kids type movement that quotes declines in crime around kids, blah, blah, blah), as much as I know that “stand taller” is so very very important in growing the little people into bigger people, as much as I want to, it still all makes me cry.

    And good for you. Baby step for her. Massive step for you.

    [goes to get tissue]

  2. July 12, 2012

    My son is 12, to be 13 in a few short weeks, actually. We’re sampling independence in different sorts of ways. (Imagine running to TJs and leaving Little D at home! Yeah, that’s me this summer.) Often, it’s an uncomfortable fit for both of us, but it’s a necessary one. He’s an only, and he doesn’t always love being alone (and calls me a gazillion times!), but these nudges out of the nest are good for both of us. And still, when he wanders to the toy aisle in Target by himself while I’m grabbing toilet paper and paper towels, I worry if it feels like he’s been gone too long.

    Brave mama, you.

  3. Jenn permalink
    July 12, 2012

    My Tweens have started going to the movies with friends and walking to the local ice cream place. It makes me a bit nervous, but I remember getting bits of freedom when I was young and it was def a confidence booster. My 6 yr old will do things away from me with his 10 yr old brother but rarely on his own.

  4. July 12, 2012

    I feel like those days are just around the corner for us. My son will be turning five at the end of August and he suddenly wants to do things on his own. And, I don’t mean on his own while I’m watching over, I mean completely on his own. I’m a big fan of natural-consequences and giving my kids the freedom they need to be independent. Though, these moments are poignant reminders that time is moving too quickly. The sentiment in this post definitely resonates with me, for sure. Where did our babies go?

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. The Year of Being Five | WhatWouldGwynethDo

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS