I am finding more and more signs that my baby girl is not so much my baby girl anymore. Some signs are subtle and expected. I fully prepared myself for some things that obviously had to happen around this stage. She is 3, she is potty trained (and did this mostly on her own), she hit the ‘I’ll do it myself” stage ages ago, she likes to put on her own shoes, likes to climb into the carseat on her own. These things I could see coming, some I even looked forward to (see:potty). Every once in a while though, I am hit with a sudden change that I didn’t see coming. Something small and probably insignificant in the great scheme of things, but it knocks some reality into me for a moment. And then I feel a little blue. I definitely don’t want to impede her milestones and independence, but damn it I miss my tiny baby!
This week she started Ballet class. We signed her up over a month ago, bought her leotards and shoes that she’s been twirling around the house in for weeks. The hubs and I both made sure with work that we would be free and clear to go to her first class. I packed her little bag with her post-class gear. (Side-note: This bag and the items in it were well thought out, it was very Flash Dance meets the nice happy parts of Black Swan). I was ready AF. I even prepared in my head what I would say to her when the inevitable stranger shyness she is prone to kicks in. I wore easy to slip off shoes and matching socks in case I had to step in and hold her hand through it while she got comfortable with her instructors and the other kids. I was ready. And then the morning of, it took much longer than I accounted for and we were (OF COURSE) running late to her first lesson. We ran in just as the class was starting and that’s when all my preparation proved worthless. The class was being held in a closed room with a large glass window on one side that has a bench for parents on the OTHER SIDE OF THE GLASS. What the actual F?!?!? Because we were so late there wasn’t much time to process as she was ushered in and I was guided to the spectator side. I suddenly realized I wasn’t going to be involved. I couldn’t help. About 10 different thoughts raced through my head in those 20 seconds. 1) She’s gonna cry when she notices I’m not there (She didn’t). 2)She’s gonna be scared and overwhelmed by the teachers (She wasn’t). 3)She’s not going to understand their instructions if I’m not there to explain (She did). You get the gist.
So there I was, outside the room, watching helplessly as my little girl twirled and danced, not needing me at all. Some children did cry, one spent the first 20 minutes laying face down in protest. But my baby thrived. She blossomed. She was beautiful and best part of all, she had the most amazing time. Then, after the longest 50 minutes of my life, she came out with the biggest smile on her face, telling me she loved dance class and asking when can we go back.
I got in a weird reflective state where I felt happy and proud yet kinda sad at the same time. While I know she is going to need me for tons of things for a long time, this seemed like a big step. And then we got home she asked me to lie down with her in her bed and scratch her back (code for she needs a nap). I did it. It took almost 30 minutes for her to fall asleep and I loved every second of it.