If there is one thing that is an end-of-year tradition for me, it’s the all-nighters that precede Christmas morning. Are they a tradition or a bad habit? I can’t quite decide. All I can say is those late nights made it possible for toys to be tested, bikes assembled, and a ton of packages to be wrapped. My husband, an only child, always wanted children (plural) and dreamed of giving them BIG, exciting, and overwhelming Christmas mornings. The all-nighters were my necessary prelude to creating that Grand Tradition for the rest of the family.
Having a baby inspires parents to think about everything they ever wanted their child to have in life; the list usually being a combination of everything good and everything that each of us thinks should have been in one’s own childhood. (more…)
Have you ever wondered why we describe age in terms of days, weeks, and months for the very young but are not so precise after a child reaches the age of 3? Or to take the opposite tack, why are we so vague about the age (or definition for) when adulthood begins? I mean, can your 28 year old, unemployed high-school drop-out younger brother be considered an adult when he’s still at home and Mom and Dad pay all the bills?
There are several reasons age is treated differently over the course of the lifespan. Some of these reasons are based on science, others are mainly cultural. Still other age specifications are designed to meet institutional needs, such as when we start and finish a required amount of schooling—not whether or not we actually got educated during that long and laborious process (see younger brother, above). (more…)
I attended a lecture last week that was very interesting. It was given by Michael Thompson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who has written several parenting books, including The Pressured Child, the main theme of the meeting. While Dr. Thompson is not an infant specialist, he made a closing remark that I think is relevant for parents at any stage: “Your child is on his or her own journey, not yours.” He urged parents to do two things:
- Let your children have a childhood.
- Don’t use your child’s life as a way of proving your own effectiveness as an adult.
“Easier said than done,” I thought. After all, parenthood is also a journey, and we are learning as we go.
Besides, new parents should get a reprieve for their ego-involvement during Baby’s first year or so of life; it is the parent’s responsibility to guide, protect, and yes, More >
One day, when your baby is around 18 months old, it will hit you that a walking, talking, knowing little child with a much defined personality has “taken up residence” in your home, loudly calling your name (Mom-eeeee!), and claiming your heart in a new and different way. Walking and getting into mischief was the beginning of the change. But the most significant transformation in your relationship is triggered by your little one’s improved ability to communicate. With just a few words, they can put language, gestures and emotions together. It’s a totally different experience—this emergence of the toddler—who is too grown up to be a infant, but young enough to still be your baby.
When the first 7-10 words appear, the time has come to do some heavy lifting on language development. This is the very beginning of the word explosion. More >
Anyone who has seen the 2004 comedy, Meet the Fockers, starring Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller will remember the singular obsession of DeNiro’s character. As Jack Byrnes, an uptight former CIA agent and grandfather to Little Jack, he is hell-bent on using “the latest” child development principles to advance his grandson’s development. So when it comes to vocabulary building he takes sign language to a new level using a “drill and more drill” learning approach only to be foiled by his prospective son-in-law’s utterance of a profanity that is readily imitated by Little Jack!
When child development experts recommend talking to your baby, Jack Byrne’s approach is not what the scientific community had in mind. We can all just chill and do a great job of parenting and language development with less obsession. Here are a few ideas: More >
I was reading the opening to a chapter in an excellent book on brain development, (“What’s Going On In There?”) by neurobiologist, Lise Eliot. She recalls how much relief she felt when her baby boy uttered his first word before his first birthday. I thought to myself, “that’s a pretty high bar” for the rest of us. Most babies begin using spoken language around 18 months of age.
As Dr. Eliot continues, it is clear that she is not really bragging, but making a point that might be overlooked by those baby milestone charts. These early months, when baby cannot say a thing are a very important time for us to get to work with our own words for baby. From the moment of their first coo and babble, to the moment they start calling you Mama or Dada, babies are practicing “language usage” in their heads!
If you pay attention, you will More >