Last Friday morning, while I emergency substitute-taught music classes for my boss, my little Jujubee got the chance to spend the morning in the Kindergarten classroom of our church’s school. My husband was out of town for two days, and my boss was in a pickle, so I explained the situation to our Kindergarten teacher, and she was willing to help out.
Wouldn’t you know it, little Jujubee did just great. The K teacher said that she did wonderfully well; she behaved as well as the older kids, and sometimes she behaved better! She had a marvelous time in school, and she loved it too. “I went to school!” she proudly proclaimed for the rest of the day.
My little girl is growing up. My big girl is growing up, too. I have discovered that one of the greatest joys of being a parent is to watch your children move closer to maturity and adulthood. Now, at ages 7 and 3, my kids are a long ways away from adulthood, but I also know that those lessons have to be taught early and often. Sometimes it seems like an uphill battle, it seems like those kids are NEVER going to behave the way I want them to, but…
It’s working. Both of my kids are showing noticeable signs of growing up and maturing.
For my older daughter, I see it in her ability to be unselfish and to consider the needs and wants of others before her own needs and wants. I see it in how she relates to her friends, her sister, and to me. Being unselfish is a lesson that comes hard to her, but I can see her trying, and I try to notice it and commend her for it as often as I can. She is one who flourishes under positive praise, so the more I notice and praise, the better she does.
For my younger daughter, I see her growing maturity through her independence and ability to do things on her own. I was so tickled this morning when she ate her breakfast all by herself and put her dishes in the dishwasher by herself. She is very good at picking things up and putting them away, and she’s good at listening to me. Yesterday, as we were getting ready to head to a friend’s place to watch the Packer game, I was feeling a bit frazzled and my words weren’t coming out right. When Jujubee asked me if she could take her Packer pom-poms along, I said “No” when I meant to say “Yes.” Jujubee looked at my strangely, a bit sadly, but without fussing or whining, went to put the pom-poms away. I was confused, and then I realized what I had said. I told Jujubee that I was sorry, I had said the wrong words, but I complimented her hugely on listening to me so well.
Finally, I love the fact that both of my girls have become such wonderful companions for me. I love spending time with my girls; I hope that continues for the rest of our lives. Don’t think I’m a big softy/pushover parent; I’m not. But, parenting isn’t just about ordering your kids around; it’s also about making connections with your kids and providing an example for them to mimic in all sorts of areas. We all so enjoy it when we can be in one of those more relaxed modes, because we have so much fun together. This weekend, due to unusual circumstances, we had two hours to bum around at our local mall. It was fun to just hang out with my girls!
Tonight I taught Jujubee what a “family” is. This came about because I asked her what her last name was. First I asked her what her first name was, which she answered correctly. Then I asked her if she knew what her middle name was, and she proudly told me what it was. Then I asked her what her last name was, and she looked at me blankly. So, I explained the concept of last names to her in a three-year old sort of way. And that sparked the explanation of what a family was. It was fun to see her excitement at catching on to this concept.
It’s no secret that I would love another baby. But, I am so, so thankful for the two lovely ladies that I have. They’re growing up beautifully, and while I complain that they’re growing up too fast, in all honesty, I know they’re not. Without trying to toot my own horn, I think my husband and I are doing a good job with them, and I think they’re well on their way to grow up into young ladies that we can be proud of.
Actually, I’m already proud of them. I do so love my girls. Their presence in our lives is what has created a family for my husband and I, and we are so blessed to have been given these gifts from God.