By the time your child is six, you will have reached what one psychologist we talked to calls "planned detachment." Your child will check in for breakfast, be out the door, check in for lunch, and be gone again. You'll say "You're looking well, dear," you'll write a note to remind him of chores, and finally at dinner you'll get to talk some. After dinner some card playing, singing, or other family-oriented activity reconnects you with the individual who used to stick to you like Velcro.
On this Monday, I find myself with a different child than the one I had at the close of last week. The child I have today fluidly moves throughout the house on her own (after some major babyproofing). She has no fear. She is curious and a quick learner. She has a loud voice, and babbles as much as we speak. She is taller, and stronger, with an enormous appetite. She can crawl up an entire flight of stairs without our help (but one of us right behind her, of course).
Emerson has been obsessed with standing for the past four months. But, now she's obsessed with standing on her own, not holding on to anything (this feels like a metaphor). And, like most of her previous developments, that makes this mama proud, but a little sad. Because how can my baby be standing on her own already?! Sure, she only does it for 5-7 seconds, but she is my baby. She is so close to walking that I can already hear her footsteps walking away from me…maybe that's because I can hear her sassy hands smacking the floor as she crawls through the house like a maniac.
This new arrangement—me in one room, Emerson exploring the surrounding rooms without me—makes me anxious. But, it's happening and I'm letting it. I am so proud of the courage and confidence my child exudes, and I want her to feel free to be who she is from the beginning. There is nothing more thrilling than watching my girl grow into the person she was put on this earth to be. But, damn. I've never met a person harder to let go of.