Parenting happens gradually. So does independence. At least I think so. It feels like yesterday Piper was nursing, attached to my body. Last week she told me she could walk home alone from school. Detached. I walked ten feet behind her, of course, but she wanted to be out of my sight.
She’s becoming more independent. Sometimes I don’t even realize it until I turn around and find her fully dressed and almost ready to walk out the door. Who undressed her? Who picked out her clothes? Who helped her pull that shirt on? Piper. How did that happen? Sometimes it doesn’t.
Independence seems to be two steps forward, one step back. And just because Piper can doesn’t mean she will. And then sometimes she wants to and can’t. She’s still Piper.
This is how our chore chart has changed over the last year of blogging:
The best part? Dad and I are no longer on it. Believe me, we still have plenty of chores. We’re not lazing about on the couch eating grapes while Cinderella and her sister do our bidding, although that would be nice, too.
Sissy and Piper have simply taken on more. Sissy does a couple loads of laundry a week (sort, wash, fold) and then gets to boss Piper around putting it away. They set the dinner table and I don’t have to show them how anymore. They mostly remember their snacks and water bottles on their own. Sometimes I have to remind them but I don’t have to pack them. They clean up their dishes and put them in the dishwasher. They unpack their lunchboxes and wash them. They clean their rooms, reluctantly but independently. I’m not saying they do any of their chores perfectly, but they do them and that’s probably more important than my standards.
My standards have evolved gradually, too. Parenting, as hard as it is, makes me better, too. Who knew that was going to happen? Certainly not me. Whew.
Piper and Dad were driving to ballet lessons yesterday when Piper saw a neighborhood watch sign.
“Dad, how come burglars always dress in black?”
“They don’t want to be seen. If you were black at night, you blend in more.”
“If the house is yellow, shouldn’t the burglar wear yellow?” Piper asked.
“Maybe. But if it’s dark, they’d stand out wearing yellow. Then they might get caught.”
“If I were a burglar, I’d only break into rainbow colored houses. They’d never see me!”
This note came back to us in Piper’s homework folder yesterday.
Apparently, Sissy was helping Piper with her homework the night before. Piper didn’t receive words for the word sort assignment. Sissy took it upon herself to communicate appropriately to the teacher.
Thank goodness someone is parenting the Piper. When I grow up, I want to be Sissy.
“Dad, did you have imaginary friends when you were a kid?”
“Yes. I did.”
“Dad, what was the name of your imaginary friend?”
“I can’t remember.”
“Well, then you must not have been very good friends.”
If you’re a parent, you spend a good part of your waking hours as a taxi service. The hours stink. There are no benefits. Tips are terrible. Yet, you pick up, drop off, and wait. Repeat.
Piper and I were shuttling Sissy tonight to a choir concert. It was raining. The parking lot was crowded. There was a tornado watch. Dinner had been rushed. Traffic was a nightmare. You get the idea. On our way to the concert we’d picked up Daddy at the Metro. He was walking Sissy inside while Piper and I waited in the warm car.
Piper watched the other parents in the parking lot doing the same. We saw more than one parent running after a kid with a McDonald’s sack.
“Where’s everyone going?” Piper asked.
“Probably doing the same as us, P. Picking up. Dropping off. Rushing around,” I said.
“Where are they all coming from?”
“Work. Downtown. This is a tough time to get anywhere. Especially in this weather.”
“But why are they working?” Piper asked.
“We have to work. Daddy and I go to our jobs. We get paid and then we can take care of you. Food, clothes, toys, choir concerts. It all costs money.”
“Wow,” Piper said, “that sounds like a serious amount of responsibility. What a meany world!”
Piper’s been learning about manners this week at school. Her teacher took the opportunity to suggest some etiquette among the unruly kindergarten masses.
Piper is taking the manners very seriously and correcting our trespasses freely. This from a child who still leaves the bathroom door open so she can talk to us if she gets bored from the potty throne.
“Due to my recent manners training, Mom, I’ve decided to stop picking my nose,” Piper said.
“Sounds good to me,” I nodded.
“But only at the dinner table.”
Piper is our sage when it comes to all things doomsday.
At breakfast this morning Sissy filled her in on the end of the world as we know it.
“It’s 12-12-12,” Sissy said. “Something big is going to happen.”
“So what? Who cares?” It helps to imagine Piper’s “Scrooge voice.” Then she finished off her waffle. No reason to face impending doom on an empty tummy.
On the way to school Daddy told Piper the rest of the predictions. Why he chose to do so is a worthy of its own post on questionable parenting decisions but that’s not what this blog is about, is it?
“The Mayan calendar ends next week. Who knows what will happen,” Daddy said. “Some people say that the world will end.” The he busied himself staring out the window to avoid my incredulous glare.
“So what? Who cares?” Piper said. “Bah humbug.”