Friday, August 31, 2012

How the Baby Grew Up

I had another one of those moments a minute ago when I think about my daughter and kind of . . . sit there in awe and shock and completely unadulterated terror for a second about how fast things are changing. Thankfully these moments don't happen too frequently, or I'd be a basketcase, but I just had one. Allow me to explain . . .

So, Sammy starts preschool in one week. I know. A week ago she was still wearing toddler size clothes that come from the baby section, and then this week suddenly she knows her alphabet, is reading the letters off the label on the ketchup bottle, and we have to buy her clothes from the little girl section at the store.

Seriously. She picked an absolutely hideous pink and white zebra striped jumper to wear for her first day of school. I wanted the light pink, yellow, and orange plaid, or the cute striped one of the same color scheme, or the blue shirt and pant set with little chalk drawn hearts in different colors. But no. She wants the zebra stripes. Because she loves zebras. And it hasn't occurred to my nearly 5 year old that zebra stripes in preschool is a bit much. It doesn't help that I have exactly one bra that is anything other than boring and it happens to be zebra stripes (only fun one they had), which makes it the default when Sammy picks out my bra for me (don't ask how this got started, I still don't know).

Anyway, where were we? Oh, me freaking out a little that my baby is growing up. See, I can kind of figure out how this is catching me weird. It's because up until now, for Sammy's whole life, she's always been at home. She hasn't had daycare or anything like that to go away every day for, no schedule to meet. She was still a baby, a toddler, something other than a little girl in school.

But now . . . this is the precipice of a completely different time in her life. From now on, my baby is a student, a school kid, and for the next 14 years of her life, she will be going to school 9 months of the year. No, it's not like she's leaving home to go to a boarding school on the East Coast. But it's weird. Good and bad weird. Good because the child is driving me absolutely nuts, increasingly so over the last year or so. I think a nice 4 hour break 4 days a week sounds DIVINE.

But it's also bad, because . . . she just won't be my baby anymore. She is officially and irrevocably out of her toddler stage. And yeah, she hasn't been a toddler for something like 2 years now, but she's still kind of been in that group in my head. She's still been the baby. And now . . . nope. Not anymore. She is a grown up little girl who is going to school. And in two years, she starts elementary school, first grade, full time school. Which might be another big change, I don't know. I just know that this one, this leap from baby to preschooler, is a weird thing for me.

She is going to have so much fun. She's going to get to interact and play with a bunch of little kids her own age. She's going to suck up information and learning so fast, and I know she's going to love it. She'll have an absolute ball! And I'm sure she'll make new friends, and get to love her teachers, and I think she's just going to be the type of kid that loves school. I'm really excited for her.

But I sure will miss my baby. She'll always be my baby, in a lot of ways, but she's past that age now where she's still my toddler running around the house with jingle bells on her shoes so I can find her. She's a big girl. And her life is about to change in a major way. And so is mine.

I'm looking forward to making the journey with her. And at the same time, already missing my baby.