Monday, November 7, 2011


When I was pregnant I met my friend who was also pregnant with a boy whose due date our boy stole (what a sentence). Those two boys were born 11 days apart from each other but couldn't be more different. For me they are the living example of each's child's individuality.

Today we met up with Lian at the playground. Although the boys are both becoming a bit more "social" - each on their own terms - they are not really playing with each other. It's just us mums, desperate for a chat, who make them meet up every now and then. Lian is a huge fan of the slides. He climbs up and slides down with this big grin on his face. Leander doesn't usually pay much attention to slides from that perspective. Occasionally he tries to climb them up from the bottom, fails due to the Earth's physics and goes off to something else. Today he watched Lian slide and me and his Mum laugh at him and his huge grin. So he walked around, climbed up the steps and sat down at the top of the slide. I was excited. Would he really do it? He smiled at me, turned around and for a second I thought he would slide down on his belly. Instead he walked over to the steps and back down. At this moment I loved him so much. For not doing something just because others are doing it. For not doing something because he might think I'd like it. But especially for knowing that there is always the chance to go one step back to safety, security and self confidence.

How often are we capable of going backwards? In a shop we just wanted to look around a bit ending up bying something expensive because we are too polite to say no? Getting drunk with friends because we don't want to be uncool? Jumping down the high board because it'd be too embarassing to walk back down the stairs.

If we let our children develop in their own time at their own pace they will always know what their "safe place" is in this moment. When they can crawl and only walk a few steps - crawling is their safe place. If they just start talking and they are upset - crying or screaming is their safe place. If they can physically climb up the stairs but are too tired - mum's arm is their safe place. And we have to be there in this safe place, we have to be their haven of comfort and trust. Not pushing them, not forcing them - just acknowledging the situation as it is. If we interfere too early, help out or encourage a little too much the child might focus rather at the next step than at how to manage this situation happily and joyfully - within their own physical and mental limits.
Here we really have THE chance of raising children who feel confident in what they are doing and confident in saying what they DON'T want to do.

It's taken me 30 years to actually stand up to the things I like but also the things I don't like. I had to learn the hard way that a "No!" can feel so good. And when my future neighbours get together for a circle dance again I will smile and say "No thanks!" and think of my little boy, who - so far - does not know any different.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, Nadine! Since Leander has been encouraged to be his authentic self, he will continue to (very confidently) be his own person. Parents take classes to learn how to help their teenage children say NO to drugs, sex, etc. But *this* is how it happens...and this is exactly the way to do it.