We don’t read as much as we used to about child development, but once in awhile I feel like, “better check the data to make sure there are no glitches”.
And, as I have mentioned before, we often rely on the Louise Bates Ames collection of books as a baseline for where are kids are at. Some of the material may feel dated, but in general we find the studies have been consistent with our own experiences. How often I see these books on the shelves of our trusted doctors and schools, I think it is not a bad place to start.
But it was with some trepidation that I ordered up a copy of “Your Ten Year Old…” because it seems like such a big deal. Then, when I noticed the full title “Your Ten-to-Fourteen Year-Old”, I was flummoxed.
Oh my, what exactly are we getting ourselves into!
The book remained unread or (even glanced at), on my side table for quite a while. But two things happened: The Pandemic wore on and my reading time increased and two, after a overdue visit to Luke’s doctor where he casually notified me that Luke was showing early signs of puberty, I internally pronounced:
Oh jeez, better open the book fast!
As with so many parenting moments of anguish, The written word calmed my worried soul. To paraphrase: Ten is calm, smart, collected, energetic, enthusiastic, smart, healthy and above all else filled with:
It describes our Luke with his many episodes of ups and downs and what one might expect from a thriving human being, so without further adieu, here is a few minutes of pure marble minded equilibrium from Master Luke.
Lily: “what f this is the never ending pandemic?”
Luke: “Well, then I guess we would get used to living this way.”
What I particularly enjoyed about this brief, yet profound conversation was that both statements were made without fear, stress or anxiety.
We have gone back and forth on how and when to introduce the incredibly complicated world of moving images to our kids. Given that it is a world I grew up in and now have as my vocation, it is hard to hold back on diving in aggressively.
Mom and Dad decided Luke is ready to see Star Wars IV (The first one in our books) and we even got excited about the possibility of finding a screening at a real live movie house.
Then I started to think more and more about it.
Over the last few months Luke has has more specific and increasingly fascinating questions about how movies are made and what constitutes a real life movie vs. an animated movie vs. a documentary? It dawned on me that his mind can barely differentiate between these concepts. That it is really hard to understand the differences between a documentary and a movie where people are pretending to be something or do something. Even animation is still a bit confusing to his young mind.
Then I started to think about how when the first moving images were projected back in 1896, just one shot of a train barrelling down the tracks, patrons ran from the movie house unable to comprehend what they were seeing. Even if this is fabrication of what really happened (no one knows), it still belies the power of the moving image on the human brain.
We opted to fall back and watch some of the Sound of Music instead. (laptop, home, part one only) listening to the questions during the show only confirmed what I was thinking, you need to work up to something like Star Wars, no matter who you are.
Q: Are there going to be more people? (after seeing Julie Andrews alone in the field in the beginning.
Q: Will there be more songs? (after the first song ended).
Q: What’s happening? (could be said at almost any conceivable moment)
I became intrigued on what is the best path to take on this visual journey and found a comforting post from a Waldorf teacher and parent on just this subject. What I love was that her methodology was to start at the beginning, silent films and work slowly through the decades following the major changes in cinema, Sound, Color, Faster editing, etc.
It all made a little more sense after that and I realized it is really a matter of just relaxing. Yes, Luke wants to DO everything NOW, wants to SEE everything NOW, wants to LEARN everything now, but it is our job as parents to figure out the least troubling manner to approach all this.
So, for now I am sticking with the Marx Bros.
When I was about Luke’s age I went to Ski Camp. Loved it, spent a week straight skiing everyday in the Berkshires. I became a pretty good skier over time. But, my memory says that I spent the entire first season learning to snowplow, maybe “stem-christi” (if that still exists) and certainly taking lessons every day.
Around that same time Downhill Racer starring Robert Redford arrived at the movie theaters. Oh, I loved that movie. I may have turned into a very careful, non-risk taking type of skier, I still see myself as a downhill racer.
Well, lucky enough for me Luke became one in nine outings. It has been uncanny to watch. basically he was up and skiing by himself at the end of day one, skiing down pretty much any trail he so desired by the end of day three and at day eight he now does this: