I absolutely love the series of books Dr. Louise Bates Ames has written about each year of child development. I had multiple copies of the age nine and ten in my classroom and often handed them out to weary parents. Now, I read them myself to get life in perspective. Each book has a subtitle and it is a reminder of the continuum that children are on, year to year. For six, it is “Loving & Defiant”. The description reminds:
“The six-year-old is a complex child, entirely different from the five-year-old. Though many of the changes are for the good — Six is growing more mature, more independent, more daring and adventurous — this is not necessarily an easy time for the little girl or boy. Relationships with mothers are troubled — most of the time Six adores mother, but whenever things go wrong, it’s her fault. It used to be, at Five, that she was the center of the child’s universe; now, the child is the center of his own universe.”
Dr. Ames always reminds that disequilibrium often strikes on the 1/2 years. Children begin stretching and reaching toward the next year and feel any equilibrium they once experienced begin to be rocked and upset. So, I look at the date, November 20th, with a little fear, wondering how I might feel these same emotions as we press towards seven.
Ultimately, though, parenting is about day-to-day life. In fact, it’s often about the minutes and hours. I look into his eyes and see glimpses of who he is becoming. A lover of art, writing, people & BEING IN CHARGE. Adventurous and daring and independent were always on his list, but seeing what brings him joy means everything to me. Building, creating, engineering, planning, executing….he is always knee deep in LEGOs or storywriting, typically wearing a tie, glasses skimming the edge of his nose and hair slicked down (minus that persnickety cowlick!).
Who he will be….what mistakes he’ll make….what characteristics will be his “trademarks” as he ages? Not fully sure. But for now, trying to channel him “being the center of his own universe”, as Dr Ames writes, while looking out to others is the goal. Trying to see his heart, while surrounding him with love, patience and boundaries is a daily challenge, but filled with so many pockets of joy.
Happy 1/2 Birthday, Al-Bug!