My husband, Ben, and I are complete opposites in some ways.
For one, he loves summertime – the long days, the bass fishing, the warmth.
Whereas I love wintertime – the long nights, the skiing, the cold.
In our 25 years together we have often joked that we live in the perfect place, New England, where we each get what we need six months out of the year!
Well, we are now entering my favorite time of the year. The weather’s getting colder, the nights are getting longer, I can be outside midday without fear of headaches due to heat and humidity…
I (if you hadn’t realized it yet) am the vampire in the title of today’s letter.
I absolutely love the dark, clouds and fog, and cool/cold weather.
I know, I’m totally weird! And I am fine with that.
Thankfully so is Ben: )
But he struggles at this time of year. He’s very seasonally affected by the lack of light.
So on mornings where we are up before dawn, every light in the house is on.
Ben even has a special light, which I refer to as his “moth light,” which he sits nearby for about 20 minutes each day, usually while he eats his breakfast.
All this light can be a problem for me – it seems so harsh!
It’s tempting to be super grumpy about it with Ben, or tease him for his sungod-like ways.
But I’ve been thinking about how, after all, he’s only trying to get what he needs.
He needs a lot more light in times with less light. It’s just what he needs.
I then think about how accommodating he is, in the warmer weather when I am trying to get what I need.
This can affect his life because our front shades, which face full west, are closed tight every sunny afternoon between May and August.
It can also affect his life because, when it’s so hot, I can’t walk during the day. Our walks together need to be either quite early, or quite late. Some days they can happen at all when it is outrageously hot!
All that is so that I can get what I need.
We work together so well because we realize, “my partner is not doing what they’re doing to upset me or derail my life. They’re doing what they must, to get what they need.”
I’m sharing with you today – with Ben’s permission, thank you so much honey! – because I am wondering:
what do the people in your life, in your home especially, “need”?
Do you help them get what they need?
For example, young children often have needs that are quite different from our own.
And helping them get what they need can feel inconveniencing at best, super frustrating at worst.
In the Ninja Parenting Community, my online private coaching practice, one mom shared recently that her daughter is experiencing some regression.
She’s asking for her pacifier, and exhibiting some other behaviors that her mom has not had to deal with for a few years – and very rightly the mom is asking “is this normal behavior? What do I do about it?”
In a situation like that, we can react in a variety of ways:
– We can belittle the regressive behavior, out of our own fear that something is wrong, or even our own fear about returning to the “bad old days” of, for example, potty training frustrations
– We can wonder inside ourselves “am I doing something that’s causing this”
– We can see a negative future, in which this kid won’t go to high school, without her pacifier, and what does that say about her mental health, or those who raised her?
Each of the above reflects our own fears and worries about our child.
But what if we looked at it through a different lens?
We do best with our children when we can say “What do they need? How can I help them get what they need?”
And then help our kids get that. In this example, helping the child understand that it’s a very common feeling, to wish we could go back to a “simpler” time.
Perhaps even sharing about what we did, when we felt that way in our own life.
Because what they need often comes down to connection and engagement with us.
They trust us to value them, truly see them, and help them through the tough parts.
What does your child need? Can you tell from their behavior?
I would love to hear from you, and be helpful for you if I can!
Just hit reply to this letter and let me know what’s going on in your world.
(Ninja Parents/NPC Members: click here to read more on my ideas for helping when a child’s behavior regresses to an earlier age.…
If you are not yet a member but you would like to become one, you can try the community out for just $3 for your whole first month! Click here for details.)
Wishing you well!
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