Previous entries here. Feel free to skip these posts, they’re more a record for my kids than anything else.
1. I got something really right with you recently. I don’t know if my parenting is getting worse of parenting successes are less obvious with older children but this kind of parenting certainty is a rarity these days. I don’t want to intrude too much on your privacy here but you were really experiencing some serious reluctance with school and you were a nightmare in the mornings before school drop-offs when I am at my most harried getting ready for work and you and your brother ready for kindy and school. I started to think you were just a very objectionable little person. But little by little I figured out how bored and disillusioned you were at school and I patiently raised it again and again with your teacher, who was excellent, and she moved you ahead with your school work but it wasn’t enough. Plus, you were having this super difficult time with some of the social dynamics you were quietly battling alone – I wish you’d known it was something you could talk about earlier rather than thinking it was something you had to figure out alone. And then this year I realised that a year of being patient was enough for us and I went and sorted things out with your principal and your new teacher and now you’ve been accelerated a couple of grades and moved up into a new classroom with another brilliant teacher. And it is like magic, you pretty much found a love of learning again and you’ve been motivated and enthusiastic about getting ready in the mornings (mostly) and it doesn’t feel like the whole family is falling apart every morning. I am very proud at how adaptable you’ve been with your new class. It’s a tough process and you’ve been very brave and mature about it.
2. You’re reading Judy Blume books because I recommended them and used to read them when I was a kid and you love them. It’s very gratifying for me. We don’t share enough of these common interests because you’re obsessed with a lot of pop culture that wasn’t my greatest love as a child – like Star Wars, though I do like how much you’re into the politics of Star Wars. You finish the Judy Blume books in one sitting so I guess I will need to find new books for us to share together.
3. Your face is maturing and I feel like I am getting little previews of your adolescent features.
4. We have a very, very good connection when it comes to your emotional and social concerns. I can pretty much always figure out what is happening for you and to calm you with it and help you resolve things. When this happens I notice you will surprise me with tight squeezes for days afterwards and you will regularly stop to tell me how much you love me.
5. I accidentally humiliated you the other day. We were waiting for the doctor and you assumed my doctor was male and I teased you telling you that was sexist to make that assumption, and you were so mortified you hit me in the face with the magazine you were reading, which mortified me. The waiting room was full and everyone got to see how badly brought up you are. Then you cried loudly and indignantly and refused to apologise even though my eye was really hurting. But we made up in the car afterwards and you were right, I shouldn’t have teased you. Anyway, I am proud of you that you feel so strongly about not being sexist. You have incredibly strong ethics about social justice and hypocrisy – but not so much about violence with magazines.
6. You like to write and illustrate your own children’s books. Your stories are always about cheekiness.
7. You are very gentle and loving and patient with babies and toddlers. Mothers with babies beam when you are helping them or admiring their babies.
8. You’ve maintained your friendships with your male friends over the years just as well as those with your female friends. You’ve never felt the need to suppress those interests of yours that aren’t traditionally girly nor to hide your less conventional friendships from peers. You also intervene when it comes to bullying. The other day a mother came to thank me at school because her son had been held down and choked by another boy and she said her son told her you came along and physically freed him from the bully.
9. You are developing interests of your own that you research independently on the Internet. This is also worrying because I don’t always know what you might come across, even though your computer is locked down with some fairly tight controls. But you will take something of interest to you and run with it – children raised by animals, Korean architecture etc. Also, you will research pop songs you’ve discovered at other people’s houses and new dance moves.
10. You’ve stayed incredibly affectionate as you’re growing up. I don’t get to cuddle you enough though. But sometimes you will come to bed to sleep with me and you still snuggle right into me just as you did as a baby. I love when you come to my bed to read. When I am writing I will often find you in my bed reading a novel in the quiet. I like that you see my bed as this special place for reading.