Monday, June 19, 2017

Closing One Door, Opening Another....


IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | Closing One Door
You know those times when you feel like one of your kids just needs to be cradled through life more than usual for a bit? I feel like I'm doing that currently with my littlest gem as she seems to be in the process of figuring out and accepting who she is and her place in this big, wide world. And I don't mean in a Dr Phil kinda way, but more where she's stretching her little legs and arms out to see how far she can push her unique personality, her creativity, her ability to manage friendships in a tough girl-eat-girl world and how to cope with whatever challenges a healthy eight year old may face (and apparently there are quite a few!) It's a nice time - a time where she needs her Mum to be by her side; to massage her confusion and mixed up thoughts into something that make sense to her and feels right. 

I noticed in recent months that my littlest person was becoming more and more difficult to manage on a day to day basis. Homework time, shower time, and bedtime were always met with a mental collapse of some sort where the gentle negotiation no longer worked and she was getting frustrated and angry a lot of the time. It wasn't her. Her playful, light-heartedness had flattened and she was in constant battle with either her family or herself where she was either beating me up for something or another, or giving herself a dressing down. And that's no good - I can take her beating (as I know it equates to frustration, fear, exhaustion or simply the onset of the sniffles) but nothing good comes from a kid who turns their vitriol on themselves. As it turns out, discovered through simply stopping, listening and allowing her to speak in her own time, she was needing the pace to slow down, the expectations to ease and for life to feel a little bit more like fun. And to my surprise, most of all she was asking for a fresh start where she could test out her eight year old self on new people.  Go figure. Yup - my mind was blown. A lot of kids shy away from change - she was running towards it.

So, after much deliberation and allowing enough time for correct decisions to be made without haste, she's moving schools. She's leaving the pace of the private school where she and her sister have always been, and she's making a fresh start in a new environment where learning is done differently and the pace is largely set by the child. She's driven this move throughout the entire process and has remained steadfast in her choice, eagerly anticipating being the 'new girl' in a new environment.  It's a little scary as a parent to have that much trust in a child and putting them largely in charge of their own life decisions, but how do they learn courage and about potential consequences (both good and bad) if we don't take a safe leap with them? Truth be told, I've bitten my nails down to the core but me and change? We're not a great match - I have a lot to learn from my eight year old it seems.

I figure that if your child has something to say, is crying out to you about elements of their life that they can't cope with, it's our job to listen, to acknowledge and to try and fix things where possible, even if there's an element of calculated risk involved.  So changes are afoot! And I already have my little gem back - not surprisingly, she's lighter, happier, calmer and fun again, now that she's been heard and understood. Only time will tell if our decision has been correct but if she can be brave enough to try something new and a little unknown, then so can I, right? Nothing ventured, nothing gained is my life lesson this year.