I have a tendency to stick close by Kayla when we're out and about. She's not exactly a wanderer, but more like she doesn't always pay attention to her surroundings ... or to where I am.
She wants more independence though. She doesn't always want me right there following her.
This summer we were in a restaurant restroom. I was waiting for her at the sink while she was still in the bathroom stall. All of a sudden she yelled out to me,
"Go wait outside!"
Me, "Outside where?"
K, "Out the door!"
Me, opening the door, but calling out to her, "Don't forget to wash your hands."
K, "Oka-ay" (said with an attitude)
As the door closed behind me I heard, "I know that!"
At the hair salon I left her while she was getting her hair washed to go check on Lucas in the waiting area. A few minutes later I went back to check on her getting her hair cut and she shooed me away with her hand telling me to go be with Lucas.
Our local water park had a "Special Needs Swim Night" where it was opened after normal closing time only for families with special needs. After we put our stuff down in chairs I told Kayla I wanted her to try going to the bathroom before we went to any of the water activities. As I was getting ready to go with her she took off running to the bathroom calling behind her, "I know where it is! I got it mom!" It wasn't crowded, she did know where the bathroom was and we weren't that far from it so I let her go. (Ok, I asked Joe to go follow her and just wait in the general vicinity of the bathroom area).
Sometimes I drop her off at the front door of her vision therapy appointment or ballet class and then I go park. It may not be a big deal for most 11 year olds to do this, but for me...and for her...it is. It means I can trust her to do exactly what she is supposed to do and go exactly where she needs to go. She goes right to the vision therapy room with her folder, or right to her ballet room without distraction.
We were in the waiting room for a doctor appointment and when her name was called I walked down the hallway behind her. She told me, "You go wait back there for me." That one I couldn't oblige her with though and told her I had to go to doctor appointments with her.
It can be bittersweet to realize you're not needed as much anymore.
But independence and confidence are beautiful things.