I try to be cognizant of opportunities to let my children have their independence.
After much thought and discussion, the girls are permitted to play outside by themselves, in the front yard, with the front door open and the storm door cracked so I can hear them. I cannot see them, however, and while I make sure to stay on the first floor and listen out for them, and check on them every few minutes, they are largely out of my sight. They are extremely trustworthy about staying within our established boundaries, that I don't worry about that. Of course I worry about them being kidn@pped, but given the joy that they get from playing outside and my belief that they both know what to do if someone, anyone, asks them to get in their car, and the traffic on our street at 5pm, which is when they are often playing outside, Mr. Q and I feel that it's the right decision.
The other day I checked on them and saw that they were jumping rope and playing with the Dora scooter. I was surprised to learn that Beezus had been able to open the garage door all by herself ! I gently reminded her to put the toys away when it was time to come in, so I was SHOCKED when they came inside a few minutes later and the toys were inside the garage with the door shut.
Then, this morning they were both giving me a hard time getting dressed. Although Ramona has been putting on her own coat, shoes, hats, and mittens for months, sometimes they dress themselves and sometimes they need me to hurry them along. In exasperation, I set their clothes out and said, "I'm done helping you. Call me when you are ready to go to school." and walked out of their room. A few minutes later, they are standing by the front door fully dressed with coats on. Granted, nobody brushed their teeth, but they are still little !
I need to try this more often !!!