Monday, March 16, 2015

Finding His Way



My little man has been slowly moving through the beginning of the six/seven transformation over the last ten months. I shared a little bit about our experience with this change when it began last May, and since then have been witnessing the amazing transformation of my little man. It hasn't been an easy road, there have been bumps along the way, but slowly we have both found our footing in this new "normal".

As I mentioned in the previous post, this is a transformation on many different levels. His body is changing, his consciousness is changing, and his connection to his world is changing, and with all of those changes comes confusion, and frustration. When we first started moving through this change, the initial shift was emotional. Reece grew frustrated more easily, he began to express his displeasure in more meaningful ways to us, and overall, there just seemed to be a deep confusion in him about all that was happening. The only thing I knew to do through all of this was to breathe deep, be patient, be there when he needed me, hold his hand when he reached for mine, and remain a solid foundation in which he could return to time and time again when he felt things weren't as they should be.

I would love to say I have been the picture of calm and patience every day, but I can't. I am human, and I freely admit my flaws. There were nights, once he was tucked in bed, that I sat and wondered just what happened to the day, how we got so off track, and disconnected, and questioned my confidence in this role of mother. Then a new day would dawn, and we would try again, and again. And slowly, but surely we have been finding our way through this change.

While we experienced many of the emotional changes early, the last few months have been filled with physical growth, and a gaining of independence that has me wondering some days just who this little man is. He is stretching up, thinning and lengthening, his facial features are changing, his teeth are falling out, and the gains in his coordination, and strength have been incredible. While just a few months ago he had no interest in staying anywhere on his own, he now asks to visit his nana and papa, and requests that I leave. He has had a fear of putting his head in the water, and while in Myrtle Beach became a fish in a matter of minutes. Not only putting his head under the water, but swimming underwater the entire length of the pool, many, many times. Bedtimes used to mean me laying and snuggling with him til he fell asleep, and now after we read and snuggle he tells me to go and have a cup of tea and read my book or knit.

While none of this is easy on my mama heart, I have to admit it is pretty darn amazing to witness, and to watch as he grows, and changes, and discovers who he is, and his place in this world. Over the years I have been criticized more than I care to admit for many things....nursing Reece til he was five and half, co-sleeping, not letting him cry it out, not leaving him with others when he didn't want to stay, not forcing him to do things he didn't want to do, not toilet training him, and so on. Through all of it, I listened to my gut, I believed in Reece, and I trusted that when he was ready to do these things, he would let me know, and he would do them. The last few months have shown me that I was right. My little man is on his journey, and I am here to share it with him, and to help him discover who he is. He doesn't need me to push him along his path, he needs me to stand beside him, holding his hand and enjoying the ride with him.

We are not through the six/seven transformation yet, and I know there will be many more bumps along the road now, and in the future, but this transformation, and my journey through motherhood thus far, have given me the confidence and trust to keep mothering my little man as I have been, letting him lead the way, trusting the path he chooses to walk, and remaining a strong and solid foundation in which he can return to whenever he needs.

68 comments:

  1. Sad and wonderful to see them spread their wings a little and gain such confidence. And sad but wonderful that I'm sure it's only going to get harder as they get older! I love the saying that there are 2 things you should give your children - roots and wings. I'm sure what you're doing for Reece is helping with both of those. Maria nursed much longer than most people thought 'seemly', and that transition, when it did happen, was a really tough one for her, she still co-sleeps (which again isn't considered 'seemly', I know where you're coming from on the criticism!), and I do sometimes worry that it would be better for her to push her along with this, but your words are reassuring me to wait till she shows she's ready.

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    1. It is definitely both Sally. And yes, I don't think this mothering gig gets easier as they age.

      I love that quote too, and thank you. I sure hope I am giving him both of those.

      Sorry to hear the transition was hard of Maria, for us it was a very slow transition, totally lead by Reece. Truth be told, I don't actually recall the last night he nursed, it just sort of happened, and that was that. It was right as he began the 6/7 transformation, which was very interesting for me. We are still co-sleeping at the moment too, giving up those little snuggles is a little hard for me, and luckily Reece isn't interested in sleeping on his own yet :)

      I am happy that you found my words reassuring, I don't think we can really ever go wrong by following our children's lead.

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  2. What a beautiful mama you are. I'm so glad you followed your instincts. We are all on our own individual journeys and I believe the world would be a much more peaceful place if humankind would remember that.

    Watching them grow and mature is such a bittersweet thing; learning when to be close and when to let go. I suspect it never stops, no matter how grown up they get. :)

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    1. Thank you Leisa. I agree so much with what you said, if only we could accept that we are on different journeys and meet each other right where we are...wouldn't that be wonderful!

      I suspect you are right :)

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  3. Very nice and interesting post. My little girl will be three at the 26th of this month and she is still nursing, we still co-sleep and I try my best to do the best for her in the most respectful wayand even so It's scary and frustrating sometimes, but always worth it.
    The age of seven is when we as humans reach the point where our root chakra Muladhara is completely developed, so I can imagine around that age the changes and emotions are more strong.

    Have a great week!

    Lluisa xoxo

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    1. Thank you Lluisa. Always worth it.

      Interesting on the root charka, I didn't know that. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you a lovely week too.
      xo

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  4. This is a lovely lovely post Kim. I know that our children are always changing and growing but some of these changes seem to pull more on a mothers heart strings than others. My youngest is six in May and the change in her this last year has been huge, overwhelming at times. I get what you are saying about not being perfect and am always thankful that after a sleep we can start again.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, most definitely. It is amazing how much they change and transform at this age, definitely keeps me on my toes.

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  5. Raising children is one of the most difficult and yet rewarding things one can do. Our girls have brought so much joy and happiness to us and yet had me wondering more times than I can count, if I knew what I was doing. Knowing when to be firm, when to let go, letting them make their own decisions... Makes me appreciate my mom in ways I never did until I became a mom myself.

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    1. YES! I have been there too Anke, and I am sure I will be there again :) I don't think we ever truly appreciate our mothers until we become mothers ourselves.

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  6. Oh how they grow! I love how he still enjoys his time with you and yet pulls away. I remember those days well and I remember feeling excited to be alone and by myself but then sad that I was alone and by myself. Letting go is difficult and yet we must. I am letting go to adult children and I find myself reassuring myself that I did not bring them into the world to hold tight and smother but to let them live abundantly and know I am always there. Love this post Kim and keep doing what you are doing,

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    1. It is an interesting time Karen, and I, like you, have that same push and pull...happy to be alone, but them missing him too.

      Yes, to let them live abundantly, and know you are always there...I love that Karen.

      Thank you, that means a lot coming from you. xo

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  7. Something that is all bittersweet, I have felt this my children and now my 19 year is moving away for university. It is not easy...but good in the end that they are confident and secure of themselves. And know if they look back we will always be there. (No one told me in the midst of all the joy of being a mother it would break my heart.)
    Kim, you are such wonderful loving and sensitive mom, Reece knows that and feels that, this is why he is so remarkable and ready to move forward. Wishing you both a wonderful day with open hearts and lots of love.
    xo

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    1. Yikes Camilla, I can't even imagine. I think all mother's keep that part a secret, and let each one of us experience in our own time.

      Thank you my friend, for those very kind and sweet words. xo

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  8. Raising son's was/is one of the hardest, but most rewarding adventures I have ever been on Kim. I have watched these last few years as Reece has grown and changed knowing there will be a lot more
    changes to come, and also knowing with you there guiding him he is growing to become a fine man. Hang in there, especially around the twelve year mark which is one of the 'hard' years, at least that has been my experience, it's all so worth it! Motherhood is the best!

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    1. That makes me so happy to hear you say that Tracey. It definitely is an adventure.

      Thank you for those words Tracey, they mean a lot coming from you. It is the best, and there is nothing I would rather be doing. Motherhood fulfills me on so many levels. So grateful that I didn't let it pass me by.

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  9. What a blessing to be able to have the opportunity to be so involved in his life at this time. You have such wonderful opportunities to support and guide as these changes occur...

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    1. I feel very blessed to be home with my little man, to share our days, learning and growing together.

      Thank you.

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  10. Oh thank you for sharing a glimpse of your journey together, Kim. It is something that is coming up for my son, and even now it feels like we are starting on a new path together. I am excited and anxious at the same time. It is beautiful to watch them grow though, and so fulfilling. I hope I can mirror your patience and steadfastness. Those are two qualities I aspire to with all my heart. So needed for our little ones and big ones alike.

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    1. You are most welcome Alexa. This post has been sitting in my heart for quite some time, and Saturday afternoon it poured out, so it seemed like the right time to post it.

      It isn't an easy transition, and I am so grateful to have had the book I recommended in the other post, such a wonderful resource for this transition.

      Good luck on this journey with your little man, you have got this, that I know :)

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  11. yup...I agree with Tracey...raising a son is definitely the hardest and most challenging thing i've ever had to do. And yes...there is heart break (oh boy...something I totally didn't see coming) and I'm sure there will be more in the future. But I think we are lucky because we chose to keep them close no matter what and like you said, to follow your gut feelings when it comes to mothering. It's super hard work but so worth it !!!

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    1. I am so happy to have all your wonderful mamas who have done this already...I may be looking for advice in the years to come.

      Keeping him close, being with him as he travels his path...I wouldn't have it any other way. And seeing you mamas who have walked similar paths with your boys as teens and young adults now just makes me smile.

      Thank you my friend. xo

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  12. Such a lovely post. These times can be so difficult-- they need us less, which means that we are doing our job-- but it is also hard to see them start to separate.

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    1. Thank you Taryn. Yes, funny how we bring it on ourselves, eh? The growing independence is definitely what we want to see, but so hard when it is happening :)

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  13. This was really wonderful to read. I can see just how much he has changed in the last few months by the pictures. It sounds like you are handling it well!

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  14. Thank you so much for this heart felt an honest portrait of motherhood. So much of what you said resonates with me. You have done an amazing job mama, and you will keep being exactly the perfect mom for YOUR little man. If it was what was right for you, than nothing anybody says should really matter. xox

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  15. It's so cool to watch our kids turn into their own people...it certainly compensates for that little twinge of missing their little selves. Enjoy the journey!

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    1. It is! And I love watching it, even if it is a little bittersweet. Thank you, you too!

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  16. The changes are bittersweet. That is true. But what I have learned as a mother of two sons, is my way of accepting them as individuals. From the time I held them in my arms as newborns to now as young men, I see their differences and it amazes me that I was given such a blessing....like you, I listened to them and accepted their changes without me pushing them to conform to mine. Enjoy each moment completely. It is just going to get better :)

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    1. That is so lovely to read Mari, it sounds like you have raised some very special young men.

      I plan to soak it all up, every single moment. Thank you. xo

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  17. He really does look so much older in that first shot. He is so very lucky to have you for a mama. Caring, gentle, patient and loving. You are doing so many things right!! Loved reading this post. My mama heart is here with you.

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    1. It is all happening so fast these days Summer, big changes, but all good.

      Thank you.
      xo

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  18. I can totally relate to your feelings. All I can say is that each year brings something that makes it my new favorite (or exactly what I am ready for). But change is hard! And go easy on yourself, we all have those days - I can tell you are a great mama. :) xo

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    1. It is funny how that happens, eh? Just when we think it can't get any better, it does. I am happy to hear that just keeps on happening.

      Yes, the change is hard, and watching as he finds his own way is also hard. But the reward comes when he steps forward on his own, having found his way, and shares the new version of himself with the world.

      Thank you, I certainly try to, but some days I will admit to beating myself up a little bit. Thank goodness I have the most amazing email buddy to pour my heart out to each and every evening.
      xo

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  19. I saw a lot of that last year in our daughter - her reaching that point where she was wanting to do things on her own and her independence has blossomed. It's so exciting and satisfying to see them lead their own lives and build up their own interests and friends...but, it's also a little tough at the same time.
    We were also criticized and commented on by doing the exact same things; providing a solid base they can always come back too. Seemed like not many people in our lives tried to understand why we didn't push our kids to sleep over at the Grandparent's...we waited until the kid's felt a need to do that. Why we cosleep with a two year old and have no plans on forcing him to sleep in his crib. Why you would breastfeed once a baby could eat solid food. It's so nice to hear others like you Kim, that feel and parent similar to us, and have the same challenges and triumphs. Keep up the great work.

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    1. Exciting and satisfying describe it perfectly, as does tough :)

      And it is nice to hear from families like yours too, it seems we have much in common, and it is always lovely to find that.

      Thank you, same to you :)

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  20. Kim it is so true, what you are writing. The hard part but also the most rewarding and beautiful is to see how your children gain in confidence and self esteem. Admitting to beeing human for oneself is also important and try to see that there are only so much we can do for our children, they must and want to do and learn many things themselves! I think the saying of giving small children roots and older ones wings is so important, but it is not always easy. To see them go one day is also a process, for them as well as for a mom:)
    In my job as a Kindergardenteacher I meet many different families and there are, still today, only a few parents that put their faith in their children but think they have to "fill an empty bucket" with what they know, it is hard work to convince them that they do not have to do this but just let their children try for themselves many times, and be there as an observant adult who can help, but only when help is really needed:)

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    1. You are so right Karin-Ida, not always easy, but so fulfilling when we do it.

      I can tell that you are a wonderful kindergarten teacher Karin-Ida, just from your words today. Those kiddos, and their families are so very lucky to have you in their life.

      xo

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  21. Hope - that's what I've got from reading this tonight, thank you. It's been a hard day emotionally for me and my almost 5 year old boy. I parent instinctively (if that's the right word) and lots of what you have written resonates with me...Nikki x

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    1. Oh Nikki, first of all hugs to you. Been there, and I know I will be there again. You have brought a few tears to my eyes this evening, just thinking that I have given someone else hope as they move forward on their own journey. Thank you.

      Hang in there mama, and remember tomorrow dawns a new day. xo

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  22. Thanks a lot Kim for this post full of truth and honesty. I loved to read each word of it. This last year has been quite challenging here with issa, as his anger was quite regular each day and I knew having a little sister and a big sister and an occupied mum and dad was not easy for him... We tried to find our way through it, and perhaps this new year is a new path for us and for him.... Anger is becoming more relative, less serious as I try to take more time for him, as regularly I try to stay home (or outside if possible!) with him instead of going to school...
    I'm glad you made me discover that 6/7 changes, it is like a light for me on our family way...
    Thanks a lot again my friend :)

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    1. You are most welcome my friend. It can be a challenging time for them, and for us, and I am glad I wrote about it, so that you could find out about the 6/7 change. It is a big transformation for them, and if we understand even just a little bit about what they are going through, I think we are better able to help guide them through it.

      Much love to you guys. xo

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  23. Wow I loved this!! Beautiful written and I have an understanding to go along with it. I'm sad you have been criticized for mothering your own way, we all do things differently and should be given the freedom to mother the way we feel best. My zain is similar in age, and I have noticed more boost of testosterone. Quick urges to move or fight- it's quite entertaining:) what an amazing journey this motherhood thing is!

    www.hollandsreverie.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Chelsea. It makes me sad too, I think it is/was just so different from what others do, that sometimes it is easier to criticize then ask questions.

      It is an amazing ride, and one I am so happy to be on :)

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  24. You are an amazing mother, and will continue to be through all of the different phases he will go through. I have just learned to go with the natural flow of things. Having a teenager has made me realize that each phase has its own special challenges and I need to focus on what my child is feeling, even though what I may be feeling may be to yell back at him! Ha! You are amazing!

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    1. Thank you, and yes, going with the natural flow is usually the best way, fighting it is like swimming upstream and that is no fun at all.

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  25. Your words speaks to me too, thank your for that article... My little boy is 5 and a half and the path to 7 is really hard sometimes...

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    1. You are most welcome, happy to know that sharing our journey helps others :)

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  26. what beautiful observations you have made. you have such an amazing perspective on everything kim. i think you are a wonderful mother. a year or two ago my son (now 10) told me i couldn't kiss him goodnight anymore... that he was too old for that now... it certainly stung my heart but i let him have his space. then last summer one night i heard "are you going to kiss me goodnight mom?" and he has not only been letting me kiss him goodnight again, but requesting it :)

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    1. Thank you Jenny.

      That is lovely. I think it is so important to let them have their space, in the end, it isn't about us, it is about them.

      Hugs to you. xo

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  27. It's a beautiful mess. I relate so much to following your gut and going to bed wondering what happened during the day. Mothering sometimes leaves us so frustrated but also filled with joy in the next moment. Watching our kids change and grow is amazing, but also heartbreaking. I think motherhood is a huge privilege and not to be taken lightly, but we also try not to be too hard on ourselves.

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    1. Yes, describes it perfectly. It is a roller coaster ride for sure :) And yes, on the not being too hard on ourselves, although sometimes easier said than done.

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  28. I love this, Kim. All of it. I laughed thinking of Reece telling you to "go have a cup of tea and read and knit." That's priceless.

    I also really appreciate your honesty in sharing your struggles during this transition. I know that feeling of the day getting off track and not being able to get it back so well and it's always helpful to hear it from another who is genuinely striving for her ideals and letting go of the moments that don't reach those and moving on. Of course, I always admire your for sticking to your guns and going against the grain for Reece. We all know it's not easy.

    We're in the midst of the 3 1/2 year old transition here and Lucien is struggling with it so much that it is permeating the whole house and family. Thankfully he seems to be just sweet as peaches at school, so at least this is a place he is able to take a break from it!

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    1. Thank you Coco, as I have said before, that means a lot coming from you my friend. It is something he has only recently started doing, and it is just wonderful!

      Your words are so kind, thank you. It isn't easy going against the grain, but so far it is serving us well, and I love seeing who my little man is becoming.

      That is a tough transition too. I have looked for information on that transition and it is not as readily available as the 6/7 transformation or the 9 year change. If you have any resources I would love to know, I always seem to have mamas asking me about struggles at that age, but can never pinpoint information for them.

      Hugs to you, and him, as he moves through this transition. xo

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    2. You're right, there aren't as many obvious resources for the 3 yo "I" days, as I call them. I'm writing myself a note to poke through what I have to find some good ones! I just passed on an entire box of early childhood books to a homeschooling mama friend, but I'm sure I still have some gems lying around.

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    3. That would be wonderful, thank you!

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  29. Such a lovely post Kim!This wishing them well in their growing up, yet wanting them in our arms at all times, it is quite a struggle but that's what all mamas go through. I always look at my boy wanting to stop time but there is so much beauty in their growing up into independant, happy adults. My boy is 5 1/2 now and I think it's really not an easy phase, probably the hardest yet. It's lovely to be able to connect to other mamas in this way and makes me look forward to what lies ahead on this journey even more. Much love to you, and enjoy your spring!!

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    1. Thank you Sylvia. Big struggle indeed, but I would never want to stop it, or hold it back. Like you said, there is so much beauty in watching their journey unfold, and witnessing each moment as they grow up.

      Ah, you are beginning the 6/7 transformation...it is definitely a tough transition, and totally took me off guard when it started. I highly recommend the book You're Not the Boss of Me, gave me so much perspective about what my little man was going through.

      Love being sent your way too mama, enjoy the time with your sister. xo

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    2. Thanks so much Kim! I will look for that book!

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    3. You are most welcome :)

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  30. I love this post! Although they might need us less for the physical parts (reading, snuggling, holding hands etc), they need our presence more than ever! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you Carrie! Yes, that is what it is all about, just being present in the way they need us.

      How is your trip my friend? I hear you had some beautiful weather. Safe travels home to you and your family.

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    2. We had a gorgeous week! Most days were spent on the beach :)

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    3. I am so happy for you. Glad you had a good time.

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  31. Your gentle awareness and firm support as a mother always makes me tear up. You are such a beautiful inspiration. Reece is so blessed to have parents like you, and you a beautiful son like him. Be well.

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    1. Awe, you are making me tear up, thank you for your very kind words. xo

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