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Help on when to stop babying your baby

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My daughter is growing up.

This was not always a bad thing. She was not one of those snugly, lovey-dovey babies who oozed with affection and craved companionship.

That was her little brother.

Hadley was the child who put us in our place from day one. The Baby who cried so much the first night we brought her home from the hospital that she lost her voice. She was The Baby who had her pediatrician observe she must be extremely colicky because of her abs of steel from crying. The Baby who would only sleep in 30-minute increments the first six months of her life. The Baby who demanded we address her with respect by only using capital letters.

I was happy for her to cease and desist from being The Baby.

The toddler years were no walk in the park, nor was the two-year-long-nightmare-that-was-potty-training. I’m sure I will be institutionalized during her teen-age years.

But here’s the deal: she is 4 and I really, really like her. Not just the I-love-you-because-I-am-your-mother-and-have-to-love-you thing. But I really enjoy her. She is an independent spitfire who loves to socialize, laugh and play. She cooks, cleans, skis, skates and goes on long walks with me. She has become my little buddy.

I have to admit that sometimes during her infancy, I was counting down the minutes/hours/years until I would send her to kindergarten.

I finally registered a few weeks ago for fall semester.

And I blubbered like The Baby.

No one prepared me for this. How I would battle in those trenches for oh-so many years and suddenly when they start being delightful and you actually want them around, you ship them off to school.

This process is repeated during the teenage years: just as they start to become human again, off to college they go.

Of course, I could always join the contingency of hearty moms who sacrifice their time and talents to homeschool their children.

Kindergarten is suddenly sounding better and better.

How did you react to your children starting school? Has it gotten easier or more difficult over the years to see them growing up?

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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  • comment avatar Momma, The Casual Perfectionist March 9, 2009

    Well, Claire is too young to officially start Kindergarten, but I know how you feel! This school year, we enrolled her in a young preschooler’s class that meets once a week. You’d think that would be no big deal, right?

    Well, we did it because we wanted to see if she was ready to do things without being attached to my hip. As it turns out, *she* was clingy for about 15 SECONDS the first day only, and I barely made it home without bursting into tears!

    As it turns out, this class has been a bigger transition for ME!

    I’m hoping to be an expert at all of this by the time she gets to Kindergarten, but I’m not holding my breath. 😉

  • comment avatar Jennifer March 9, 2009

    {hugs} to you for starters! It is such a tough day.
    I just registered my youngest. While I never cried when registering them, I cried on my walk home after dropping them off that first day. So I am warning you now! Bring kleenex. My only advise is continue to enjoy these wonderful bonding moments you are having and not focus what isn’t in the now.
    Oh, and a hint….. They are always looking for parents to volunteer in the school! Helps to be present, yet not quite as involved as homeschooling!

    Best of luck to you!!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson March 9, 2009

    Ahhhh, thanks guy! Yeah, I definitely dread that first day of school. For me, not her. 🙂

  • comment avatar Ice Cream March 9, 2009

    I was one of those hearty, sacrificing moms who homeschooled to aviod the blubbering moment of letting my kids go to school. I kept them with me for another 3 years and by that time I was more than willing to send them off to public school with nary a tear. I’ve enjoyed the freedom so much I’m not going to be waiting as long with my next two kids. =)

    Embrace it, enjoy it.

  • comment avatar Suzanne B (Crunchy green Mom) March 9, 2009

    My oldest is a junior in high school, my youngest is one.

    When I put my oldest into kindergarten, I was fine, composed, until I saw her run her little legs to the playground to play with the other boys and girls. Away from Mommy….. her little backpack strapped to her like the Disney character might escape…

    That was rough for me, tears were streaming.

    I’ve had three others that have gone in after her, it never ends. Lots of tears, Good luck!

  • comment avatar Head Nurse March 9, 2009

    I had my oldest as a Senior the same year my baby went to Kindergarten. That was the toughest. Plus when my oldest started way back when- it was a little emotional, both the giant “growing up step” and he was my only child at the time- so I was an alone mom. It has been teary every time- but you will be surprised how quickly you adjust LOL! My first spring break, I was annoyed that he was around during my clean the house time 🙂

  • comment avatar Jess March 9, 2009

    With my first two.. I was the blubbering mom standing outside the classroom door trying to find the strength to leave them there. It eventually got better. =)

    But now.. on #3, I wont have to go thru all that as she will be homeschooled…(as are my other two now).. and so Im looking forward to a more natural transition to begining her education. =)

    You would be an awesome homeschoolin momma… =)

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver March 9, 2009

    Oddball here.

    I was the one who left the school, kicking up my heels and pumping my fists in the air.

    I’m a LOVER of milestones of independence.

    But I’m with you on one thing. I will join you in the institution that our daughters send us to.

  • comment avatar Awesome Mom March 9, 2009

    Lalalala! I can’t hear you! I so do not want to think about sending Evan to Kindergarten this fall. He is super excited but I am not so much.

  • comment avatar Kimberly March 9, 2009

    Oh wow…this is my exact experience with Emma. Down to the only sleeping in 30 minute increments the first 6 months. I am enjoying her so much right now and she goes to school in September. I’m totally gutted – and I’ve been looking forward to it for years!

  • comment avatar Stephanie March 9, 2009

    Ummm, I’m still in the counting down to kindergarten stage. In a year I’ll let you know how the sending her off to school goes.
    I like this post. I think it turns around nicely on “The Baby” idea.

  • comment avatar Kassie March 9, 2009

    I had such a hard time thinking about sending my 1st to Kindergarten. It scared me to death, while I was registering her. She was absolutely enthralled with the idea. Then after spending plenty of quality time together over the summer and enjoying her, she decided that she wanted to be a big independent kid. She started driving me crazy. I’m counting it as a blessing cause I don’t think I would have been able to let her go so easily without that. So, you have hope… 🙂

  • comment avatar Damselfly March 9, 2009

    Aw. I just signed up Fly for preschool in the fall. I don’t think it’s hit me yet.

    But here’s another question: Is kindergarten ready for *Hadley*? 🙂

  • comment avatar Jenna Hallock March 9, 2009

    I’ll join the B-group that rejoiced at sending my child to kindergarten! I’ve always fostered independence with a strong dose of unconditional love. Don’t get me wrong, I still get sentimental about the milestones, but I want my kids to see run on ahead of me without looking back!
    There are plenty of things that are actually “sad” and watching our kids grow is one of the great rewards of motherhood – stepping back and watching them make good choices or being a great friend or student from a distance – that is gratifying.
    This whole sending-kids-to-school-thing has done one thing for sure, it makes me hold them all the more closely in the moments that we do have together, realizing that little by little they are becoming more of their own person.

  • comment avatar superpaige March 9, 2009

    Kindergarten, although it sounds like a HUGE step, is really just every day preschool. They leave on the bus, and before you’ve had a chance to get ANYTHING done, they are home again.

    Plus, Kindergarten is a BLAST. They had all kinds of field trips and they always want parents to come for everything.

    So, don’t be too sad. YOu’ll survive. You both will.

  • comment avatar FFG March 10, 2009

    This reminds me of grandfather. He is a grumpy old man & probably has never been cheerful. Right as my father was leaving for college, he said, “Now, that you are starting to contribute around here, you’re leaving.” 🙂

    I know it will be difficult at first, but then the summers will seem long….

  • comment avatar diana/sunshine March 10, 2009

    i remember danielle’s first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday. it was very emotional. it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that she was old enough to be going to school. it was sad to have my “buddy” out of my presence for any great length of time. maybe it’s just as much as a learning process for the mother as it is for the child. good luck.

  • comment avatar Lauren in GA March 10, 2009

    I cried a lot when my first went off to school. What you said is so true…about the time you adore having them around it is time to go to Kindergarten.

  • comment avatar Allie March 10, 2009

    Oh Amber, as I have questioned so much before – Why do they have to grow up so quickly? I just went through the exciting yet emotional kindergarten registration process last week and couldn’t help thinking, what will I do without my buddy here with me every morning to help decide what adventure we were going to go on? My son is so much fun to be with right now that everyday is truly so entertaining and enjoyable when around him.

    Sending him to preschool this year has been rewarding, but I am happy with the two days a week for two hours. I am always excited to pick him up to hear about his day, what he learned but most of all, to pull him close to me because I missed him so darned much.

    Perhaps I should join Twitter so I can tweet you on the first day of Kindergarten knowing that there is another mom out there who will appreciate my self depreciating humour in that moment. 🙂

  • comment avatar Guinevere Meadow March 13, 2009

    Is she going to kindergarten already??? Wow, the time flies.

  • comment avatar Born2Shop March 14, 2009

    I was SOOO excited for Little Man to start Kindergarten. Finger Painting! Music Time! Arts & Crafts! Yay! I though I was so hip and cool to be one of those Moms who was didn’t cry but rather embraced the independance of that first day of school. I even brought my camera to capture the moment for the scrapbook.

    ….yeah…funny thing about that though….I didn’t cry at all his first day of school, but rather I think I must have saved it all up for his last day of school. I cried like a BABY at his Kindergarten Graduation. No more little baby/toddler/preschooler…I had a school-ager now, and somewhere between the verses of the “Quack Quack Duck Song” and watching my about to be 1st grader waddle and wiggle, the realization all came craching down on me.

    Now he is about to graduate Elementary in a just a couple months and start Middle School. Oh heaven help me!! I think I need a kleenex.

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