There is no question that the three girls who live in this house crave independence and it occured to me today, that based on their ages, independence means something different to each of them. I encourage and try to cultivate an environment for them that allows for that independence and exploration of their world. I am not going to be there for every step, it is impossible and I don’t want to see EVERY step they make (but I do want to hear about them!).
Vivian is at the most innocent age of independence. She wants to walk and crawl and just be alone to explore the corner of the living room or the dollhouse around the corner. Her little world is expanding a bit but she still needs to be able to peek around that corner and see her mama. She is starting to talk some and communicate in any means necessary! Her independence grows a little every day and it is adorable to watch.
Aleesia is very nearly 3 and she is full-on in the “I do it MY OWNSELF” independence is everything mode. She takes the independence that comes with learning to do everything herself to an extreme. She yells. She screams. She fights that battle of getting her shirt on herself so hard some days! (she put a dress on backwards the other day and she would not let me help her fix it, but she got it right her ownself!) She wants to be in the mix of everything all the time, and usually she wants to be leading the mix. I always let her try to do whatever she can/wants to do. She loves to help cook, do dishes, clean up, vacuum, feed the dog, dress herself, etc. If I could channel that independence into potty training that would be amazing! Her world is growing too, she realizes there is power in doing things her ownself and that is pretty fun to watch even when it is incredibly frustrating!
Gianna is 6 (and three-quarters) ((that is a really important part of her age, if you ask her!)). She is without me all day at school, she is without me for several evening hours a week when she is at her activities. I feel like the idea of independence is taking on a whole new tone with her. She doesn’t need me to help her do really anything related to her everyday needs besides remind her of certain things. She loves to be the leader but she struggles when others don’t follow her lead. She feels so much emotion, which can actually be very hard when you are trying to be an independent 6 3/4 year old because you still feel scared or nervous a lot. I see it in her eyes – she wants so badly to be older at times, but she isn’t there yet (and that is okay, I’m not ready for that either!). She enjoys time alone, she always has. I love watching her learn to navigate a world that is much larger than she ever imagined.
I am learning with them, as I always do. I am learning that they might be sisters but they are each 110% their own person. What worked well as encouragement for one girl doesn’t work so well for the others. What one considered a perfectly acceptable activity to do alone, the others may not. Their uniqueness often makes me take a step back and evaluate each situation differently because I find myself saying “well this worked before….” but before it worked on a different person and this is a new person! My favorite part of being their mom is watching them grow and learn and do things on their own. Their worlds are the same but so very different, just as they are.