Trust. And faith. And fun.
I have such faith that there are good things in our life. Hearing Lilly say her bedtime prayers affirms that there is truly a God listening to her and blessing our family and that He's pretty proud of her too.
Tuesdays are "fun" days at our house. It's the only day of the week where Lilly has no after school activity. (Speech x2, swimming, soccer, dance, Broadway, the usual.) So the other option is to make Tuesdays really boring and tedious; but instead we always try to come up with a fun activity.
Today, we made homemade play dough. She poured everything and mixed it together in a pot, and then I cooked it, and then it was ready. I didn't use food coloring because I wasn't sure if it would get on our hands, so instead we had bland white play dough. But it inspired our creativity. We made lots of snowmen. And we made lots of "eggs" which Lilly then pretended to crack, pour and stir into scrambled eggs. It was a lot of fun with my girl.
Then, after dinner, Jon still wasn't home, so Lilly and I were thinking of something to do. I needed half and half, and instead of having Jon stop on the way to pick it up, I told Lilly that we were going to the store.
Normally after dinner she takes a bath, so she loves the days when I mix things up. She asked if we were going to get a bagel, and I told her no, we were going to get milk for my coffee. She ran into her room, shut the door, and came out 2 minutes later with her fancy brown shoes on. I handed her a five dollar bill, and she asked for a purse. She found her purse by the front door (of course) and put the money inside, got on her jacket, and walked out the door.
She was grinning ear to ear when we got in the elevator. She pushed "L" for "Lobby" (and Lilly) and happily walked out the door and down the street to our outrageously priced gourmet grocer. (Although half and half isn't too bad.) Right before the Grace's Market, she stopped to "window shop" at a toy store where there are Sesame Street dolls in the window. After looking a minute at those, she spotted a Justin Bieber "barbie" and sang loudly "Baby Baby Baby, Oh..." (I swear that while I rolled my eyes at the time, we'll probably own that Justin Bieber doll really soon.)
Lilly resumed her walk into Grace's, and I directed her through the crowd to the back. I showed her which one is mommy's half and half, and she was so proud. "Mommy's coffee milk!" We walked towards the front to pay, and Lilly totally knew what to do. She put her item up, the lady scanned it and said the price, Lilly gave her a $5, then took the change back. I don't know what makes other moms proud, but witnessing my child shop independently definitely brought a tear to my eyes.
Lilly put the change in her purse, grabbed the bag with the half and half, and confidently walked back outside. She knew which way to walk on the busy Upper East Side streets to get us back to the apartment, stopping briefly to wave at Justin Bieber again. She went inside our building, showing the doorman "I got milk!" and when we got in the elevator she showed the other passengers "coffee! milk!" She carried it proudly into our apartment, and our expedition was complete.
I have such a fun time with my girl. She appreciates that I trust her to be able to accomplish things, and she learns so much in the process of becoming independent, and letting me step back and let her have control of the situations. My coffee will taste a little bit sweeter in the morning.