Amy Beth

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The body mind connection

“In order for children to read, write and spell they must be developmentally ready. Some are ready at the age of four or five, some not for many years later. This readiness includes complex neurological pathways and kinesthetic awareness. Such readiness isn’t created by workbooks or computer programs. It’s the result of brain maturation as well as rich experiences found in bodily sensation and movement.”

From Reading Readiness has to do with the Body

This is one of several articles I’ve read in the past year or so explaining the link between a child’s cognitive and physical development. It’s fascinating and not something I remember hearing much about during all my education classes in college. But if you think about it it makes sense. The brain is used for EVERYTHING. Strengthening the neural pathways in one way (through movement) is sure to have benefits for any other task that uses those pathways.

Poppy’s therapists have expressed similar ideas. Development of gross motor movements lay the groundwork for fine motor movements. (Developing the strength to move her trunk from side to side improves her ability to move her tongue from side to side to help her chew.) Meeting certain physical milestones paves the way for cognitive or social skills. (Learning to sit up makes it easier to interact with toys or people. Better core strength makes it possible to use her hands to makes gestures or signs to communicate.)

This makes it even more important that our kids have opportunities to run wild and play freely. Lucky for me, that’s also a whole lot easier than trying to follow a reading curriculum with my preschooler just yet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Baby Rainbow Sweater and Pixie Hat

I’ve known how to knit and crochet for many years. I find it to be a relaxing activity to pick up at the end of the day. Perfect for feeling productive while binge watching TV. However, despite my many years of practice, I have very little to show for it. I’m great at starting a project and losing steam before it is finished.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

So I’m really proud of this sweater.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

I followed the Eliose Sweater pattern that you can find here, just modifying the colors a little. To go with it made a little pixie hat based on this pattern. The hat was very easy and quick, which was nice after spending so much time on the sweater. I made the sweater just a tad on the big side so Poppy should be able to wear it through the winter and into the spring.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

These are going down as projects 5&6 in my 31 Projects goal.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Baby led weaning with developmental concerns

We followed the ideas of Baby Led Weaning when we introduced Charlie to solid foods. I had done a lot of reading on it and was convinced that it was THE way to go. And it worked really well for him.

Then we had Poppy and my confidence in the method started to wane. I knew that low muscle tone and developmental delays could affect how we approached introducing different skills, but I didn’t know how. And neither our doctor or occupational therapist seemed to know a lot about Baby led weaning. Do I continue with the method because I feel as mom that it’s a good one? Or do I throw it out the window and follow the therapists suggestions instead?

I hemmed and hawed over this for a while until finally coming across this article). It addressed the issues of introducing foods to a child with developmental delays while answering the question,

“How can I respect and support this family’s mealtime culture while guiding this child safely through the developmental course of learning to eat?”

It reminded me of what I liked most about the Baby Led Weaning approach: meals as family, following the child’s cues and letting them feed themselves, making meal times about fun and learning and exploration. And most of all not stressing over feeding. Something I was not doing very well at the time. I realized I could still follow many of the principles of baby led weaning while still following the specific recommendations of our therapist regarding what foods to introduce and how. Now I feel like we’ve struck a happy balance and Poppy is loving mealtimes.

If you are interested in the Baby Led Weaning approach but are unsure how to navigate it with special developmental concerns, or even aren’t sure you want to go all in with the method, I would highly recommend this article.

Baby Led Weaning: A Developmental Perspective

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Gettin’ my KonMari On: Clothes

So, as I’ve mentioned, I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up several months ago. At the time I thought it sounded like a great idea, but I have small kids, and a husband who wasn’t really thrilled with the idea, and plenty of other things going on. Making it a reality just didn’t feel like something I could do.

But our house is small and our stuff is plentiful and I kept finding myself frustrated at the situation. Anytime we got something new it felt like a monumental feat to make space for it. Finding infrequently used items was becoming more difficult. The garage was becoming unusable. It was time to KonMari this house.

Now the author, Marie Kondo, has a very specific method and order to do the tidying. While skeptical of some of the specifics, I figured if I don’t do it the way she says I’ll never know for sure if it works or not.

So I started with the first category: clothes. This is my closet before:

closet before

Compared to many closets, mine is pretty pared down. Since discovering the concept of the capsule wardrobe I’ve really tried to embrace the idea of fewer clothes and this past summer I was able to slim down my wardrobe pretty significantly. But I knew there were still some things that didn’t need to be in there.

And here is everything out of the closet and on the bed.

everything out

Marie Kondo says you have to put everything out on the floor (or bed, in this case) and touch each item to decide if it’s something that “sparks joy.” If it does, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you get rid of it. I was a little skeptical of Marie Kondo’s insistence that I ask “Does this spark joy” for everything in my closet. I don’t often think that hard about how I feel about my clothes. But it turned out to be a pretty helpful question.

Old ratty t-shirts that I kept around in case I needed them (For what? Painting? Repairing the car? Some other activity that I never do?), socks with holes, a random assortment of tank tops that I kept for layering even though they didn’t fit that well. None of these things sparked joy.

Surprisingly, I also discovered that there were several other perfectly nice things that didn’t spark joy either. Shirts that were pretty, but always full of static, or that felt scratchy, or that I just never had occasion to wear. If I don’t feel like I can crawl around on the floor in it, I don’t want to wear it.

So I did what Marie Kondo said and went though every item. I ended up with two garbage bags of things to donate.

The next step was to put everything away. Marie Kondo spends a lot of time describing how clothes should be folded and stored. Another thing I rolled my eyes at a little while reading the book. But she says that a large percentage of people’s storage problems would be solved if they would only learn to fold properly. I decided if I’m going to do this method I might as well do it right.

So here are my drawers:

clothes folded the KonMari way

Just as I expected, folding all those clothes is a pain.

But …

closet after the KonMari method

What!? What?! Look at that empty closet! I have a handful of hanging clothes on the one side, but most of it is just empty space. I am envisioning craft storage, my own little work space, maybe even a drop down desk! I haven’t had a good space for my crafts and projects since my children were born. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!

Who knows. Maybe this really is life changing.


Linking up with Tina and the other ladies at Tuesday Talk.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pictures of Motherhood

mothers

From The Forgotten Photos of Mothers – Mashable

I loved this collection of photos of mothers around the world. Taken over 50 years ago, they show a piece of shared human experience that can be so easy to forget. Motherhood can feel like an island at times, but then images like this remind me that there are so many others, both now and who have gone before, that actually know just what I’m going through. It also reminds me that what I’m going through is mostly snuggles.