An older woman once told me that each child you have will be different. My second daughter was a complete opposite of my first so I had no idea what to expect with the third. That same woman said that my third will be even different than the first two. How do you ever figure out how to parent when God keeps throwing curve balls at ya? Everything has been completely different with each girl, from feeding to potty training and all things since. I guess their differences have just given me a wider array of experiences to share with younger moms when they ask for advice.
My third daughter, though only 4 years old, has really thrown me for a loop. She's just so much more independent and fearless than her sisters and I'm not used to it. My older girls never got too far from me and always held my hand with no problem. If they happened to step out of sight and didn't see me, their little world turned upside down. Not with my baby, she is totally different. If she loses me, she'll just wander around yelling "MOM!" until I show up. No frightened tears from her.
I knew I had a problem as soon as she could walk, when she figured out how to unlock all the door in the house and was found wandering outside multiple times. We had to watch her like a hawk and rigged up homemade ways to cover the locks.
I shouldn't have been surprised when we took her to one of those giant hotels with an indoor water park for a weekend, when she was only 18 months old, and I spent the whole time frantically trying to find her. She was off and running and didn't care if I was with her or not. She even managed to get away from me in the water in the toddler park area to the point where I had to get help from the lifeguard. As I'm panicking and praying thinking she's trapped and drowning under a water slide, I finally see her playing clear on the other side of the pool. To this day, I still don't know how she got over there so fast. My older girls would have been stuck to my side the whole time, scared to get splashed but not little sissy. No way! She's just not afraid of anything.
One day, when we still lived out in the country and she was about 2½, I was outside cleaning the garage and she was beside me playing. I went inside to grab a trash bag and when I came back out, she was gone. I hollered her name, glanced around the front and back yard and then began to worry. Until...I see her long, curly brown hair bouncing and her little, purple dress flying through the neighbor's meadow, directly towards their huge brown horse. She managed to crawl through the barb wire fence and trudge through weeds as tall as she was all on a mission to see the "horsey." It's sorta funny when I think about how fast I can run if I have to. Of course, those moments never happen, though, when I've got tennis shoes on, only when I'm in flip flops or sandals. The whole time I'm sprinting to reach her, I'm picturing the giant horse being frightened of this little, purple person racing toward it and either kicking her or rearing up and stomping her. I was screaming her name as loud as I could and yelling "STOP" as well, but to no avail. She was determined and wasn't about to listen to me. The horse luckily ran from her and I scooped her up and drug her back home. I tried to convince her how dangerous that was and how bad it scared Mommy but conveying that to an independent 2-year- old was pretty useless.
Moving into town hasn't been much better and we've had to hunt her down several times. She's just in her own little world and very curious. When she wants to check something out, she'll just go and is completely unafraid.
After her 3rd birthday, she had it set in her head that she was a big girl like her sisters and I wasn't allowed to help her with anything. I'm okay with letting her do some things by herself, but when I made her first dentist check up, she informed me on the way there that she would be going back to see the dentist by herself and I would be staying in the waiting room. I did have a problem with that. My big girls would still probably prefer I go back with them and here my 3-year-old is telling me to sit and wait for her. I told her that wasn't going to happen, but even when she was called back, she put her little hand out and told me to stay. To her dismay, I went back with her anyway. It was her very first time to the dentist for Pete's sake; I had to go with her.
Now that she's 4, I can no longer walk her into dance class or if I do, it's only to hold open the door because it's heavy but she'd prefer I just stay on the sidewalk. She'd like it if I'd just pull the truck over and let her jump out like all the older girls do. Sorry, sister, no dice! I also have been asked to not walk her into preschool. Again, she's agreed that I can walk to the door and hold it open but that's about as far as I can go. I see some little ones hugging their parents hoping they won't leave and mine is telling me to stop following her.
Little Miss Independent! I wonder if she'll let me drive her to college or if I'll have to stay home?