My daughter is going through something called the seven-year change. When I first heard about it in my Waldorf Education forums, I thought it was rather silly. Then I experienced it.
The idea is that somehwere around the seventh year children start becoming more aware of the difference between reality and fantasy. They realize that maybe not everything is real, they begin to doubt the magic. It's called leaving Eden, leaving the dreamlike state of early childhood.
My Jane has handled the change quite well. A blossoming also accompanies the change, being ready to begin formal schoolwork, it's not all bad. But she's also very back and forth on magical things. She desperately wants fairies to be real and believes in them wholeheartedly. But then some days she just starts crying that she'll never see one. Why can't she see them?
She'll make wishes on stars and then when they don't come true, walk around the house mopey and sad for a day or two sighing and saying, "Wishes don't come true."
It's pathetic. And depressing. And breaking my heart. I understand wanting, needing, magic in the world. And this transition doesn't mean she has to stop believing in magic or fairies. She doesn't want to. I don't want to.
So last night, when she wholeheartedly wished on the first evening star (checking with me multiple times to make sure that was the real "wishing sta") I knew I needed to at least do a little something to make it come true. I couldn't bear the thought of facing her and talking about how wishes on stars never come true.
Instead, I sprung into action. She had wished for a Magic Tree House like the one in the book series with the same name. She wanted it filled with every book in the world so that we could visit all her favorite stories. She was so sure her wish was going to come true that she couldn't sleep last night. It was worse than Christmas. She kept asking me and Rob where we wanted to go first. She decided to let Max choose the first book. She worried if the books would all be in English. She drew pictures of her favorite book characters she wanted to meet.
And after she finally fell asleep, I placed her playhouse on the trampoline and put a picture book inside. A story about a concert that happened at the zoo. The next morning, Jane was up at 6 am. She looked in the front yard. No tree house. I had her look out back. No tree house, but who put her play house on the tramp? She found the book. She knew it was the wishing star. She was so happy, even though she readily admitted it wasn't quite what she was expecting.
Jane waited patiently all morning until we could go on our adventure. She asked me that morning if someone had put the house on the tramp. I said I didn't know for sure, but maybe. That's how wishing stars work sometimes. Just because your wish doesn't poof into existence doesn't mean it isn't coming true. Sometimes wishing stars work through other people to help your wishes come true. I also talked about how we can help other people's wishes come true when we do something nice for them. It's kind of like helping the wishing star.
Anyway, all that buildup finally got us to the magical adventure. We piled into the play house. I stood outside and spun it in circles a few times while the kids closed their eyes. When they opened their eyes...nothing had changed. But I had a strange pulling in my arms. It was pulling me...to the car!
And we were off. The pulling of the wishing star finally got us to the zoo, where we ate lunch and I felt the inexplicable need to pull out my guitar and start singing. The kids grabbed instruments from the bag and we put on our own concert right there at the zoo, just like in the book. After a few songs, we went in the zoo. It's really more of an animal rescue. After feeding the goats we decided to play a few more songs for them.
Jane swears the goats were dancing.
The zoo director came out. She asked if she could video tape us. Then she asked if I'd be willing to come back on a Saturday and play for an hour or two. She loved it. Kept saying what a fun idea it was to sing with the animals. Then she started planning.
We'll put up posters. It will be a free day. Can you do this on a Saturday every month?
And just like that, Jane's wish wasn't the only one coming true. Because now my silent wish, to become more involved in the community with my children, was coming true as well.
Just goes to show. You leave your house on an adventure and you might come home on a whole new one.
In the end, Jane realized that it wasn't exactly what she wished for, but it was fun nonetheless. She's ready to go on another adventure. I told her that's all up to the wishing star and whenever it will put another book in the playhouse.
So, if you have any great ideas for books and adventures. Leave them in the comments!