Moments in independence

On Thursday, Dash rode his bike the half-mile to school. When Mabel and I showed up in the car at 3:20 to pick him up, I’d forgotten that, but it was no biggie – we can put his bike in the back. Except he didn’t like that idea, and Mabel had already enraged him by telling him about the lollipop she got from the lady in the bank.

( Me: You don’t have to tell Dash about that lollipop.
Mabel: Yes I do. )

So I told him that he could ride his bike home and we’d take the car and meet him there. At first he was wary. He thought it was illegal.

“I can’t do that. You’re not allowed let me.”
“Yes, you can. I am.”
“But the rule. I’m not eight.”
“The rule says you can’t stay at home alone until you’re eight. It doesn’t say you can’t go home on your own. I say you can. I trust you to be a responsible cyclist.”

He was pretty stoked. Off he went. There are only two places where he has to cross the road, one of which has a crossing with signs and stripes on the road, and I think I was the only car he encountered on the way.

The same thing happened the next day. I’d let him come home on his own every day, but I like seeing the other moms at pickup time.

Dash and Mabel

On Friday, Mabel and I went to the mall. Oh wait, first I have to tell you how that works.

Step 1: Order a couple of next-summer things for the kids on clearance from Land’s End. Include a pair of trousers that probably won’t fit for yourself, just because you can. 

Step 2: When trousers arrive, ascertain that they are indeed mom jeans, look horrible on you, and you don’t like the colour anyway. No biggie, because you can easily return them to Sears and thus not pay any postage. 

Step 3: Go to Sears at the mall. Return the jeans. 

Step 4: Pass unavoidably through the kids’ section of Land’s End in Sears. Find two pairs of summer leggings on sale and an adorable dress at 25% off that you and Mabel both just love. 

Step 5: End up spending more than you got back.

This right here is why the economy is doing just fine. Anyway. After that whole debacle/triumph, we had some lunch at the food court. Mabel got pizza and then we moved over to the next food outlet so I could have a tasty hummus/chicken/chickpea wrap thingy. This left me with two trays and only two hands. So I put both drinks on my tray and asked Mabel to carry hers (with just a paper plate holding the pizza slice). She demurred.

“I can’t.”
“You can. It’s just like carrying a plate, only bigger.”

She gingerly reached up to the tray and put her hands on either side. She lifted it down and carried it to the nearest table, as I carried the other tray beside her. The pizza slid a little on the plate, but nothing disastrous happened.

After we’d eaten, I asked her to clear away her tray. She picked it up again and I showed her how you have to let all the paper on top slide into the trashcan while keeping hold of the tray, and then put it on top. She could just about reach the pile of trays on the top, on her tippy toes.

As we walked towards the toystore she said quietly, with a smirk, “I’m a little bit proud of myself.”

5 thoughts on “Moments in independence

    1. Maud

      Unlike her big brother, Mabel is not naturally a do-it-herself-er. And because I tend towards the control freak (ahem) it’s sometimes hard for me to stand back and get her to do things. So this is something we both need to work on.

  1. Sadhbh

    Awww, they’re growing up! Terrifying and amazing at the same time. Mine are fiercely independent at the moment. It makes doing anything take four times as long, but I know it’s good for them, so I try as much as possible to back off. Now that they are proud of their capability, you’ll have to get them to do chores!

  2. Joanna

    Ah, I’m welling up. This is just gorgeous, what a snapshot. I love that Dash would let you know if you were trying to do something that you aren’t allowed to do!


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