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.

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

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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Intro to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Are you read for some extreme tidying? No wait, wrong question. Are you ready to CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

Yeah, I don’t know if I am either, but had to start this whole endeavor off with a bang. Let’s get excited! About decluttering!

If you’re lost, let me back up. This past summer I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Even then I was a little late to the game. EVERYONE was talking about it. I was skeptical that it could really be life changing, but I was intrigued at what made this book such a hit. And I was also sick of all the clutter in my house.

So I read it. For a book about decluttering, it’s a pretty enjoyable read. The author has just enough quirkiness to keep things amusing, while still doling out some practical advice. Now, I’ve read many a blog post and magazine article about how to clear the clutter, organize your house in 15 minutes a day, and become a minimalist in 100 easy steps. I was surprised to find that the KonMari method (the name given to the method outlined in the book) actually has some unique specifications and tips. If you’re really serious about decluttering, then I suggest you read the book, but here’s a quick recap of those things that make this book a bit different than what you may have read before.

  1. It’s better to declutter all at once than just a little bit at a time. So many other decluttering gurus say to break it down in to manageable chunks and do a little each day. Marie Kondo says to just go for it. All the way. She says that when you make it a BIG EVENT you get to enjoy the benefits much sooner. This gives you more motivation to stay decluttered. Forever.
  2. Declutter by category, not location. This makes a lot of sense. You can’t accurately get a handle on all your stuff if some of it is hidden away. For example, you can’t tell how many writing utensils you have if you have pens scattered between the bedroom, kitchen, office, your purse, and at the bottom of the junk drawer. You have to gather them all together before you can decide what to keep and what to discard. in a similar vein…
  3. Store things according to category rather than frequency of use. For example, I have a small collection of cords in my desk drawer. My husband has other cords in a box in his closet. Some cords are kept in camera or laptop bags. However, any time I need a cord I can never remember where I keep that particular cord and I end up looking in several different places. But if I kept all the cords together I would know there was only one place to look. Every time.
  4. Keep only those items that “spark joy.” This is really the central rule to her whole system. You are supposed to physically handle every item you own during the decluttering process and sort it into “keep” or “discard” based on how it makes you feel. She claims that you will be happier if you are only surrounded by things that give you joy. It’s a rule that sounds lovely, but probably the one I have the most trouble implementing. It feels a little impractical to me.

This book also has it’s quirks though. There were a few things while reading it that I thought were either a little strange or just unhelpful.

  1. Along with the whole “spark joy” rule, Marie Kondo is a little out there about the things in our homes. She talks a lot of “waking up” your belongings so you can see them more clearly. She encourages thanking the things you decide to discard so you can release them to the world without guilt. She talks of a certain way to fold socks so they are “at rest” in your drawer. It can be a little odd.
  2. This book is written from the perspective of a single woman living alone in a small Japanese apartment. She doesn’t really address some of the big issues that many American families have like garages full of stuff, or baby gear that you feel like you should keep for future children. I guess she would say that you should still ask “Does this spark joy?” But I kind of wish she had spent more time addressing things like the craft closet rather than cosmetic samples and spare buttons.

Despite it’s oddities, I still found the book to be pretty inspiring and motivating. I also feel like it gave me some very clear steps to follow. So, although it took me about 6 months to get going, I’ve officially started Tidying My Home. Updates forthcoming.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The last days of pregnancy

The last days of pregnancy — sometimes stretching to agonizing weeks — are a distinct place, time, event, stage. It is a time of in between. Neither here nor there. Your old self and your new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. One foot in your old world, one foot in a new world.

From The Last Days of Pregnancy: a place of in-between

This is a lovely article describing the last days of pregnancy, and really, I think a good descriptor for the whole experience of waiting on your baby to arrive. A state of not-yet-a-mother but not not-a-mother. It’s a life changing event on a personal and emotional level even more so than a physical one, even though the physical is what our culture seems to be most preoccupied with. It’s nice to see such understanding and patient words put to the experience.