It's Leo Season and to celebrate all things, Leo, VF takes 5 with Lily Nicholson, Artist and Mother to Dusty her Leo Boy! Lily gives us an insight into the charming and sometimes dramatic life of having a Leo Child.
Describe your Leo boy in 3 words?
Wilful, curious, helpful.
If the house goes quiet… where will you find him?
If the house goes quiet, Dusty is not in the house haha. He’s most likely escaped over/under the fence and commandeered Keith (our dog) into helping him round up and catch the chooks... they actually make quite a good team.
You are in a playground… describe what Dusty is doing?
Either climbing the highest thing he can find and then yelling at everyone to “look at me”, telling his mates what they’re all meant to be playing, or has wandered off, perfectly contented to hang out on his own.
How does your little guy wake up in the morning?
What other signs are in the family? How do they interact with everyone?
Dusty and Jono (Gemini) are very similar, and seem to have the best time while outdoors and working on something. I’m a typical, over sensitive Pisces, and sometimes take Dusty’s wilfulness to heart, but he’s very kind and perceptive when he wants to be, and I try not to allow my emotions to determine the way I interact with him. Skip is an airies, super chilled out and dusty is the sweetest with him. Super kind and gentle he absolutely adores his little brother. He actually would prefer a cuddle with Skip, over anyone else. Pretty Cute.
Jono and I are both quite stubborn, which we seem to have passed on to Dusty. While it often makes for some trying times, I actually love this trait and know that having a good sense of determination and ability to question things, will hold him in good stead as an adult.
Leo Children are the children of the sun. Charismatic, gregarious and independent. They do love an audience with the words "look at me" on repeat. How do you manage Dusty's need for attention on a regular basis, especially with your newborn babe?
Haha. This is Dusty to a T! I’ve been known to refer to our life as “The Dusty Show”, and feel a little sorry for Skip as he has to wait his turn a lot when Dusty’s around. But in saying that, Dusty has been incredibly accepting of the arrival of his little brother, and very patient when it comes to sharing my time. I think getting Dusty involved in feeding, changing nappies, and just generally making him feel needed and helpful has enabled this.
Leo Children have that Lion bravery and courage. Natural born leaders with a touch of bossy pants. Whether extroverted or introverted they can't help but feel a little superior and dramatic every now and then. How do you nurture Dusty to respect the rights of others and that everyone must have their turn, without hurting his Pride?
You are seriously hitting the nail on the head! Bossy is certainly something he’s just started to really run with. At three, he’s also got a whole lot of attitude and can often be a little upfront with those he is most comfortable with. It’s a difficult thing to manage, but I find teaching him about empathy by referring to his own experiences (if he’s been left out or someone wasn’t nice to him), and how that made him feel, seems to be the best way of tackling this.
They really do have golden hearts, they have the ability to charm your socks off in a very creative and affectionate way. Fierce and wild with their smiles lights up the room. Do you find Dusty is protective of those he loves?
Yes! So much so. He’s very proud of his achievements, will willingly tell strangers of his latest endeavours and is the first one to let anyone who see’s his little brother that they must be “careful with my Gippy (Skippy)”. I love this about him, his kind heart, abundance of confidence, and ability to engage so well with a huge variety of personalities.
Leo children have a passion for life with their sunny optimistic spirit. To fully nurture a Leo child there is a balance required between praise, love and affection as well as continuous gentle discipline. This isn't always easy! How you gently ”discipline” your little Leo without dimming their light during life's day to day challenges?
As a very outgoing, determined and adventurous kid, I find Dusty learns best through hands on experience. I can tell him a thousand time not to “touch a bee because it might sting you”/ “climb on the chair because it could fall”/ “be gentle with your chooks so they’ll want to keep playing”, and he won’t listen, so sometimes, and I think many mothers (particularly of boys) struggle with this, it’s important to just let him work it out. He’s fallen, been stung by bees/ants and worked out that if he carries his chooks upside down they’ll run away from him (duh?) but now we have a reference point, and a clear consequence for his actions. Obviously I do try to set very clear boundaries and consequences (and avoid false threats - a recipe for disaster!) in order to keep him safe and I have found that when I do say a big old fat “No!” to something, he may not like it, but is gradually understanding and respecting my decision (albeit with a minor tantrum at times).
Leo rules the 5th house which represents all matters of the heart and creativity. Anything that ignites your passions. Does Dusty show an interest in your art? Does he have a creative side?
Dusty finds so much pleasure in creating artworks and while I’ve packed my studio up for a few months while Skip is little, we try to do a drawing, painting, or some kinds of “making” activity (cooking, gardening, craft etc) every day. He makes the most beautiful artworks and I’ve been consciously making a real effort not to say “what is that a drawing of”, rather “tell me the story in this artwork” so as not project the notion that his art needs to be “of” something in order to be valued (something that really bothers me about the way we teach art in primary schools). I have also started framing his work and putting it up throughout our house so that he can see that we value what he has made, and he can feel pride in his creations.
Lastly, Leo Children never do anything half-hearted, there is no in-between. Their vitality is pure gold. They love hard and play harder living life to the fullest. What magic has your Leo eternal child taught you?
I love how curious he is, that he never satisfied with a simple explanation, that he thrives on finding out as much information about something as he can, often asking me to “google it” when I’m not sure of an answer to his question. His passion for knowledge makes me so proud and encourages me to be more curious too. I do hope this sets him up to be a life long learner.
He also makes me laugh, and one can never underestimate the benefits of good humour. Being able to laugh at oneself shows humility and resilience, and makes for a much more enjoyable life...