Year in Review: Ageing, changing, refreshing, and starting again

This year, I got older.

In previous years I aged a little bit each day, alongside everybody else, but this year I experienced a seismic shift in ageing.

My hair continued greying. I added a few more fine lines to my slowly ageing complexion. My waistline adjusted to accommodate more frequent baking.

None of this was wholly unexpected; I was simply getting older (and eating more cookies). What truly aged, was the inner me. My inner voice speaks more slowly, more confidently. Inner doubts now provide strength and clarity. And, my inner hopes and dreams are now possibilities… as long as I win the lottery (and soon).

But, these strides could only be taken because the last year has been so full of uncertainty and anxiety.

Overall, it was a tumultuous year, personally and professionally. During the last 12 months my family moved house, opened a cafe, and struggled with the declining health and subsequent death of a beloved parent. Parallel to this, we have become increasingly aware that our little boy learns differently; he is very probably hyperlexic.

Collage picture of child at play. Sequencing numbers and forming letters from blocks.
At age two, our son was obsessed with letters and numbers. Block play was not about stacking and building towers, it was about forming letters. Sequencing numbers and letters took up a significant portion of free play.

With hindsight, it is not a surprise that plans for this blog took less of a priority; nevertheless, I have had a bizarre sense of guilt for not continuing and have worried about starting again… Where do I begin? What should I write about? Who am I talking to? Should I publicly discuss my family?

Plans change

Initially, this blog was a space to record ideas and philosophies that help me as a parent and an early years professional. I hoped to evaluate my journey while providing support and ideas for other people who spend time with young children. But, as the months went by and life shifted, I doubted whether I could maintain authenticity without delving into the atypical learning styles of our son. How could I continue putting early years literacy and numeracy on the back burner when my child was continuously sorting letters and numbers?

I am a proponent of play: I fight for unstructured play time, I dislike early reader programs where young children are taught to read before they are ready, I follow studies that show how learning to read early yields no long term benefits (and can even backfire). In all honesty, I felt like a hypocrite reassuring parents of 3 and 4 year olds that there is no rush to teach children ABCs, while my then 2 year old could read and spell whole words.

2 year old spelling the word purple using magnet letters on a whiteboard. Two year old plays letter search in the woods Two year old completes alphabet puzzle

Atypical development was not unusual to me, I was comfortable and familiar with neurodiversity particularly in young children, but it was new for me to be the parent of a child who was developing atypically. It was an unexpected addition to my parenting adventures.

So, a fresh approach it is…

A year ago, I set up this blog to share ideas and tips from a professional background with a parenting twist; however due to the changes that have taken place over the last year (and with more upheaval to come) I now opt to speak to you as a mother. Instead of simply sharing crafts or activities, I will also discuss my family and our growing understanding of atypical child development; its wonders and its worries.

This year I aged. I got older. I grew up (and out). My child is at the beginning of his journey. He is a beautiful, funny, quirky child who learns differently. It is an honor to be his parent and I am excited to get older as he grows. In all things, I will listen to my slower, inner voice and embrace doubt and uncertainty.

This post breaks my silence. I hope to be much louder as time moves on.

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