Saturday, February 27, 2016

big kids

There comes a time in every mama's life when her children are no longer toddlers at her knees nor babes in her lap. They are moving, growing (sometimes smelly) kids. Getting-to-be-big-kids & then just big kids. You remember when you were the mom at the playground sucking in a breath every time a big kid played around your tiny tot. You would glance around, hoping & praying, that their parents were tracking on them so that a collision could be avoided. As they climbed up the slide & over the play equipment clearly too large & loud for what the playground was intended for. Now you realize you've become the parent with the "big kids" at the park. You are receiving the silent messages from mom's of littles that you once sent out. Bittersweet as it may be there is nothing to be done. Infants & toddlers grow into preschoolers who emerge into kids.

When you awake one day & find yourself here don't be alarmed. It happens. And I hear they get even bigger (and smellier.) As a mom of an eight-year-old boy I am still not sure what makes him tick. It seems like an ever-changing delicate balance of push & pull. He gives a little information & I try to get a little more without pulling too much. I learned recently of the boys & girls in his second grade class who have "girl friends" & "boy friends." I casually asked with my a pit in my stomach if he happened to have a "girl friend?" My relief was probably obvious at his quick dismissal of the idea. He's not ready for that he says. I then just as casually (read as just as crazily) let him know in as much of a non-lecturing voice as possible that there is absolutely no rush. That he has his entire life to have a "girl friend" and that for now how about he just stick to liking Lego's & mud-thank you very much. By that point he was itching to get away from his casual crazy mom so our conversation came to a close.

But it reminded me of the times I've been told to be interested in the little things they have to say. Whether you are hearing about the Lego castles they've built for the 345th time or listening as they exclaim in great detail about who their favorite Pokemon is & why. Things that quite honestly we could care less about & almost always, always, come as we are in a rush to fix dinner or have just sat down for a moment of peace & quiet to ourselves. Apparently the moms who've gone before us say that if you actually listen to these ramblings & prattle that when they grown into kids & then even bigger than kids they'll keep talking to you. The conversations will shift from their favorite Star Wars character to who they have a crush on. No longer will they be talking about how good that Bernstein Bears book is but they'll be figuring out with you what college courses they're interested in. As difficult as it may be during some of the more difficult conversations we have with them-some easier to keep our crazy in check then others-the point is we need to keep them talking. And if they aren't talking we need to figure out a way to get them talking. I don't think that just happens. I think we have to try to cultivate an atmosphere that lends itself to dialog. Whether that means as we work side-by-side or as we learn more about or get involved with an interest they may have, or even sitting through an insufferable episode of Phineas & Ferb (anyone?) then our hope can be that if they see we are interested then the sharing & connecting & trusting will continue on through the years as we figure out this being-a-big-kid thing together.

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