I once read that children cycle through periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium, on approximately six month cycles. Lately I have been very much feeling as though I’m in a period of equilibrium with Daughter.
She is almost six and a half now, and has become very “portable”. By that I mean that I can take her with me just about anywhere that I want/need to go for my own reasons and I don’t feel like my level of enjoyment/productivity is being compromised by her presence.
This past Saturday I went to an evening party. I was dressing up and Daughter commented on how nice I looked, and I spontaneously invited her to come. There were children there, but I knew it was not a good environment for Son given that the hostess does not have children (not a kid-friendly place for rough and tumble young boys) and there would be babies and older nurslings around. My job was to assist the hostess which is why I didn’t bring the kids. But I ended up bringing Daughter and she was fabulous. I didn’t have to attend to social interactions gone awry, caution her not to touch breakables or make a mess, or any other parental duty that generally comes along with taking young children into adult-oriented environments.
I have taken her to sit-down restaurants and enjoyed a nice meal. I have taken her to the library and enjoyed being able to go to the adult section and have time to pick out my own books. I have enjoyed taking her to the store and not worrying that, if she comes down from the cart, her energy will be more than I want to deal with while shopping.
Don’t get me wrong – all those duties are part of being a mother and I embrace them, even though they can be physically exhausting, and even though it can mean my needs have to be put off for a while. I’m just really enjoying the fact that, with my daughter, we seem to have made it through those times and are now enjoying a new kind of interaction. It’s not the physical effort of chasing and monitoring a young child. It’s much more like having company along for the ride.
We have neat conversations about things, she has been unusually compliant lately – not in an “obedient” way, but in a pleasant and joyful way. I’m finding her cooperative and respectful. Interesting when not too long ago I had an argument with my mother about how well-behaved my children are (in her opinion: not so much). Then we arranged for my mother to spend an afternoon alone with Daughter and the report was that all went well. She stood corrected.
I’m writing this because it is easy to put words to page when things are troubling and difficult. I wanted to make a point of commenting on this, and truth be told it has been present in mind most every day lately as I interact with Daughter. She has blossomed in the last little while into a young lady whose company I enjoy and who is very pleasant to be around. Now, instead of shepherding my child, I am inviting her to participate with me in an experience. It’s a different sort of interaction and I’m just really enjoying it.