Thursday, November 2, 2017

Day 222- Cesar

I hear a fumbling at my door, and in bursts a little naked firecracker named Cesar, speaking at the top of his lungs, “HEY KIM! WHAT YOU DOING?”, and before I can answer, “What you doing Kim!? You must plaaaay with me! I WANT that!”. And Cesar will come and lean on my desk, or climb into my lap and put his nose right up to mine, look into my eyes, “what you doooing?”
What a unique childhood Cesar is growing up in, growing into, and co-creating along with all of us here at the Desteni farm, now including myself as well. Sometimes I sit in my room at night and work on the computer, and I can hear snippets of conversations going on outside my door. Leila and Gian discussing challenges they are facing with Cesar, Leila and LJ contemplating parenthood, or Maite and Leila sharing experiences from the day with their children. And I listen in fascination as I am not used to such deep and profound topics, or innocent and vulnerable sharings being discussed so openly by the people I am living with. Nothing is secret here. There are no backroom conversations or guarded whispers nor groups within groups. So, when I hear these pieces of conversation, I am not being privy to some exclusive exchange, I rather feel honoured to have captured a moment of the lives of those I am living with. One such moment included Gian and Leila discussing a challenge they were facing with Cesar. I heard Gian say that their son is a creator, not a destroyer, and so he would treat him as such. I know that Cesar does destroy many things, as most children do, as he is learning the difference between ‘toys’, ‘tools’ and also electronic devices, and how to handle them differently. But when he does this Leila and Gian give him his own devices (like an old laptop), or something similar that he can take apart and learn about how it works. He has even come up with his own inventions, like a mouse that you can use from one side of the room, attached to a computer on the other side of the room. This is how they took what most would label as ‘destructive’, and turned it into nurturing Cesars creative ability. And so I am learning from them, and from Cesar, what it means to raise your child within a certain set of principles, using understanding and re-direction instead of lists of rules and regulations. Which brings me to something I heard Leila say when talking about parenting with LJ. She said “maybe I am as much Cesar’s child as he is mine.” This took the ground right out from under my feet, as I have always seen myself in the role of ‘adult’, ‘teacher’ and ‘the one that knows’. But as soon as I heard her say this, I realized everything Cesar has taught me in the short amount of time I have been here. Cesar is teaching me what it means to be patient with myself. He challenges the fuzzy logic I have lived by for so many years with one simple question: “why?”. I have been learning from Gian and Leila about explaining things in a way that makes sense. Because in reality, everything is quite simple, especially in nature, there is a sound reason for everything. It only gets complicated when you get into the mind-made systems of humanity. Like, try explaining rationally why eye-lash curlers exist, or why do certain pens have decorative bits on them. Cesar is also teaching me about persistence and getting things done. He will not let go of a point until he understands it, and can repeat it back in his own words and understanding. He usually has to hear ‘no’ several times, accompanied by an explanation until he is satisfied and will let the point go, or at least wait till he’s bigger. He can wait and be patient when he understands WHY he must wait – especially since Leila and Gian make a point to live their words, and see through the promises they have made him. There is a trust that when Leila says she will do it later – she will – every time. If not, there is always a valid reason, and then Cesar can decide to throw a tantrum, or understand – either way he will be supported back to stability through the adults around him remaining stable no matter what he throws at us. And that is another thing I am being faced with. Pure, unadulterated self-expression in every moment. One time I was responding to emails, and the internet was not working. My emails wouldn’t send and I couldn’t open my inbox after having restarted my computer. My frustration was growing and becoming unbearable. Cesar walked into my room and just screamed at the top of his lungs. Now, there were no dogs around, no one was sleeping, and the baby was in her room with the door closed. Cesar understands there are times when he needs to be quiet around sensitive ears, or consider others while they sleep. So, when I saw it was a moment where it was ok to be loud, I realized that yes, this was exactly how I was feeling. My frustration was triggered in that moment and it was made clear how much of an effect it was having on my body. So, we screamed together, and I just let it out. And that was it. Cesar just walked away, and I closed my laptop realizing there was nothing more I could do in that moment. I decided instead to do something physical to get out of my head and back into my body – avoiding a whole play out that would have normally led to a migraine and pain in my body. Cesar supported me because when he is feeling something, he brings it here naturally and deals with it as best he can and as he knows how. He does require the support and understanding of adults, where we can give him words to explain what he is going through and find ways with him to direct it. But, the thing that he can do so naturally that I struggle with, is to confront what is going on inside him in the moment. I have learned over the years, how to suppress and push down emotional experiences that I did not know how to direct. In supporting Cesar, or watching Leila, Maite, LJ and Gian support their children, I am learning to support the part of me that still has the need for understanding and direction. There is a part in all of us that is still like a child – one that requires words to express, understanding to navigate, gentleness to learn, support to direct ourselves, listening, hearing, and lots of growing pains. Since I’ve been here at the Desteni farm, I have been spending time with Cesar, and at the same time, getting to know the child within me. This way, we learn together. I get to see the world through his eyes, and he through mine. I am inspired by his maturity, independence, and fearlessness at his young age, and he gets to climb up my legs, tackle me on the bed, and just be Cesar. Happy birthday little C. I'm honoured to be a part of your life!!