Staley has been going through a growth spurt. It's not just that she is out-growing her 12-18 month clothes or that her appetite the past week has been insatiable. It's more than the fact that she has skipped her nap now TWICE in the past 2 weeks (which does not benefit anyone.) It's even more than the indeniable fact that she is looking older, speaking older, acting older. There is a new found independence. It's not the desire for independence, but the actual ability that has taken me by surprise.
There are several of Staley's growing-up moments that have been a little bittersweet. Staley has more definite opinions about what she wants. She no longer wants to dance with Daddy at bedtime, preferring to skip straight to story time. I know that stings for Zach, and I miss seeing her little head nestled into his shoulder as they dance around the office. She often prefers to sit beside me now instead of on my lap when reading books, a snuggle time that I always cherished. And although it's nice that Staley likes to walk rather than be carried, it sometimes hurts when she doesn't want to hold my hand. Bittersweet is the word.
Staley's desire to do things 'all by myself' does have its benefits. All by herself, Staley will take off her shoes and socks, wash her hands for dinner, and clean up her toys. She is learning to put on her own coat, drink well from an open cup, and put on her shoes. Each of these little conveniences make our days a touch easier. But some of her growing-up moments are a little frightening for me. She likes to walk up and down the stairs instead of crawling...and doesn't always want to hold my hand. I've seen her do it, but I hold my breath and stay close, afraid of a misstep that may lead to a tumble. Today we took Staley to the playground, and instead of climbing up the short, wide, railing enclosed steps to the slides, Staley wanted to climb up the open, tall, spiral-staircase steps. She maneuvered her way up without my help as I guarded her every move. I know as she gets older, I am going to have to learn to let go, to let her try, sometimes even to let her fall. But it's hard. So, so hard. Much harder than I thought.
I love watching as Staley's world expands a little more each day, and it's so fun to see the pride in her eyes when she realizes something else that she can do. I love the increased understanding, the growing sense of humor, the ever-expanding communication, the blossoming personality. I do love that my baby is growing into such an amazing little person. I just wish it wasn't happening quite so fast.