Hello, 9 Year Change

Super Dragon

I am not sure how to start except to say I’m kind of flabbergasted. A switch in Lucas’s mind flipped this week; or perhaps someone installed new drivers overnight. I’m pretty sure that now, just about a month before his half birthday, we are seeing the first signs of the 9 year change.

This in itself isn’t unexpected. (We were given a handout by Lucas’s teacher last spring when many of his older classmates were already going through it.)

Nor is the timing particularly surprising now that I think about it further. For me, this time around the autumn equinox is always rife (fetid?) with turmoil and change. I’ve written about this before, particularly in the context of the Waldorf myth of St. Michael, whose festival we’ll be celebrating this year on October 1 at school.

So it’s the time of year to excavate and uncover, to face our dragons and look at life and ourselves with new eyes, to ask ourselves if we like what we see, or if it’s time to take our swords and cut away the elements that are no longer serving us, that keep us from feeling right in the world. These challenges are opportunities, right? They help us grow.

This year I’m reflecting on Lucas’s dragons, for I feel he has his own now. His dreamy innocence is falling off him, little by little. His mind is sharp and becoming more critical by the day. He is now becoming an individual who is finally all the way in the world and looking about. He won’t like everything he sees. He won’t like everything he is.

This change of consciousness during the ninth year is challenging for child and parent alike, I am told. The payoff is that this is how a child naturally separates himself from his parents and develops his own individual character. It’s part of his learning to think critically, make choices, and become his own person—all fantastic stuff!

Admittedly, it is somewhat alarming to hear his brand-new self-loathing: “I hate myself. I’m the dumbest! I shouldn’t even exist!” His criticism should  fall squarely on his parents before too long.

Really, this is just the beginning of a phase that we all have to get through, and who knows what will happen. I would not have guessed that one of his first declarations of independence would be to “challenge himself” to stay awake the whole night last night!

Lucas came to tell us several times (10 p.m., 11:15 p.m.) that he couldn’t sleep. We gently but firmly sent him back to bed with an extra hug and the advice that one cannot fall asleep if one doesn’t still one’s body. We went to sleep. Asher, who is sick and was barking and coughing, woke up around 2:30 needing a drink of water. When I took Asher  back to bed, I realized that Lucas wasn’t in his bed. He wasn’t in Asher’s bed either. (I’m not the sharpest at 2:30 a.m. so I was confused.) Then I started to get scared and went looking through the house for Lucas. I found him asleep in the comfy armchair in the living room. I tried to slow my pounding heart and ultimately decided to leave him asleep in the chair. I went back to bed myself but had trouble going back to sleep. I kept worrying about him, wondering what he had on his mind that had caused his insomnia. What nightmare did he have that drove him from his bed? Oh, we weren’t gentle enough with him when he told us he couldn’t sleep earlier, and he was too afraid of our wrath to come to us when he needed us!

Nope. None of that. This morning he revealed he had deliberately tried to stay awake all night. He had played while the rest of us slept. He had spent a bunch of time finger-knitting a long rope. Ian and I sipped our morning coffee and tried to figure out which part of Lucas’s story was the lie. We told him that he isn’t to do that anymore: When we put him in bed for the night, we expect him to stay there! (I guess I should be glad that he didn’t leave the house!)

Natural consequences are tough. He was TIRED today at school. And bedtime came mighty early tonight.


Today is my birthday. I’m 38 today, although last year my husband advertised my birthday as my 25th, so maybe this is my 26th? I can live with either, really.

During my 26th year, I was married to the man of my dreams, building life-long friendships, living a mostly carefree, earnest life, and working hard to make it in the world. It was a good year full of good times and good goals. We were building careers. We were saving all the money we could to buy a home together. We were talking about having children.

Yesterday as I was walking home after having dropped Asher off at his preschool, I had a few minutes to reflect on my life. It’s easier to think about such things when the ambient sounds are birdsong instead of little-boy laser-battle sound effects.

Wow. I am really fortunate and REALLY happy!

I don’t always feel happy. Small and big things get me down. I worry. I have anxiety and frustrations and limits that I strain against very often. Sometimes this coat of motherhood that I put on eight years ago feels itchy and too tight in places. Sometimes I get hot under the collar. These feelings I experience are all true, valid, and real.

But what a life we have made for ourselves! For instance, I have time to walk my 3-year-old to school in the morning. I can pick my 8-year-old up from school in the afternoon. I have the freedom to accept the work I want, and most of the time I can turn down the work I don’t want. I haven’t sat in a cubicle for six years. When my young son isn’t with me, he is with his father, a grandmother, or our dear friends of twenty years. Lucas goes to an amazing school, where he is learning every day. I have hobbies now that I never dreamed I’d have, and a garden full of green, growing friends. I’m learning to make things with my hands. I’m developing new interests and skills all the time. Our children are healthy, smart, and vital. We enjoy our family time together. I have talented, loving, patient friends. I’m profoundly in love with my husband and he with me.

It’s a rich and vibrant life and I’m so grateful. I think 38 is just fine.

Rainbows in Hand

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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