Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sophie in Bloom

Everything is in bloom right now in Texas-bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and other spring wildflowers, bright green grass, and my daughter Sophie.

It's the spring of Sophie.

Sophie's always been a pretty reserved baby and child, much like my VERY reserved Canadian husband, J. While she talks at home, when confronted with a stranger in public asking her questions, Sophie's the kid who doesn't answer. And this is kind of okay with me on the stranger-danger front, but as a person who is a people-pleaser by nature, I find myself answering FOR her and excusing her silence with the comment "She's a little shy!" Which I know is bad and I shouldn't make excuses for her and call her shy-it's OK and that's just her personality. But the people-pleaser in me can't help myself sometimes.

At the Japanese Tea Garden, one of my favorite spots in San Antonio

At day school, her teacher has worried about Sophie all year, because Sophie never talks in class. She always knows the answers, does pretty much everything she's asked to do, and is generally well behaved, but she's quiet as a mouse.

Any time when she's not quiet is generally because she is uncomfortable in a new situation and full-on freaks out for the world to see. She cried every week the first six weeks she was in soccer class. In December, she freaked out at her dance recital and couldn't bring herself to dance with her class ("Mommy, everyone was LOOKING AT ME!"). In fact, she freaked out at her own birthday party last year among all her friends when she realized everyone was looking at her during the birthday song!

BUT! A change has come over Sophie in the past few months and it is amazing and delightful to witness.

She is talking more and more to her teacher in class, and not just talking-talking without being prompted BY the teacher to talk. She's also talking more in public, even to people she does not know. Now, when a lady in Target compliments how cute she is and asks her how old she is, she readily volunteers her age, complete with three fingers held up for the lady to see. This never used to happen!

Monday, at the doctor's office, Sophie told the nurse her age without even being asked. Then, when the doctor came in, she informed the doctor that her ear was bothering her, totally unprompted. She chatted away with the audiologist giving her a hearing test about the stuffed animals making noises during the test.

Sophie and her soccer coach!

In soccer, she is now completely confident in her skills and does every single part of class without getting upset or melting down. She's often the first to score a goal! Unlike most of the other kids in class, she no longer needs us to be on the field to help her during class, we only have to be nearby so she can high-five us when she does something well!

A reward from her teacher! Potty training is almost at an end for us! SO PROUD!

And y'all, to top it all off, in the last two weeks, not only did she finally begin going poop on the potty and doing it consistently (after several months of peeing on the potty only), she began GOING TO THE POTTY WITHOUT ANY PROMPTING FROM ME. Now, she just goes to the potty. On her own. When she needs to. Without me reminding her. OK, I still remind her occasionally, because I am trained to at this point, but she's going when the mood strikes her and not having accidents. THIS IS FABULOUS.

Now we just need to work on getting rid of the overnight diaper, but this is HEAVEN compared to the HELL potty training has wreaked on our life for the better part of the last two years (take note, Moms, don't start too early like I did!).

As a mother, I've just been so blown away with how she has bloomed into this tall, confident, sweet, funny, independent, polite little girl in the last few months. She climbs in and out of the car and car seat on her own. She eats without getting it all over herself. She talks and talks and talks. She says "No thank you" politely when you ask her if she needs help with something. And then does it herself! She lets me help her get dressed in the morning and do her hair without ANY fuss. She is a far cry from the tantrum-y two-year-old of last year.

Cowgirl Sophie has no fear! Don't you love the boots?
She loves things that sparkle, just like her Mama.

Another change is even more wonderful for me. Sophie, who has always been a complete Daddy's girl, practically J's shadow, who always wants Daddy for everything, has now turned her favor to me.

We've always had our Friday Fundays together when I'm off work, and she's always been all about me on those days. But any other day or moment when Daddy is around, it's always been all about him. "I want Daddy to do it! I want to sit by Daddy! I want to go with Daddy!"

Now, the tide has turned. She still loves J and probably still loves him best LOL, but I'm the one she wants. "I want Mommy to do it! I want to sit by Mommy! I want to go with Mommy!" I think this change has a lot to do with the fact that J moved offices recently. Now, instead of him taking her to school and me picking her up, as we've done for years, he's working 25 minutes away, so I take and pick her up from school every day. She's spending more time with me and I'm the one who's there more, so I'm the one she wants. And I love it!

On April 14th, Sophie's going to be a flower girl in my cousin's wedding. When I asked her if she wanted to do it last fall, Sophie said yes and has been really excited about it, but based on how she reacted to the dance recital and other situations, I was terrified about how she was going to do.

This is Sophie's flower girl dress. I call it the Bjork Swan Tutu,
although I think she looks beautiful in it. My cousin is a former pageant girl,
so I wasn't surprised the dress she chose was, um, over the top. Sophie loves it!

Now though, I'm excited, because Sophie has been in bloom all spring and walking down the aisle as a flower girl seems like an appropriate way to cap off this wonderful season. No matter WHAT happens at the wedding, I'm so proud of her and I love her so, so much.