I've been saying for a while that we're in a beautiful "in-between" state of parenting.
On the one hand, I don't have to watch my kids every moment. We have to be in the house with them, of course, but we can leave them to their own devices to play, etc.
At the same time, they still listen to me and think I know what I am talking about.
I also know that this period of time isn't going to last forever.
The other day, Nadia (age 5) received a CD as a party favor at a birthday party and one of the songs was called "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson. Not that I had ever heard it before, but Tonka (age 9) had.
Turns out, it's the popular song among the 3rd grade set and, pretty soon, we had heard the song about 100 times. Later on, I discovered the 3 of them dancing around the den listening to the song, but that wasn't the moment that I realized that Tonka was on the verge.
Instead, I saw her looking into the TV (it was off) and staring at her reflection as she lip synced the words and danced to the music. It just seemed like something a teenager would do.
I stood there admiring it, but at the same time, it was a harbinger of another era on the horizon.
At least the song has a good, Nietzsche-inspired message, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," so if she has to repeat a mantra 100 times, that's as good a lesson as any.