Friday, June 1, 2012

The golden years

I've been reading a number of posts on three year olds and those who've read my blog would know, I have kids that range in age from 8 to 24. This has given me a wide range of "experiences" with children. I'm not going to do babies, toddlers and preschool age children. The topics have been done to death and quite honestly I'd feel obliged to write a scholarly piece and research it properly. So I'm turning my attention to school age children. I'm currently living this "dream". Compared to young and older children, it's a time of relative calm. As I've said before, I call it "the golden years". They are relatively physically independent (they can dress themselves,use cutlery and the toilet), are not really in the grip of hormones, still actually like you and can be fun and interesting. Freud called it the latent stage of development. This as opposed to the oral, anal, phallic and genital stages. Erick Erickson describes this also as a latent stage, with competence (industry VS inferiority)as the main "task" of school children. There's more, but really enough with the psychology. By now, hopefully you've built up a good relationship with your kids, can have a good chat, play a board game or watch a (age appropriate) movie with them. The dark side, of course is that they're confident of your affection for them and will ruthlessly exploit that, because they can. That language development you've helped with by encouraging reading, yes it gets used against you when they argue with you, using logic. Of all things, the cheeky buggers. Therefore, their lies become harder to pick, they learn to go silent approaching bedtime. Until you look at the clock at 9:30 and slowly realise that a light's still on in their room, or they're still sitting quietly on the couch. You then look accusing at your spouse.... Then there's after school activities, which most people start their children on in an effort to help them be more "rounded individuals". Sports, you travel for miles each weekend, wash uniforms and clutter up shelves with plastic trophies. In the case of swimming, you get up stupidly early and the laundry often smells like a pool. Don't get me started on pony club. Dance. Gaarh! There's FAD (fitness and dance), it's cheapish and there's lots of branches. Then there's ballet, jazz and tap, as well as the newer hip hop (often resembles strip/pole dancing). Being a former ballet mum, I can tell you, it's an experience. It's expensive, time consuming and the teachers, who are often referred to as "miss" often have a stick for some inexplicable reason. Lading up to exams and the end of year recital, the demands ramp up, along with the costs. Exams require new tights, leotards and shoes. Pointe shoes are insanely expensive. Roughly $100-120. Miss 24 broke her first pair the first pointe class. Double gaaaarh! Then there's gymnastics, ice and roller skating and so on. Music, not as demanding for quite some time. A couple of instruments do provide a special kind of torment initially. Violin and saxophone - Nuff said. Worse than the recorder. Music can include singing. I advise getting them to join the schools choir. Altogether I enjoy this phase of parenthood. Apart from the whining and asking for lollies. You get to teach them to be even more independent? Then they get to the end of primary school and you start to get wit sentimental about how your baby is growing up. You pick some nice pants and a good shirt or a dress for their primary school graduation and see how the girls are towering over the boys and actually looking a lot like teenagers. Then there is high/secondary school..... To be continued.

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