That girl…

When your child is a baby, a little tiny baby, and a 5-year-old walks on by you think to yourself, what a  big kid. But when your baby is 5-years-old they seem like such a little kid- that is until they speak.

My neighbor is homeschooling her kids this year for the first time. They are 7, 9, and 11 and she and I were chatting about the experience. She’s excited but nervous and I’m thinking a little sad. This is the time of year where stay-at-home moms start rejoicing in their impending freedom. Sure, we miss our kids while they’re at school and wonder what they’re doing every minute of the day, and count the minutes until they come home again… but at the same time the freedom of having a life all your own… I’m actually pretty giddy about the fact that every morning I’m kid free! So, I was talking about what I’m going to do with my time…. finish organizing the house, grocery shop ALL ALONE,  exercise… I’m pretty much a daily exerciser. I’m not talking hours on the treadmill – but maybe half an hour of yoga in the morning, take the dog for a walk, mow the lawn, but ever since we entered that state of chaos called “selling our house and moving in two weeks to a rental house down the street only to move again a month later to another state”  that exercising routine has gone out the window. And here’s where the Little Miss quote comes (to my neighbor), “moms pants can’t fit her anymore.” There. It’s said. She saw me not being able to button a pair of my shorts. Thanks Little Miss for keeping it real.

We joined the YMCA this week. The coolest thing is that we can walk to one of the branches and it has a wonderful outdoor pool. I joined on Wednesday and we hit the pool Thursday and Friday. Before heading to the pool yesterday I pulled out a bathing suit that I haven’t worn regularly since 2001. I wanted to see if it still fit and/or looked semi-cute on this almost 40-year-old who had two babies back-to-back in her mid thirties. I put it on and asked my kiddos if they thought it looked OK. Buddy said, “nahhhh” and Little Miss said, “no, not really, but maybe you can use it for an emergency bathing suit.” I’d like to crawl into her brain and see exactly what kind of scenario one would be in to need an emergency bathing suit. Swimming somewhere a bit dangerous and not wanting to wear your nice suit in case a crocodile takes a bite of you? An impromptu bad bathing suit party? Bathing suit thieves stole the suits I do have that fit well? So I put the ill-fitting suit away. Little Miss is right, there may be an emergency where I need that exact suit.

Little Miss and I were the first two up this morning which is pretty usual for us. The Zdenek girls are morning people and like to get up and start the day. The Zdenek boys like to sleep and one particular Zdenek boy stayed up until after 2AM playing video games last night. I told Little Miss that we should let Daddy (yes, it Little Miss said, “Daddy should stop playing games and start reading books! Right, mom?”  Smart little girl.

So I send my smart little girl so full of wisdom off to her first experience of all-day school on Monday and I feel mixed emotions. I know she’s ready for school and excited to go, but the idea of my little girl gone all day makes me sad. I’m nervous for her to eat lunch without me. I’m nervous for her about riding the bus. I’m nervous that she won’t like her teacher or won’t make friends or will get in trouble…. trouble. Little Miss is going to a school where corporal punishment is allowed. The handbook explains how it is used ( I’m not really concerned about Little Miss, she’s such a goody two-shoes girl) and I have a mental picture of her getting in trouble and being sent to the principal’s office to get the paddle – and that leads me to a mental picture of any child being in those shoes – and that makes me cringe. When I was in elementary school all the teachers had paddles that sat in the front of the room. It was well-known that you could get wacked at any time. I never saw it happen – but I heard tales – and it totally scared me and kept me in check. That fear now lies in me for my child and I’m having a hard time shaking it. My little girl who is so full of wisdom, and humor, and goodness is going to learn to fear grownups (teachers) who in the past she’s held in the highest esteem as someone to love with all her heart and that breaks my heart.

I have this deep-seated mama lion feeling that makes me want to protect my girl with claws drawn. At the same time I want to let her go. I want her to be independent, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, curious…. I want her to tear away from me and become 100% Little Miss. I want her to have her triumphs and failures. I want her to be happy and even sad at times. I want her to feel secure but also to feel fear at times… and though tears are streaming down my face as I think of the loss of my baby I’m also very excited to watch her adventure. And really, 5-years-old is still such a little girl.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Amanda on August 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    🙂 well said…


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