Sometimes I'm keenly aware of every milestone Hailey has mastered. Sitting, kneeling, crawling, walking, signing, her first word, etc. Some milestones hit me like a ton of bricks when I least expect it. I took the kids swimming last week at a waterpark. We have been there maybe a half dozen times over the last year and half. Hailey loves the water and has no fear. We coerced her onto some toddler slides last year. She was uncertain at first, but loved them. The issue was that it was always a two person job. One person to take her up the stairs and sit her on the slide and then another to catch her at the bottom. The water in the pool was up to her chest and she was always so unsteady walking in the water. The boys are always less than thrilled to use some of their precious waterpark time by carting their little sister up to the top of the slide repeatedly...Hailey isn't happy with just two slides. She wants to do it forever! I asked her oldest brother for help, I wanted to see if Hailey could master it herself. She was hesitant at first because she is used to one of the boys always following her and the boys have a hard time not helping her. I had to keep telling Brayden to let her be, but it was bothering him. I asked if he wanted to keep doing this for an hour and he quickly backed off!!! After about 3 times, that was it.
For an hour, I watched Hailey climb 3 steps out of the pool, walk 30 feet to another set of 6 steps, walk another 15 steps, and climb into the slide. Every time she sat on the slide, her face beamed with pride and she waved as she yelled "Hi mom". I'm positive the smile on my face was equally as big. No one could look at me and see how proud I was of her. Her smile didn't fade as she slide down and walked through the water to do it again. Hailey repeated the process for a full hour. She walked with confidence like she owned the place. My husband came by and looked at me a little puzzled. He didn't know I was letting her do it by herself. He asked if she needed help and she shot him a dirty look and answered with a firm "No, I do it". That is exactly what she did.
I never questioned milestones with the boys. They just happened and generally with no assistance from me. I wasn't so sure with Hailey. I assumed she would do most, but you never knew when. Last summer as she rode the exact slide, I was positive she would need assistance for the next couple of years. I'm just as guilty as the boys when it comes to helping her a little too much. I was so incredibly proud of Hailey that day...her independence, her listening and her confidence. I was reminded that day to not underestimate my child. Given the chance, the girl can do almost anything.
These pics have nothing to do with my story, but they do make my heart happy. She's getting so big and turning into a little girl before our eyes (maybe one with a lot of attitude...but that's ok).