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School Days

Yesterday was Jude's first day of first grade.  It was also his first time doing a traditional school day, since he attended a kindergarten in which the days alternated in length between 3 and 5 hours.

This child is living proof that independence really can come through initial dependence.  For the first three years or so of Jude's life, he practically wanted to crawl back into my womb to live.  He was so timid and fearful.  He lacked confidence.  He shied away from groups.  He literally trembled when I left him. 

As a first time parent, I worried that his behavior was the result of my parenting.  We were 'attachment parenting' for lack of a better term and other parents would comment that we needed to leave him more often or push him into independence.  Little things, like our decision not to leave him in the church nursery, were examples to others of how "overprotective" we were.  Still, pushing him into independence didn't feel right to us.  Some nudging, perhaps, but we wanted him to blossom in his own time.

And blossom he did.  At the end of his kindergarten year, his teachers told me that one phrase they had never heard from Jude was "I can't."  This once timid mama's boy is now eager to try new things.  He was enthusiastic about going to a brand new school, about meeting new friends. (Can I admit that I was the one with butterflies in my stomach?)

While he had a bit of trepidation when Dan finally said goodbye, by the time I picked him up he had worked through it.  I asked him how he liked school and he exclaimed, "I loved it!"  I then asked if this meant he doesn't want to do homeschool.  He sighed and rolled his eyes, "Mom!"

I guess that's a no for now.

I share our story in case others are in the same position as we were a few years ago.  If you are blessed with a child who others might label 'clingy' or 'high maintenance'  know that you don't have to push the child away to make him independent.  Children all develop in their own time, at their own pace.  Every child's personality is different.  I'm learning now more than ever that parenting is not like following a recipe.  Even though we parent our kids in the similar way, all three of them have distinctly different personalities, which result in distinctly different challenges, strengths and needs.

We live in a society that values rugged individualism.   So much so that these ideals are placed on children as young as babies.  We have found that when you nurture the seedling, allowing for dependence, the bloom is sure to follow... in its own time.

And it's oh so beautiful to see.


  1. Thanks for giving hope to those of us mamas who are criticized for "coddling" our kids too much! Just this week, I was chastized for carrying M because "he's too big to be picked up". (He weighs 28 lbs, fully clothed and soaking wet!)

    Jude looks so much like Dan in those pictures!

  2. oh my look how grown up he looks!!! Where does the time go?

    I am glad his first day went so well and glad he is taking it on with gusto.

    I would say we are in the same boat, while Hayden is so independent with us and confident, she for sure approaches new people, things and situations with hesitation and trepidation. I think people would say she is clingy and very HIGH MAINTAINENCE, but in the end I think we are doing what she needs and providing the security she needs. I think in the end she will be like Jude....she will go out into the world with confidence and zest!!!

    Hope you are surviving this heat being pregnant...must make it even worse:( I can barely stand it myself.

  3. OH- I'm getting choked up because Jude is going to school all day. WHAT?!?!?! :) He looks so grown up and how can one kid look so much like his dad, but also so much like his mom?

    I know EXACTLY what you are talking about in this post- Sawyer was SO similar. WAIT till you see how Jude blooms this year- it will be amazing and wonderful for you to watch!

    But, I'm having a *sniff sniff* moment because he won't have lazy unstructured days to play dress up in his pajama pants (seems like you always have pictures of him like that). I can only imagine how you are feeling! :)

    And, Gosh, he's cute in his uniform, huh? :) Just about two more years before he tells you he has a crush on a girl (yep, that happened to me yesterday *sigh*)


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