My dedication to the lil’ man in my life. He has sent me on a journey I could have never envisioned entering into motherhood. I continually contest that he was born knowing. He has always known, and I’ve always had to be open to learning. Lord knows that has not always been easy. It’s not always been something I feel confident trusting every step of the way. And I’m certain there will be even more where I’m challenged beyond who I am at the present point in time. And even though I see the huge rewards at the end of a given challenge, it does not always guarantee that I’m open and willing to surrender to the next (challenge). To undo how you’ve been raised or the experiences you’ve had that have made you, you, is a feat that some of us handle best in baby steps : )
At any rate, K’s blessing to me I have to whole-heartedly attribute to him is our AP lifestyle and homeschooling adventure. Really, the only thing I had in mind when pregnant with K was that a) I wanted a natural childbirth, and b) I wanted to nurse him. For how long? Hmmm…. not really something I ever thought about, and certainly probably would not have pictured nursing a two and half year old! Natural childbirth? Yea… well, I do not like needles much, so it was more about me at that point, than anything else really. SOOOOO much different than how I view childbirth these days! Wowza.
Who would have known that when he was home, I would have never put him down! Who would have known that I was become a baby-wearing, co-sleeping, nursing-on-demand kinda mama? I mean there are so (so) many things that shifted having become a mommy that I did not even know if I could trust in myself to follow my gut reactions! Definitely, challenge #1! But eased with in a year of his birth when we found like-minded families and a nice lil’ community in which we felt more connected and not so isolated. It does become a bit easier to follow your gut when you don’t feel like such an outcast!
Larger challenge came when K did not want to attend preschool. Yep, there I was enrolling him at a the ripe young age of 2.5 years and thinking I’m giving him the best of everything! And day 3 he has a panic attack (literally!) outside of the classroom door when I was making the attempt to drop him off for the morning. There was a pic project that they had done the first week which was a pic of the child on one side and a list of things about themselves on the other side. K’s pic has the classic look on his face… to me says, “why the *bleep* are you taking my picture? And can’t you tell I DON’T like apple juice?!?!” Yes, I STILL have this pic on our fridge 6 years later. It was that pic from week one, and the panic attack day 3 that made me take him home and demand a refund. Don’t get me wrong, I still spent the next 1-2 years looking at other preschool/schooling options, but also began my homeschooling discovery right about then.
Homeschooling is not something I would have ever thought would be our path in life. For sure! I really could not picture myself clocking in at 9a to teach my kid his A, B, C’s. And punching out at 3p to have a recess time…. just not for me. I could not picture homeschooling and what homeschooling was all about. I needed to learn more, and venture into different communities to see if this was something we would even attempt at some point down the road. Of course, to ease my woes about what he “should be learning” at the ripe young age of 2.5 years, I developed a coop with my API group. I got a bunch of mamas and kids together to do a mini little preschool coop for the next couple of years. As those kiddos started going to pre-K and Kindergarten, I then realized we were more on this homeschooling path than I thought!
It’s been quite an adventure, and many times I’m asked “why do you homeschool”? And really…. the reason we started down this path is SO far different than why we homeschool now. Now…. I feel so blessed to have been opened to this journey. If not for K it would be a thought that would have not even crossed my mind. Now, to have this time with my kids is an amazing blessing. Of course, we have our days, but “those” days add to the depth of our relationships as well. I constantly think about what it might be like if they were off at school all day. I think about those parents who’s kids are off at school all day. I have the greatest fortune to be with them 24/7 and still I tear up at how quickly they are growing. What about those folks whose kids are off at school more than they are at home with their families?! It’s sad. And yet, I’m just so over-the-top grateful that I have a spouse who is fully on board with this adventure, and we are family who is all enjoying this homeschooling journey together. It’s been a blessing to each of our relationships, and allows us to build a strong foundation…. well at least I do hope that’s what is happening! : D
As I’ve stated in my recent posts, I have had some super challenging moments with K. He’s been going through some major growing pains, and being the eldest child, he has the “great” fortune of having me mess up on him through each of these challenges : ) Ugh. I wish I could just see the end before the beginning, ya know!? What greatness it would be to know how these challenging moments will unfold so that we could better handle ourselves as parents! Yea, well… ok, one can dream can’t they? Any rate, he has had some major challenges lately, and I’ve maybe not handled them the best I could have, but the best I knew how.
He has sort of been going through this lil-big-kid push pull. He’s 8.5 years old, and sure he is already ready to hang with the teenagers. He craves knowing what it is like to be a “big(ger)” kid, and he longs to develop relationships with older kids. He also is so (SO) much a mama’s-boy. He still wants to cuddle up with mommy and get a snuggle, despite him being nearly as tall as I am at this point. He’s not sure how to handle that, emotionally, either. He is very independent in his doing’s around the house. He has his favorite activities and while he does love to play with his siblings, he really really loves his independent/alone time as well. He’s a busy guy around the house, and he often forgets to check in with mama to get his snuggles. He then gets frustrated and jealous when much time lapses and we have not had that time together. It’s a tough thing, this growing up!
Then his physical being…. omg. He’s had some serious growth to him too. He looks older. He looks like he’s approaching the teen growth. He’s broadened quite a bit, and his face has changed. He’s just incredible. OH…. not to mention his hunger! I swear that boy packs away more than me in a day and I’m the nursing mommy! He’s growing and that’s a challenge as well…. esp for a kiddo that not as athletic or coordinated as others. I think it’s harder to adjust to huge growth spurts.
Then there are things like the “always looking for someone to blame”, where I get really worried that he has such an issue with taking any blame for anything. I do get that he feel super bad if he is the one to blame, but I also want him to realize that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes and it may not be easy to admit to the mistake…. it is admirable to admit that you’ve done something wrong. Owning up to things is important and pointing fingers is a cop-out. We still struggle with this one a bit, but I have seen improvements quite a bit. Although (insert mama chuckle here), it’s sort of changed to a yelling episode. Example…. he hits his sister, and it’s probably an accident out of excitement and out-of-control play. But she’s crying, she’s upset, and he recognizes he’s to blame. He feels sorry and says sorry, but if she is still crying, he starts shouting, “I said I was sorry!!! I said I was sorry!! She’s not listening to me! I said I was sorry!” Ugh… not an easy thing. Previously he would have blamed her for being in the way of his fist : ) But now he’s recognizing his part, but not handling it oh too swiftly : ) Work in progress though! It’s improving and that’s all a mama can hope for!
K has blossomed a ton in this last year. His most recent accomplishments have been his plays with Orion. He has just loved working with Orion and his time with him has given him a confidence I have not seen in him before. It’s really a beautiful thing to see. Not only have I seen him do things he would have not even attempted prior to these experiences, but I have seen him flourish to a really cool young man. For quite some time he had been wanting to be friends with a couple of boys in the homeschool group. He tried several times over the summer to ‘break in’ to this small group of boys who have sort of grown together and already know each other quite well. He did play with them here and there, but I could even sense from the interactions that they did not really accept him as much as he would have liked. A few of the boys were in Orion’s plays, and over the process of these classes and the performances, I saw an amazing transformation from K. He came to the realization that these boys don’t treat people very well, and if that was the case, he did not want to be a part of that. He realized that if someone else being hurt by this group and he was involved at that time (even if just standing around when it happened) he would feel really terrible. And then realized that he did not want to be friends with them, and they were just not as “cool” as he thought they might be. I was really super proud of hearing this from him. He’s just a super cool kid, and to have him choose a friendship like this made my heart melt.
And that brings me to all of the wonderfully cool things I hear from people about K. As a mama you always wonder what your child is like in the outside world ( you know in those moments when you are not around! : ) I wonder what playdates are like for him and others involved, and what he is like in classes, and such. Curiosity, ya know? So in the last couple of months, I have been hearing such heart-warming things about him from people it’s what a mommy could only hope for! He’s my lil’ prince. He is just such a sweet loving boy who super-loves his mommy. He loves his daddy and he is the super-protector of all of his siblings. He is quite creative and that little engineer, movie maker, creator and actor has big things ahead of him. He will be very successful in his future…. now if I could only get him to love SOME sort of exercise : )
Love ya K! You are a special, special person and don’t ever forget that!