These little guys are headed to the kiln today for their first firing. The downside of being part of this pottery workshop is that my kiln-firing schedule is at the mercy of others. I have no real say over when my things get fired, especially when the things I’m firing are so tiny and not worthy of their own firing in a big kiln. One of these days, I’m going to get myself a tiny little kiln and start working from home. One of these days…for now, I’m just happy to have clay in my hands again.
Over the weekend, Ms.CampCreek and I were discussing my experiences with Emma and her observational drawing lesson. If there is one word to describe Emma it is independent. (well, actually I might describe her as determined first, but independent is a close second). Lori and I were talking about how we strive for our children to be independent, to be able to do things on their own. But in the next breath, we’re requiring them to do things "our way". It’s that fine line–figure this out on your own, see if you can do that by yourself….no, you need to do this MY way!
I think I felt that imbalance last week, when I myself was feeling a bit frazzled. I’ve noticed that when Emma senses my stress, she gets into independent mode–make my own breakfast, clean my rubber boots in the bathroom sink, get out the paints by myself, etc. And in return, I become more frazzled because sometimes her independent outbursts leave a wake of confusion and mess. I heard myself saying over and over last week, "would you please just ask for my help?? That is what I’m here for!" Yet at other times, I’m the one pushing her to do things on her own–sometimes even those same things I just told her to do only with my help. "Emma, you can pour your cereal by yourself."
Does that make any sense?
Her independent spirit is bittersweet when it comes to home schooling. In one sense, she’s completely driven. She’ll figure things out on her own. Start things on her own. And work until she finds a solution. On the other hand, if I want to sit down and actually instruct her (heaven forbid!), she interrupts with a hand on my arm and a, "But mommy, what if we tried to do it this way?"
Parenting. It’s all about give and take. Adjusting. Finding balance. Seeing each child for who they are. Finding their gifts and talents and encouraging them. It’s also about guiding and instructing and disciplining. Now if I could just figure out how to do all those things, and do them well.
******And I almost forgot! Check out the wonderful treats we received from our miniswap partners:
and here. We were so spoiled!! Even if you didn’t take part in the swap, there’s lots of inspiration to be found in the flickr group.
8 comments on “to be or not to be (independent)”
I’m so afraid that I won’t find that parenting balance easily. Emily is only 16 months, but she already displays an independent spirit. She enjoys my proximity though, so maybe that will help as she gets older. We’re hoping to homeschool too.
First, I love those little mushrooms. They are darling! As for the independent one, Katrina can be that way too. But, the flip side for her is that if she can’t do it perfectly the first time she’s done. Not so much determined, more stubborn. She had a ridiculously long fit last night because we asked her to try to put her nightgown on herself and she didn’t think she could, despite having done it before. Ahh, children….
Oh, how I feel for you…we are having one of those ‘very stressful weeks’ all rolled into one day: today! And I know how difficult it can be…balancing home, homeschooling, and the personal need to create. I’m still searching for that balance.
i know that I have mentioned before that I have my very own “emma” at home, but mine is now nearly 19 years old and ready to fly the nest. let me say that the independent spirit never goes away but needs very firm and unflagging guidance. she has been my most exhausting child-physically and emotionally-from the get-go but the ride has been worth it…so far, it’s not over yet! there is so much you will miss about these children if your focus is on how much of a non-conformist she is. oh, i could write a tome.
when my independent girl causes me to want to tear my hair out, i try to breathe and remind myself that – of course, i want my girl to be independent, to think for herself, to know her own way in the world. and then i breathe again and remind myself that i also want my independent girl to be open to new ideas and other ways and people. and then i remind myself that she is only five and these moments are lessons. for both of us. and then i breathe again and excuse myself until i can find a way to re-approach the situation with grace. and then i take a nap.
(love the mushrooms!)
Gosh, I so here you. I have one of those really determined little ones and she’s only 17 months old. I think my problem is that she’s so different than I was as a child. I expected any child of mine to be just like me; to think like me, act like me, have the same ideas and goals as me. What was I thinking?!! She’s her own little person. She’s hardly anything like me (except for the stubbornness) and I have to accept that without being frustrated or trying to change her. Does that make any sense? Anyhoo, thanks for bringing this up. It made me think 🙂
oh, thanks a lot, molly, for outing me as being a control freak! LOL
i love that image of emma gently resting her hand on your arm – that is the same way my son is when he’s not listening to me, but waiting for me to stop talking so *he* can tell *me* how it’s going to be – so polite! so calm! :^)
i constantly have to remind myself, well, i *wanted* him to be independent .. and he sure *is*…
we have the same kinds of problems here. just so you know, you aren’t alone!