Noticeably taller, we begin a new year with that slap-in-the-face feeling that our baby is growing up too fast; gaining opinion (as is she didn’t have one before) and independence. Signs of this are popping up everywhere.
We used to sing “de-EV-eee, Devi Baby” in the shower and if we do this now she will immediately correct you, “I am not a baby”. To resolve this issue, we now sing “de-EV-ee, Devi Darling” which seems to have done the trick. Family shower sing-a-longs are still a favorite past time with “Shake Your Booty”, “Joy to the World”, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds song with the words slightly changed to “Wrap Devi Up, I’ll Take Her” the songs we sing most often.
She has become a great help in the kitchen. Last night she used the biscuit cutter to make our doughy cheese biscuits, placing them neatly on the baking tray, all by herself. I was amazed at how well she followed direction and how little supervision she required. As they baked and I was working on another part of the meal, she supplied two pot holders and placed them on the oven handle unprompted. She told me they were there so that I would be “all-set”, once the timer went off, declaring them done.
Buttoning things and socks still are a bit difficult, but for the most part she now dresses herself. Pajama’s, princess panties, pants, shoes, coats and mittens seem to be mastered and along with this honed skill comes a very strong opinion as to each specific article of clothing she would like to wear. Devi also possesses a strong desire for things to match. I am usually a multi-colored girl at all times, so I think this trait must come from her father. If given the choice, the girl would wear a dress everyday of the week, preferably with tights, but I think this may stem from long ago when someone at preschool said princesses only wear dresses. Although we stressed that she is a princess every day and that princess qualities come from one’s heart, she still is convinced that attire has something to do with it. If a tiara were available, she would most likely wear one even to bed.
Blessed with the kindest of souls and extremely sensitive of others’ feelings, Devi is forever consoling others, giving pats on the back, hugs and kisses and lately has started calling us pet names like Hun, and Sweetheart. She loves to ask, “How was your day, Hun?” when I pick her up in the afternoons, which is so darling it is hard not to bust a gut when I hear it each day. She talks so much like a grown up at times it floors me. “Aww, the baby is soooo cute” she’ll utter in a raised forty something year old mom voice just like I would talk about a friend's baby.
For the past couple of weeks, when I arrive at preschool she is holding the hand of not one, but two little boys. Innocent as it may be, they appear to be approaching her, which I’m not sure is reassuring or not! And, of course, hugs must be doled out when she leaves along with goodbyes to friends, some of which are not even in her room. This is really of no surprise, as she still is quite friendly and greets complete strangers wherever we go. She has begun to ask them very personal questions. What are you doing? Who are you? Why is (insert item) in your shopping cart? Why are you wearing that? Whose daddy are you? and various other interrogating questions can pop out of her mouth at any given moment. So far, most tend to be polite with our precocious child and find it cute. Meanwhile I am turning various shades of pink as I correct her and apologize profusely.
Hanging on the handles of the refrigerator one evening and growing impatient for me to get her something to drink, Devi discovered she now possesses the strength to open the doors of our side-by-side all by herself. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but to a string bean standing 36” tall this is like scaling a tall building in a single bound. She has worked on mastering that task for months and is quite proud of her accomplishment. Devi kept opening and closing the doors and yelling “WWWoooowwwww!, mom look!” It was priceless and yet one more reminder that she is no longer a baby.
In typical story time fashion, beginning with “Once upon a time...” and ending with “and they lived happily ever after” we have told made up tales to Devi as she would sits on the toilet. Those times have now been replaced with her saying “Mom, let me tell you a story....” Role reversal on the toilet. My how times have changed. Thankfully her tales are imaginative and short.
The clincher came recently during our new years clean up mission. We were finally labeling some tapes from the video camera and came across images taped when Devi had been home only a few weeks. It was then that it hit me how much growing, maturing and changing have happened since September of 2007. Devi was astonished too. “Is that MEEE?” Yep, the curly topped little giggling bundle taking those first wobbly steps was her. The images that made her laugh out loud, dropped me in my tracks. When did this happen? Did I blink one too many times? When did she go from 6 month clothing to a 2T? or from size 2 in shoes to a 7? When did her babble become words? I instantly realized that the ole cliche is true! They really do grow up over night.
Still in a state of shock, I have made that internal vow to keep my eyes wide open from now on....until we label the next set of tapes during another new years clean up and I feel, once again, that sting of new found independence on my cheeks one more time.