That Moment Your Child Becomes a Person


It’s something else isn’t it? Watching something you made–Or at least grew and gave birth to, grow into a person with a personality, thoughts and opinions of their own. Of course this is gradual. I mean it starts when they’re babies and shove away the peas on a spoon. Then it evolves into requests for a certain book, song, or TV show. Then maybe a favorite dress, or pair of shoes. And then before you know it their requests and passions are dictating your schedule.

Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person. Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person.

My daughter first started gymnastics about three years ago. She was just a toddler and participated in a mother’s morning out program with gymnastics twice a week. It was obvious she had no natural talent so I did what any irrational wannabe-tiger-parent would do and signed her up for an entirely different activity. This time it was dance: Ballet, tap, jazz and then a hip hop class on the side.

That was fun. We enjoyed it, but after a couple of years I got tired of hunting down the lost tap shoe minutes before class started. And days and days of recitals (and recital fees) so we decided to hang up the tutus. She didn’t object, or put up any sort of fight. In fact she was happy with her art class and we were starting homeschool. We didn’t have time for much else.


Fall hit and that meant football. A lot of football. Every year for the games Lil’ J gets decked out in team spirit with pom poms, jerseys and/or cheer outfits. She roots and chants little cheers I remember from high school.

On the vision board she made last year she has a photo of the BYU cheerleading squad. Apparently this is a dream of hers. I say apparently because I know her mind can change and even if not, it’ll be a stretch but HEY… I’m not ever one to knock down someone from their big dreams.

BYU Fangirl

We signed her up for some trial tumbling classes and though she was admittedly not very good, she still wanted to go each week. As an early Christmas gift we bought her a couple months of private lessons for her to work on her technique.

Week after week I’d watch and cringe as she’d stumble out of a cartwheel, or botch a handstand.

“Is it even worth keeping this up if they aren’t any good? I mean how much time do you give someone?” I’d say to my husband. I mean we know she wasn’t born with a natural ability and that’s ok. I believe with hard work, anything is possible. But how long do you let the delusion go on?

“She’s a kid!” My husband would say to me. “Only 6! She doesn’t need to be good, she just needs to have fun.”

He’s always coming at me with sense and stuff.

Tiny gymnast 6-years-old. It's crazy watching your child become a person.

I decided to back off a bit. Not that I was saying any of these things to her–This was me just internalizing and ranting to my husband. But I chilled out and just encouraged her. I offered to help her practice, take pictures or record her if she wanted. I’d stay after and ask her coach if there was anything we could work on between lessons.

I don’t know exactly what happened. It seems like one day I was begging her to practice and the next she didn’t want to stop. She walks into lessons ready to listen and learn and try her best. She asks me to text her coach with updates on her progress at home. She can hold a handstand and do a backbend with ease. She’s surpassed any gymnastics talent I’ve ever had, and with hard work, she’s actually getting pretty good.

And she’s set some goals of her own. I’m still working on my 2017 goals but she has her list set. She wants to eat healthier, work out with daddy and get her back and front walkover (by her birthday in July). I don’t think that will be a problem for her.

BYU family superfans

Who is this person? This person who once did backflips in my uterus. This little 6-year-old who has not only opinions but dreams and goals.

She is my child, emerging as her own person.


{Lil’ J is 6 years and 6 months old at the time of this post.}

Helping kids grow into their personalities.

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  1. I am always amazed at how well kids learn and absorb things. My son started band at 10 not playing very well and is now a member of the North Florida Honor band. It’s all in the hard work and dreams they set for them self. Lil J is doing fabulous and as a mom I’m proud of her.

  2. Just proves hard work really can pay off 🙂 In just a blink of an eye they go from such dependence of us to wanting to do it on their own.

  3. Your husband makes a world of sense! She’s “Only 6! She doesn’t need to be good, she just needs to have fun.” They grow up so fast on their own. There is no reason to push it. She looks absolutely beautiful and happy and healthy.

  4. It’s so amazing to see when something clicks for a kid. We have had a similar experience with ournoldest daughter this year with tumbling. She was frustrated but then it just all came together. Proud mom moment for sure!

  5. My oldest is 18, and I sometimes still refuse to see him as a person. I guess he will always be my baby. But you are definitely right about letting them have fun at an activity.

  6. I feel that something special happens when we give someone the room to be themselves, and do what they need to do. It sounds like she is having lots of fun and reaching for her dreams!

  7. nice post ….My both daughters are learning piano …elder one plays very well and the younger one is 6 ..just started…and i see her having fun all the time…even when i tell her to focus and do things nicely .she is in no mood….but when she really wants to do it..she plays beautifully…
    so just relax ..they are children they need to have fun..lets not push and am sure they will be good at whatever they enjoy doing..

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