Recently Nora has started needing her space. In the morning as I get ready in our shared bathroom, she gathers up her hairbrush, toothbrush and barrettes and goes into another bathroom to get prepped for the day. Its not that I'm in her way in the mirror, its that she wants her space. I totally get it, because I'm the same way. If I"m in the bathroom on a work day morning getting ready and Patrick comes into the bedroom to read a book, I feel annoyed-as if my space bubble was popped. I also need my alone moments to gather myself for the day.
At breakfast time, Nora has recently taken to setting up a little dining spot for herself away from our kitchen island, on the counter against the wall. She turns on the fluorescent light under the cabinets, sets up a napkin with fork and knife and eats her meal there. She says she likes to be away from the 'clutter' of the kitchen island.
In my mind I think, "the kitchen island is one of the least cluttered spots in our house" but I don't argue. I like her routine and I appreciate that she sets herself a spot at the counter.
I see Nora changing with her behaviors and doing things in a more mature, reflective, routine fashion. She knows what she wants, and what she likes in her life and makes it happen. I'm happy for that. Even if it means getting far away from me when brushing her teeth. ;-)
This past week I read a book called "The Wonder of Girls" by Michael Guiran, and in a matter of 150 pages, my understanding of Nora grew expotentially. I picked the book up by chance at Title Wave books in Anchorage…it looked interesting to me-a book to help explain what happens in the mind of girls. After 10 pages in, I felt like I just might be able to survive the next 5-10 years of motherhood.
Really. Truly. So often people say, "What age are your kids?" and I say, "7 and 9" and they respond with "Oh what great ages! Enjoy them now because soon they're going to hate being around you…." and other similar replies.
Comments like these are breeding grounds for feelings of low grade dread, wondering "just how bad will it be?". The Wonders of Girls has changed that. It explains how between the ages of 10-12, the growth of connections in a girls brain is similar to during infancy. And how during this "explosion" of brian activity, girls need us (moms, parents) MORE during theses years, not less. It explained why social connections are so critical during this age.
It helped me understand that Nora's perpetual longing for playdates is exactly what her brain and mind are wired for. So I'm feeling a little less anxious, more excited and more "there" for Nora. Reaching out to her to see if she'd like any playdates. Putting a little extra effort in to make it happen.
Parenting is hard enough as it is and it sure is nice to have such a great reference to help me better understand what is going on in their minds!
(Oh, and Guiran wrote the Wonder of Boys also…which I'm going to read next!)