The Tiny Tweens

Girls really do grow up faster than they used to! My baby has just started third grade. Here she is looking like a tiny tween. Some of the girls in her class are bigger, taller, and older looking than she is. This is the new reality of girls in elementary school.

My daughter has given away nearly all of her toys and set up a neat and tidy homework desk stocked with notebooks and pens. She's more interested in Minecraft than My Little Pony now, but she still prefers to run around and play with other kids outside than to sit with a device.

Sometimes people ask me if I'm sad that my child is growing up so quickly. So far, not really. She was a very cute baby, but every year older is easier and more fun for me! We haven't yet hit peak enjoy-it-while-it-lasts.

She gets herself ready for the day. She can help with more chores. She sleeps in until about 7:00 a.m. (It used to be 5:00.) She still wants me to read to her at bedtime, but now it's horror chapter books rather than the same old picture books. She can come to work with me when I don't have anyone else to watch her, and she spends the time running errands for me or playing Minecraft independently.

I keep expecting new challenges to arise, but so far, life with my little cutie just keeps on getting better.

I chalk this up to both good luck and a family dynamic that resembles what the new mommies call "gentle parenting." I never read any books or joined any groups on the subject, but I did study child development in college and learned the true definitions of "discipline" and "authoritative." My husband and I also put a great deal of effort into dealing with our own emotional baggage from our own childhoods, which is critical for any parents out there not feeling so inclined to gentleness. Like children, adults also behave better or worse depending on how we feel, and no amount of book learning ever gave anybody emotional control.

Our girl is resilient, intrinsically motivated, empathetic, creative, self-confident, funny, helpful, and friendly. I couldn't be more pleased with how she is growing up!

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