My daughter, Llama, has been exceedingly patient in having a new brother. Every day, when she comes home from school, we have a routine. She unpacks her backpack, removes her homework folder and starts working at the kitchen table while I put Dude down for a nap. Dude is only 9-months old, so I nurse him to sleep in our guest room which is right above our garage. This process involves me laying down on the bed with him and not being able to move or talk for about 15-minutes. This took some practice with my daughter, but she has learned to be very quiet and not call out for me during that time.
I usually park my car in the garage, but currently, we are trying to sell our entertainment center. This large piece of wood furniture was located in our upstairs bedroom, but to make it easier for our potential buyer, we moved it into my space in the garage. Thus, I’m parking outside.
Last Thursday, we arrived back home after picking up Llama from school. Dude was squirming out of my hands and diving for my chest – his tired signal. Llama rifled through her backpack, looking for her green homework folder.
“Mama, where’s my folder?” she asked.
“Oh,” I let out a sigh. I remember that I took her folder out of her backpack because she wanted to show me a spelling test when she got in the car. The folder was now in the car, outside the house. At this time, Dude started to whine in addition to chest diving. “Llama, you can play on the iPad until I come back down. Then, we can go get your folder together.”
Most five-year-olds, I think, would be overjoyed with an unexpected game time. Not my daughter.
“No, I need to do my homework FIRST,” she told me.
Curses to my good parenting strategy of teaching responsibility and to the overly strong moral code of my daughter.
“Llama, please wait, ” I replied to her. Dude broke out screeching and I climbed the stairs to the guest bedroom.
Dude and I lied peacefully upstairs. He was drifting off to sleep. Suddenly, a loud grumble filled the room accompanied by the grind of metal. The garage door. My five-year-old daughter had pushed the red button by the door and was opening the garage door. My five-year-old was heading out into the front yard by herself as I lied inert, nursing a baby upstairs. Panic flooded me.
“Llama!” I yelled, “Llama!!!”
Of course she couldn’t hear me because the garage door was so earsplitting loud. I made a fast decision. I grabbed Dude, still attached to me by the way, and rushed down the stairs. I’m ready to stop my baby girl from venturing outside alone, unprotected. Doesn’t she know she’s five?
I reached the garage door to witness Llama closing the car door and calmly walking back inside the house, green folder in hand.
“Llama, didn’t you hear me say to wait?” I sputtered out.
“I just wanted my folder,” she responded sheepishly.
She still maintains that she didn’t hear me say to wait. However, I think she did and she stubbornly wanted to prove that she could do it herself. I know, because I would have done the same thing. Dude did not take a nap that day and my sweet, little, stubborn, five-year-old girl proved to me how independent she really can be.