Monday, July 27, 2009

My baby's growing up

My daughter is 8 years old. She is the 4th out of 5 children. The older 3 are quite a bit older. As a matter of fact, her oldest sister is 10 years older than her. Annie is somewhat less mature than her peers due to the fact that she is one of the "babies" of the family, and she doesn't watch shows like Hannah Montana, etc, and because she has had enough anxiety in her 8 years to keep her from some of the things that help young girls grow up faster ... like sleep-away camp, swimming in the deep end, etc. On top of all that, her "best friend" (whether she would ever admit it or not) is her little brother, Andrew, who is 6 1/2. They are only 19 months apart. The choice as a parent is to either allow the older one to stay young awhile longer, or allow the younger one to mature faster. In my book, childhood is so short as it is. I've watched my stepdaughter mature at an extremely accelerated rate (she "started" at age 8!), and I'm sorry that she missed out on some of the joys of just being a kid, and I'm constantly concerned about what her relative maturity is getting her into now that she's into high school. But I digress.

All I'm trying to say is that Annie has seemed younger than her peers and I've been mostly ok with that ...

Then came today. I needed to take Annie to the doctor to get her ears checked. Usually, where Annie goes, Andrew goes. However, we had the blessing of my oldest being home today and Andrew was able to stay home with her. Yea! I had some private time with Annie. So rare, and so special. It really helped that I had had a very relaxing weekend away from the two of them while attending my older son's out-ot-town weekend-long soccer tournament. I felt calm, not frazzled, and was happy to just listen when she talked. Of her own free will, she read a book to me about ladybugs, because that interests her. What a glorious time.

I knew she was maturing when I suggested that she could go to church camp if she wanted, and she wanted! She doesn't seem scared, but instead seems excited! Maybe she just doesn't really understand that it's THREE nights away from home?!?

But today sealed the deal on this maturity thing ...

After her doctor's appointment, she asked me if it costs money to go to the doctor. She was so disappointed to hear that it does. Why? Because she's concerned that people who don't have a lot of money can't afford to go. That they could die if they don't go. That they have to live in pain because they can't afford to go. .... Wow. .... And she announced then and there her intentions to become a doctor. So she can help people who can't afford healthcare. And I can't remember exactly how she phrased it, but she said something about God and her heart, so I am choosing to assume she has discovered her calling, at the ripe old age of 8!

Ok, that was the biggie. But then there was the little part too.

We went to the store to get her prescription filled, and did a little shopping for her upcoming first trip to camp. As we looked through the travel sizes for the toothbrush holders, etc, she saw mini-deodorants and asked if she could have deodorant too. Well, I suppose so. She has to start wearing it sometime. Might as well get in the habit while she's got the interest, right? Right?? Boy, I hope I'm right on that one. So Annie is now the proud owner and wearer of a sweet baby powder scented deodorant! Yes, I'd have to say, my baby is finally growing up.

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