Heartache... OR I enjoy being a cliche

Y'know, with Char, the first time she tried something for herself was the last time she ever asked for our help on it. Even if it means stumbling along on her own, stubbornly claiming "I've got it! Leave me be!" Her independence has always just been such a huge part of who she is.

So now, seeing Ellie, my little one, who is about to turn 4 and seems so old to me now, seeing her become more independent, doing more for herself, is just breaking me down in the most random ways.

Case in point that prompted this... We just went to the park with 2/3 of the triplets from next door, and hung out for an hour and a half or so there, playing in the sand, having fun. Headed back and Char went ahead with the other kids and went into their grandparents' house next door.

El and I meandered home on our own time, and I told her to come inside to get washed up and change clothes. Normally, she doesn't put up a stink about heading over to hang with the big kids. She's happy to make a meal with me, or watch non-Wizards of Waverly Place programs on tv, or play dolls with me. But today she asked to head over there. And stuck on it, not whining, just that she'd like to head over.

So off she went. Remembering to close the door at the top of our back steps because the air is on. Remembering to admonish Millie for trying to go outside.

I watched out the kitchen window as she crossed the driveway, opened their gate, and slipped into their yard, remembering to latch the gate shut behind her, and then cross the patio to their back door.

When did she get old enough to do all that? What switch flipped to make her remember to shut the doors, close the gate, not let Millie out?

I feel like I've missed something, but like everything with your children, things just happen. There's never a definitive moment for any of their changes. It really just happens.

I just thought Ellie would stay a little littler a little longer.