One of our grocery stores is inside a small mall with a play place. The rest rooms are not far away, but on a different floor, so a visit involves an elevator ride, and Vivienne was reluctant to go alone. No problem; Janet went with her and I stayed with the others. What makes this something worth reporting is what happened a little later.
Daniel was still happy in the play place, but Joseph and Vivienne decided they wanted to explore. They had a particular plan in mind, worked out the details with Mom, and off they went: up the elevator to the fifth floor, check out a particular store ("from the outside only, not going in"), come back down again and check in with Mom before going back into the play place. They did exactly that, returning in just a few minutes with big grins.
Only a few minutes later Vivienne left the play place again, and asked permission to take another exploratory trip. This was a slightly larger stretch for Mom and Grandma, since this time she would be on her own, without her older brother. But she did just great, and immediately announced that she had to use the bathroom again, and would do it all by herself.
She did just that. The look of triumph on her face was priceless. Well worth the maternal and grandmaternal nervousness we experienced upon watching the elevator doors close on our little adventurer.
I say this is growth and learning at its best.
- Her initial fears and dependence were accommodated without shaming.
- She stretched her comfort limits as part of her older brother's project.
- She repeated the same experience without her brother, making all the decisions (and pushing all the buttons) on her own.
- Finally, she repeated the bathroom trip completely independently.
This triumph was accomplished within a span of perhaps half an hour, with no pressure, no tears, at her own pace, when she was ready.
Joy all around.