Sunday, July 22, 2012

Firsts & Surprises

Over the Fourth of July holiday, we went to Cleveland to visit B's parents (Nana and Papa).  The most amazing part of the entire trip was watching Sammie B . . . she's usually very shy when out and about and out of her comfort zone, but not this trip.  Over and over, she just kept surprising me with how brave she was . . . . how much of a little girl this baby girl has grown into . . .

I already mentioned that we went to the park and for the first time, Sam moved herself around the play structure independently.  As I watched her, so determined to get where she was headed, undeterred by the fact that her only way of getting there solo was via butt scootching (and undeterred by the heat!! holy heat!!), I was amazed.  Amazed by her determination and perserverance.  Her grace.  Amazed by how far this little girl has come.

And as she went down the slides again and again (demanding "more!"), my heart felt so full, so proud, and all I could see were the "cans" . . . and in my head, I thought, "Oh sweet Sammie B, we've come a long way baby!"   It was a fun, fun day. 

 Doing the slide . . . (P.S. I attribute her figuring out how to butt scootch forward to all the sliding we do!)

 Scootching.  With grace and dignity that we could all learn from. 
 And, with a little help from Dad, all things are possible. 

 Walking, with a little help from mom.   See that face of determination?!

And, that day, just as we were about to leave the park, she pointed to the "typical kid" swing . . . the kind with no seat belt, no harness, just a swing.  And she said, "me on!" I paused, took a deep breath, and explained to her that that those were "big kid" swings, and I wasn't sure if she was big enough yet (I pause because I don't like to explain things as "big kid" things when I worry that she might not be able to do them, even as a "big kid" -- we tell her she's a "big girl," and I don't want her to think she's not just because she can't do x, y or z -- but in the moment, this answer made sense . . . ).

Anyway, after I said, "I'm not sure you are big enough for that swing," she said, "I want to try."  Another first.  Her Nana and I exchanged a look that said a million things all in one quick second.  All because of those four words, "I want to try."   The thing is, when things are hard for Sammie B, she (like her mama) NEVER really wants to try them.  The second things get hard, she says, "all done," and refuses to try again (this has been a big challenge in therapies).  And, when she's made up her mind that she isn't going to try, there's NO bribing her.  (Again, like her mama.)  So, there was just so much in that single little moment when she said, "I want to try," that just surprised and amazed me.  And, so, try we did.  I held her on the swing while I pushed, and we tried.   It wasn't easy, and she quickly decided she was in fact, "all done," but because she tried, I felt so, so proud. 

She also fell asleep all by herself for the first time in any place other than her own bed.  Usually when we travel, she sleeps with me and B.  Always has.  I've always felt like it would be really scary to go to sleep in a new place when you can't get up and go find your parents if you need to, so we have always let her sleep with us when we are anywhere other than home (which makes for a treat for all of us, and B and I both say its more about us "getting" to sleep with her than "letting" her sleep with us!).  But at B's parent's house, we put her in one of the extra rooms with all of her favorite animals and our video monitor, told her we'd be able to see her on the camera, read stories, said goodnight and walked out.  There were no tears, and I was so proud of her.  Of her "big girl" moment, her independence, her bravery.

And, while we have no pictures of it, she also went down a water slide for the first time and all by herself.  The pool by B's parent's house has this amazing water play structure and a bunch of different slides.  Our little Sammie B was in heaven.  She had A BLAST, and we had a blast watching her.  She went down the slides over and over and over, including the big tunnel slide.  I was truly, truly surprised and amazed.  Independent.  Brave.  So, so fun.

She had her first slumber party with her cousins (which didn't start out so smoothly, she has never been to their house before, and well, has only seen them a few times in her life, so I think she was a little scared at first when we got there at 8 pm and shortly thereafter were putting her to bed in a different room, and we weren't going to stay in there with her, BUT, her bigger cousin agreed to get in bed with her and after that, all was fine and the three big girls slept all together :o)).  

She performed her first puppet show, taking turns with her cousins.  She kept just sticking her puppet out on the "stage" and saying, "hi!"  She (mostly) watched attentively as her cousins took their turns (okay, so that's not true, she just watched and kept saying, "it's my turn!" but those are just details).

 Waiting her turn!

She played on a sit & spin for the first time . . . which might seem insignificant, but for me, it wasn't.   She spotted it from across the playroom, and said, "me on!" and I paused for a moment, wondering if she'd be able to do it, but B put her on it.  And you know what?  She totally got it. She totally did it.   And loved it.  I'm pretty sure she needs one of her own!  It's those moments . . . the ones where I think, "can she do this?" and then she does . . . or she just TRIES . . . those are the moments that remind me, again and again and again, that the sky is the limit.   And then she said the same thing ("me on!") about a ride-on toy her cousin had, and I put her on it, and lo and behold, the little Bee started moving herself across the room on it, turning to look at me like, "what?! I've got this mom!"  Oh yes, the sky is the limit.

She slept in a tent for the first time with her nana (although they were inside -- did I mention the heat?!) and Sammie B loved it.

 Mom and Dad coming into the tent to say "night night." 
 Bedtime stories with Nana (Sammie B picked a pink sleeping bag!)

So many firsts.  So many adventures.  So many surprises.  My big, independent first-born.  Look how far we've come my baby. 

And, after we got home from the trip (after a long plane ride!) she said, for the first time ever, "I'm so tired!"  (a first -- admitting to tired!) and when we asked if she was ready for bed, she said, "Yes!"  (another first!)  I think we all felt the same . . . it was just that good of a weekend:o)

Over and over on the trip, I was just surprised and amazed by how much she was part of the action, how not-shy she was, how much she was talking . . . and my heart just kept soaring.   It made me wonder if WE are holding her back.  If I just haven't given her these opportunities to surprise and amaze me with independence.  I'm not sure what the answer to that question is, but it has given me pause, and I will keep remembering the little Cleveland moments where I suddenly was taken aback by how BIG my BIG girl is, and I will look for ways to keep giving her those opportunities.  Opportunities to shine.

And shine she did, and does.

My girl, may you just keep on surprising your mama.   I know you have so, so many more "firsts" and surprises in store for us, and I can't wait.  You make me so very, very happy and proud.  


schlennerfamilyof4 said...

Oh, this made me tear up reading this. How amazing all the first Sammie accomplished. She is a wonderful little girl! I am so glad she had a great day being so independent.

laurelsmom said...

I'm trying to pick my heart up off the floor but I can't. It melted into a puddle when I saw the picture of her on the ride on toy. That look.. it says so much. I love it!

Anonymous said...

Sammy may never become the fastest runner but she captivates me every single time I see her pics. Her spirit is illuminating - and that awesome fire in her belly. Love it!