Dear Lady Jane: out with the old (and other signs of growing up)

Dear Lady Jane Sweet Girl, (I called you “Lady Jane” the other day and you very assertively told me not to call you that!) (But wait! This is my blog!)

You and I have spent the past few days clearing out many things you have accumulated over the years.  Remember, you used to be that person who wouldn’t throw anything away, even if one could rightly call it trash.  Your personal growth has previously caused a few spurts of Good Will donations, but this one feels different to me.

It wasn’t like you were itching to get rid of anything.  No, you have never been bothered in the least by having clutter everywhere. You are capable of hopping this way and that past any obstacle to enter a room.  I don’t think I’ve seen you become upset by opening a cabinet and having everything inside fall out.  This time, your interests have simply changed.  I told you that if you wanted to get anything else for your playroom, we simply had to do a major clear out.

You began playing school as soon as you came home from the first day of second grade and have not stopped, but this latest version is more semi-professional.

You have watched YouTube teachers guide viewers through their classroom, “a day in the life” curriculum videos, and even organizational tricks for moms.  I have no idea why these interest you, but you could do worse, I guess.  So your playroom is starting to look like an actual classroom.  You have colored drawers and file systems and workbooks that my friends gave you from their older kids after school ended.  Your ultimate perfect day would include a trip to Lakeshore Learning and then The Container Store.

“The goal in raising one’s child is to enable him, first, to discover who he wants to be, and then to become a person who can be satisfied with himself and his way of life. Eventually he ought to be able to do in his life whatever seems important, desirable, and worthwhile to him to do…” ~ Bruno Bettelheim

Raising kids who are independent means raising kids who are curious about the wider world and eager to explore and see things from different perspectives.  So why would I not encourage this type of expression? You are confident and excited about it!

You have recently been pretending to make your own videos, guiding people through your classroom.  I watch you conduct your imaginary classroom and I marvel at how many years you have until you can actually teach for real.  Maybe you’ll be a T.A. of something when you’re a teenager, but really, you’ll have another 15 years at least before you can lead a classroom.  I hope you don’t burn out before then!

When I took the big tub of Barbies, dolls, and doll clothes to Good Will this morning, the volunteer there told me her daughter loves all that right now.  I almost told her it may soon pass…  appreciate that stage… or some such babble.  I certainly never consciously wanted dolls/princesses/Barbie in my house, but it came nonetheless and didn’t last as long as I thought it would.

You’d rather have makeup and nail polish than Shopkins.  You read chapter books, not picture books.  You had asked me so many times to “tell the truth” about the tooth fairy that I finally admitted that I am she.  We were both a little sad about that one, but I think you felt more grown up knowing that secret.  Plus, you have been very complimentary about my methods and surprises!

I felt sad handing over more of your “little girl” toys.  Not sad enough to keep it, of course, but sad that that phase of childhood is gone.  And I am still shocked that you can look at a pile of your old papers and drawings and random crap junk little prizes and firmly state, “toss it all.” Who are you???

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