December 19, 2010

Sensitively Seven

Seven is where she's at.  Seven glorious years under the sun.  Seven years of sweetly wowing us with her charm, her humor, her intellect.  She's got it all.  But at seven, she seems to be suddenly so hard on herself.  She cries almost hourly.  She want to quit everything she starts before she's done because she knows it won't be perfect.  She doesn't write poems at poetry club anymore because she "can't spell a lot of words and there's no point in writing them if they'll be wrong." So at seven my superstar has found herself at a road block.

As aspiring super mom, I analyze, I hit the books, plan and plot to enrich her days with more uplifting activities and to create opportunities for success in her day.  I call upon my most sage mom friends (of which there are many) who generally respond with a comment somewhere along the lines of "I don't have the answer, but it sure makes me feel better to hear that you and your kids aren't perfect."  While that falls short of the kind of wisdom I was hoping for, it does remind me that we all idolize our mom friends, our favorite mommy bloggers, the family staring back from the cover of the magazine and worry that the fact that our kid may cry at the very sight of a chapter book this week means that we've failed them somehow.  But in reality, many of those moms are looking back at us and our families through those same messed up mommy lenses and wondering if they measure up.  We're all the same that way. 

So I turn to a book series that a dear friend, Julie, used to always tell me brought her comfort (coupled with fear if she read ahead in the series) called Your ____ Year Old by Ames and Ilg.  In it you'll always find a remarkable description of your child at that very moment.  It's amazing!  And you always think, okay.  It will be okay.  With that in mind I turned to the book Your Seven Year Old and found these little tidbits:

~In addition to having many worries and fears, the child of this age often feels that he has all the bad luck. 

~Tears come easily, although the child may try to hold them back, because he is embarrassed to cry in front of other people. 

~Also, Seven is easily disappointed. Things so often do not turn out as expected. If things go wrong at play, he is likely to leave the group, mumbling to himself, "I'm quitting." At home a Seven-year-old boy rushes to his room and slams the door.

There's more, but you get the point.  She's just seven.  I can sit back and sigh with relief.  Seven.  Beautiful, emotional seven.  At seven she's stubborn, but she's also so giving when she thinks I'm not watching.  She's always on the edge of an outburst, sometimes of joy and sometimes of self-loathing, but it's always authentically her.  While seven doesn't look like six, it reminds me that there's an independent little spirit in there and that I'm going to have to listen with my heart to every year that passes, figuring and fixing, planning and plotting, loving and laughing and waiting to see who she'll be next.  I love that sweet seven.

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