Wednesday, December 14

A child's Christmas.

You'd Better Watch OUT!  And a wee bit of kid wisdom...
So do you remember the "talk"?  Ya know, when it all became so very clear but you didn't want to say anything, just in case you were WRONG?  And then, once you were initiated you were sworn into a sacred club.  A secret keepers club (not ikky, just the Jolly type)!  You knew what the younger kids didn't and you knew that it was a deep and meaningful job to hold it keep the MAGIC alive!  Ahhhhh.

Well, I have to say those days are long behind us here, in our family, with teens and busy schedules.  I sat down to look at my Facebook page (another topic altogether) and saw that some of my friends were talking about having the "Talk" and it brought back this memory:

When my son was in the 'little person Christmas Magic' stage he couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve. (I know very few kids do but this seemed a little different to me, not the "usual", whatever that is) so I used to get a little frustrated with him UNTIL I realized he wasn't not sleeping because of the general...'oh, it's so exciting', thing!  He couldn't sleep because he didn't want a strange man to come into his house in the middle of the night and eat cookies and hang out in the living room while everyone was asleep! The WHOLE idea TOTALLY creeped him out!  Its kind of funny now that he's a "big kid" (high school age) but looking back, I remember how terrifying it was for him!  THAT certainly explained the middle of the night visits to our room for comfort!  He always was and thankfully, still is, a snuggler!  (Don't tell him I told you, though!) 

We now can laugh and joke and have all kinds of fun around the holiday but all of our little ones, so very dear and trusting, sometimes have a hard time voicing what they are feeling.  I guess magic is more "fun" for some than it is for others!  Sometimes I am 'afraid" or have anxiety over things I am not entirely clear about.  I am an adult (most of the time, I confess....I digress from time to time) and I can think it through and talk myself out of my trepidation, running it by friends and family to get my facts straight!  Young children are just not equiped with enough experience or groundedness to process this "magic" (aka the UNKNOWN) with any clarity and therefore, for some, it can become entirely overwhelming!  Starting to see where I am going here?  Melt downs or screaming fits? Maybe a withdrawn child?  Their anxiety comes in all forms!

I do not share this as some child expert, (far from it) but as the parent of sensitive children and (gratefully) also from the perspective of a well seasoned Waldorf parent! An amazing educational process which has given our family the gift of helping to see how our children process (or simply cannot process) adult information!  They are not "little adults" but "pure light and wise little souls" who need care and kindness and to be shown the ways of the world with reverence and awe.  Back to the MAGIC thing...magic is very.... well.... MAGICAL, except when it is frightening!  Recognizing the difference really helped me to parent my son with less judgement and more understanding of HIS needs (not mine)! 

Here are some of the child rearing ideas (pure genius, those Waldorf teachers!) which I learned to employ around stressful times, OK, all the time!:
-Don't ask their opinions of any situation!  They will sense that you don't know what's going on either!  That's unsettling for them don't you think?
-Never take them shopping unless you have prepared them ahead of time, detailing the behavior you expect from them  Let them know what behavior is expected and what will happen if it does...Like how proud he/she can feel about being good in the store and how happy Dad or Mom will be when he/she hears about it! (positive rather than negative reinforcement)
-Don't give them choices, too many choices take them out of their imagination!  They only need to choose either the red socks or the blue socks if you feel they must have a say!  Keep It Simple Sweetie! KISS
-Allow them to try things on their own & to make mistakes but help by interceeding when their frustration levels begin to rise.  Don't let them get overwhelmed, just a little challenged.
-Patience is absolutely required and a sense of humor is priceless!  Plan the extra time it takes to do things with little ones!  Don't rush them on your schedule all the time! (I know, sometimes its unavoidable....)
-Enjoy them while they are with you, because they will be gone all too soon!  People TOLD me when I had little ones "Oh they grow SO fast!"  I was so overwhelmed and tired I just thought....yah, could ya hurry it up, here?  But then I hit my stride as a parent and began to slow down to really enjoy them and I am so glad I did.  I now know that EVERY age is adorable!
-Have fun and maybe worry 'a little' but always make time for yourself! 
Remember, "If Momma ain't happy then NOBODY happy!" 

Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!!

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