Big Girl

25 Jul

Being a parent, I am amazed at the growth and development I see in my daughter on a daily basis.  This could be the new words she learns on a daily basis, today it was “hippo” and “zebra,” to starting to hear her put words together to make sentences, such as “more melon.” She has also surprised my wife and I, saying “doggy” or “moon” when she sees these items, often when my wife and I do not. My favorite was when my daughter referred to the moon as a “big ball.” With some practice, she learned moon, so anytime we read a book or go on the swings and she sees the moon, she is sure to point it out to everyone within ear shot.

Today was a unique day in that it was the first time my daughter actually climbed around the jungle gym at our local part. The jungle gym at this park is blue with red slides and yellow poles and contraptions leading up to the top which is about ten feet off the ground. Virginia was more interested in climbing the stairs, pointing out the one other baby, or playing peekaboo with a nine year old named Cadence.  We went back and forth, sometimes crawling, sometimes walking, up and down the stairs, across the bridge, gazing out at the slides towards the swings (which I think was the real goal, but they were full).

At one point, the nine year old Cadence was acting as a guide trying to get Virginia to go down a slide that we made our way to the end of the line on the other side of the suspension bridge. At this point, there were two ways down, a spider web of yellow poles, or a giant string of climbing bars; neither one ideal for a fourteen month old. At this point, another little girl came up and stood in front of Virginia – not menacingly – somewhat protective saying “this is for big kids only.”  At this point, Virgina reared back on her heals to a squatting position, and quite excitedly stood up and started clapping saying, “Big Girl!” With a giant grin on her face, looking to me for validation – I was clapping and cheering too – the little girl shrugged, grabbed her friend and started to walk the other way.

Virginia and I stood there clapping for a few more seconds before she turned around and started to walk the other way before dropping down to her standard bear crawl. What I find interesting is Virginia’s view of her world. Big Girl is a game my wife started while I was in Australia, it was a way to work with my daughter to get her to stand and walk. I’m impressed because my daughter stood up amidst these other older children and celebrated her accomplishment just like we do at home every day.  Since Virginia does not know any different, she knows that she is a big girl because the two most important people in her life have told her that consistently over the past month. If I can convince a fourteen month old to stand up and celebrate her big girl status, I’m sure there is so much more I can do for her self confidence over the next few years and longer. This small experiment is a great memory in my day, and I am so excited I had a chance to be there and share this experience with my daughter, she is a happy baby.

 

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