Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I am amazed at how quickly time has passed. It seems like it was just yesterday when we brought our precious baby girl home and now she's FOUR! Where has the time gone?
This has been a year of major changes for Violet, as well as for Gregg and I. We've taken our time on enforcing some of the changes Violet has gone through. We're not necessarily lazy so much as we struggled with getting Violet to follow our lead. If you've not picked up on the fact that Violet can be a little, make that alot, headstrong at times then you've clearly not been paying attention.
Violet has her own room now, something she acquired during our move. It took us a while to convince Violet that this was actually a good thing. She was excited about her new room but was terrified to stay in it for any amount of time if Gregg and I weren't in there with her. Violet's bed was changed from her crib to a toddler bed during the move and she loved it. Either Gregg or I had to stay in her room for a little while, sleeping on a mattress on the floor, before she felt secure being in there on her own. Still, we have her baby monitor on at night to make sure we're there for her if she wakes up afraid. Violet's room is above our downstairs neighbor's garage and it'll wake her up on occasion. [The photo above is from Violet's 4th birthday party.]
With Violet's room came a bigger sense of independence for her. She now will spend hours in her room playing contentedly. Gregg and I often find her playing with her puzzles (she has a very analytical mind like her Daddy), reading through one of her books, playing with her computer, watching a video or taking a nap. A good day for Violet is measured by how messy her room is at the end of the day. It takes some doing to get her to help in the clean up but she's finally starting to cooperate in that task. It helps to have something to bribe her with when she's feeling less than compelled to help out.
We worked on potty training Violet for what seemed like forever. Violet would make strides in the right direction and then suddenly refuse to go near the potty. Gregg and I couldn't figure out why she did this other than to spite us. I kid. Anyways, it wasn't until we had to put Violet in daycare that she actually started to figure it all out. We were blessed with a daycare that worked with Violet and took as much interest in her potty training as we did. Violet is in her "Big Girl Panties" now and we couldn't be more proud. She rarely has accidents and is very remorseful when she does. Now we're working on the nighttime potty training.
The "Paci Fairy" made a visit to our place a few weeks ago. Yes, Violet still had her paci's but only at bedtime so we're not beating ourselves up too much over that. Anyway, Gregg and I have been talking to Violet for a few weeks trying to prepare her for what was coming. Also, we had to prepare ourselves for the tears and fits that we knew would follow. The "Paci Fairy" came in the middle of the night one night and took all of Violet's pacies to other little boys and girls who needed them. In return for her generous gift, the "Paci Fairy" left Violet some new pool toys and arm floaties, along with a letter telling her how proud she was of Violet. Needless to say, Violet was excited over her new toys but unhappy with the sacrifice. The tears that were shed that weekend were gut wrenching. The screams of horror were earth shattering. Those screams were mine and Gregg's by the way.
Here we are, a few days before Violet's fourth birthday and she has transitioned very well from her loss of pacis. That first day without them, Violet was given some extra leeway. She indulged me at nap time and let me nuzzle her to sleep while lying in my arms. God how I miss that. That night Violet fell fast asleep after crying for a little while. I think she wore herself out that day. Goodness, Gregg and I sure were worn out after all the emotional trauma. Still, he and I patted ourselves on our backs feeling proud of this last step of leaving babyhood behind. I won't lie to you though and tell you I'm not feeling a little sad over this. Our baby is growing up and my heart breaks over the loss of her smallness and babyhood.
Amazingly, Violet's sleeping has improved a great deal after giving the pacis up. Gregg and I didn't realize how much the paci was interfering with her sleep. I guess she would wake up after noticing her paci was gone and cry because of it. She has woken up on some nights since giving the paci up but not nearly as much as before. As a result, Gregg and I are sleeping much better too. Occasionally Violet will ask for her pacis back. And, to show you how smart she is, will ask us to go to the store to buy her some more when we tell her they're all gone. Gregg and I will catch Violet looking for a hidden paci and we silently pray each time that we found them all. It's hard not to laugh when we catch her looking under our bed or some other place before we immediately get her involved in something other than her search. Each day Violet asks for her pacis less and less and so we're hoping that we've weathered the worst of it. God help us if she happens to find a paci.
Violet has more friends now than she's ever had. Placing her in daycare was not an easy decision for us because we wanted her stay at home but it became a necessity. Violet made friends quickly at daycare and her teachers love her. It always warmed our hearts to see everyone's faces light up when we'd walk through the doors of the daycare, children and teachers alike. Violet talks about her daycare alot and asks to go to "school" often. The fact that she enjoys going to daycare speaks volumes of the gem we found there.
Violet's favorite way to spend time at home is not so much at home as it is at the pool. Her enthusiasm when we go to the pool is overflowing. Violet will jump around us, trying to get us to move faster, until we're walking out the door. If there are other children at the pool Violet tries to make friends with them, offering to share her pool toys and asking to use their toys when we're not paying close enough attention. Her first steps in the water are usually timid ones but once Violet feels secure in her floatation devices she's splashing along with the rest of the kids. I was absolutely amazed to watch Violet put her face under the water the other day. It won't be long before she's swimming on her own!
I am proud of the work Gregg and I've done in regards to Violet's manners. Occasionally she'll forget but usually Violet is very good with her "pleases" and "thank yous". Generally, if Violet forgets, we don't ask her to say the "magic word/s" but rather ask her "what do you say?". That simple prompting usually does the trick and she corrects herself. We've received many compliments on Violet's manners and they make my heart swell with pride each time.
Just as Violet is growing up and maturing so are Gregg and I. I knew parenthood would change us and we welcomed the changes, we just never realized how deep the changes would be. We are much more selfless than we've ever been. Our needs and desires come after Violet's, and not in a bad way. We enjoy watching our daughter grow and learn and discover. Her wonder of life is as refreshing as a spring rain. Watching Violet's reactions to new things, things we've taken for granted, is like we're experiencing them for the first time too.
I feel like I am more of the woman I was intended to be now that Violet is in our lives. Motherhood was frightening at first. I was afraid of doing something wrong and hurting the precious gift we were given in Violet. As Violet grew so did my confidence. Now, if I "damage" Violet in some way we'll just pay for her to see a psychiatrist so that she can complain about what a terrible childhood she had. You know how each child thinks their lives sucked, big time, especially when they hit their teen aged years. I'm not looking forward to Violet's independence becoming so strong that she pushes Gregg and I away. As it is, she wants to do most things "by herself". The child who I fed, bathed, and wiped clean now won't let me do too many things for her. Not that I miss those things all that much but I do miss her willingness to be helped sometimes.
I believe part of raising a child is in letting them go. You teach your child to feed themselves and in doing so they don't need you for that task. You help your child take their first steps and before you know it they're letting go of your hand and running towards greater independence. With each year that passes your child depends upon you as a parent less and less. This is a good thing. This is what you want. But knowing that doesn't change how your heart squeezes with each new milestone. You celebrate your child's successes and quietly mourn in the privacy of your heart when you realize what you are losing. As your child gains more knowledge and independence you lose a part of that child relying on you. Every step and milestone leads to your child being prepared for living life on their own. No matter how prepared you are I don't think you are ever fully prepared to cut the apron strings that your child held on to. Thankfully, Gregg and I have several years to go before that day comes.
Happy fourth birthday baby girl! Your Daddy and I couldn't be more proud of you and the young lady you are growing in to. You have had a year of great changes this year. Some changes were easier than others but you weathered each one with flair. You can be headstrong at times, alot of the time, and we can all butt heads because you SO take after your parents in that. You never really had a chance in regards to having a stubborn personality. But you know what? That's okay. Your Daddy and I are counting on that personality trait to help you find your path in life and to stand up for what you believe in. And remember, no matter what life may throw at you, you always have a soft place to land in the arms of your family.
We love you,
Mommy & Daddy