My family and I went exploring during spring break last week and ended up at an ethereal place on Vancouver Island called Fairy Lake. These three trees captured me; I couldn’t look away from them. A well-loved painter and poet around here is Emily Carr. These trees made me think of her.
Look at the earth crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground, each seed according to its own kind…each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth. So artist, you too from the depths of your soul…let your roots creep forth, gaining strength. (Emily Carr)
In Developmental psychology, the age of reason is the age when a child is capable of carrying on complex conversation with an adult, usually around seven or eight years old. My BA was full of psychology courses but all the textbook reading and expert opinion comes alive as I actually watch my own children go through the different stages.
My son is turning six this week and I can see glimpses of the age of reason popping up all over the place. Suddenly we are having conversations about death, about right and wrong, about why some daddies don’t live in the same house as the mommies and kids. I watch my son thinking about the things he overhears me saying to my husband and I’m more careful when I talk, knowing that he misses nothing.
The sweet filter of innocence is starting to fray around the edges as my son realizes that not everyone is kind and good and not every story ends the way he thinks it should. I’m torn as to how I feel about his approach to this new age and stage.
On one hand, I adore finally having more in-depth conversations with him; conversations that go beyond, “Can I have some juice?” and “Mom! My sister broke my Lego!” It’s been almost six years of baby and little-kid conversations and it’s nice to change things up. It’s exciting to see my son maturing and taking on little bits of responsibility all by himself. “It’s okay, little sis, I’ll get your dolly for you.” and “Mom, today I took my friend to the office because someone hit him in the face.” I wonder, is this stage a reward for a mom who’s talked about only snacks, toys, sleep and bodily functions for six years?
On the other hand, it breaks my heart. Walking up the hill from kindergarten the other day we had our first conversation about death. “You mean everybody dies, Momma? But I don’t want to die!” The look on his face almost finished me off then and there and I realized that this was just the beginning of the tough discussions. Ready or not, they are here. I hope that the listening and responding I do now will be good practice for when he is a teenager and the questions get even harder.
I saw the best quote on Facebook last year that has stuck with me:
The minute I saw the subject for this week’s weekly photo challenge I knew I had just taken a perfect picture for it. It’s a little blurry but captures the excitement that’s going on in our house now. Ages 2 and 5, my children are at the ideal age to revel in the magic of Christmas. Our neighbours had their lights up early this year, in mid-November, and my son insisted we follow suit ASAP. Of course one string of lights wasn’t enough; we had to stretch out all the lights we could find all around our family room. My daughter (almost 2.5) was right in on it this year. My son is the perfect teacher, bringing her up to snuff on all that is important about preparing for Christmas.
This week’s photo challenge asked bloggers to choose a photo that shows “horizon”. I immediately thought of this picture of my daughter, taken on a hot day in early September. We were at the beach close to our house. There were only a few other people there and the tide was out, making the perfect sandbar for the kids to play on. Behind us, my son and husband were net fishing in a warm tide pool. The water was icy, icy cold but my daughter didn’t care. She beelined far out into the ocean, so far that she looked teeny tiny in the vastness of the water. She has no fear yet, my two-year old. I hope she can hang on to her boldness as long as possible. 🙂
I love the way the huge evergreens in our new neighbourhood march down the street, strong, tall and steady as they’ve been for decades. Since my son is in kindergarten now, the pattern of our days has changed. I take advantage of the hilly streets and most days go for a big walk with my daughter on the way home from school drop-off.
It is a luxury to spend this precious one-on-one time with such a darling companion. There’s usually nowhere to rush off to, no need to continually divide my attention among two children. I’m free to release my daughter from her stroller whenever she feels like it, to run and splash and laugh crazily in the perfect puddles left after last evening’s downpour.
There is no quicker cure for crabby children on a rainy day than a blanket fort. If I really want to have happy kids all I need to do is start tossing the couch cushions onto the floor. My son starts dragging stuffed animals, blankets & pillows to the living room from all over the house. My daughter bounces around with glee knowing that it’s time to play. So many times when the kids ask to build a fort I say no; it makes such a disaster out of the house, is a pain to clean up, etc. But once in a while I like to say yes. This kind of smile is what it happens: