Independence is a great thing. It's something we parents pray our children will have mastered by the time they become adults.
But at 3 years old?
Evie, my granddaughter who turned 3 in April, has an independent streak a mile long. She's going through a stage, I guess, where she's not only exhibiting her independence, she's enjoying it.
Don't try to help her into her car seat, for example. She climbs in, buckles herself up and checks to see if the door is locked.
She folds clothes (quite well, I might add), sweeps, dusts, pulls weeds from flower beds, pours her own drinks, makes the bed (sort of), feeds the pets, waters the plants and much more.
The thing is, Little Miss Independence gets seriously ticked off when you won't let her do something, such as grilling, pruning shrubs, cooking or using a knife to cut up her food. Her 3-year-old brain tells her that, if we can do it, so can she.
She told me last week that she was old enough now to have her own phone.
What she won't do these days is let me kiss her at will. When I ask for a kiss or a hug, she'll say, "Maybe, later. I'm very busy."
And, I'm learning to not call her "baby" (for now). She says she's 3 and a "big girl."
Nevermind that I still call my adult children "baby" because, to me, they will always be my babies, as will my grandchildren. But I'll just have to honor Evie's request and refer to her as a "big girl."
It's bittersweet observing this milestone. I love that she's articulate, energetic, sweet, spunk and all around a very happy little girl. I'm proud of that.
Still, when she's tired, the big-girl attitude takes a back seat to her old baby ways. She crawls in my lap, snuggles her face to my neck and lets me kiss away.
Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill. Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karen nazorhill.