Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Kind of Milestone


There are many milestones is growing up/parenting, but I find this one particularly striking.  It was not one I expected to see taking place quite so soon, and certainly not one I sought out, but as often happens with child-led education techniques, curiosity gave way to major advances:  Cadence can now clean the cat litter box.

James has traditionally been in charge of that particular chore, due in large part to my (evidently frequent) pregnancies [note for the uninitiated:  pregnant women are 'not supposed' to do that chore due to the relatively small possibility of exposure to toxoplasmosis via the feline fecal matter...though single expectant moms with cats need not despair; proper hygiene, especially if you also use protective gear such as mask/gloves, usually eliminates that risk almost entirely.].  Lately, Cadence has taken an interest in watching him perform the task, and at some point last week, she came flying into the room to inform me that he had agreed that she was old enough to try doing it herself.  I can't explain how proud and excited she was...I think she's well aware of the level of responsibility this entrusts her with, more than actually wanting to deal with cat poop.  (Plus, I think our sometimes unusually fastidious kid also enjoys the idea that, if it is bothering her, she can now take matters into her own hands and do something about it.)

So, James taught her how to do it, and supervised as she tested out the new skill...but the real test came earlier this week, when James had to take a trip to NYC for a job interview, leaving the litter-cleaning task to us...and Cadence stepped forward and asked to be in charge of it.  All by herself.  (She made a great pitch, too, I have to say, citing the safety risks to her unborn sibling if I were to do it, as well as her experience and practice, which would allow her to fill a needed niche...I have high hopes for her ability to write good cover letters when she eventually starts looking for jobs!) We agreed, though we assured her that it wasn't so dangerous that I couldn't help her if she needed it, and she amicably agreed to accept help if it came down to that.  

We needn't have worried...she did an AMAZING job...careful, clean, thorough...right down to scrubbing her hands well afterwards.  The only thing I had to do was to talk her out of doing it three times a day, which was mostly because I worried that having people mess with their privy so often would upset the cats!  She was proud, I was proud, Hazel was proud, and of course James was proud when he heard ALL ABOUT IT upon his return.

Cadence and Lily share a moment
Lady-B is certainly growing up!  I continue to be amazed by her every single day.  I am so super-duper proud of that kid.