It's appropriate that Simon's elementary school is named Independence, because it very much describes the thing that he is gaining, little bits at a time. It's so weird to think about the day we brought him home from the hospital, this tiny little human who couldn't do anything for himself. Tack on memories of frustration where he would cry for hours for reasons we couldn't completely understand (one instance in a hotel, in particular, stands out when he was about six months).
In the last few weeks he has taken an interest in showering by himself. To this point, we've mostly helped him in the bath tub, in large part because one of his "challenges" has been allowing water to pour on his head. It still freaks him out to an extent. But now he wants to shower himself, and he's very proud of himself when he is able to hold his head under the water long enough to rinse the shampoo out of his hair, which he (mostly) washed himself. It won't be long before we simply aren't involved in this process at all.
And it's weird to see that push-pull sentiment in action. Even now, there are times where he'll get upset if we won't hang out in his room while he gets dressed. He can do it himself, and insists, actually, but he wants us to be around.
As the parent, I find myself in the same position. I want him to do as much as I can by himself. It's not really that I have better things to do, but some days I don't want to do the mundane things I have to do for myself, let alone someone else. Still, as this transition continues, it means he needs me less and less. I can't help but feel a little sad about that.
This parenting experience is a part of a broader set of emotions that clearly come with this particular age. At this point in life, I've had a lot of experiences. I'm very aware, every day, of the extraordinary volume of experience, good and bad. It's strange to think about how happy the moment can be, thankful for every one, and simultaneously be stuck on the nostalgia of the better moments of the past. I'm attending a conference at one of my favorite vacation spots this week, which is now local, and it exemplifies this phenomenon in every way. That will have to be another blog post...