Julien has been going through a bit of a rough time lately. After speaking with a Waldorf teacher and friend, I discovered that is all part of this 6/7 year change. She explained to me that he is entering the last stage of it, where he will be forced to take that giant leap from babyhood into the realm of Childhood. For the first time he is seeing the distinction between us. He is realizing that if we are apart, I continue existing and go about my day, as does he. This is a huge thing. The world looks different to him, the dreaminess of the early years is wearing away and he is coming into his physical body. For a sensitive child, especially one that is not in any rush to get big, it can be particularly hard. He is on the cusp of so many “big kid” things. Reading, writing, more responsibilities and chores, more independence and while some kids jump into it excited for what lies ahead, my little boy is clinging to me for dear life. She assured me it was all normal and part of the process. All I am to do is hold him close, assure him of my love, and when he is ready, hold his hand as he takes his big leap.
So, last week when I dropped him off at his Waldorf program and he stood there in tears asking to go home with me, I took his hand and led him back to the car. In a small way I am grateful he is not is any great rush to grow up. I am thankful in a world where child seem to be just mini adults that mine is not going easily, he is kicking and screaming. It does not mean that this is any easier a path though. I brought him home not quite sure what to do with him. It was an unexpected day so nothing was really planned. Noah and I do simple crafts and circle time when Julien is gone, but nothing that would captivate a 6 year old.
He cozied up on the couch while Noah and I did our thing. He just watched, sang a few songs, and recited a few of the simple poems he knew. When we were done, he looked at me to ask, “Now what?”. So I remembered our seeds that had just arrived.
We are planning a huge garden this year after our small successful one last year. It will be an adventure as we do not really live in the ideal place to have a huge vegetable garden, but I figure the cost is minimal and if it works out then the gain will be huge.
I pulled them out and told him I would build him a raised bed, just for him. He could plant anything he wanted on the condition that he has to tend to it. He can harvest and eat it all or share it with us, his choice. It would be his garden. His eyes lit up!
He ran to get a big piece of paper and drew out his box. Then we carefully went through each seed and he divided them into piles, then sorted through those until at last he had his seeds picked out. Then we carefully drew them where they would be in the garden. We made a legend for his map (and learned what a legend is!) and he wrote out all the vegetables and their symbols. He then sat back so proud and so excited.
It is now pinned to our wall and he looks at it daily and talks of what he will make with his harvest. Quite by accident I stumbled upon a project that spoke to his aching soul that day. One that allows him to plan ahead a little bit into his uncertain future. One that has a bit of order and predictability. One he can nurture and care for at his pace.
This week has been a bit better. He is in full sugaring mode now and he has his “jobs” to do daily. I think that helps him. It helps me to see his smile returning a bit and for him to run free of me just a little. Small steps and just like his little garden, we are planting the seeds that hopefully one day will result in a confident, strong, and secure person and for him to know that I will always be there to nurture and care for him, as long as he shall need me. You are growing at a faster than light speed my little one, but rest assured that I will always keep up to be there for you.