Who's Capable?

I was musing this morning, when I awoke to the baby’s babbles on one side and my three year old’s foot in my ear on the other, on the idea of being capable. I remember as my eldest got older, increasingly I would hear statements suggesting I needed to push her forward in her progress. She was capable of spacing her feeds out to every four hours, capable of sleeping through the night, capable of going to sleep alone. Capable of waiting patiently, of saying ‘please’, of keeping her cool when her little brother knocked over her carefully crafted sandcastle…

Children are immensely capable. They have an urge to explore their limits, to experiment with their bodies and surroundings, and to practice, practice, practice until a new skill is mastered. They have a drive to always move forward and progress. 

But, as I’ve talked about previously, this progress is never linear. Over the years, my daughter has slept through the night, gone to sleep by herself and in her own room. And then the next week, for whatever reason, she’s woken frequently, wanted me to lie next to her as she drifts off and chosen to sleep in “the big bed” (which is getting increasingly small).

I know she’s capable of sleeping alone, and I hear the messages that she’s too old to sleep with mum and dad. I wonder if I should encourage her towards independent sleep. 

But I also know that, some days, I have the energy to climb a mountain, and on others I wish I was small enough to be carried in someone’s arms. Tomorrow may be the day she chooses to sleep alone and decides the big bed is too small for her after all. So, today, I’ll move the foot from my ear and think about getting an even bigger bed.