This morning, it just occurred to me that we’re just about five months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and though some restrictions have been “lifted” or modified in my area to allow people to return to work, exercise and dine out, we’re still nowhere close to being back to “normal.” Even still, I’m thankful for all that’s been revealed during these trying times.
This summer is quite different than many anticipated, but whenever my daughter and I go on a walk, play at the park, or are simply out and about, a smile most certainly would be revealed underneath my mask and under hers too. While I was initially concerned about my seven year old feeling disappointed about the limitations to our outings, Quinn actually said, “I’m just glad that we get to spend time together and are healthy, Mommy!”
Several people are having so many revelations as they make sacrifices and continue to adjust to these ever-changing restrictions, and I’m no exception. But when I look at how well my daughter is handling everything, from wearing her mask to using sanitizer and being conscientious about washing her hands to just going with the flow, it makes it that much easier for me to do the same.
She took a deep breath before getting started with a look of concentration her face. Then, she made sure her hands and fingers were positioned properly. This wasn’t a piano lesson nor a valiant try at tying her shoes but another life skill that will certainly come in handy not just for herself but possibly applying it to others as well: making a ponytail.
Just about every Saturday, I restyle my six year old’s hair and then “freshen” it up throughout the course of the week. Oftentimes, I’ll allow her to pick which style she wants from my Pinterest saves. Though I’ve gotten good at recreating styles, sometimes they’re quite involved, and the process may take hours. Before long, Quinn is asking, “About how much longer do you think it’ll be, Mommy?” To which I usually respond, “Hopefully not too much longer. Remember, if you want it to look nice, I need you to be patient.”
Within the past year and a half, Quinn has taken an interest in having her dolls’ hair styled, so I find myself styling two and sometimes three heads. But lately, during her screen time, she’s been watching videos on how to style her doll’s head and tries her best do it without asking for help. Though I’ve sat down with her before and given her some advice, today, after seeing her frustration, I did a step by step process with her. I never realized how complicated putting in a simple ponytail could get!
After about four tries, she finally got the ponytail into Luciana’s hair. I’m pretty sure braiding the hair is next, which can be tricky too, considering that I still can’t do a fishtail braid even after watching videos myself. Who knows, maybe one day Quinn will teach me how to do that technique.
“Are you ready, Quinn? There’s no turning back! Once it’s done, it’s done!” I informed my six year old. She smiled as eager as can be, “I’m ready!” For the past couple of years, my daughter occasionally asked about getting her ears pierced to which her father and I would respond, “Maybe when you’re a little older because this is a major decision. We want to make sure you’re absolutely sure.” We both decided before Quinn was born that we would not pierce her ears until she could verbally tell us that it’s what she wanted instead of making that decision for her.
Since she turned six on May 3rd, the main topic of conversation on a daily basis has been getting her ears pierced. She wanted to know when I got my ears pierced (I was a baby) and why most of her friends in school already have their ears pierced. “I watched a YouTube video where a little girl got hers done at Claire’s, and it only hurt for a split second,” she told me. Baffled, I asked, “How’d you find that video?” My kindergartener, who is a pretty sharp reader and writer, informed me that she typed in kids ear pierce, and the video came up. As a result of this, I knew she meant business. After discussing it with her dad, we decided that it was time and that she’d get it done as a special reward after her kindergarten graduation event.
We headed to Claire’s at Willow Grove Mall, and I probably had more butterflies in my stomach than Quinn. She skipped right up towards the store where I took her “before” pictures, and she was so excited to sit in the ear piercing chair holding their teddy bear, Petunia, who had her ears pierced. After looking at the many earring choices, she settled on 24 karat butterfly earrings: butterflies, what a coincidence!
To make the process easy, the Claire’s ear piercing specialist suggested having both ears done simultaneously to which we all agreed. First, I read over and signed the contract, which was probably the most difficult part with all of the warnings and precautions that must be taken into account to ensure that Quinn’s ears heal properly with no infections. Then the location for the piercings was designated and agreed upon. After that, the intense part of getting the actual ear piercings was performed. Quinn held Petunia and sat very still. Then with two simultaneous, loud clicks, and a quick bat of the eyes from Quinn, she was all done: no tears or scream of pain. “That didn’t hurt at all,” she said proudly.
It was such a magical moment over in a matter of seconds. Afterwards, she smiled so wide looking in the mirror and picked out a few more pairs of earrings to wear when she’s all healed. I told her, “Seeing you with earrings is going to take some getting used to for me. It means you’re really a big girl now!” Quinn just smiled and responded, “I am a big girl, Mommy!”
Though there’s so many more milestones to go, this one really “pierced” my heart letting me know there’s no turning back, and with each passing day my daughter is evolving into a big girl and will one day be a young lady and then a grown woman.
Even before my daughter was a year old, she loved to get in the swing, and she was so excited when my husband installed one for her on our tree in the front yard, but as the weather started getting warmer a few months ago, my little girl, who is now four years old, struggled to get in and out of the swing. She informed her father and me, “I need a big girl swing! This one is too small for me now!”
Wow, it seems like yesterday when Quinn would giggle as I pushed her in the swing and was still learning to talk. Now, she does well with articulating herself and even remembers what I taught her about swinging by herself. “You can push me for a little bit, and then I can use my legs to keep going higher and higher,” she told her dad after getting on her newly installed swing a few days ago.
Quinn and I both enjoy looking at pictures, and she especially loves looking at pictures from when she was much younger. When she came across some of her in the swing, she commented, “That’s when I was a baby in the baby swing. Wasn’t I cute? Now, I’m a big girl in a big girl swing!” I just thought to myself, “Where did the time go? I guess we’re swinging right along.”
Though I have only been a mother for a little over two and a half years, I can confirm that the rumors are true: the time from infancy through toddlerhood (and probably beyond) really does fly by. If you’re not a picture taker, I’d urge you to become one because even as a person who has a fairly sharp memory, short term and long term, I find that some moments I consider to be memorable (Who and I kidding…all of them are to me!) are not only fleeting but blurring together.
Every once and a while, my little girl will do something that conjures up one of those memorable moments. One in particular is when she squeezes her 39 inch long body into her infant to toddler rocker and will insist on keeping the pull toys on which make it even more difficult for her to fit. “I love this chair,” she exclaims. I then can’t help but think about when she was just a week old relaxing in her infant seat and how excited I was when she started reaching out for the toys in front of her and spinning them around a few months later. It was our “go-to” chair when I was grading papers, and Quinn wanted to be nearby but not necessarily held.
Of course, I love watching my little girl grow in a multitude of ways, but I also love just reminiscing and thinking about how much she has grown and how much we have grown together as mother and daughter.