Monday, March 26, 2012
From Baby to Big Girl
So this is what toddlerhood is all about. It’s about the many transitional moments where my child is no longer a baby. My baby is becoming a big girl.
On our way back from a morning visit to the park this weekend, Em and I stopped by a grocery store.
I should mention that I love the way our grocery stores are becoming more child-friendly. Some have shopping carts with little cars attached to the fronts of them so kids can pretend to drive all around the store while mama or dada shops. Others, like the store we visited this weekend, have little mini shopping carts that kids can wheel around and fill with groceries while their parents are distractedly thinking about the week’s menus. I love that grocery stores have made a commitment to families by making shopping a FUN TIME for everyone, and not just a chore that children are dragged along to.
So on this particular shopping trip, I got Em one of those little mini-me sized carts. I was skeptical at first, because a) even though Em has been walking for over 7 months now, she doesn’t exactly have what I would call a “command” of the pedestrian arts, and b) I was afraid she’d lose interest in the whole cart idea after about 30 seconds, which would leave me bent forward, pushing a teeny weeny munchkin-sized shopping cart up and down the aisles while strangers stared at me like I had lost my marbles.
But you know what? Emmy ACED the whole grocery shopping experience. She wheeled that little cart around like she’d been doing this for ages (“no big whoop, mama. Pffffff. I could do this with my EYES closed”). I would hand her various objects (a cucumber, a carton of hummus, a bag of yogurt melts) and she would drop them in her cart, and continue on her merry way.
Complete disclosure: Em DID get a little excited about the yogurt melts. She may have forgotten about her shopping cart responsibilities for a minute or two while she struggled to figure out how in god’s name to open the package of delicious (and seemingly-very-astronaut-friendly) food. But after a quick little nudge from mama, she regained her composure and ventured on, again pushing her pint-sized cart.
At the checkout line, I didn’t even have to tell Em what to do. One by one, Em took the food objects out of her cart and handed them (with mama’s help) to the checkout lady. She made sure each object was scanned correctly and made sure nothing was left in her cart. And when it came time to pay, Em took mama’s money and handed THAT to the checkout lady as well (she didn’t immediately stick the bills in her mouth, as she has been apt to do so many times before. Holy miracle)! I encouraged checkout lady to hand Em the change, even though I knew it wouldn’t all fit into her small palm, and a few coins would fall to the floor. Em took the change that she COULD hold on to, and stuffed it back into my wallet.
Checkout lady was thrilled with Em, and I showered my girl with praise. “What a big girl you are! You were SO helpful to mama,” I said. And then I begged her to slap me five. Twice.
I wish you could have seen it. I swear, Em had the biggest, goofiest grin on her face. She KNEW she had been a big girl. She was really proud. And so was I.