I love watching Fleur work through challenging behavior with others. It reminds me how much more I need to work on myself.
Spending time with her older cousins, she doesn’t accept their unfair behavior.
She used to just cry. A year ago, she would tell me “no, sir!” Or sometimes just cry. Now often she has the vocabulary to tell me after getting over the crying. We have work to do getting to the point of expressing the need instead of crying. Baby steps.
There is also this sense of not wanting to disappoint us. So, when she does something wrong, she experiments with deceptions. Some of my favorites:
The stuffie did it.
The stuffie told me to do it.
It was her cousin.
There is also the good:
Organizing play dates. When Fleur and Lyra (the best friend from the Friendship post) get picked up at the same time, they emerge from the building, they tell both parents their plan. It might be dinner or the park.
“54% inspire confidence in their kids by allowing them to do things themselves”… CHECK… It takes longer, but I like Fleur doing it herself and getting the practice, chance to problem solve, and muscle memory. As she develops the skill, the muscle memory takes over and there is more consistency and less issues. Of course, she demands doing more things herself. The challenge is the balance between taking the time and being on time. (Well, the challenge is abandoning MY need to be on time all the time.)
“78% of parents make an effort to celebrate all those little ‘firsts.'” … CHECK… We celebrated many firsts and continue to cheer when she does inconsistent things we want her to do. Right now, that is potty training. When she does it, we celebrate it. The beaming smile she has when we do, suggests to me it is effective as a positive reinforcement, so I think it works in her case. If she didn’t react this way, then I would find something else.
“79% of those surveyed said they encourage their child to think critically and use logic on a daily basis.”… CHECK… Probably jumping the gun on this, but I am already asking questions about how something is similar or different to others to think about categorizations. Last night, we cooked pasta and I cut and scooped a spaghetti squash. Fleur mentioned it, so I asked her what have we recently scooped that looks similar. I answered the Halloween pumpkin and asked why they might have similar seeds and insides: because they are both kinds of winter squash.
The other day we went out to play. I grabbed a towel to dry off the slide, swings, and chairs. After watching me dry the slide and finding there was still some water, Fleur walked over to the towel, grabbed it, and dried the slide more.
The blatant imitation had me tempted to roll around in the wet grass laughing. But, I was proud of the problem solving at play here. She totally assessed the problem, decided on the solution, and took care of it. It makes me excited and terrified for the future.
She is developing the capability to do things we want her to all by herself.
She is developing the capability to do things we don’t want her to all by herself.
I usually show Fleur videos I make of her doing something and gauge her enjoyment. Her face lights up seeing herself do something she just minutes prior. (Well, seconds because she now comes over to check the screen after seeing me record it.)
A Facebook memory popped up with her saying “dada” around the first time. I showed her that video and got a puzzled expression. She likely did not recognize herself. nor remembered the event. But, she quickly changed the expression to amusement, so I wonder what she was thinking about it.
Facebook Memories is an useful tool to trigger fond memories about past events. (Though, I vaguebooked too much.) Seeing old milestones can change a frustrating day into a good one.
I loved the Brain Rules book. The original discussed why the brain works the way it does (including the studies) and gave specific activities one can do to boost the efficacy. An example: the brain is a major consumer of oxygen, so scientists have found that intense exercise improves function by getting more oxygenated blood to the brain.
I need to re-read it as it has been a decade. I recently got the baby one.
Having a first child is like swallowing an intoxicating drink made of equal parts joy and terror, chased with a bucketful of transitions nobody ever tells you about.
This is 1,000% true.
As a scientist, I was very aware that watching a baby’s brain develop feels as if you have a front row seat to a biological Big Bang. The brain starts out as a single cell in the womb, quiet as a secret. Within a few weeks, it is pumping out nerve cells at an astonishing rate of 8,000 per second. Within a few months, it is on it’s way to becoming the world’s finest thinking machine.
Some notes I took.
Perception begins at weeks for most senses. And memory persists after birth, but stimulation too early is harmful and later not going to make a genius.
Everything is a balancing act. During pregnancy especially weight, nutrition, stress, exercise.
Chronic or acute stress passes those hormones through the placenta and children seeing it stunt brain growth observing it. Husbands need to keep their wife not stressed. Happy is the ideal, but at least not stressed. This can be 8 IQ points.
Exercise can reduce pushing time and reduce the time baby is without oxygen and reduce stunted brain development.
Kinds of intelligence:
Record information, aka crystallized intelligence.
Desire to explore
Decoding nonverbal communication
Ingredients for happy kids:
a demanding but warm parenting style ( responsiveness & demandingness)
comfort with your own emotions
tracking your child’s emotions (don’t ignore & don’t helicopter)
verbalizing emotions (describe emotions)
running toward emotions (emotions are reflexive; behavior is a choice; be consistent with rules on behavior; turn intense feelings into teachable moments)
two tons of empathy
Behavior modification basic principles.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The thing I liked the most about the original was he named a rule and went on about why it is important and the research justifying it. This book lacked that simplistic and novel model, which put me off.
A 2018 Pediatrics study found sleeping through the night overrated. Though, to be honest, I have skepticism about the potential for its validity due to:
it was based on self-reporting by the mothers
it only measured development through age 3.
RESULTS: Using a definition of either 6 or 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, we found that 27.9% to 57.0% of 6- and 12-month-old infants did not sleep through the night. Linear regressions revealed no significant associations between sleeping through the night and concurrent or later mental development, psychomotor development, or maternal mood (P > .05). However, sleeping through the night was associated with a much lower rate of breastfeeding (P < .0001).
— Pediatrics. 2018 Dec;142(6). pii: e20174330. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-4330. Epub 2018 Nov 12.
Fleur has long shown an interest in what we are doing. I call it “nosy” while my wife calls “curious”. Given her newfound mobility, she follows us around and tries to get into what we are doing. That includes the chores. She especially gets upset if she is kept apart from us while doing the chores. Her wanting to participate makes me hopeful getting her involved soon will benefit both us (more slave labor) and her:
Giving children household chores at an early age helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance, according to research by Marty Rossmann, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota. In 2002, Dr. Rossmann analyzed data from a longitudinal study that followed 84 children across four periods in their lives— in preschool, around ages 10 and 15, and in their mid-20s. She found that young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships with family and friends, to achieve academic and early career success and to be self-sufficient, as compared with those who didn’t have chores or who started them as teens.
I’ve written before about singing to Fleur to get her attention and how music is good for the brain. If this fMRI data on human brains compared to macaque monkey ones holds up, then there might be a developmental difference in brains that allows us to be more attuned to musical tones.
The researchers wondered what kind of auditory experience our ancestors had that caused this difference. The same structure also responds to speech, which might explain some of our qualities of speech. Music and talking are intertwined. So, child development being responsive to music makes sense in that they are wired to learn and we adults are doing so with both music and speech.
I noticed a while back Fleur would track my own attention habits. She also lingered on things, even returned to them well after I stopped.
Yu and IU colleague Linda Smith evaluated attention span in infants at play. The team employed head-mounted cameras to track the eye movements and gazes of three dozen parents and infants aged 11 to 13 months, who were turned loose in a play space and asked to simply play as they would at home with brightly colored plastic objects.
When parents paid attention to a toy during play, the infants also continued to focus on it—even after the mom or dad had turned elsewhere. The authors likened this effect to the way a parent will initially hold the back of a bike while their child learns to peddle before letting go and sending them off on their own.
We also try to label things to which Fleur is paying attention. And have also noticed the problem the article describes of not having much success getting her to shift her attention to something.