My Favorite Newborn Advice.

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1.5 weeks old

The six to eight week symbiotic period following birth is so precious. With all the changes involved, this period can feel so overwhelming. For me, I found a few insights that have kept me grounded and peaceful letting me experiencing these invaluable days to their fullest (most days anyway!)

“Delegate and don’t look” The midwife who assisted my birth, sagely offered these words as I prepared to go home. The time and patience necessary to bond with a new baby, to care for self and other children leave the concerns of household and work at the wayside. Have extra hands, be specific about needs, and let them work as they will.

Understanding the Human Being The Importance of the First Three Years of Life by Dr Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro. This book is packed full of physical and psychological insight toward newborns and up to age three. The ideas that have most impacted how I feel toward my child:

  • The child has a need for another human to develop. We can be responsive without hyper- or hypo-responding. “Developing the right type of attachment during the symbiotic period paves the way for a natural detachment and the psychological birth happens.” “Only when a need is completely fulfilled is it overcome.”
  • Movement is one of the most important aspects of development in the first years of life.” “In prenatal life, the fetus is always active, using its body and limbs at will.” At birth, instead to swaddle and confine to small spaces, we can dress and provide spaces sufficient for movement. “The child tries to continue to move as it used to, but finds it impossible. All his motor skills vanish.” “A tragic aspect of the development of movement is that, generally, the more children are able to do, the more they are restricted in their freedom of activity. They go from crib to infant seat to baby carriage, high chair and play pen.” “The child is surrounded by an organized effort to restrain his development!”

“Onesies have crisscrossed shoulders for a reason” Did you know the shoulders of most infant clothing have folded flaps to make sliding down off the body easy rather than over the head? How did I never realize this! Thank you for sharing my friend, Keeley.

Thalasso Bain Bebe Watch this bathing technique by nurse Sonia Rochel as it speaks for itself. I can say, having approached the bath in this manner, doing with the child rather than to the child, has been pleasurable for baby and for myself.

Hand-me-downs are progressive. I am not sure I would have accepted this for my first-born, but practicality has taken over with my second-born. I am grateful for the infant seat and baby clothes from cousins, a like-new baby carrier from a friend and a stroller from another. It feels good to consume less and to give good use to perfectly good stuff.

Snack Markers: A Snack Time Idea.

I am a sucker for neat utensils,as long as they actually work and make sense to use anyway.

These bright snack markers from Vacu Vin, for example. I found them on a sale rack in my favorite tea shop and picked them up with ev’s snack and tea times in mind.

We use them whenever we have children over. I love them for toddlers as they must take care with the semi-sharp prongs and practice fine motor control with those sweet little hands.

This little friend has that down pat!

our little friend using a snack marker

our little friend using a snack marker

Stuffs for the Stocking 2013

Stocking stuffer ideas this year:

Harmonica: I chose this nifty little musical instrument and gave it to ev in one of our advent treat bags. She already noticed the high, middle, and low tones; and the sound quality, believe it or not, is pleasant.

Art supplies: two years have passed since I purchased art supplies for ev, and that is how I justify the price I pay for them!  I love the stubby pencil studio site.

Grooming tools: Children love real objects, and care of self is a lifelong gift to share. I hope ev enjoys this nailbrush.

Stethoscope: This speaks for itself! Just hide your giggle as they listen to furniture and other objects.

Kind words: In spirit of small things, a little note with a word of kindness goes a long way i.e. “you are my blessing”

Grateful Tree

I read this post awhile back and tucked the idea away for our Thanksgiving holiday week off from school.

Thanksgiving may be an American holiday, but I thought this tree of gratitude appropriate for anyone this time of year as we enter the holiday season. Actually, holiday or not, this tree could grace the home any time of year in function of the season.

I love the project for so many reasons: it’s for anyone; I did not purchase anything but gathered from outside and inside; ev added the word grateful to her vocabulary; the tree is dynamic always open for new ornaments or tickets of thanks, never quite finished.

We’ve left a vase of tickets ready for all guests who pass through our home to share their thanks.grateful

pussy willow seedtree stars tree thankful threadingstars tree

Back to School Necessities.

As summer’s end nears, we are preparing to dig into another year of work. Avoiding hype and minding function here are a few items I have found necessary as ev prepares to rejoin her classmates.

  • Comfy, ok if spoiled clothing: check out thredup, an online gently used clothing site. If you don’t already receive hand-me-downs from friends and family, this is a nice way to recycle clothing. I found some brands I like in great condition.
  • Comfortable shoes: If you live in a warm climate like we do, you might find these super cute Bensimon sneakers the perfect pair of summer closed-toe shoes. I like the lightweight, thin canvas upper and the sturdy but flexible rubber sole. This is the second time I have purchased Bensimon sneakers for ev. Funny enough, I nearly returned the first pair for how unattractive I found them upon opening. Aren’t they cute on though!
  • Lunchbox materials Kidskonserve is my go to for the lunchbox. I like how the lunch bags are made from recycled plastics and stainless steel speaks for itself.
Bensimon Star Sneakers

Bensimon Star Sneakers

I hope you find these products as useful as I do. I’d love to hear your back to school essentials.

Recycled Projects

I am a big believer in using what is available. Don’t get me wrong, one stroll through the mega arts and crafts stores will entice me to fill a basket in no time.  But it’s much more satisfying to use your imagination and to reuse the things otherwise destined for the bin; don’t you agree?

I suppose since The Three Little Pigs is one of ev’s summer movie favorites, she decided this milk carton could be their house. I’m pretty happy with the house, although I’m not so sure about our little pigs and especially our wolf which looks more like a bat!IMG_2602IMG_2603 IMG_2605

A Child’s Role

I guess it’s really easy to get caught up in educating our children, filling them up,making them smart. I feel relieved when I’m reminded of the simple needs children have and of the inner drive they possess that pushes them to grow without our input. It’s comforting to think of my job as a support and a guide rather than a creator or developer.
One of the fundamental needs of children is a role in their environment. A place and a belonging fosters dignity.
So when I share activities like this one, I hope you understand that they came from little ev and not my premeditated efforts to do “educational activities” or to create an “early reader” or to give her an “advantage”. How shallow would my personal efforts compare to that vital drive she has been endowed by Mother Nature.
This “activity” in fact wasn’t an activity at all.
After one year, yes one whole year, of me writing the grocery list at the Saturday morning breakfast table and inviting ev’s input, she has decided to have her own list, even to write it. I suppose a year ago I could have attempted to fill her up with all my wonderful knowledge on how to sound out words, how to make columns and how to check off. I could have really insisted. I wonder if today she would have so joyously asked me to spell the words as she recorded them. I wonder if she would have felt dignity in her role to help fill the pantry had I enlightened her as to how it should be done.
I wonder if it’s usually easier for me to impart my knowledge than it is to have patience as she unfolds herself.
If I am aware on this one point, I have been grossly blinded by myself on so many others. I hope with all of ev’s unfoldings I can muster the humility to guide rather than to create.

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