Category: parenthood

Thank you to EVERYONE who voted and commented. You guys have some excellent advice. It’s a little funny to me that those without kids ALL said “just drop him off every week!” and those with their own kids mostly said “drop him off” but a few of you had other ideas. Everything is more black-and-white, sure and certain, before you have your own kids. (I know. I swore up and down that I would do things that now I’ll never do…. and that I’d never do things I now do, or at least am considering. Ha, ha!)

So here we go. Sarah (for my dear readers, she is a friend from my hometown who was in the same grade as my brother) had a great idea to not try to leave him for that full hour block of time right away. Brilliant! I guess I was so locked in to the idea of “either leave him in the nursery or take him into the service with me” that it never occurred to me. Your idea about doing a Bible study or ladies’ group or choir that meets during the week is a great idea too – for one thing, I think all mamas need some “me” time that is spiritually and emotionally refreshing – and for another thing, it would give us another way to introduce Jonas to the physical space of the nursery and the nursery workers themselves. I wish I could jump through this screen and give you a hug.

Kari (dear readers, one of my college roommates; she now lives in France with her osteopath-student hubby; their blog is in my sidebar!), you make a great point about community child raising. I think that’s the downfall of attachment parenting – we strive for this holistic, attached, nurturing way of interacting with our children, in an emulation of so many societies around the world that do this naturally. But in the US, we don’t always have that community of family and neighbors who help us in the journey. And you CAN’T be attached to your babe 24/7 without a break, without help. So there is a very real need for those grandmother figures, the aunt figures, the cousin figures, who are capable and loving and who step in to bounce a baby on their knee, make silly faces at a toddler, and sympathize with a worn-out mama.

…oh, and about being the mom in the back of the classroom? No worries. I don’t plan to send Jonas into a first-grade classroom at all. ;-P

Cronomorph (d.r., my brother Jason), I remember Sharon mentioning that when y’all were here. Our nursery doesn’t do quite that procedure with the note and knocking on the door, so I’d have to tweak it a bit. Last time we went to the nursery, Jonas was walking beside us and holding Chris’ hand. However, he’s an AWESOME passive resistance protestor – as soon as he realized we were approaching the nursery, he sat down and went limp. (:-S) So we ended up scooping him up and carrying him in after all.

Pam (d.r., a good friend from my wild & wacky group of ladies at Plantation United Methodist in So. Fla – and mom of two), I really appreciate what you wrote. Thanks for the boost for my “mother’s intuition” or whatever. I have a little problem sometimes with that – even though I believe that I should trust my instincts, and usually do, there are some things (in retrospect, it seems to be “cultural expectations” kind of things – like, a toddler ought to be able to go to the nursery during church! – that make me waver and start some self-doubt). And thank you, thank you, thank you for the reminder that things changed when Liam became more verbal. I think I very easily fall into the trap of comparing Jonas to other kids his age – and even more dangerous, other kids his size (because he’s about the size of the 2.5 year olds in our various groups) – and for one thing, I ought to remember that he is an individual. And for another, I need to remember that although his language skills are starting to catch up, he is still not able to communicate major sentences and/or major emotions to me with words. And I don’t know how much he understands when I’m telling him he’ll be fine, he’ll have fun, etc.

So. I don’t know if tomorrow will go any smoother, but at least I feel boosted and supported and loved. My little plan is to go to worship with Jonas in tow, and try several weeks that way. Then, I was thinking we could start out in the worship service together, with either Chris or I taking Jonas to the nursery right before the sermon. (So it would only be the last 20-25 minutes of church that he’d be in there.) If that starts to work, then I could gradually take him down there at earlier parts of the service until eventually he’s there for the whole time. Conversely, I’m considering keeping Jonas with us for the whole service, but taking him to the nursery for the Sunday School hour. Like I said – don’t know if it will work, but I feel re-energized to TRY. Hopefully, no more Sundays sitting in our PJs and feeling depressed!

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A’ight, y’all – we’ve got some great advice happenin’ in the comments section and a grand total of, like, 3 votes in my totally unscientific polls. You guys!!! This is a serious plea for help! :-S Help a sistah out, get your little tuchus to the comments, and drop some wisdom on me. ….seriously…. help….

I did my first Blogger poll off to the right (for Kari, that’d be your other left….) and it looks like at least a few of you would like to hear from Chris once in awhile. I’ll see what I can do to get him blogging for a little of the male and/or medical perspective. The rest of you seem pretty happy with the status quo – more pictures! more writing! more pictures with writing! No problem. I have you covered.

******

I am so incredibly frustrated. I didn’t get Jonas in for his 15-month Well Child Checkup before we left Nashville, thinking that I’d just get him in a little early for his 18-month WCC and it would even out. When we got here, I found a D.O. in Family Practice that’s pretty near to our house and called to see if she is accepting new patients. She is – but she won’t make your first appointment until she has all your medical records. So her receptionist or office manager or whoever sent me those HIPPAA forms to fill out and mail to our old doctors. I got the one for Jonas’ pediatrician in the mail asap…. and yesterday it was returned as “undeliverable as addressed”. Well, for Pete’s sake, I sent it to the address on their website! Monday morning I’ll call them and find out the proper address. Or maybe I can fax this to them, which would speed the process a bit. At any rate, I’m starting to worry that Jonas won’t get that 18 month WCC until he turns 2!

******

New Poll starts today, and I’ll leave it up for a couple of weeks. Actually, there will be two versions: one for parents and one for non-parents. My current quandry and heartache has to do with Church Nursery. Most of you know that we didn’t take Jonas to the nursery when he was little. It was easy to wear him in a sling or carrier, let him nurse and snooze during our Sunday School and worship service, and that was that. Plus, my ideals for Attachment Parenting included not handing him off to strangers during his first year of life. Fast forward – when Jonas was about 14 months old, we started taking him to the nursery at Bellevue United Methodist in Nashville. While we were there, Chris and I never got involved in an adult Sunday School class. (I know, I know… terrible.) Anyway, so Jonas only had about 50 minutes in the nursery without us each week, and every single week it was like I was torturing him. He would burst into tears as soon as we turned down the hallway where the nursery was located. When we got to the door, he’d be clutching at my neck and screaming bloody murder.

I tried to arrive early, giving him time to get interested in the toys and other kids before I snuck away. Didn’t work. I tried to arrive exactly on time, put him in Miss Kate’s arms, and get away quickly. Didn’t work. Most Sundays, they told me that he did stop crying and get involved with a toy or a nursery helper. (He was a big fan of Blake, a 10th grade guy who volunteered in the nursery…. I suspect Blake’s motivation was being around Emma, Miss Kate’s 10th grade daughter!…. but Blake was great with Jonas, let him play with the buttons on his cell phone, you know: guy stuff. I came back to pick Jonas up at least twice and found him asleep on Blake’s lap.)

Church happens at the perfect time for Jonas’ nap schedule (he is usually up for the morning around 8:00 and ready to nap between noon and 1:00) so I don’t think it’s an issue of being overtired/ready for a nap when we drop him off.

Since we have moved, we haven’t joined a church yet. We visited at Erlanger UMC for a few weeks, and the nursery was the same story. The first week, Jonas was cool until we got into the room. It was like he saw the toys, saw the ladies, and realized it was all too familiar. Every week they assured me that he didn’t cry for very long – but when I’d pick him up he’d be exhausted and usually pink-cheeked, like he’d been crying hard. Chris and I visited the adult Sunday School and then went to the worship service, so it was also a longer stay in the Nursery – about 2.5 hours. Last week, we visted at Immanuel UMC. It’s a very big church, which is exciting for us because of all the great classes, programs, service opportunities they offer. When we took Jonas to the Nursery, we had to fill out a sticker for his back and his diaper bag, and then take a pager (like when you eat at Applebee’s). It was the same story. It was a new place, so he didn’t melt down in the hallway – but as soon as we hit the door, he lost it.

I don’t know if I can even describe what it does to me to hear him crying, see his face crumple, feel his hands gripping at my neck and shoulders. And now, he can say “Mama! Mama!” and that it like a dagger in my heart. How can I leave my precious little guy!? He has no frame of reference for this – he has no sense of time, so he really does not understand that I will be back to get him in a couple of hours. To him, it really seems like I am going to disappear through that door and never come back. I am struggling with what I should do.

Part of me thinks I should keep taking him, every week, and he will learn that it’s a safe place – a fun place. He will start to recognize the Nursery workers and the other kids, and he will learn some cute Bible songs or at the very least, he will learn that these people at Church are trustworthy.

The other part of me thinks that if he isn’t developmentally ready to be left while I walk away, then it’s senseless to push it on him. It’s like teaching him the alphabet – I could start teaching him today! But since he’s not ready for it, all my efforts will fall on deaf ears (and possibly sour him on the idea of learning it ever, if he makes a negative association with it) until he’s older and ready for the concept of letters having sounds and shapes. Similarly, maybe it would be easier to take a break from the Nursery for a few months, and try again when he is older.

I know parents who say, “My little Johnny screamed every week for six months and then he finally got over it! He’ll be fine!” but I wonder if Johnny “got over it” or if Johnny simply grew up and grew able to understand that Mommy would come back. Maybe he would have “switched on” to that concept at that age, no matter what. And if that’s the case, why torture little Johnny for six months? Why not just wait?

So, that was longwinded and if you’re still with me, then thank you. Here’s the poll. If you’re a been-there-done-that parent, what would you advise I do? (And if you choose “other” please leave me a comment with your sage advice!) If you’re not a parent yet, what do you think I should do? (Please understand that I’m separating this poll not because I value your opinion any less… but I will take it with a grain of the salt of inexperience. 😉 Heehee!)

******

A thought from the Upper Room, ’cause, yeah… I’m home by myself. Chris is on rounds. The thought of getting myself and Jonas dressed and out the door, and then enduring Nursery Meltdown 2007 by myself was just too much this morning.

In his psalms, David wrote about similar situations of being frightened and then
being delivered when God set him free from his enemies. Sometimes problems
terrify and worry us, just as conditions cause turbulence for the {airplane}
flight. In those times we may ask, “Why is this happening to me?” But as we call
upon God and trust God with our problems, we begin to understand what
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, that God “has made everything beautiful in its time.”
Beyond our clouds, God has something beautiful for us – something as beautiful
as that vivid blue sky beyond the clouds.

******

Happy Sunday. Only three weeks until Chris’ next vacation… {SIGH}

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Oprah revisited the ultimate mommy question on her show yesterday. “My Baby or My Job: Why Elizabeth Vargas Stepped Down.” I don’t think I’ve blogged about this here before (though I’ll look through my archives and check), so I want to do so now. I’ll give you a rundown of the show – especially a few of the comments that really struck a chord with me – and then share my thoughts on the subject.

I came into the show late – about the last half hour. Apparently in the first part of the show, Oprah interviewed Elizabeth Vargas about her choice to stay home with her newborn baby instead of staying in her high-profile job as anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight.

The part I saw dealt with the members of a discussion panel – if you visit the link above, it starts on screen “6 of 13.” I don’t have a transcript of the show, so I’ll just do my best from the notes I scribbled as I watched and the recap provided on the Oprah Show website.

First of all, my biases. My son was born in February of 2006, and I returned to work for nine weeks in March-May of 2006. I have been a stay-at-home mom for the fifteen months since then. Now then, on to the show.

Barbara, a working mother of three, said that

“If you don’t have something that is your own, then your kids become everything. And you need to make that separation about what you’re doing for your kids and what you’re doing for yourself.”

I can see her point, to a certain extent. It’s not healthy to sublimate your every thought, emotion, and need within the roles of housewife and mother. As an adult woman, you need to have time and space for yourself – time to affirm your intellect, to nourish your spirituality, to nurture your emotional self. However, I disagree that the only way to maintain your sense of self is to pursue employment outside the home.

Women who stay home make a powerful choice to do something “for their kids” and they often make sacrifices which make their choice possible. They also make the choice to find necessary “separation” in other avenues. You can enjoy adult conversation at church – a great, stimulating debate at a book group – a peaceful meditation during naptime – a “break” from the day to day doldrums at the spa – a creative outlet in a hobby, a class, or a blog (:-). For women who stay-at-home because they BELIEVE they are making the best choice for their children, Barbara’s comment rings empty and hollow – it’s a false argument in favor of working.

She went on to say that it’s

“more important… that you’re around when your kids are teenagers. You know, anybody can read your kid a book or cuddle your kid.”

One stay-at-home mom took exception to her remarks.

“I think that sometimes using phrases like that minimizes what being a stay-at-home mom is. It’s not just about reading a book or wiping their nose. It’s engendering in them a sense of independence and a quest for learning that is shaped by your values.”

I’m so glad that Whitney spoke up. I was saying almost the exact same thing to my TV screen. Even though it doesn’t take anything special to qualify someone to read a book to a child, or to give that child a hug, it also doesn’t MEAN anything special when a stranger does those things. When a mother reads with her child, she communicates so many things: that our family values books and learning, that you are important enough for me to stop what I’m doing and read with you, that I like asking you questions and hearing your answers. When a mother hugs her child, she brings so much caring, so much history, so much of a bond to that hug. The argument from the working-mom camp that the things their daycare providers do are trivial and simple and “no big deal” to farm out… that argument drives me crazy. Even though the tedium of day-to-day infant and toddler and preschooler care gets old and frustrating sometimes – it is just DIFFERENT to be the mommy who changes that diaper, or wipes that nose, or sings that song, or creates that art project. The intent and the care that a mother brings to the same situation cannot be hired.

Dr. Robin Smith, Oprah’s go-to psychologist these days, said that Americans have too much of an either/or dichotomy mindset. “We lose the wisdom of both worlds,” she said, and “the goal isn’t to have it all… it’s to be attuned with yourself and your children. Attuned means ‘I’m connected.'”

She pointed out that a stay-at-home mom who is disconnected, exhausted, and disengaged really isn’t PRESENT with her children – and a working mom who makes a point to attend her kids’ functions and games but then focuses on her Blackberry instead isn’t really there, either.

Dr. Robin gets on my nerves. (Just in the interest of full disclosure, y’all.) I have to give her some credit for this one. I’m a member of a parenting forum that seems to be full of moms who come down on others with a judgemental, holier-than-thou, best-darn-stay-at-home-mom on the block attitude… and yet these self-proclaimed SuperMoms have racked up 10,000 posts in under 3 years. Where are their SuperKids while they’re online all day long?

Toward the end of the show, a lovely young mom shared her change of plans. Melissa had a rough pregnancy and now believes her daughter may be her only child. When she visited the daycare they had chosen, and a worker asked her to leave a disposable camera so that pictures could be taken of the “moments she would miss,” it put her in tears. She said that she feels badly for her husband, since they had a plan in place before the baby was born – but now that her little girl is here, she can’t leave her in daycare. Her current plan is to stay home for one year and then re-evaluate how it’s working.

Then she wondered aloud,

“But will it be harder in a year when she’s crying ‘Mommy’ and holding on to me? {paraphrase}”

Barbara, our working mom of 3, chimed in.

“Yes, they do that. When I dropped off my 3 year old it was like Sophie’s Choice every day – I’ll be good, I’ll never do anything wrong ever again, just don’t drop me off! – and I would hide out and wait to see if he was okay. It’s just like they say – in five minutes they’re fine and playing. {paraphrase}”

Dr. Robin jumped in again. She said it was natural to feel terrible about dropping your children off at daycare.

“You want them not to ache – but the task of motherhood is to teach them what to do when they ache. How to self-soothe, whether you are there at home or away at work. {paraphrase}”

See, I don’t agree with this one, Doc R. I don’t believe that my primary task as a mother is to teach my son how to soothe himself. As an adult, I don’t soothe myself! When I am hurting, I have learned how to reach out. I go to my husband, to God, to a dear friend, to an expert. I’ve learned where to turn for help. See, in my experience, when I try to solve all my problems and pains by myself, things get worse. I want to teach Jonas to be independent – in his thinking, his decision-making – but I also want to teach Jonas to be interdependent. God made us to be part of a bigger social structure – we are born into families, and we grow up and create our own families. We join church families and we participate in our local and global communities. This dogged insistence on SELF – self-soothing, self-esteem, self-interest – seems to me to be one of our problems in this country. I’d much rather be surrounded by people who care about others and are plugged in to having people care about them.

The show wrapped up with two moms of adult children, who both had regrets about their choices. The stay-at-home mom said that her children didn’t see her as capable of anything other than making dinner and running a house. “What about me now? I want a part of me back.” The working mom seemed near tears when she said, “I missed everything.” She told her kids not do what she did – but her own daughter, who was also in the audience, said that she always felt loved and cared for. She made the decision to return to work when she had her own baby. Dr. Robin had some advice for the working-mom-of-adult-children, too. She told her that rather than tell her daughters NOT to work, she should be helping them on “the journey to find what it means to be a mother to them, not to you. {paraphrase}”

This is another one of my pet peeves. Moral relativism – where it might be right for me, but not be right for you – is one of the most illogical things I encounter among otherwise well-educated and well-intentioned people. If something is right, then it is always right in all situations. Right? And this is why mothers are still engaged in the Mommy Wars – because even when we espouse this notion that “this is right for me but it might not be right for you,” we still believe that what we have chosen is MORE RIGHT. Mothers who work believe that they are doing the right thing – if not the right thing for every child on the planet, then at least the right thing for their personal children or their personal financial situation. Mothers who stay home believe they are doing the right thing, too. Which means that they all believe that mothers making that other choice are wrong.

I believe that children deserve a full-time, fully attached, parental caregiver during their formative years. (I won’t get into my views about mothering school-aged children in this post. We’ll save that topic…. maybe I’ll make this a series.) I believe that some mothers are not able to be the full-time caregiver for a variety of reasons…. including mental illness, physical disability, single parenthood, and financial crisis. I believe that most mothers who claim that they “need to work” for the money actually are “choosing to work” for the money. (I personally know women who worked in the public school system and told me their income went for the “extras” like a yearly trip to Disney World and the latest Louis Vuitton handbag for their 13-year-olds.)

I believe that staying-at-home is more than being a warm body in the house with a child – more than watching out for accidents – more than feeding, changing, and putting down for naps – more than reading umpteen books and singing umpteen songs – more than attending playgroups and library story hours.

I believe in attachment parenting – the “Seven Baby B’s,” as Dr. William & Martha Sears put it in their book, which include bonding with baby at birth; breastfeeding; bedding close to baby; babywearing; belief in baby’s cries (in other words, attributing no ill intent or manipulation to the cries of infants, but rather viewing them as valid communication from real people who are too young to have any other communciation tools); beware of “baby trainers;” and balance. This is a responsive parenting style – the “Baby B’s” help parents get to know and understand their baby, which makes them able to meet their baby’s needs and eventually anticipate those needs.

At this stage, we are no longer breastfeeding or cosleeping. We still wear Jonas in slings and carriers, we believe that his crying is a valid way to communicate his feelings, and we stay away from those who proclaim that toddlers should be getting used to Time-Outs and Spankings by now. AP fits our lives.

AP is an instinctive way of living within our family. Just as I would never want to be ignored if I broke down in tears of frustration and anger, I choose not to ignore Jonas’ tears. When he wants to go downstairs all by himself, but we tell him “No, wait for Mommy or Daddy,” that’s a big deal to a little person! He may bang the gate, he may start to cry. We don’t “punish” him – no scolding, no smacking his hands. We speak to him gently, we explain what’s happening, we offer hugs and kisses if he wants to accept them. In other words: we treat him like a PERSON. A person who doesn’t have an adult supply of patience yet – or a brain that does “cause & effect” thinking – or the dexterity to accomplish all the tasks he is dreaming of…. but still, a person.

Part of the reason I am so passionate about my career as a stay-at-home mom is because I believe it is INFINITELY harder to be an attached parent-and-child when you are separated for many hours of every day. (I didn’t say it’s impossible. Just that it’s a lot harder. I know people who are trying to make it work, and I don’t envy them at all.) So I guess you could say that I choose to be a SAHM because it’s the easiest way to accomplish my parenting goals. I know Jonas so well because we are closely attached. I can usually anticipate his needs, and when I can’t figure out his needs, I can at least put myself in his shoes and decide how I’d like to be treated if the situation were reversed.

For me, the two things go hand-in-hand. I’m a stay-at-home parent because I believe that it’s the best -and easiest- way to ensure that Jonas can form a secure attachment to his parent(s). I’m an attached parent because I believe that my child deserves the best start in life – and I believe that forming a secure attachment with a parent puts him on the best path toward intellectual development, psychological well-being, and emotional stability.

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Splenda. On one hand, it might be better for me than mass quantities of sugar in my coffee and tea… but on the other, I am consuming 6-8 packets of an artificial food every day. Yikes!

Caffeine. Hey, if I could beat this one, I’d eliminate my need for Splenda! I just really *heart* coffee. In all its forms. And I’m too Southern to give up sweet tea. And I adore Diet Coke. Now, Jonas has just started sleeping through the night – so I do envision a day in the near future when all the moving commotion is over, that I won’t *need* a java jolt to start my day. And I might actually break this habit before too long.

Online time when Jonas is awake. Occasionally, this starts out with the best of intentions – I “pop” online to check for an expected email, to balance the checkbook or pay a bill. But usually it’s for mindless “surfing.” Jonas is great at entertaining himself for short periods of time, but I really don’t like the example I’m setting by always going for “screen time” myself.

TV time when Jonas is awake. See above. Though he doesn’t pay much attention to my “boring, grown-up” programs, my ideal day would include no TV time for his little eyes, ears, and developing mind. I give in to my less-than-ideal on days when I’m tired – days when Chris works late and I need a *break* by 4 p.m. – days when Jonas doesn’t feel well and is especially clingy or cranky – days when it’s too hot to go outside – in other words, most days. And I’m not proud of that.

Yelling. Okay, this one isn’t too bad. I don’t yell at Jonas, ever. I don’t yell on a daily basis or anything. But I’ve been fighting this battle for as long as I can remember (just ask my mom or dad or brother!) – even as a kid, my vocal volume just goes up and UP and UP when I get upset or excited. Now that I have a little one of my own, I’m more aware that I want to set a better example of other ways to communicate my feelings. At least this habit is one that I see *some* improvement on.

*with sincere apologies to Chicago for the misuse of their lovely song title!

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Receptive language is when we are learning to listen to & understand the language around us. When babies are born, they are fascinated by the sounds around them. When babies and toddlers start to demonstrate that they know the names (labels) for objects and people around them, we know that they are making receptive language progress. Other milestones in receptive language development include pointing to familiar objects, responding to simple questions or requests (“Bring me the ball” or “Want more juice?”), and anticipating the endings of simple games like peek-a-boo or “This Little Piggy.”

Expressive language is when we are learning to speak and use language to express ourselves. Babies use cries, body language, and facial expression to communicate with their parents in the beginning, and soon they begin to babble. Other parts of expressive language are motions or gestures (pointing to an item that he wants, raising his arms to be picked up) and vocalizations other than crying to get attention. First words usually appear around the end of the child’s first year, and around the end of the second year most toddlers start to form two-word sentences (“More milk!” “Ball go!”)

At his speech & language evaluation last month, Jonas was mildly delayed in both of these language development areas. He’s about one month behind in expressive language (which means, in his case, that though he is an avid babbler and definitely uses gestures to get our attention and make his needs known) and about two months behind in receptive language (which means that he could not indicate to the SLP that he recognized, or understood, some of the labeling words she used (ie, “Show me the bear”) or the requests she made).

So, how does sign language fit into the life of a hearing child? And what about a hearing child with language delays? I know that some people are wondering if using sign language with Jonas has contributed to his language delay, or if teaching him sign will inhibit his acquisition of spoken language.

Let’s take a quick look at the research. The National Institutes of Health funded a half-million dollar research project to study children who had followed the “Baby Sign” program compared to children from the same communities without exposure to sign language. The children were given standard language measures at 11, 15, 19, 24, 30, and 36 months. In addition, as many children as could be relocated at age 8 were assessed again with a standard intelligence test measure. This type of study (a longitudinal study, that follows the same cohort of subjects over time) is the gold standard in educational research. At 24 months old, the Baby Signs® babies were on average talking more like 27 or 28 month olds both in terms of vocabulary size and sentence length and construction. At 3 years of age, the children who had used sign language were at nearly a 4 year old level. And the final test measure of 8 year olds found that those who had been Baby Signs® babies scored an average of 12 points higher in IQ than their non-signing peers. (For more information, please click here.)

A good metaphor for the reasoning behind using baby signs is to think about the way babies get around. Most babies crawl before they walk. Crawling is certainly a less desirable way to get around, long term, but it’s an amazing feat of mobility when you’ve previously been stuck wherever Mommy put you down! Learning to crawl doesn’t take away your interest in walking – no baby thinks, “Well, now I’ve got a way to get from point A to point B, time to go learn about something else.” NO! Most babies become even more motivated in their efforts to cruise and then walk – they have discovered the amazing and tantalizing prospect of independent movement! The same thing goes for baby signing – in most homes, the amount of sign language that can be taught is finite, so it won’t work as a complete language system and it’s less desirable than verbal speech. But when a baby learns his first signs, it’s an amazing feat of connection and communication with those around him! Learning those signs doesn’t make a child give up on speech – it provides him with a developmentally “easier” way to communicate for the time being, but excites and enriches the child who will continue to strive toward a fuller language experience.

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We didn’t think we’d become Floridians. We spent four years there, but we always proudly claimed our status as true Southerners – we are from Georgia! Where we have seasons, but not extreme ones. Where we only need one coast, and we grow real crops, and hurricanes don’t really ruin an entire school year. Apparently, though, living in FLA sort of seeps into the bones. Slowly. Insidiously. Subtly – but it’s there.

I figured it out when I woke up yesterday morning. It was 47 degrees outside – beautiful, clear sky, crisp air. The weather man forecast a high of 56 degrees, with some clouds and scattered showers in the afternoon/evening. Do you know what I did?

I turned on the heater.

Now, in my legitimate defense, it really was cold on the floor – where my little baby spends most of his time, on his hands and knees and tummy. I don’t want him to be too cold and uncomfortable. But seriously? I find myself kind of funny. Today, I think it started out in the 50s and is going to hit 64…. I’m wearing my fleece pullover. HA!

P.S. I’m definitely not a total Floridian, though. Jonas has a buddy, 5 weeks older, whose mom grew up in South Florida. The last time we walked at the park, when the temp was about 55, she had him in a hat and mittens! 😛

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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