My dear, sweet boy #2.

June 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

 “In the ninth year the child actually experiences a total transformation of his being,

which point to a significant transformation of his soul-life and to a significant

transformation of his experience of the bodily-physical.” Rudolf Steiner

2003, aged 6 months.

2003, aged 6 months.

Samuel was born in 2003 when we lived in Brisbane. We had moved there from our paradise-like ‘Miracle House’ in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. It was a strange time in my life where I was quite alone and a little melancholic. When Samuel was first born, there was no rush of visitors to congratulate us or see the baby….just a handful of cards and phone calls from family. After a few days my mother returned to her home in Sydney and it was just Sol and I, and our boys.

Our bond was slow to grow, which was completely different to the instant rush of recognition and connection I had felt when William looked up at me for the first time. I am saddened to admit that I compared experiences, and judged them.  But Samuel was both an easygoing but strong willed baby who adored his big brother, and as he grew into a quiet, introspective boy, I saw much of myself, and that later recognition of us as vulnerable, kindred souls stoked fires of tenderness in my heart.

Samuel, aged 5.

Samuel, aged 5.

Samuel developed asthma as a toddler, which brought many trips to the hospital for treatment. He loved nature, and we moved to a lovely bush house when he was one. When we moved to the beach in QLD a few years later he thrived (physically and emotionally)  in the humid, clean climate and our unschooling, physical activity focused environment. He was a mean BMX rider at the tender age of 4! And having an older brother to look up to meant he was determined to be involved in all the things we did: artistic and scientific projects, skateboard riding, swimming…..

When Zara was born in Sydney in 2009 things became rocky….probably reflecting the difficult time I was experiencing. I ‘left the building’ for a while but eventually was dragged back into reality by the difficult time Samuel was having with our less than ideal living situation (with my mum) and his stressed out parents. I couldn’t even look after myself adequately at that time so it’s no wonder that I wasn’t really there for him. But, over time, as we moved into our own living space again and as  I persevered with supporting Samuel (he had undiagnosed food allergies), things settled down a lot and his gentle, spiritual nature gradually peeped through again.

Aged 8.

Aged 8.

But his childhood years since then have not been particularly easy or peaceful. Now Samuel is on the cusp of ten….and I have lately found myself feeling out of my depth. I have turned to books…. and in a very serendipitous way the book “Encountering the Self: Transformation and destiny in the ninth year” (Hermann Koepke, 1989) has come across my path.

According to Koepke, who writes from the anthroposophical perspective, the nine year old child is in the process of shedding the imitative, imaginative time of childhood and is stepping into a new version of themselves, where they are suddenly aware of their separation from others. Along with this comes the realisation that adults maybe don’t know it all, so there may be a sense of loss. Justice and fairness are the themes for this year as these children try to find their own place in a new world that is not as predictable as before. And their bodies can be a reflection of this transformative time, with minor complaints and ‘growing pains’ common.

Our children attend a Rudolf Steiner school and there is a big focus on the spiritual development of the child (which is partly why we love this style of education). And suddenly it all makes sense…I can step out of my emotional reactions to Samuel’s behavioural struggles and see the big picture of his soul development.

As Robin’s illness fades into the past, and as I become more organised, I am able to spend more time with Samuel (we are reading ‘The Neverending Story’ together). In the bigger picture, I can ‘hold’ the energy of the family in a stronger and more positive way. And that has a positive effect on all of us.

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