Summer is styling.
Summer is styling.
Three months sure goes by quick when every day is an eventful day in and of itself. I was contemplating whether or not to continue writing an update since I originally only wanted to share my first year experience. For Summer and me personally, I feel it’s just better to take the effort so that we can go back one day and see how things have changed or evolved.
The difference between twelve month and fifteen month is almost night and day. We go from caring for our baby’s physical needs to now tending to her mental needs and demands as well. Each time I contemplate about sitting down to start my blog, something new comes to mind; that’s just how fast babies grow and while it’s a cliche that we’ve all heard, it’s oh so true.
We have recently scaled back on sign language because we assumed that as Summer was adding words to her vocabulary, that we didn’t need to use sign language much more. Unfortunately however, we are finding that to be not true. We are starting to run into more situations where Summer is trying to communicate or express something to us and we are unable to understand her. This ultimately leads to everyone being frustrated and Summer whining. I am behind, but I plan to order or make some flash cards so that 1) I can teach her how to better communicate to us and 2) Start working on her memory and communication skills.
I still cannot stress the importance of removing television from our babies’ and toddlers’ life. Summer still does not have her own ‘show’ to watch nor has she watched more then 2 minutes of television with me (with me at least; I cannot say the same for when she’s with her grandparents - however, they are starting to see the difference that no TV makes and are starting to follow along). Turning on the TV in the morning is no longer a thought that enters our minds. Rather then wasting time away in a non-interactive sedative way, most of our mornings are filled with making smoothies, taking walks or getting fresh air, playing with blocks or reading, or simply just picking and cleaning up. All of these activities allow me to talk and interact with Summer while encouraging her to thinking, move, and observe; skills that are important to a baby’s early development.
Unfortunately, we now grow up in a society where many of our values are inverted and most of what we were taught as a child is just flat out wrong. As I observe how parents communicate and teach their child, I can see that the overwhelming method that we instill upon our child is one of Reward & Punishment, Material Comfort, and of Good vs. Bad. And given that these methods are assumed to be the ‘Right’ way to raise a child, it’s sometimes difficult to go against the grain. When I tell people that 1)They should avoid giving their child comfort items 2)They should avoid rewarding their child for doing something they deem good and punishing their babies when the child does not do what they want 3)They should not praise or reprimand their child for such behaviors, I’m usually met with an awkward stare or a grunt of disbelief. But, let’s dive deeper into the logic and thought process behind it all.
No babies are good or bad. Their actions are out of curiosity or is a method of communication. Our ultimate goals should be to teach our babies love, compassion, altruism, and to do things for intrinsic value so that they can ultimately be a better person and contribute to society. When we use the methods that listed above, we are instilling a seed of materialism and conformity; that our babies need things outside of themselves or other’s approval to make them happy. We should instead be teaching them to do things for intrinsic value; that they do not need anything or anyone to make them happy, but to do things for themselves and for their own happiness. All of these are of course difficult to do because we weren’t taught these things, but it starts with being aware of ourselves and changing our approach. I still have a difficult time to avoid instinctively praising Summer when she does something I want, such as saying “Good girl Summer” when she throws the trash away for me. Rather, I try to state the facts, such as “You did it Summer, you put that in the trash for Daddy. Thank you. I love you.” All of my statements are facts because Summer is already happy to conduct that action - she does not need my approval or praise to make her happy.
I also want to touch on the topic of crying again because it is something that most parents are completely wrong about or just do not understand. The first thing they need to remember is that Crying is NOT a bad thing. It is a mechanism for babies to release their emotional and pent up stress and we should allow them to do it. Otherwise, they’ll release those emotions in other manners that are detrimental to themselves and others or society. Crying for something is not the RIGHT thing. When babies cry, it usually starts with them wanting something and usually leads to incorrect actions by the parents. The parent will either give in to the child and give them whatever they wanted, or reprimand and punish their child. The first action is teaching them to cry as a way to communicate their desires, and the second is teaching them that crying is wrong. Instead, when Summer cries for something, I remove her and the object of her desire from view. I would take her to a separate area and tell her that it’s OK to cry while still holding her in my arms and expressing my love and affection for her. I’m conveying a message to her that while crying is OK, it is not how we achieve our desires, but regardless of it, I still love her. This of course takes a lot of patience and practice. But remember, impatience is only a mental state the we are in when something is not happening the way we expect it. If we are prepared and expect to take these actions, it’s actually heart-warming and sometimes funny. Just think about it; sometimes we are impatient because we have to wait five minutes for our spouse to get ready. Other times, we can wait for hours at the doctor and not get upset because we expected to have to wait.
Lastly, I want to touch on a personal observation that I made recently. We were having a business meeting amongst our friends, one of whom brought his kid with him. When he got to the table, he asked his kid, “Do you want to sit down?” and the child responded “No!”. This of course led to immediate frustration with the parent inevitably trying to force the child to sit down. I of course did not say anything because a frustrated parent will not absorb anything I say. But in my head, I was thinking, “The wrong question was asked.” The child is at the point where he wanted to express his autonomy and wants to chose his own actions. After a bit of time, I turned to the child and asked “Which seat would you like to sit in?” and he simply stated “That One!” and went to sit in it. Again, no child is good or bad. They are only growing up and expressing themselves. It is our approach and how we interact with them that produces the results we desire, and it starts with self-examination and being aware of our actions, not our babies’. Hope this helps any parents entering the toddler age and to be able to make it a memorable one rather then one of anger and frustration. I know I’m enjoying Summer’s growth.
Summer Rocking in her shoes
Taking Summer for a walk before lunch.
Break time from the Cowboys game to squeeze in a Shoot…
What do you think about Shot time, Summer?
Dada agrees with Mama, you do have a camera face - you cute lil book monster!
Cool shoes Summer!
It’s snack time, Summer. Thanks for sharing your celery with Dada.
Summer practicing to walk
Video of Summer through her 1st Year
A special moment for Lil Miss Summerholio.
Twelve Months present, Summer!