Yesterday, we fight. We're running late. She refuses — aggressively, physically — to let me help her tie her shoes. I glance at my watch, put down my bag, and resignedly wait.
I sit on the floor beside her. Still she insists on doing it her way, even in the face of failure, the evidence of the "knot" that slips open before she can stand up.
Twenty minutes of tears have calmed her somewhat. I solemnly promise to her that I won't do it for her. She allows my index finger to come close (but not touching!), to indicate how my way is just a little different than hers. She considers, and she tries it. From this point, it's easy to wiggle the loops and ends back and forth to tighten the bow.
We're ready to go. Late, but proud and finally smiling.
This morning she creeps up to my bed and taps me on the shoulder. "Can I go play quietly by myself, Mama?" I mumble my assent, thankful for a few more minutes. It's not even 6:00 yet.
She's back soon, pulling me out of bed by the hand to see what she's done. Sheets of paper litter the kitchen table. All covered in big words: elephant, rhinoceros, veterinarian, and more. "Play" today evidently consists of the diligent copying of text. She asks me to read them to her and nods, as if to say, "Yes, that's what I thought."
This morning she tied her shoes all by herself.