Happy 6th birthday, Oliver!

My letter for your 6th birthday

Carlotta Cerri

My little big Oliver,

Today is a special day for us. You turn 6! 6 years since that March 15, 2015 when you made me a mom.

You know, from my Montessori studies I know that children at 6 enter the second plane of development. Do you know what that is? It’s just a strange name to refer to a new period in a child's life.

You won’t feel any change, your life will continue just as you know it, and probably the only difference will be that you can say 6 when people ask you "How old are you?".

But I feel and see the changes.

I’ve been feeling them for a while, actually. It’s like you’ve been walking with one foot in a big boy's shoe and one in a small boy's shoe. What does it mean? It means that sometimes you seem big to me – much older than your age – and you amaze me with your maturity, your sensitivity, your empathy, and your rational thinking; other times you seem small – much younger than your age – and you remind me that you are still developing important skills such as willpower and controlling your emotions.

I see and feel you, my monkey.

I see the inner storms, I feel your struggles – I know them very well because they’re also my struggles, we’re so similar. But I also glimpse the human being you are becoming.

I would like to be able to help you much more than I do, I would like not to feel provoked by your crocodile so much, I would like to be able to better control my reactions, even when I don't like your behaviours: I don't always succeed, but I know that we are learning together.

After all, whenever I don't like you – yes, sometimes I don't like you… it’s normal not to like each other sometimes – whenerever I don't like *you*, I should look at *myself*, because your behaviour is often a reflection of mine. Like yesterday morning when I lost it and told you "You are being disgusting right now”, but in reality I was just as disgusting as you were for repeating "I'm almost ready" for an hour and a half, while in reality I wasn’t almost ready, I preferred to keep working rather than taking you to the beach.

So actually, I need to thank you. Thank you because you are a mirror of myself, you help me evolve and be intellectually honest; thank you because even when your crocodile takes over, you often let me guide you and give you the tools to tame it; thank you because when I manage to remain calm, you make an effort too; thank you because you are often willing to accept my apologies (believe me, I don’t take this for granted, there are adults who can’t do it yet!). Thank you for your patience while I’m discovering day after day how to parent, and I’m understanding what messages are important (and how to communicate them to you).

So today there's something important I want to tell you: even when I don't like you, even when I don't like myself, I really, really love this journey we are on together!

I love you, my monkey. Happy 6th birthday!


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