A few days before his birthday, the kids and I met up with some other homeschooling moms at a local park. There were a number of boys Finn's age playing that Finn knew from other activities. They were engaged in some sort of imaginative game where one group were knights and the others were robots. They ran around chasing each other, fake fighting, and trying to capture castles. Finn desperately wanted to play, but felt inhibited because he didn't know the rules or what was involved. (Surprise child! There are no rules in this sort of play!) He came to me a couple of times crying that there was no one to play with. To be honest, I was stressed, exhausted, and experiencing a period of low-thyroid so I acted with less empathy than I should. I said something to the effect of, "There are a number of kids here, just ask if you can play with them." The second time I might of stated, "Ask them how to play the game." And then I might have just thrown out of frustrated, "just go play and leave me alone," the third time he came to me upset. Luckily, a number of the moms had boys of a similar nature and were not as exhausted as myself. They made a point of asking their sons if Finn could play with them, and to explain how the game worked. Things resolved themselves, and Finn had one of the best times at the park, ever! He couldn't stop talking about the game and how fun it was.
Finn spent the next week creating shields (from the bottom of canning boxes), swords (paper and cardboard), and belts (paper) for our family so that we could recreate this game on his birthday. He even took the time to write down the rules (to the best of his ability) on a piece of paper so that he could refer to it when the day came, and so we would know the rules. The homemade swords were less than ideal (only being six inches in length or so and not durable at all), but Mr. F. spotted some foam swords at our local grocery store during our weekly trip. On the day of his birthday, we made special stop there to pick up one for each of us on our way to the park.
It was so fun to act crazy and run around at the park. Many other kids wanted to join us in our fun. At first, Finn was pretty adamant about it just being our family, but towards the end, he let another brother and sister join in the fun. The day went quite perfectly, and most of it was due to Finn's involvement in the planning and preparation. I am really enjoying having older children around--kids that can help rather than hinder, take an active part in family outings, express opinions and desires, and shoulder some responsibilities.
- Finn wants to be useful. He craves responsibility. He dreams of being like the Box-Car children or the like--kids who know how to do grownup tasks. I try to take advantage of that by asking his help around the house. He is surprisingly competent, and that makes a lighter burden for me.
- His "mind is fixed upon being a builder." His current dream is to build an underground candy factory that has tunnels connected to our house. He thinks in big pictures, but is also concerned about the details. "Mom, how do I build if I am using brick?" "How do I make the factory safe in case there is a fire?" He wants to do this all tomorrow. He doesn't understand that he can just be a kid for a while.
- He is and has always been an highly intense person with highly intense feelings. As another HSP, I, surprisingly, have a hard time managing these emotions of his. I can appreciate them and I can sympathize, but as a mom, trying to do mom things, I can not cope with them very well.
- He is also very anxious about everything. He started crying the other day when we were learning about rainforest deforestation. "But mom, trees make air and if they cut down the trees, how will there be enough air for us to breathe." I just want to hug him and protect him from everything scary and bad in the world.
- He is an awesome big brother who plays well with his younger sister. I love that he wants her around to play with. I don't love when it gets too rough or when he can't seem to leave her alone.
I find that as my children get older, my feelings for them become more complex as do their own personalities. Trying to distill them and my thoughts into bullet points has become a lot more challenging and difficult.
More photos can be found here.