“You and relaxation are complete strangers, aren’t you?” 11-year old Baby said this morning.
I laughed, but there was a part of me that was horrified by her insight. Last night she announced that she was old enough to get herself ready for school, and I didn’t have to wake up in the morning to supervise her activities.
She took the alarm clock, set it for 5.30 and set out the day’s uniform. Breakfast was going to be a cold cereal, probably Wheatbix, with milk. “Enjoy the extra hours of rest and relaxation in bed,” she said.
We didn’t consider that I am a control freak when it comes to her, and couldn’t just relax, assuming all her morning tasks would get done.
I felt a little lost, not being in control of the alarm clock. So I didn’t sleep well, because I was worried that it would ring and she’d miss it.
She got up on time, ran a bath and did all the things she was supposed to do. Except Control Freak Mommy woke up before the alarm rang “ to make sure all was in order” and kept asking, ”Are you done taking a bath?” “Why haven’t you finished dressing yet?” “You should dress faster; you won’t have time to eat breakfast at that rate.”
“Stay in bed and get some rest,” she’d say. “I’m fine.”
I suspect what she meant was, “for the love of all the rotten tomatoes, will you just shut up and let me do this by myself?”
I know what Baby’s move to be independent in the mornings means: it means she’s no longer a baby.
And Control Freak Mommy has to let go a little. She has to trust that her baby can do certain things without help. She has to stay out of it while Baby gets ready for school, even if the tension becomes unbearable. And if Baby does not cope well, and ends up late for school, she has to be allowed to take responsibility for her actions.