And here she is at her first birthday.
She has just turned four in this picture.
Cute and sweet, right? Right. She has always been so sweet. I would dare say, she's just about perfect. She listens, she hates getting in trouble, she helps out, she's a good girl.
This is Ainsley on the first day of first grade.
This picture sums up my daughter these days. Hand on hip, check. Cutesy head tilt, check. Attitude, check.
There is a body snatcher in her first grade class. I sent my sweet little girl and got back Miss Attitude. There are fights, and tears, and screams, and door slams.
After 3 weeks of this attitude every day at the bus stop, I had to take a step back and really look at the situation. Honestly, I was tired of losing my mind and fighting with her every. single. day.
Little girl has plenty of attitude and sass. She's definitely feeling high and mighty these days, so she needs to be taken down a notch. I think Ainsley has been put in "time out" of some sorts more these past few weeks than she has in her first 6 years of life. I'm trying not to let the attitude escalate. She back-talks, she goes to her room. She speaks nasty, she gets an extra chore. She's ugly to her little brother, she gets a time out on the stairs. She throws a fit and acts like a 2 year old, I treat her like a 2 year old and take away 6 year old privileges.
But you see, that's the easy part. There's another component to this tug of war. Me.
Again...this is my sweet baby girl.
And I think in some way, I will forever see her this way. Big blue eyes, round face, bald head. When really, this young lady stands before me.
A young lady who is just starting to find her way. A girl who is testing the waters and yearning for independence. A little kid, on the brink of becoming a big kid...finding her own path and desperately wishing to be grown.
It's my job to preserve her innocence, to let her be young. But it's my responsibility to let her be free and become the strong, independent woman she'll be.
That balance is proving difficult. I'm not quite sure how to be this parent. For 6 years Clif and I have had to do almost everything for our kids. We've known their every move, haven't let them out of our sight. Now, she's beginning to pull away and part of the attitude is coming from me not letting her.
So I'm trying. Trying to let her wander the little girl clothes in a store, while I look at shoes. Still where I can hear/see her, but not right at my side. Trying to let her walk ahead of me from the bus stop, still stopping at every street crossing. Trying to let her play outside without me hovering, as long as she stays in a certain spot.
Ainsley is our oldest, so she will get the most bruises from this bumpy path. By the time Cohen is flexing his wings, we'll be pros. But Clif and I were both the oldest, and we turned out...okay...I think. Parenting is the ultimate dead end job. In order to be successful, you absolutely have to make yourself unnecessary. The pay is terrible, but the benefits are the best around.