Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Work In Progress Wednesday- Me and Some Ornaments

Watching and learning as Luca crawls away

You'll have to excuse me as I hijack the WIP theme to talk about the most pressing work in progress lately- me. As I read my many parenting books a common theme arises of the inner work of parents. For me, it means developing the emotional strength to give your children the best of you that you are able and sometimes doing less. I have to admit that until recently, I had always tended to the helicopter style of parenting, hovering over the boys as they were little making sure that they wouldn't fall to now refereeing the older boys skirmishes. But I am learning to take a step back. I'm learning to trust that the Luca may have some frustrations as he learns to stand... and falls again. I'm learning that when I resolve conflict between Matteo and Nico I'm taking away the opportunity for them to learn how to work things out and compromise. I have to be honest in that it is a lot of work to learn to trust in the process.

Yesterday we were at our favorite park. There are gorgeous large redwood trees and a beautiful babbling stream that runs through it. Matteo and Nico decided to explore along the stream, then decided to explore in the stream. My first instinct was to scream at them to get out of the water, but I took a step back and looked at the situation from a larger perspective... it wasn't that cold (this is California after all) and the stream was slow moving and pretty shallow. So I took a deep breath and let them be.

Of course, they had a wonderful time. They played explorers, they played that they were fishermen, they simply just played. So I am learning, I am doing my inner work and seeing the rewards of my children learning to be strong and independent.

I wonder how other mothers do it... how do you find the strength to let your children fall and make their own choices for better or worse? As the boys get older and their world gets larger, it does get exciting but more anxiety producing for at least this mama. I'd love to hear your thoughts and how you do it...

So not to totally take this post off the WIPster track, here are some ornaments I'm working on using wood slices and a wood burning gun.

... in celebration of my precious, magical boys...


Stephanie said...

When I was pregnant with Trev, I read somewhere something like "If you let your child tinker with a (non-working) stove... you end up with a child who can build a stove at ten years old."
I also read something like "if you say "Don't! You'll fall!", and the child doesn't fall, it makes you out a liar."
Two things that impacted me greatly, and that I took to heart.
I don't know that they changed me, or if I beleived that before I read them, but I definitely operate with these things in mind.
Made sense to me.
(Just different mamas, and heads, I think.)

Joel said...

I just recently found your blog, but have already been enchanted by your writing and imagery. As a father of two small boys, I am slowly learning to listen and observe rather than control and dictate. As much as possible I try also to let my kids play "in the stream" and learn themselves whether it's to cold or slippery. Children are amazingly resilient and to many parents have perhaps become overly protective. Watching children learn on their own and from their mistakes is truly a rewarding experience.

healinghillary said...

i am a wip too!
in a world filled with fear i try, as best i can, not to instill fear in my child... acknowledging when i say "you could get hurt" that is can create fear in my child (who trusts me) where there previously was no fear. the hurt is only a possibility. that is MY fear, not my child's.

by restraining i am allowing my child to experience the world for what it is and not what it could be while simultaneously experiencing that all important lesson of not reacting to my fear. in this way for the fewer times i react (when the possibility of true harm is much higher), my child listens.

would love to hear what you are reading. i have many such books on my nightstand.


Lisa said...

I think I recognize that park! My kids play in that creek every Wednesday after their homeschool classes up at the center. And my son ALWAYS gets in the creek! I mean that's what it's there for, right?!
Having a very active daughter, I realized that I didn't want to hold her back. I wanted her to climb the highest slide and not look back! And the same with my son. He was snowboarding and skateboarding at the age of 4. Yes, I worry. Like crazy at times. But I can't keep them from something they want to try. Binky is an intense kid and does everything full-force! We let them make choices for themselves as much as possible. As long as they are reasonably safe!
And now Binky is sparring in martial arts with older, bigger kids! Yes, I cringe when he gets hit, but he loves it and is really talented in martial arts. Just like he is in fencing, archery, skateboarding and snowboarding.
Even when he had horrible asthma, and I worried a lot, I couldn't keep him from what he loves.
One of the reasons I love homeschooling is allowing the kids to become who they are, not who society thinks they should be!
love the ornaments! I can't believe the holidays are here!!!!

Joy said...

I love those ornaments. They are so precious!

nicola@which name? said...

oh, marina, such a timely post for me, as you know. i am self-analyzing to the nth degree lately. i suppose stepping back falls along similar lines to "picking my battles," a bit for me. something i am certainly working on right now.

and the name plates are fabulous, marina!


nicola@which name? said...

by the way, gorgeous photos and the boys made me smile!

Traumkraut said...

very beautiful!

Frontier Dreams (Nicole) said...

Marina, I keep coming here to post and then I draw a blank and don't know what to say.
I struggle with this, too. I have been hovering over Ciar and Kaulini since Ciara ws born. It's funny b/c I wasn't that way with Kaulini at all but I fear her hurting Ciara so much. Because og my constant interventions and hovering Ciara now always plays the part of the victim. I am so mad at myself for letting it become this. Now I have to figure out how to fix it :( Any insight would be lovely!!! <3 <3 Thank you for this post, as always, you get right in my head :) (No Jim Carrey this time, I promise!!!)

taimarie said...

Ah yes. I can relate to this so much. I hover too, and then catch myself and make an effort to step back. Now my littlest is climbing everything and I am having to find that line to make sure he is safe but not smothered. It's a hard one. I'm a WIP too, for sure.

TheSingingBird said...

Marina, I learned this one the hard way(and of course am still learning it now that my kids are almost grown). I was a constant hovering parent with my first one, then my second child was born needing so much more than I could provide that I had to step back and let life happen. That's when we had an angel experience that left me KNOWING that there is so much more than what we see and experience. It helped me relax more and trust that if I couldn't step in someone else would, and that sometimes that someone is not visible, and that sometimes the "help" isn't understood or accepted by us for years to come. So love them, and trust that if you can't be the one to help them when needed they will be helped always, no matter what.

Marina said...

Thank you all so much for your incredibly heartfelt and open comments. I love dialogue with other parents that guide me along my parenting journey.

Stephanie- Your words made me picture Trev with a screwdriver surrounded by an old Wedgewood stove in parts scattered around him... if anyone can put together a stove, it would be one of your kids :)

Joel- thank you so much for your kind words and for visiting. As I was writing this, I was trying to remember the phrase that I had heard in our parent/child class "observe and ??" ... thank you for completing it for me :D

Hilary- thank you for reminding me that it's MY fear and that it's not something I want to install in my kids. The first book that comes to mind is "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne, it's a book I'd love to give to every parent I know.

Lisa- I love that your kids live life full force and that you've lived to tell about it! I worry a lot about Nico my daredevil, but you've reminded me that if it's something he loves, he deserves to try it!

Joy- thank you! you may be seeing some with your kids names soon *wink*

Nicola- it is a struggle isn't it? "picking battles" is a term that can easily be used in our home as well :)

Traumkraut- thank you!

Nicole- oh yes, with our little Luca, I really have to watch myself and his big brothers on when it's appropriate to swoop him up out of the way of rough boy play or when it's best for him to learn that I can't always be carrying him. *hugs* wish I had an answer for the both of us...

Taimarie- it's exactly the same here watching Luca climb EVERYTHING and letting him learn how to climb down! (which he hasn't figured out yet)

Birdy- As always, you provide such valuable wisdom. I trust in the universe for so much, that it would seem natural to entrust those that are most valuable to me, my family. Thank you so very much for reminding me of our angels!