Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learning and Growing


Imagine with me for a moment, you have welcomed a friend into your home and as you both start talking your friend begins to open your craft cupboard and search through your stash of yarn and fabric. Then as you move to the kitchen to make a cup of tea for the two of you, your friend begins to go through your pantry and search through your fridge. Your friend then moves to your bathroom, opening the cabinet where you keep all your personal care products. She is searching for something, but you are not quite sure what.

How do you feel about this? Exposed? Intruded upon? Questioning just why she is going through your stuff? I am thinking that if this were me, I would feel some of those things. I might feel like it was a bit of an invasion, both of me personally and of my privacy. I would definitely be a little taken a back by it and most likely a little confused as to just what she was doing.

In all of this, though, I have the ability and maturity to control both my actions and my words. I might politely ask just what I could do for my friend. I might ask just what she is looking for. I might even be able to offer assistance with whatever it is she seems to need. Yes, this behaviour would all seem very strange to me, but I am pretty sure I would be able to handle it with some amount of calm.

I sometimes have to play out these scenarios in my mind in order to better understand just what my little man is going through. As you know we have welcomed a little one into our home to join us on our homeschooling journey one day a week. We are only five weeks in, and to say I was a little deflated when she left yesterday afternoon would be an understatement.

Over the last five weeks we have had a wonderful time, the two kiddos have played quite well together on most occasions and for the most part is it working out very well. But there is one exception, my little man seems to be having a little trouble allowing her in to every part of his space, and by this I mean his stuff. And yesterday after a morning of co-operative and very imaginative play, the tides shifted and it was rough. Reece didn't want her to play with the farm animals, then when she wanted to play with something else, she couldn't play with that either. It seemed anything she wanted to play with, he decided it was not to be played with.

As you can imagine this was tough on both little ones. My little one struggling with the reality of someone in his space using all of his stuff and the other little one just trying to find her place in our home.

And so as I laid with Reece last night, holding him as he fell asleep, I closed my eyes and imagined how I would feel. And you know what, I get it. I really do. I expected him to open his space, his room, to this little one. To let her in and play with whatever she wanted. And while, yes I do want him to understand the idea of making someone feel welcome, I do understand where he is coming from and what a struggle this must be for him. Without the words to fully describe what he is feeling and the maturity to understand it, my little man is struggling with this reality.

Slowly that deflated feeling started to lift. Slowly I recognized just how difficult this was for him. Slowly I came to understand a little more how much we, both he and I, have to learn on this journey. And the growth, oh the growth we are both experiencing as we move through and along this path.

Finding our balance in this won't be easy, I know that. Today I will share with Reece my observations from my quiet time as he fell asleep last night, I will ask him how he is feeling about all of this and then we will sort through it, one step at a time. I know it still won't be easy in the coming weeks, there is still a huge learning curve for both of us, but gaining this perspective, understanding a little more what life is like in his little world, and working together on solutions, we will get there, and our relationship will be that much stronger on the other side.

22 comments:

  1. True, so true, I tried to imagine the same as I had my second child. The first was then supposed to be happy to share everything all of a sudden including her mom and dad. It was easier for me to understand what she was going thru as I tried to put myself in her shoes and looking at the situation out of her perspective! You are such a respectful mom, I am sure it will work out just fine!!

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    1. It is such an interesting perspective when we move into their little shoes and see the world from their vantage point. It often makes things much clearer for me.

      Thank you, I am sure it will all work out fine too, with a little time and a little patience :)

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  2. I know this scenario quite well Kim. Obviously when our little Tree came along the Flower had some adjustments with sharing, and, still we work on it. And even before L was born, when friends would visit I always ask if there's anything she doesn't want to share. It gives her time to think about it and sometimes she says Yes, then picks out what she doesn't want to share. Some days she's happy to share all of her things.I totally get it. Reece will find his way. Hugs to you both. ox

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    1. I can just imagine how difficult it can be when a new baby comes along in the family. We have put things away before too and it does help. As I think more about it today, I am wondering too if there is a little more to it. I explained it to Justin like a barrel, it is empty in the morning (at this time of day all is okay between them), but by the afternoon, after compromising, sharing his things, sharing our home and sharing me that barrel overflows. And without the regulation system built up, and really most likely not totally understanding why he is feeling this way, he becomes a little out of sorts and his way of controlling the situation is just to shut her out. Not sure, but maybe. All I know is he got up this morning asking when she is coming back because he can't wait to see her :) Go figure.

      We will work our way through it and if I gather any wise wisdom through the process I will be sure to share it :)

      Thanks for sharing Lisa xo

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    2. I understand this idea of a barrel. Gosh, I feel that way sometimes, too. There are many friends who I welcome in my home and they have free-range so to speak, to help themselves to any and everything. I wouldn't mind them going through my drawers and cabinets. Even so, after let's say a week of visiting me, I'd likely be ready for them to go home. That same idea of happy to see family come to visit, and happy to see them leave. And then as soon as they've traveled back home, I miss them. I can totally identify with Reece.

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    3. And I totally identify with the whole happy to see them come and happy to see them go :)

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  3. When mine were little I remember putting away precious items not to be shared, everything else was fair game. Was it getting near his tired time (quiet time) maybe a different time would be better. Just brainstorming :) I believe this is a huge growing experience. Just so you know if you went through all my cupboards I'd be a little put out :)

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  4. It's so hard being a kid, isn't it? (Asher tells me so at least once a day...) He's so lucky to have a mama who considers so carefully his perspective. So many would try to shame or threaten or force their children into sharing, never even thinking about what was going on under the surface. xoxo

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    1. I would have to agree. If only we could remember how hard, it might be a wonderful source of experience for us to tap into :)

      Thank you, I really try to see his perspective in all things, some days I am better at it than others. Always working on it :)

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  5. I have been following your blog for quite some time and have never left a comment. Your post today though, was eye opening for me. My little guy is quite a bit younger then yours but is certainly having a similar issue with people invading his space and touching his things. I have never understood what it must be like for him. I was 'worried' just today about his inability to share, I can now see it in a whole new light. You really are an inspiration as a mother. Thank you for this post!

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    1. I am touched, first of all, that this post was the catalyst for you saying hello. Welcome. And I am happy that my experience provides a new light on your journey. It certainly helps me see things much more clearly when I walk in my little mans shoes and get a view of his perspective. Sometimes it is very eye opening.

      So happy you enjoyed the post and thank you so much for your very kind words.

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  6. This is a beautiful response to a growing pain. Such perspective and what a great way to parallel what your little guy might be going through. You are right, this struggle will only make the both of you stronger and wiser. Enjoy the rest of your week, Kim!

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    1. Thank you Kristen. A growing pain...love this way to describe it. Everything else seems so negative and I feel like this is such a positive way to put it.

      Wishing you a lovely rest of the week too.

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  7. Wow Kim. Thank you for this post. It makes me see things in a whole new light.

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    1. So happy you enjoyed it and that it helps you see things differently :)

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  8. Oh wow - that's such a beautiful empathetic way of looking at the situation. It's made me reflect on happenings here of late too. And I think I've now found a better way of approaching this. Thank you for sharing this post Kim xxxx

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    1. Thank you Elisa. Writing this post helped me reflect and I have since had some ideas on how I can approach our situation too. I am looking forward to seeing how it all plays out next week. xoxo

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  9. As I was reading about how you would feel if a friend went through your stuff, I was struck by the fact that as adults we rarely (if ever) model behavior that addresses this scenario - because it just doesn't happen! It's no wonder it is difficult for children to figure out how to negotiate a friend going through their things... they have no example to follow, which makes it all the more important for us to try to understand how it feels to them. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. It is inspiring to read about how you frame things for yourself to put yourself in his shoes. I don't think people do this often enough when thinking about how children are processing things and I am thankful for the reminder.

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    1. Thank you Sara. It really does put a lot of things into perspective for me.

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