Letter to Camille: Fifty-Five Months

Happy Girl on the WaterHello sweet girl, and Happy 55 months! We’re all worn out tonight, but in the best possible way. The kind of tired that comes from spending an entire day in the sun. The weather forgot it was February, so we took a boat out on this bright, 75 degree day – our first boat trip of the year.

With Daddy on the BoatYou seemed quite happy to be back out on the water. There was momentary disappointment when you realized we couldn’t get in the water, and I wondered if you’d get bored on the boat with no swimming. But you made up some great game with one of the ropes.

On the BoatI never could figure out exactly what you were doing, but you’d say, “I need some alone time,” (which was hilarious, because you loathe alone time). Then you’d go to the front of the boat and weave the ropes in and out of the buoys and rails saying this was “something I need to work on.” And you were quite content.

RopesBy the end of the trip, your golden hair looked even more sun-kissed, and best of all, you’re sporting a new splash of freckles across your cheeks. I love them so!

Freckled CheeksBear, we’ve had another great month – another 30 days of watching you grow and being simultaneously amused, amazed, frustrated, delighted and in love with you.

And proud of you. Remember that collage you entered into an art competition earlier in the school year? This one:

CollageYour collage won at the school and district levels! I was very excited for you. You said the judges probably liked that screaming snake the best.

The day the winners were chosen, when I picked you up from school you immediately began gushing about hearing your name on the morning AND afternoon announcements. You knew you’d won something, you didn’t know (or seem to care) what it was, but “Mama they said MY NAME!”

You were recognized again at the next PTA meeting, and I warned you ahead of time that you’d need to walk up front and get a certificate. You were thrilled at the idea of being in front of the crowd. As we waited for your name to be called, you stood off to the side with your hands confidently on your hips asking me, “Do I go up now? How about now? Is it time to go up?”

Finally, it was your turn, and you marched up front without the slightest hint of apprehension.

Receiving Award at the PTA MeetingThis month your independence and self-confidence have grown tremendously, and at the same time I’m learning valuable lessons about letting go. I’ve realized there are so many things you can and need to do yourself. Things we’ve not encouraged you to do until now. You just weren’t one of those kids who begged to do things herself, and while I knew you’d become more independent one day, I hadn’t given much thought to the timing. Until your teacher sent home a note.

The note wasn’t just to us, it was sent home to the whole class. In the note, the teacher asked parents to help their children prepare for kindergarten by learning to become more independent. We should let you dress yourself, walk yourself to class, etc.

That night I tossed your pajamas to you and asked if you thought you could put them on yourself. “I think I can,” you said. And you could. You were so proud of yourself, running to show your Daddy, that I felt guilty for not giving you that boost sooner.

Pajama GirlEver since that night, you’ve not only wanted to dress yourself but demanded it, growing annoyed if I try to help. And it hasn’t stopped with clothes – now there are lots of things you want to do by yourself, and I’m trying to look for more opportunities to encourage you. I have discovered that I love efficiency, and it can be hard to watch you struggle to find your sleeve and not reach down to help. But I have realized that all those other times I helped you dress, helped you get your drink, helped you feed the cat and didn’t let you try it on your own – I wasn’t really helping you at all. I pledge to do better.

Wreath of FlowersNow I’m yawning too sweet bear, sleepy after our day of sun, wind and water. Happy after looking at all of these fun pictures of you. Ready to rest so I can share another day with you tomorrow. Sleep well my angel and know that I love you so much.

Sunday Morning
Pretty Smile

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