Tuesday, 4 November 2014

thoughts on normalisation

Having rest on top of the world

I've always been very aware of the importance of a child's first years of life. This is when the inner voice is formed, this is where those inner needs and wants we adults have are formed. This is when it's easiest to break a person.
I'm aware, because I spend a lot of time studying psychology and psychologists. I've read a lot on early childhood, attachment theory (which isn't the same as attachment parenting, it's the theory behind the practise) and development. I knew which disorders are planted in this time. I knew. Because I got them. Because someone tried to break me. Because I experienced first hand that not all parents are good parents and that you can do wrong.
I also knew trauma is intergenerational. You learn to parent in the first years of your life. You unconsciously remember everything you did, saw and experienced. And you implement it as an adult, instinctively.
I was and always have been determined to fix the evil in my life and to not pass it on. Many decisions I've made were inspired by the determination to not pass on the trauma to the next generation. This includes migrating!

So, you can imagine how felt deeply I feel about how my child got raised by a mother with severe ptsd as result of birth trauma. His dad left us at 18 months. His primary carer, as I worked! The very trauma caused disconnected and unstable parents I had worked so hard to keep at bay, had snuck in through the back door.

And then I discovered Maria Montessori her writing. And I read about normalisation. And I felt even more desperate. How was I ever going to achieve that! On my own. No family. Poverty. Broken myself.

A normal child, according to Maria, is kind, generous, able to focus, keen to learn and work, ethical. All those things we strive for. But teaching, parenting and day to day life disrupts the child's development. It prevents the child's mental and psychological growth. And the child misbehaves.
The children that arrived in the casa dei bambini, had much worst lives than we can imagine. Before this children's house started they were left on their own while mum went to work. I'm rich compared to them. Our live is easy. Giving them the room, the materials and the responsibility, quickly changed these children into well behaved normal children. To everyone's amazement.

If they could do that, I can normalise my child. I'll just have to trust her, myself and Seb. But for a long time, I just felt worried, insecure and moving in darkness. I felt no hope and if I did, I killed my hope every time I boiled over and blew off steam in front of, or even, at my child.

Before I read her books I intuitively felt she was the key for me. And I felt that if I learn it all and do it all, we can get there. And we are getting there! The organisation of the materials and turning my house into a real child friendly place, had given us the physical stability and calm. But most of all, I've learned to let go. Seb needs to do it, it's his life, I can only be in the way. If I focus on creating an amazing environment, then he can get on with the job of growing up.

And today I saw my first results.

We just spend week in the mountains. We did many climbs and I often wondered if I pushed him too far. But as much as I could, I let him decide. I carried him if he wanted, I let him run otherwise. We stopped to look at dirt, we even played in a puddle on top of one mountain, barefoot!
Come on mum! This way! Often a step or 100 ahead of me

Near the house, I let him run further and further away. There are no obvious risks like cars and strangers. Just snakes and kangaroos but they generally get out of your way.
There was a footy oval behind us and of course, in toddler land there is only one way in. Through the gate at the other end! Not through any other opening or underneath the fence, just the gate. After I realised, I could let him go to the other end, come through the gate and play on the cricket pitch without going with him. It took a lot of courage!
This is a skink. We talked about their behaviour and their habitat. We also saw bearded dragons, a brown snake, a shingle back lizard, emus and lots of kangaroos

I let go and as much as I could, I enjoyed seeing his joy. I was fascinated with him, looked with him, talked with him, followed my little man. I talked to him about what we saw and explained how mountains are formed, that kangaroos are marsupials and how endlessly much I loved him.
One walk he was a pita. I thought he was cold, but he wanted to be carried. So I did. 5 minutes later he was asleep. He didn't wake up until we got to the top! It was utter bliss to walk on my own pace, in quiet, hearing only the birds and mother earth whisper.
When we climbed down together I realised I had no idea how I got up there carrying 15kg of child and stuff! 

Now we're home he's more purposefully doing the works. He's concentrating and I can see the intensity on his face. Intense joy, intense awareness, intense absorbing. It's blown my mind.

I know we're not there yet, it's only the first leaves of the flower bud gently opening. But I got that key to becoming whole and to raising a wholesome child.

"Look mum, it's pink"

I hope this story helps you understand the power behind this education system. It's not meant to be quick way to learning letters. It's meant to raise spirits, to lift people out of poverty, into happy stable lives.

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