Hazel is amazing us lately. She is little Ms. Independent. She suddenly wants to do everything on her own, and I have to admit, her timing is perfect, I would sink without her.
Here’s what she did the other morning as I laid in bed nursing Peter. She got up, turned off her alarm, woke up Charlie, got dressed, got Emmeline out of her crib, got her dressed (in a matching outfit to her), got them both breakfast, packed up her lunch, brushed her hair, put on her backpack and coat and then called me down for a family prayer before she marched out the door to walk to school on her own (we only live three doors down from school). Since we had a few extra minutes (bless her little on time soul!) I snapped a few pictures to document this momentous moment.
I am seriously working my way out of a job with this girl. And, for the moment, it’s making us both pretty darn happy. I know the day will come when this kind of helpful independence will loose it’s charm and she’ll seek a different (and probably not quite as charming) kind of independence. So, I’m lapping it up while I can.
She got a great kids cook book from the Easter bunny and has been cooking all kinds of things for the family. Twice baked potatoes, quiche, fruit salad, deviled eggs, spaghetti with meat balls. Sure, I have to help her with a lot of those things, but she really does do a lot of it on her own. There have been a few times in the past few months that I’ve woken up to a delicious smell and walked into the kitchen all bleary eyed to find her making us all waffles.
And she’s always willing to help with Peter, grabbing diapers and burp cloths in seconds flat. Mostly she wants to stand up and hold him. What’s so exciting about standing and holding a baby is beyond me, but she loves it.
I’ve often lamented the fact that with more and more kids packed into our lives we don’t have the same kind of time to teach and train and entertain that we did when it was just Hazel. But then I realize that she totally picks up our slack with the younger kids. I think she gives them more quality time and entertainment than I was ever able to do. She’s patient with them and kind. She makes learning into a game. She makes them laugh as she teaches them all kind of new things. I’m so thankful she came first.
Just click on this video for one second (unless you want to hear the whole story of “Boney Leg’s”) to see what I’m talking about. (Sorry about the sideways video….how do I flip it, anyone know?)
Other parts of my job Hazel has taken over:
- She reads to the kids.
- She puts Emmeline to bed.
- She fills in her little daily chart without any reminding (getting up, making bed, doing her chores, practicing, doing homework)
- She decorates our house for holidays (here’s her Easter decoration)
- She does an Art class for Emmeline every Tuesday.
- She gives Charlie a piano lesson every Monday (seriously, he is totally learning to play).
- She puts Emmeline to bed. Emmeline would rather have Hazel do it than me or Jeff. Hazel makes it fun….they’re in there giggling until Emmeline is happily snuggled into her crib.
- She’s potty training Emmeline. Yes, you read that right. She does a much better job than I do.
- She’s constantly bringing me bouquets of flowers and making me cards and writing me stories.
Hazel definitely hasn’t achieved any kind of perfection. She still wails at the drop of a hat and yells and grits her teeth in anger. Her “bad moments” are loud and hard to ignore so I have to constantly remind myself that 85% of the time Hazel is an absolute angel.
Often at night, once things calm down and I’m nursing Peter right before bed a little video of the day plays in my mind and suddenly I can see so clearly all the amazing things Hazel is. I sit and wonder why I was so hard on her all day. I go into her room and squeeze her hand and whisper my love into her ear. Why didn’t I do that more during the day? What is it with oldest daughters? In my quest to love her and make sure she becomes the amazing person I know she is inside I get too pushy, I get out of line.
I want so badly to interact with her in a way that helps her to see the beauty of her own soul. I’m so much better at pointing out the tiny little ugly spots, which makes them big in her mind. That’s the last thing I want to do.
And then I’ll be out of a job and what I taught her about who she is (the good and the bad) will be written in her heart.