"I want to be alone!"
That came out of my 4-year-old's mouth a couple of months ago, and I wasn't quite ready for it.
You get used to your kids needing you for absolutely everything: eating, sleeping, pooping, you-name-it. So when I heard those words, it kind of stopped me in my tracks for a few seconds. Of course, I complied. I'm no fool -- who wants trouble with a 4-year-old?
We encourage our daughter to do things on her own for various reasons, and she has always been fine entertaining herself with Lego, puzzles, and Play-Doh.
But this was different. She and I were playing with her princess collection (yes, she has a princess collection), when she suddenly asked me without any provocation if she could continue on her own. She said she needed to put the princesses to bed.
I'll admit that in my mind, I reviewed what had just happened -- Cinderella said this, then Ariel said that -- and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. It was just regular conversation between two princesses. So I asked, "You want to play alone for a while?" -- just to make sure I had understood her. She said, "Yes."
That was that. Since then, it's been happening once or twice a week. It could be when she's made a "bed" somewhere in the house and wants to "sleep," or when she's coloring.
I guess I'm starting to get used to it -- and I'm certainly thankful that she has an independent streak -- but it still bums me out on occasion, especially when I'm having fun with her. I mean, who wouldn't want to know what Snow White talks about with Sleeping Beauty?
So sometimes our daughter needs "alone time" from her Daddy or Mommy, or her 19-month-old brother... or perhaps all of us. It's perfectly understandable, but it reminds me that as she gets older, the amount of time she's going to want to be left alone is only going to increase. And I already miss her.
For now, I can always just go grab my son. He still needs me for stuff -- just about all the time.
When does your child ask to be left alone?