Simply Being A Mama

Rooting Cues

Posted by in Responsive Parenting

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT REALIZATIONS I learned as a new mama was that I wouldn’t automatically know my own baby’s rooting cues for nursing. I’m not talking about crying – nope – that’s way past the time of subtle cues. I’m talking about the almost undetected-to-the-naked-eye rooting cues.

I mistakenly thought, along with a million other things, that understanding his cues were hardwired into mama-hood. Not so fellow mamas, at least not for me. For me the biggest rooting cues that I needed to recognize were the ones which were the most subtle. Where, unless you’re one of the primary caregivers to baby, or have been there with your own little, are so slight they’re easy to miss or pass off as something else. Here’s what I learned from my son;


 

Subtle Rooting Cues to Look For
  • Closed lidded eye movement
  • Eyelids fluttering
  • Head slightly turning to the side
  • Hands coming toward face
  • Mouth movement

 


What I’m about to say sounds insane to me now, but, at the time I was skeptical these things were even cues. I mean seriously, they could be about anything, or they could be absolutely nothing, right? As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure the reason I dismissed these cues in the first place was because everyone around me dismissed them too, especially when they were holding the baby. It was almost like they didn’t want to give him up, which is sweet, but not what he needed. I suppose you could say learning his nursing cues was the spring board from which I began my training on how best to advocate for my son and his needs, as well as for me and my needs.

rooting cues

Comfort nursing is as serious and important as nursing to feel full. People would get seriously bent out of shape if I engaged them when I noticed his rooting cues. It was a good lesson to learn early on because I promise you Mama, after 14 years of kids, learning to advocate for your child is a skill that needs to be put in place early, practiced often, and engaged in during times that will be way more uncomfortable than when you have to take baby from ‘great-grandma in-law’ to comfort nurse.

Nursing is not just about a full belly. Nursing is also about connection and feeling safe. It’s about baby checking in with you, his only source of protection that he knows.

I found breastfeeding to be so much more enjoyable, relaxing, and productive when I attended to my son’s needs early on. For us, waiting until he became fussy, or worse, crying, just led us down a frustrating and never ending rabbit hole. I had to learn quite a few skills along the way but it was worth it then and it’s worth it now.

For more information on nursing cues, check out La Leche International & KellyMom – two of my most favorite resources for understanding breastfeeding and so much more.


 

Helping Baby Get To Sleep

Posted by in Newborn Sleep, Responsive Parenting

 Aha Parenting | By Dr. Laura Markham

MOST NEW PARENTS ARE SHOCKED by the constant interruption of their sleep that a newborn brings to the house. But there are ways to be there when your baby needs you, and still get some rest.

newborn sleeping

There are basically three schools of thought on this issue.

The first, made popular by the book authored by pediatrician Richard Ferber, advocates teaching babies over the age of three months to sleep through the night in their own cribs, by letting them “cry it out” for increasingly longer periods of time. While most babies eventually give up and fall asleep, the process is often traumatic for parents (and we can assume for the baby), and frequently needs to be repeated following any disruption in routine. Critics point out that Ferber has no psychology training and question whether letting babies cry it out has permanent, harmful effects. (more on Ferber)

The second school of thought, practiced by advocates of the Family Bed, says that infants are hard-wired to sleep with their mothers, and nurse at night, for many months, probably until toddlerhood. They point out that babies who sleep with their mothers are less likely to die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and that the mothers get much more sleep. My personal experience is that the family bed was heavenly. Critics of this method express concern that parents might inadvertently roll on their babies in the night, and point out that babies who sleep with their mothers and nurse on demand take much longer to sleep through the night. They also wonder why any self-respecting toddler who is accustomed to sleeping with his parents will give that up for a new, lonely, “big-boy-bed.” Dr. James McKenna is one of my favorite resources on safe cosleeping.

The third school, perhaps best represented by No Cry Sleep Solution author Elizabeth Pantley, understands that parents may desperately need some sleep and agrees with Ferber that babies need to learn to fall back asleep on their own, but argues that this can be accomplished without the trauma of letting babies cry it out. (More on Pantley’s No Cry Sleep Solution.)

Fair disclosure:

I attempted Ferbering once when my son was nine months old and failed, having given him an ear infection from crying (and having nearly given myself a nervous breakdown.) After that, we went back to the family bed, which we all loved. However, once nursing my toddlers no longer helped them fall back asleep for long, I found myself walking the floor with them and spending many long hours in the middle of the night helping them to fall back to sleep. After substantial research, and working with many parents, I’ve come to the conclusion that many little ones who are helped to sleep by parents (nursing or rocking), simply can’t put themselves back to sleep when they re-awaken during the night. If they’re nursing, they may well awaken to nurse, but then will need to nurse again every time they re-awaken a little at night. Eventually, if they don’t figure out how to fall back asleep on their own when they awaken at night, they will need our loving help to learn how to fall asleep without rocking or nursing.

Is this a problem? Not necessarily. Some moms are able to nurse at night as long as their child wants. However, I often speak with moms who are ready to stop night-nursing their toddler, but find the prospect of night-weaning upsetting.

Does that mean we should always put babies down awake so they can learn to put themselves to sleep when tiny, so they won’t develop bad habits? Since almost all newborns fall asleep at the breast (or bottle), that would be impossible. It is completely appropriate to nurse babies to sleep. Nursing to sleep is no more a “bad habit” than peeing in a diaper. As they get older, the time will come when they can easily learn to fall asleep themselves, just as they will eventually give up diapers.

Does that mean that a time will come when to teach our baby or toddler to fall asleep, we can leave him to cry? Never, in my view, if you want an emotionally healthy child.

But then how do kids learn to fall asleep on their own, without nursing back to sleep? They learn in the safe comfort of your arms, once they’re old enough. For more on teaching your child to learn to fall asleep without nursing or rocking, click here.

Sleep is, of course, a very personal decision. I believe that;

There is a sleep solution that fits every unique family, from co-sleeping to baby bunks that attach to the parents’ bed, to baby hammocks, to cribs.

Of course you want your children to know from the earliest age that they can always ask for and get help. That said, we all need sleep to function and be good parents. My recommendations are biased in favor of keeping your baby close so you can get more sleep. But this is a very individual choice. Read as much as you can, and then lose the guilt. Do what works for you and your baby.

How can you get some sleep, when your baby’s still waking up to nurse?
1. Sleep whenever and wherever you can.

Keep your baby near you while he’s still nursing at night, so you don’t have to get out of bed. Breastmilk is designed to be given every few hours. It simply cannot hold a baby for much longer. Rats, on the other hand, give their baby food much higher in fat, so that the mother rat can leave the babies for eight hours while she’s off foraging. Baby humans could not survive predators if they were left for long periods, so nature has designed them to require their mother’s presence fairly constantly. That means your baby needs to be nursed at night, for a minimum of six months and probably until she is a year old.

2. Afraid of rolling over on your baby?

Unlikely, since mothers are designed not to (unless her natural warning system has been interfered with by drugs or alcohol). There is actually evidence that babies who sleep with their mothers are less likely to die of SIDS because the co-sleeping babies’ sleep cycles are in sync with their moms’, and her presence stimulates him not to fall into such a deep sleep. There are experts who say that a father could suffocate a very young baby, especially if he’s had a drink before bed, so most safe co-sleeping checklists say to position the baby between mom and the wall rather than between the parents. However, the fathers I hear from tell me they’re very conscious of their baby, even while asleep. We know that Dads do have a hormonal response to becoming fathers, which includes a natural protectiveness toward the baby, so Paternal Instinct is as real as Maternal Instinct. I personally think that any Dad will be a better father if we honor his paternal instinct and give him the opportunity to sleep snuggled with his baby, but that’s an individual decision. In any case, make sure you set up your bed for safe cosleeping, don’t start without reading this detailed checklist for safe co-sleeping.

3. If you don’t feel comfortable with your baby in bed with you, try a “Moses basket,” cradle or baby bunk within arm’s reach.

Some moms are such light sleepers that they just can’t get any sleep at all if the baby is in their bed. There are wonderful baby bunks that can be anchored to your bed, at the same level, and opened so that the baby has his own space but you can roll him into your bed with you to nurse.

4. Learn to nurse lying down so you can sleep while he feeds.

It may take a week, while you get the hang of nursing, but learn to nurse lying down, so you can doze, and you’ll feel much more rested. Just wedge pillows behind you and between your knees for support, and put a folded blanket under Baby if necessary to raise him to the level of your breast so neither of you is straining to reach. He should be on his side, facing you.

5. Help your baby set her metabolic clock.

She doesn’t know it’s night and she should sleep. She’ll learn, eventually, but you can help your little night-owl adjust faster to the world outside your womb by making sure she doesn’t sleep all day. Take her out in the sun. Go for walks. Let her feast her eyes and ears on the wonders of the world. All humans really do sleep better at night when they’ve been exposed to fresh air and sunshine during the day. Also,you should know that babies who sleep with their moms end up synchronizing their REM sleep cycles, which means she’s more likely to treat night as sleep time and day as waking time. And of course, keep things dark and quiet at night. Nurse her when she wakes, and change her if you must (not all babies are sensitive enough to require changes at night), but don’t make it into playtime.

6. Take a long maternity leave, so you can nap when your baby naps during the day.

This is the golden rule. Forget the shower, who cares? Go for the nap.

6. If your partner can take the baby in the morning to let you sleep in for an hour, it can make all the difference in the world.

Don’t feel guilty about it. Eight hours of sleep with interruptions to feed your baby is not the same as the eight hours you used to get. You need lots more now.

7. Go to bed early.

When you were pregnant you did it. Don’t feel bad about it, this is not the time to resume an active evening life. You have the rest of your life to stay up late.


Dr. Laura MarkhamDr. Laura Markham, founder of AhaParenting.com and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life

6 steps to Conscious Bonding | You & Baby

Posted by in Responsive Parenting

AFTER MY SIXTH BABY WAS BORN, I made a conscious decision. I would not do laundry instead of hold my baby. I would not think of some insignificant to-do list while I held my baby. I would not worry about the dishes and the messes and the demands of the world, instead I would just HOLD my baby.

When my other children were forming their first bonds with me, I wasn’t there the way I should have been. I thought it was more important to have the house in order, so I would put them down and do the chores. I was concerned with what other’s thought or needed me to do, so I would worry and “think”, and as a result I would not even feel my little baby in my arms. I lost something with them that I cannot get back. So after my son Jude was born, I had finally become aware of what I had lost, and was determined to do things differently.

conscious bondingBabies are so simple. They just want you. Their mother. They just want to feel you breathe, and hear your heart beat. They want you to be relaxed, and move gently and rhythmically. Bonding with your baby can be this simple and in fact, it has to be.

It is important to slow down and take in this euphoric period with your new baby. You will not get back to this place again.

So what did I do differently with baby number 6? And how can you become more consciously aware of the way you bond with your new baby?

First of all, let’s be clear, bonding is not a task you can check off, but a sensory experience done through touch, smell, sounds and focused mediative attention. Here we go;

Smell them…a lot

Dopamine, aka new baby smell. When babies are born, they give off hormones from their tiny little heads. It is intoxicating. It chemically makes you fall in love with your baby. Take off the baby hat, lay your baby chest to chest and simply breathe in the smell. This baby scent is only there a little while, and once it’s gone, you will find yourself smelling them, HOPING to still find it there. Memories of baby smells will follow you the rest of your life the same way the feeling of being in love does. Take the opportunity every chance you get making sure you spend long periods of time in each day holding your sleeping baby and just breathing. It will calm and relax you like no other thing ever has before.

Watch them nurse

Oxytocin. The simple act of nursing your baby will help you bond with your baby. Watching your little baby nurse invokes such strong maternal feelings of love, protection, and instinct. Take time to watch them nurse, their tiny jaw moving up and down, the sweet little hairs around their ears and chin moving rhythmically to your heart, take in their soft, feathery hair line so pure and new. Meditating on your baby while they nurse strengthens the connection between the two of you. 

Feel the weight of them conscious bonding

It is always startling to me how heavy a new baby really is. The weight of him laid upon your chest, knowing that they used to be a part of you and now they are here, in your arms. You grew her! Ounce by ounce you loved your little one into existence. Spend time reflecting on the weight of your baby and what he feels like, molding and fitting perfectly into your arms. You were made for each other.

Hold them while they sleep

Don’t just hold them until they fall asleep, but when you can, hold them until they wake up. Hold your little baby and watch their eye lids flicker. Watch their little lips quiver as they dream. Feel them breathe, and kiss their pretty head. When they wake, they will nurse and maybe fall right back to sleep or maybe give you a lovely milk-happy smile. Having a baby wake up in your arms is something beautiful and special and needs to be done as many times as you can manage in those first few months postpartum. This creates a connection between the two of you and brings a peace and completeness you both will bring with you as they grow. Of course, there are times when you will need a break and want to use sleep time for other things, but take the time to hold your sleeping baby until they wake as many times as you can.

Bathe with your new baby

Take a bath with your new baby and focus on being together. For one, it is excellent to do for your health when recovering from birth. Second, your new baby will (most likely) enjoy the warm, calming waters. Let them nurse as you soak. Sing a gentle song as you drip water across their back or tummy.

Sleep with your baby

There’s nothing like the connection that happens during the wee-hours of the night. Not only does sleeping next to your baby make nighttime parenting easier, but it’s also incredibly helpful in terms of bonding. Waking up to your little one nestled next to conscious bondingyou in the morning is nothing short of beautiful. Lay your hand across their tummy as they sleep and just feel their breathe move in and out. When waking at night, they don’t need to cry for you, instead they gently rouse awake to nurse, drifting gently and easily back to sleep, as do you. There will be times when they wake up crying and you may be up for hours trying to help them get back to sleep, know this is a normal part of adjusting for both mom and baby, but even these moments can bring connection and satisfaction if you slow down and focus on your little baby and what they need in that moment.

Above all else, enjoy these moments and make a conscious effort to bond with your baby by slowing down, clearing your mind and focusing on your little one. It’s your time to fall in love with each other. As they say, the dishes can wait, but the baby will not. It is so true.


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What Makes Gentle Parenting Gentle | Evolutionary Parenting

Posted by in Responsive Parenting

Tracy Maddy | What makes gentle parenting gentle

Tracy & Maddy

THERE HAS BEEN A BACKLASH AGAINST PARENTS against any type of parenting that might be perceived as not being gentle or kind to their child.  In research looking at extinction sleep training, one of the biggest barriers that advocates of cry-it-out face is that parents are not comfortable with it and thus do not want to use it on their child.  This has led to modifications such as controlled crying, as advocates struggle to make their product more accessible and kind-sounding.

In all this, there has been a rise in so-called “gentle” parenting methods.  Methods that some real gentle parenting advocates question as being gentle.  The question that many people rightfully have is, ‘How do we know if something is gentle or not?’  As I mentioned in my own forward for Sarah Ockwell-Smith’s The Gentle Sleep Book (which really is gentle!), one must beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  The wolf who tells us he is gentle and helping our children, but in reality is really in the same vein as other wolves who prey upon our children, treating them as sacrifices in a quest for restoring parent-centric parenting.

So what makes for gentle parenting?  How can a parent discern the sheep from the wolves dressed as sheep?  I hope the following three criteria will help you establish which pieces of “gentle” parenting advice one can take as truly gentle while immediately discarding the rest.

Gentle Parenting Premise #1: Accept Your Child’s Emotions as Valid

Our children’s emotions can be as confusing as Lost, not being aware of where they’re going or even where they’ve been.  Often we find ourselves bewildered at their sudden outburst of strong and not always positive emotions: They cry at things we can’t fathom, they seem to cling to us when we need our space, and they are loud and boisterous when we want them to be quiet.  Yet one of the most important elements of gentle parenting is that we accept their emotions – especially their negative emotions – as valid.  These emotions are as real to them as ours are to us, and just as people may not understand when we become sad or angry or frustrated over something that wouldn’t upset them, so our children are learning to cope with their own rollercoaster of emotions.

There are many wolves who will attempt to tell you that only some emotions are valid enough to deserve a response (we’ll get to the response bit below as it’s another gentle parenting premise), the implication being that not all emotions are valid.  One of the more common phrases is the use of the “protest cry” in sleep training.  These wolves tell you that you are being responsive when your child really needs you to be responsive and that makes being non-responsive okay when the emotion is simply not a valid one.

Yet all emotions are valid.  In gentle parenting, we accept that there is no “wrong” emotion.  What may need work is how our children learn to control and express their emotions, and even a “protest cry” (with the implication being they are simply crying because they don’t like something but aren’t truly upset) is valid and an attempt of our children to share how they feel with us.  It’s we how we respond to different emotions that will vary.  Which bring us to…

Gentle Parenting Premise #2: Always Respond to Your Child

Only a wolf will tell you that you can safely ignore your child’s expression of emotion.  The one caveat to this is making sure parents know that it is always okay to take a moment to yourself when you feel that you are at your wit’s end.  Not losing your mind and getting angry and possibly hurting or yelling at your child is critical and if you need to walk away for a short period, that is absolutely always acceptable.

What isn’t part of gentle parenting is ignoring a child’s attempt to share emotions with you.  Tantrums, “protest cries”, and distress at nighttime are all situations in which children need responsiveness.  What will be different in gentle parenting from mainstream parenting is how we respond.  Mainstream parenting tends to view how we respond to our children in a black-or-white manner, especially when it comes to negative emotions.  Either one gives in completely or one ignores.  There is no in-between.

The wolves tell you that valid emotions involve giving in whilst you ignore the non-valid ones.  For example, when a child hurts themselves physically, you must comfort, but if a child is protesting a change to bedtime or having a tantrum, you can safely ignore.  A real gentle sleep will remind you that children are distress and require our help.  Not just in the moment, but to help them learn to properly manage and express their emotions.  This does not mean that “giving in” is the only answer, but that being there is.

Being there, however, takes many different forms.  For example, a child who is protesting a much-needed change (for the family) to a bedtime routine still needs comfort in dealing with this change, but it doesn’t mean one abandons the change altogether (unless there are valid reasons to).  A parent in this case may stay with the child for the change, talking to them about it, validating their emotions, and making it clear they are always there, even if not in the same way that existed before.  For a child having a tantrum, as another example, the parent acknowledges the feelings, is there for comfort when the child calms, and then makes sure to talk about alternate ways of expressing emotions next time.

It means parents accept as valid the sadness or fear that accompanies such change or situations and helps their child to cope in ways that make sure the child is aware the parent is there for them as a pillar of support.  For there is no situation in which ignoring is helpful to our children who are simply trying to learn.  Being present doesn’t mean doing everything for them or doing whatever they want at the expense of others.  It simply means being there, and that is responsiveness.

Gentle Parenting Premise #3: Your Child is Unique

I realize a lot of lip service is given to this by everyone, yet in practice the opposite seems to rule the mind.  We all say our children are different and unique, yet wolves tell parents that their methods will work for all children.  There is no need to look at an individual child’s situation instead offering up pages of pre-existing plans that aren’t tailored to a particular child at all.  I have heard of far too many people having paid hundreds of dollars for a personal visit with a sleep trainer to simply be given generic instructions of what to do that did not take into account anything about their child.

Wolves love the generic and will make it seem like their “gentle” solutions will help anyone and everyone, even though there is no method that will do that.  Even gentle favourites like co-sleeping don’t work for all children or families and a real sheep will understand this and work with that (though be willing to acknowledge when it looks like it’s what a child wants).  This love of the generic is why many wolves still adhere to first-wave behaviourism premises: You can get certain behaviours out of people by doing a specific thing, but the reasons why you get these changes will vary immensely and many of the underlying changes that take place will not be what parents are looking for.

Real gentle parenting advocates will acknowledge the individual circumstances and work with families one-on-one to see what will work for them.  When they write books of advice, the advice tends to be much more general as specific how-to’s simply don’t work.  There is no step-by-step bit of advice that will work for all children as children vary on levels of sensitivity, prior experiences, emotion regulation, and emotionality.  These things readily interact to make any notion of a set schedule or instructions that works for all impossible.

Those of us sheep realize the frustration when parents just want to be told what to do, but the only thing we can say for certain is to get to know your child.  Spend time learning your child’s methods of communication, likes and dislikes, how your child responds to certain people and events, and then you have a basis for knowing how to work with your child to make changes that may be necessary.  Us sheep can give you ideas or tools that may help, but we also acknowledge that sometimes they won’t.  We also know sometimes the ideas we have may not be what you want to hear, but when looking at your child’s individualbiology and development, it may be what your child is communicating to you.

*********

There are obviously many more nuances in the gentle parenting world, but I have found that these three are some of the surefire ways to distinguish the real sheep from the wolves in sheep’s clothing.  One other small bit of advice is that if it sounds too good to be true (e.g., a gentle sleep training method that will get you 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep), it is.  So just because the word “gentle” is thrown about does not mean it is actually gentle, it just means someone is definitely aware that parents actually want to be kind to their children.  Don’t be tricked by the wolf, but rather keep your eyes peeled and learn how to find and get rid of them.  For your child and your family.

To read some REAL gentle parenting books, I recommend:


Tracy Cassels is the founder and primary writer for Evolutionary Parenting.  She obtained her B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. in Clinical Psychologyme-and-maddy | Evolutionary Parenting | What makes gentle parenting gentle from the University of British Columbia.  She recently finished her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, also at the University of British Columbia, where she both studied how certain evolutionary factors affect children’s empathic behaviour and critically evaluated our assessment of theory of mind in children.

Her academic works have been published in many peer-reviewed journals including Psychological Assessment, PLoS One, Personality and Individual Differences, Midwifery, and more.

Most importantly to her, though, she is a mother to daughter Madeleine (Maddy), stepson Desmond, and wife to husband Brian and anxiously awaiting her next child due in December 2015.

 

 

The Importance of Reaching Out to Our Children

Posted by in Responsive Parenting

Reaching out to your childrenTODAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY, my daughters and I climbed into bed and cuddled. It’s something that happens pretty regularly in my house. Some people say the kitchen is the heart of their home, or their dining room table. Ours is the king size bed, with its soft comforter and stacks of pillows. Those few minutes were like docking at a re-charge station. Topped up, we went on with the rest of our day.

There was a time when I didn’t feel so rejuvenated. When my kids were small I was oversaturated with the constant giving of my own body. I literally meditated on how every person would get a “piece” of me. When my second child was born, I felt like my newborn was getting so much more physical touch, so we instituted sleepover nights for my 2 year old, and quick “60-second snuggles!” during the day, where we would run and dive into the bed, just the two of us and have a quick hug and nuzzle before the baby would cry again. It was a struggle of equilibrium in more ways than one, with my own needs coming last. In the early years of having babies and toddlers, my husband said that if he brushed against me at night, I would recoil in my sleep. I was living in a state of overstimulation, as so many of us moms do in that period of our lives.

But I am here to say, that as the physical demands of parenthood become fewer, resist letting them slide away completely. Those aforementioned babies are now 9 and 11 years old, and being physically affectionate with them is more of a conscious choice than it was when they needed to be carried and wiped and rocked. But we choose to do it.

reaching out to our childrenStudies show that children who feel safe and loved at home are more confident, happier, and they do better in school. The affection of a father with his daughter directly correlates with her self-esteem and self-image. Adolescents are less likely to go into the world body-hungry and searching for physical comfort and gratification. This is probably the easiest, quickest and most direct way to make our children feel KNOWN, feel SEEN, feel LOVED.

As we enter the onset of adolescence, sometimes our kids pull away from intense snuggles of old. We always respect their feelings, but we never stop reaching out. A pat on the back, a side one-arm hug, a squeeze of the hand – all these things keep the physical connection between us alive. It is the thread we keep between us on the days they don’t feel like being touched, so that when they do feel like it, they can jump into bed with us in the mornings, or be comforted by a bear hug on a bad day. It prevents us from losing the habit of touching each other, or being comfortable with that touch. I want to be able to grab my grown up children and give them huge hugs. To hold them when they are going through hard times, even as adults. I want that connection there.

So today, and every day, I will reach out.


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What is Empathy | RSA Shorts | Dr Brené Brown

Posted by in Responsive Parenting

What is Empathy

 

The power of empathy, What is the best way to ease someone’s pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities. Dr Brené Brown is a best-selling author, speaker and research professor. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

Voice: Dr Brené Brown

what is empathy

Animation: Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne)

gobblynnekaty what is empathy

THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY

Thursday 4th July 2013 | RSA House, London

RSA Disclaimer

The Power of Words

Posted by in Responsive Parenting

PEOPLE ALWAYS WARN NEW PARENTSpower of words, snuggle me organic,  of the change that will occur once their baby is mobile. It’s cruel to say it to a new mother of a newborn – but her daytime hours are easier at that stage than they will be in a few months (nighttime hours are a different story of course). Once that little baby figures out that he or she can get around, cause trouble, investigate and move their own little body… well, it’s a whole new ballgame. Things are never the same.

I have a theory, developed in light of recent events at our house. I am coming to believe that once your child can TALK, you are similarly entering into a whole new transformative realm, and there is power of words, snuggle me organic, no turning back. Being able to communicate is just as life changing and monumental as crawling, maybe more so. Previously your toddler may have attributed her frustrations to the fact that you didn’t understand what it was she wanted (even if you were just pretending). But I think that my youngest believed deep down inside that IF I understood her, she would find her every wish and whim catered to, that I would be a willing slave to her command – once she could effectively command.

Nowadays it’s a lot like living with a dictator, a somewhat articulate 2 year old. She has mastered the authoritative “NO!” and the slow but menacing demand “I… want… COOKIES!!!” Complex expressions of disdain (“it’s not funny mama”) and even road rage: “Go lady! Go!” She believes her word is the law and relishes in her ability to claim a stake at “first!” “more!” “NOW!!” Of course I am being a bit facetious with this post, because it’s not all that bad really. In fact, it’s great. Along with those other words come “I love you” and little songs.

power of words, snuggle me organic,

But with every milestone there is that feeling of no going back, it’s another sign of ever-changing times, a Turning Point. Another step further away from baby-ness and much more a little girl.

It’s all good. Though, part of me still longs for the time when my husband was the only one around here who could talk back. 😉

What about you? What are your moments?


 

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