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One Broken Mom
1.17 Emotional Development From 0-12 Months
August 21, 2018 Amee Quiriconi
This episode features Ayelet Marinovich. She is a pediatric speech-language pathologist, a singer, parent educator, theater person, storyteller, and partner. She is also the author of Understanding Your Baby: A Week-By-Week Development & Activity Guide For Playing With Your Baby From Birth to 12 Months. On this episode, she talks with Amee about activities a parent can do with their baby that supports positive emotional and other developmental milestones.


Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:00Hello, you are listening to one broken mom, a podcast dedicated to raising awareness about mental health, parenting, and self improvement. I am the host, Amica or county one broken. Mom is not a family show. It is intended for adults only and may contain adult language. Sometimes the topics are serious, but you can't count on the episodes to be entertaining. Also, one broken mom is not offering any psychiatric or medical diagnosis. We're just here giving away really good and useful information so if you're ready to hear real talk by real people so that we can all get better together than you're in the right place. And welcome today. I have with me I yell at Marinovich. She is a pediatric speech language pathologist, a singer, a parent educator, a theater person, storyteller, and a partner. She is also the author of understanding your baby a week by week development and activity guide for playing with your baby from birth to 12 months, which is available on Amazon and she has a fantastic online resource and community for new parents called strength. Words that I also wanted to share with us today. Hi Ayelet. Welcome. To one broken mom.

Speaker 2:0:59Hi, nice to speak with you. Thanks for having me on.

Speaker 1:1:03Oh Man, my pleasure. I'm one of the things that I like to do with the show is, you know, cover this broad spectrum of parenting and because I have teenagers now, I feel like I will, I can't, you know, whatever happened as a baby. It's done. But I do have listeners, you know, that just had children, um, or still have some very young children and so, you know, this is an important topic for me to be able to have you coming in as that early, early childhood development expert to talk about, you know, that we can do, um, you know, I just found a quote by Pam Leo of like let's raise children that they don't have to recover from their childhood from. So we're going to get them now at zero and you're going to help some people figure out like what they can do there. So let's start this off. Tell everybody who you are and what you do.

Speaker 2:1:47Sure. Again, my name is, or name for a speech pathologists, therapists. Uh, I, my background is as a sort of early communication person, I don't really, I really shy away from that term a parenting expert or communications expert. I hate the word expert mostly because there is no expert on anything except anyone who, who knows that child is that person or whatever. I am a professional who works with young children. I am a professional who works with parents. Uh, I am a mom and I have to little boys. One is four and a half and one is one and a half as we didn't record this and uh, they're both really different and parenting was insane and joyful and incredible. And, and I, um, I think when, when I had my first, uh, we were living abroad at the time were living in London and I was really, um, floored by the, by the sense of incredible vulnerability and you know, in my own professional career, I had spent the better part of the that last decade working with families with infants and toddlers.

Speaker 2:3:14And, you know, I thought it was really good at it. And then I have a baby. Oh my gosh, there's so much more work I could be doing because you know, that have that. That's that feeling, especially when you add in a family who's dealing with sort of a typical early development, um, or any kind of issue with that developmental trajectory. You know, what, there's so much more sensitivity that we need to give up to all parents regardless of their child's developmental level, regardless of what they're dealing with because we don't know, um, you know, coming in, especially as a professional who, who works with people in their homes, you have no idea what that parent is feeling and what that child is dealing with. And it's. So that was sort of where I, I'm coming from and why I started strengthened words, which is really just the place for family to come to access high quality evidence based information and resources and ideas for interacting with their little one and also accessing each other and other professionals.

Speaker 2:4:29So I felt that there was a real lack of sort of have those high quality resources and helping people access that easily because, you know, there's so much out there, especially right now in this sort of age of digital parenting and there's so much information and bad information sharing and you know, tearing down of each other. And I think it's so important to remember as parents and caregivers of young children that we only know our own experience and it's so important to, to respectfully parent, not only show respect of our own children's process of learning but to each other. And so that is sort of the mission I'm on to, to help with that.

Speaker 1:5:28You bring up some really important things for people to realize is when you, we all have our own experiences, we all have our own DNA. You know, that's the being shaped by those experiences. And there aren't any, you know, unfortunately there aren't any solid rules about what to do. Every kid is going to be different and the parents' response to that is going to be based on how they were parented. And, and, and everybody's, you know, everybody's building off of a different and very unique foundation. There are some elements to it though that we know and I, you know, I'm with you here, like you know, one of my mission purposes here with one broken mom is in my own research is discovering how much, you know, neurobiology and neuroscience has been able to uncover the mysteries of the mind, you know, up until cat scans and Mris and also the software to process that data where there was a lot of speculation on what we thought was going on in the brain and now in the last two decades since most of us have already grown up and started having kids, we're researchers and scientists discovering really how brain architecture happens and not just motor development, you know, Winter Roll over when the pee and poop and all that.

Speaker 1:6:32But it's also that there's a genuine emotional component to it that is informed by biology, not just, you know, random stuff that comes out like a box that brain out of the box ready to go.

Speaker 2:6:44Right. All of that is influenced by our environment. I mean, like you said, some of it is biological and some of it is that environment and we know that that's how humans learn and develop is through observation, invitation of other people and interaction with other people. And, and that's it. I mean, that's how, that's how they learn. So when they're in a, uh, an environment that is not conducive to that, then there will, there will be more difficulties that path to learning and develop, you know, fulfilled. Miss is, is just that much more difficult.

Speaker 1:7:25What we do hopefully is apparent listening to this and sees and understands what, you know, that self help piece of it. If wow, if I maybe that didn't happen while I was developing and maybe that's why I feel the way I do today, but why a trigger or whatever it is. And so that's kind of the two fold path of, you know, of the show here. And now we're talking about a time where there is new supporting research and data that shows about toxic stress and toxic environments. But yet new parents are probably still getting advice based on older theories. And you know, they're all helpful, you know, grandma has one way and the other grandma has a different way and they're all pretty certain that because their kid grew up perfect that their way's the right way. And then you've got, like you said, this flood of digital support and information and it's overwhelming for new parents because they're like, who am I supposed to listen to? So what's your advice to new parents on how, for them to figure out what they can push to the side and what information is probably good for them to take in so that, you know, because we all want to train our new parents. I mean that's why you and I are here. So help help my new parents figure out, you know, what they should and should not be paying attention to.

Speaker 2:8:36Yeah. So I think first of all, you know, into this thing thinking that with certain preconceived notions now, whether that is, you know, a certain philosophy that we have about a parent saying how we want the parents, whether that is the way we were raised. Yeah. All of the influences that come in, two, this, that we come into this with a influence and shape and color are, are what we think the experience is going to be like. I think in general, there's so much, like we said, so much parenting advice out there. I think the biggest thing to do is seek out things that, that are not no hard and fast. I think the key is that oftentimes someone who purports themselves to be the sleep expert, Blahblahblah expert, um, trying to sell you something right?

Speaker 2:9:41And what we all have to do is recognize the fact that, okay, we might come into this wanting parenting to be a certain way or thinking it's going to be a certain way and then our, our baby might show us or are the relationship we have with them. Whatever parenting partner we have might help us recognize that. Um, um, I mean, I can tell you from my own experience, for instance, with my first son, my second, you know, I mean, once you've parents had one child, that means you've parented one child. That doesn't mean that, you know how to parents there, right? Is that when we can find resources that speak to us in terms of the kinds of things that we, we believe or understand. I mean, you're going to find that, you know, there are, if you believe a certain thing, there are going to be articles, uh, and research, you know, that purports itself to help, uh, promote that belief system, whatever it is.

Speaker 2:10:49And I think the key is for me because I don't believe that there is a right or wrong way to parents. I believe that the more information that's what high quality information that we can ingest a better sort of equipped and empowered, we feel to do that big job of raping tiny humans because there are people all around the world and all different era's of, of parenting, you know, thinking that this is the right way and that's the right way. And as you said, right, our moms or our grandmothers, you know, they grew up with say Dr Spock or you know, putting it brandy on our baby's gums. Right? And like, you know, 30 years later it's like, oh my God, I can't believe you did that right there is going to be like, our kids are going to do exactly the same thing to us for whatever is the thing.

Speaker 2:11:48Then what is, what I think is, you know, really useful and what I try to help families to help equip families with is those sort of basic pieces of knowledge about how humans learn and develop and when we have that knowledge, then we can feel more equipped, uh, with, with information about how our babies learn so that we can do the job of parenting. Right? And I'm learning, I mean in those sort of four major areas of cognition, communication, motor and sensory learning and social and emotional development. So when we have information about how young humans will do that process, right, of learning than, than we can do our best job to help them do it. And I think the hard thing is that they're the baby industry, quote unquote, even in the game. Right? And so there are, whenever there, there's a market, there is people willing to pay.

Speaker 2:12:58And of course the biggest thing I think, as you said earlier, that people would love to pay for is the right way. Just tell me, just give me the roadmap. Right? This wasn't the right thing for me to do. And of course as we all know, there is no right thing to do. But again, I, I am a big believer in information and whatnot. What I tried to provide is sort of a, I'm of a hub for that information. Yeah. Obviously I'm not the only person doing that. So you seek out resources that speak to you. That's the answer, right? You find things that are evidence based and, and, and actually based in, in developmental research, in, you know, whatever it is that, that speak to you and that you feel like, okay, well now I can make a decision based on what I know and based on my own family's needs because that stuff isn't going to give you the roadmap. That stuff is going to give you some tools. Right. That's all you can hope.

Speaker 1:14:11It's kind of like, you know, the research based stuff, which again is now is very recent. I know 20 years doesn't feel recent, but that really is a generation, you know, um, but the research is going to tell you the mouse is where you insert the food, right? And then you have to decide what and whether or not, you know, tomatoes or Avocados or whatever. Um, and that's the kind of the individual experience. Well, and you know, and you mentioned Dr Spock and he's famous for saying back in 1946, trust yourself, you know, more than you think you do. Like, you know, he was, he was sitting there trying to convince, you know, tell moms, you know, hey, hold on, hold on you, you actually have an instinct here that's valid and you do, you know, and, and, and feel that and trust that, that intuition. And I think that's what you're saying there too is use that to the guy that information. So, you know, people look at babies, you know, they come out, they don't move a lot, they make some noise and do they do stuff and um, and, but people probably don't understand that there's a lot of emotional development that's going on and the opportunities to start building that happen. Um, so just, you know, tell everybody how important is emotional development in those first few months of life for baby?

Speaker 2:15:21Hugely important. And it's all intertwined. I think the biggest thing to recognize infants and toddlers learn holistically, right? So they're always there. They're living this crazy sensory world all the time where they are ingesting all kinds of information and their brains are trying to make sense of it, right? So we, we feed them patterns, we feed them, uh, patterns of how we nurture them, how we talk to them, how we have we set them down and pick them up, how we, how, you know, the kinds of environmental things that we exposed them to, whether that's light or fresh air or soft things and hard things. And you know, breast milk or bubbles or whatever it is. Like we are giving them everything that they and then they make sense. Um, so the patterns of behavior that we show them and interact with them helped them to form that the bond with us.

Speaker 2:16:28And I'm not talking about attachment parenting, I'm talking about on the attachment and attachment, right? And we know that babies do need to form secure attachments with one or more primary caregivers, uh, in order for those big things to happen and the parts of sort of social and emotional development of that domain of development have to do with things like, uh, the development of interaction of, of interaction between peers, between adults and baby development of identity, of a identity of self, identity of other people in the environment. Right? And then whether they have a bond with other people, right? It's that social piece and do I feel connected to someone else and secure in the idea that this person is here for me, uh, with me to nurture me, will support me. That I'm not just going to go unheard that my needs will be met and, and that I'm going to be able to grow and develop. So that I can and my world.

Speaker 1:17:44Yeah. And that's, I mean that's, that's a huge piece that many parents. I mean I feel like, you know, when I started on my parenting journey like 16 years ago, this whole idea and you mentioned attachment parenting or the attachment theory here, like no one ever really talked about like, hey, that little person is looking for somebody to always be there. Like that's, that's the foundation that life will come from them. Like their exploration, their, you know, their knowledge, their love, how they're going to form a relationship is going to be based on whether or not they've got that and you know. And that's a frightening concept to sit there and go, oh wow, I really wish those were things that, you know, and I feel like I've got a great relationship with kids now. But the fact is, is that a lot of times, you know, adults grow in to having insecure relationships or having bad relationships, you know.

Speaker 1:18:34And then when you go, well it goes all the way back to the beginning and you're just like, whoa. Like, this is, this is kind of a big deal. I probably should pay more attention here and like, you know, that first year, which is why we're talking here. And so part of that too is, um, you know, the concept of serve and return, which is that, um, you know, babies send out a signal and a parent has to respond back to that, you know, talk a bit about that process and how that actually helps form that attachment, that bond of security, you know, for a baby. And learning from that.

Speaker 2:19:04Well, I think first of all, I want to just make sure that people understand that we're not talking about complicated things here. We're using something that is literally like, you look at your baby, he looks back at you,

Speaker 1:19:22right?

Speaker 2:19:23This is the base under, you know, what is the conversation it is to people sending a message back and forth to each other. We talk about turn taking as a very basic. I'm part of communication development, right? So we have say mean that that starts so early and you can support that so early and in very simple ways, right? I mean, one way you can do that is to literally appear in your baby's face and say you perform a finger play and then pause and wait for some, you know, a reaction, smile, a squeal, a, a Gurgle, then closing their eyes cry, right? And based on that reaction, you are going to them, uh, integrate that into the way you take your turn. Right? So I think, um, the idea is, you know, when, uh, an infant or young child, you know, babbles or, or gestures or, or cries for that matter, uh, the adult then responds and whether that's with verbal or nonverbal communication, when we do that turn taking act, serve, return, that's how we build that brain development.

Speaker 2:20:51How we strengthen, uh, like I was saying that pattern of, okay, this is something to pay attention to. I put something into the world and it comes back at me in whatever way that is, right? And that's how we develop of communication skills, social communication skills. And like I said, again, like these things don't happen in isolation. Everything is holistic learning in those early years. So social and emotional development is extremely correlated to communication development and motor development and cognitive development, right? Because we know that all of those things have to do with each other, right? Of a child who is gesturing is using eight motor behavior child who is turning back to the caregiver is, is communicating and using communication for a social purpose to engage that caregiver in this like did you see that this what we call joint attention skill, we're both attending to the same thing and we're both acknowledging that we're both attending to it, right?

Speaker 2:21:56So that act of like pointing and looking at something then becomes a social thing. So it's this sort of back and forth and we build capacity to engage with each other. So when a caregiver is responsive that that engages and creates an environment that is language rich, that is socially, emotionally, socially, and emotionally rich. So that we can provide opportunities for our babies and young children to observe us in, you know, our environment and our natural environment to engage with us and interact with us and imitate the things that we are doing. A very basic example of serve and return is like you looking at your newborn, sticking out your tongue and your babies naturally imitating you. It's amazing they do that from.

Speaker 1:22:54Yeah. In one of the things too is you were talking there and I'm thinking like, you know, this whole of trying to get attention, you know, saying, Hey, can you see what I see and looking in the same direction. Those are some of the skills that help build and strengthen adult relationships. You know, they talk about like how do you know that two people are going to do well together? Serve and return is, is a lifetime of it. And you do expectations from it. Like what were you exposed to as a kid? What was your relationship like? Um, and, and, and, and you know, one thing too about this particular topic that my understanding of it as well as if the returns are inconsistent or inappropriate, then that's, that that becomes a route, you know, quite possibly of developing anxiety, you know, through, you know, a child that becomes anxious and stuff like that.

Speaker 1:23:48So you know, let's, let's see, let's cautious and parents, what do we mean by like an inconsistent response or an inappropriate response, you know, so that they're like, oh, I, I get that because right. Kids sends out a signal, expect something in return, but at one point mom or dad ignores it, you know, and consistently does it, or they, you know, yell or, you know, or they're freaked out because they're stressed. Parents are humans too, right? But, so let's say, let's say mom slips up and doesn't, you know, the kids trying to say, Hey, look at the butterfly and they're like, I'm too busy right now. How can mom recover from something like that? So that again, we're still sending the positive, you know, that connection that we want

Speaker 2:24:24as a parent of two young children. I feel guilty about this every day, right? Because we're human too. Everyone's need needs at the same time. Right? Yeah. I also acknowledge that like we can't, we can't catch every single thing that's happening at every given moment with a child. A baby is learning every day. Every single piece of interaction with every single moment is filled with opportunity, right? And we're not going to catch it all and that's okay. But I think the biggest thing to be aware of is number one, you know, you've got, we're all attached to a very, very powerful piece of information that allows us to engage with the outside world and we are socially isolated when we have new people, new tiny people, right? So the, when we are on our phones looking down, instead of looking and listening to our babies were missing out. Now I want to encourage everybody to find, you know, to be less socially isolated and find what you need to find and do what you need to do to survive those years, but at the same time and you know, engage with the baby and know that everything you're doing when you are on that phone, your baby is learning that, that phone is the most important thing in the world and in the room. And I think just to remember that we are always sending messages whether we intend to or not.

Speaker 1:26:02Parents don't be frightened.

Speaker 2:26:07So like I'm working. That's the nature of being human, right? Being a parent, what? We're not always going to get it right. I think it's the big. The big piece is if we lapsed, if we miss a moment, that's okay. What we wanna do is come back and reengage and um, you know, respond. I think the other thing is like, we, some of us are naturally talkative and some of us are natural introverts and it feels really weird to talk to a baby who is not responding in a sort of quote unquote typical conversational manner, but we have to remember it when we speak to them. That's how they learn to do that. So take a couple minutes out of your day every day or every week or however you know, start small. Talk to the baby about what you are doing about what your baby is doing, about something you're going to do later in the day about what's happening in the environment around you. Right? This is why books are so useful, right? Because we can talk about what's happening on the page and the picture or this is why music can be useful because we can sing about what's happening around us and not worry about remembering the words. Right. So there are lots of ways that we can engage with our little people, um, in ways that sort of make it a little bit more interesting for them and more interesting for us. I don't know if that answers the question.

Speaker 1:27:43No, no, no. Yeah, it does great things for, for parents to think about. I mean, I think one of the key overriding messages is that we are human and definitely, you know, I've said this before, this isn't about shaming or guilt or anything like that. It is about support and, but, but that means don't talk around the things you need to know that you know, you might trip on and you know, and like I said, I wish somebody would've told me there was a trip hazard out there for me to miss. You know, and that's, that's why when we break this up. But like, if you're gonna ask, stop someplace, this might be one of those areas. And so let's minimize what we can.

Speaker 2:28:23Another piece that I wanted to bring up was, is about late acknowledging those things, you know, showing our children from a very young age that we do screw it up and that's okay. And it's okay to screw it up and we have different emotions other than happy. And that's okay too. And when we talk about, you know, uh, how we're feeling, what we're feeling when you, we use emotional language, that is another way that we teach healthy social and emotional development that we teach with social cognition and that awareness and emotional intelligence of how, how we feel, how other people feel, and that developing, I have the ability to take another person's perspective, right? I might be feeling a certain way. You might be feeling a different way. Interesting and possible. That's something that happens, right? And we can work those kinds of conversations into our interactions with our baby, right? Your baby is probably going to see you cry in that first year,

Speaker 1:29:28several times,

Speaker 2:29:34especially if you have a who is is watching that happen. You can. You can take a second and say so tired. When I feel tired, I feel sad sometimes. I wish I had x. I wish I could do blank. Right. And when we model that kind of language to our children, we give them that ability to discuss it to emotionally regulate their own self and their own emotions. Right? This is all part of brain development. This is all part of social emotional development. It's all connected. And I also wanted to just bring up, you said I think, I can't remember the words used specifically, but this sense of like consistency and being sort of consistent with the way we talk about things. One of the things that I see that's really natural and I think that there is this, like there's this movement of. I feel like in this discussion of early parenthood, we either see this like beautiful, happy, gorgeous, healthy.

Speaker 2:30:46I'm self caring. You know, I'm, I'm the perfect mama and it's so magical. Or we see this of very dated. Yeah, it's, it's really hard. It's like, it's like, you know, it's these two extremes, but the reality is we live somewhere in between the time and we can go from one extreme to the other extreme in a matter of seconds. That's called hormones and um, but I want to encourage people to, when you are engaging with your baby, your baby does not understand the market sarcasm. That is something, right? I mean, and I think we can, we tend to be sarcastic, especially in those early years of like, I don't know, the way we talk to our babies, it can because it's deflection. It's a reflection of our own feelings of like, yeah, it's hard. Your baby's not going to get that. So the more consistent message you consent to your child about like, this is actually how I feel.

Speaker 2:31:54This is not just how I say I'm feeling, this is actually how I'm engaging with them, my partner, um, and we are all going to have, we're all going to face difficult moments with our partners, whether that's a fellow parent or a caregiver. Uh, you know, you're not always going to be able to be your best self, but the more sort of healthy emotional behavior and engagement we can model to our children even from those early moments and days and weeks and years, the better off we're equipping men. So just be aware of the way you talk to your partner and be aware of the way your self talk and be aware of the way you're talking your baby. And I am so guilty of this. I am not saying this to say that I do it right every day. My husband can tell you otherwise, but the more we can be aware of the way we're doing, the better equipped we are to be aware of how we can change those things and what tools we're giving our children.

Speaker 1:33:05Yeah, absolutely. I know one thing that was kind of a phrase and in my house is, I know you're feeling x, Y, Z, whatever it is, you know, it's like, okay, you're entitled to that. You know, maybe we can't have a discussion right now but later we are going to come back to this. You know. And, and I think that came from a fact of, you know, not having my own, you know, because sometimes you're like, you have no right to be mad. Well yeah, actually I do have a right to be mad. You did something that pissed me off. You just don't like the fact that I'm at right. And so removing that language of saying no, we all have rights to these emotions and maybe they're, maybe they, they seem to you like they don't fit the situation. But that doesn't mean that there isn't some valid in there, you know, and, and teaching that.

Speaker 1:33:49And so the kids too, if they need to blow their own steam off. And I'm glad you mentioned the sarcasm thing. You're not the first person I've had on the show that's actually point to say, listen, kids don't actually get sarcasm. And so it can be degrading it depending on how it's used and you know, around a kid, extremely confusing. And so, um, thank you for, you know, so other people can hear that like, hey, this is real things. They get it. Try to limit it because it's, everything's got to be, you know exactly what it is, not it not shaped of gray in there. One of the things, I'm kind of orangy before we started recording, I said probably the most controversial topic we'll have today, um, is, is a parenting philosophy of crying it out. You know, the way getting your kid to soothe themselves is to just put them in their bed, you know, keep letting them cry, cry, cry.

Speaker 1:34:37Eventually they'll realize you're not coming to get them. And so they'll just figure out sleeping on their own. I know for me, and this is my opinion and you know, and I told you that you're invited to your opinion. Everybody's gotten it all cool with that. Um, I know that I couldn't stand listening to my baby cry. I, you know, it's just like that baby's asking for me, what am I teaching them that when they cry in the dark and one's coming and I know as a little kid, that's how I felt at times. You know, with my own childhood experience, I thought that's not the feeling I want for my kids. So I just, I was like, no, I'm going to be with them and make sure that they feel safe and secure that I'm there and they'll eventually go to sleep and you know, what they went to sleep. I mean eventually that, you know, there I didn't have to, you know, what I felt like was torturing, you know, in my opinion. But I know that that's still gets put out there and there's some controversial studies on the relationship of crying it out to kids developing hd Adhd. But where's your thoughts on, on that topic, because it's like I said, it's still being doled out as a strategy for parents to teach their kids to go to sleep.

Speaker 2:35:40Well, first of all, I want to say that again, we come into parenthood with certain expectations about the ways that we think is going to be with certain philosophy, right? And, and then we get hit with reality and whether, whether, and I think, you know, our baby's temperament has a lot to do with, with the wave that, that sort of plays out. So first of all, there is no right way and there is no wrong way, there is only the right way for you and your family there. I think what happens, and it's funny because I actually just yesterday released a new podcast episode on strength and words with an interview with a sleep consultant who talks all about like the different sort of ways that we can engage with our baby as far as sleep is concerned. And what one thing that she pointed out that I really appreciated it is that, you know, everything depends, number one, this term sleep training.

Speaker 2:36:40We, I think right now in our conversation about sleep in general right now in society and in America, in Western society, we equate that term sleep training with cry it out. But uh, something she said was essentially training a child who's leap is, is giving the tools of sleep to that baby, to that title, uh, whether or not, however that's done. And there's of course a huge spectrum of ways that you can do it. And I think parents tend to be unaware of what that spectrum is, what, you know, because I think we often see it as like, I did that like really gentle parenting approach. Um, you're either like, you know, sleeping or your ferberizing, you know, just closing the door, locking. There's a lot of inbetween that we missed because we tend to think of things as black and white. And of course like we all have different priorities.

Speaker 2:37:46We all have different abilities, right? Some of us, some, some moms have to go to work full time at three months when their baby is three months old, how are they going to do that when the baby is sleeping two hours at a time. I didn't have to do that. So I don't know how they did that. They, they have to deal with that in their own home in whatever way they need to. And I think for me, like also I went into this with my, for my, I mean I think that the answer is I can only speak to my own experience. And number one, like I, I came in with two, had I fell into coast sleeping for the first couple of months because that was what would working it then hit a point where it was no longer working for me. So I put him in his bassinet and had varying degrees of success.

Speaker 2:38:45My baby fell asleep on my boob almost exclusively for the first six months of his life. And, and at a point when he was like, he started sleeping longer stretches and that was amazing. I was very, I guess you could call it quote unquote crunching, but I didn't have like a specific, you know, I was just following what I needed to follow. I think the key is like you have to do what works for you. And my own story shifts at six months because when my baby was almost six months old and he was doing these wonderful longer stressing sometimes we then left and went on vacation. Everything. I then went from sleeping, you know, sometimes six or seven stretches and feeling amazing to having a baby who was waking up every 45 minutes. And I was like, oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I can't do this.

Speaker 2:39:44And if you had asked me can you do pr, will you do cry it out ever? The day before I decided to to do that, I would have said no, I can't do it. And then I had to do it and you know, I mean I felt so guilty and so terrified that I was screwing him up and then he slapped. That is my story. That is not the story that is going to work for everyone and you know, I mean I would have judged myself and then I had to deal with the reality that I couldn't deal with anymore. I hit my limit. And, and you know, that's not to say that I was never there for my child when he cried at night. You know, you, you figure it out piece by piece. I think really the answer to your question is I don't think that there is a right way or wrong way.

Speaker 2:40:39I think the most, one of the biggest pieces of like I guess parenting advice that I like to give to friends or family who are about to have a baby, it's like learn about what infant sleep is and is not, and learn about the sort of theories that exists before you have a baby because when you're so sleep deprived, uh, last thing you're gonna want to do is turn to google or read through the like, you know, earmarks chapters and you can get your hands on the deal with the fact that you aren't. So I think, um, you know, we have to take care of ourselves. We have to take care of our babies and whatever way works for your family is the way you should do it.

Speaker 1:41:25Yeah. Without, without guilt. It goes back. It'll feel right to you. Like, you know, it'll feel like it was. No. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think that that's, I mean that's a beautiful answer to that because, you know, you might decide that I have to, like you did your, the conditions changed. You had to adapt to it and you know, and everything became what it was. I remember with my second daughter that, um, you know, my son did a pretty good job with sleeping and then I, you know, I kind of remember at three years old I was really kind of pissed because I was like, wait, he still hasn't slept through the night yet. Like, well, this is garbage. Like, you know, you're expecting magic happens. And it's like, ugh. But it wasn't, it wasn't terrible. But he got up like, you know, once or twice in the middle of the night, you know.

Speaker 1:42:03Um, but I remember at one point my daughter, um, the, you know, her dad came home, it was like 4:00 in the afternoon I think it was. And I was breastfeeding as well, so I was up every two, three hours a night there. And so finally I had this moment to take a nap. I crawled into bed and I pulled the covers up to my chin and then I woke up like an hour later because my arms were numb because I had totally fallen asleep that my hands were still collecting the cover up around my face and I. my circulation was cutoff in my arms because they were bent up. Then I was like, dude, I was tired. I was like, yeah,

Speaker 2:42:43when you are, when you model a consistent response during awake time, hours during appropriate hours that is, and the more consistent you can be at nighttime that is being there for your child. And I think, you know, it's so hard and we cannot judge until we have been there. And even then, you know, if it's such a personal experience and such a personal decision,

Speaker 1:43:11you know, and I guess for parents that are going, you're not telling me anything. You're telling me basically, and there's no rules. Where am I going with this? But think about parenting is that nobody knows what's going on, but we are all winging it. But you come back to love, right? I mean, if there's a consistency in there, it's like when in doubt, come back to love and you'll be fine there. Um, which, you know, one of your chapters in your book, you have a section called respect to your baby and I, I think it's a beautiful thing and you're like, you're respecting it. Fourteen weeks. What is the, the, the gist of that? Because for people that want to dive into your book all. I'm like, what, what do you mean by respect your baby here?

Speaker 2:43:58Right. I think really the piece is babies are learning form expectations about the way that they're treated starting from say, one, right? They learn how we respond to their sounds, their cries, whether they are communication, attempts are valued, you know, by us, by the way that we respond. And when, um, we demonstrate to a child to have babies, that they are valued, that those communication are valued. We are showing them respect, right? We care about their needs, we care about what they, a red putting out to us and enough who to respond and we develop a sense. We help them develop that trust and security, that social emotional development piece, right?

Speaker 2:44:54I think, uh, you know, there is, you know, our babies are picking up more and more information everyday, right? Like, like I was saying is they are, they're paying attention to everything and as they grow their brains, these ability to take notice of patterns and when we use this, like I was talking about a consistent response, then we showed them that we can help them, uh, navigate the world. And so I think the piece is about that is, you know, what, number one, this has so much to do with what we were talking about earlier, right, about being aware of our own emotional responses when our baby is watching, when our babies, um, and our babies are learning what appropriate expressions of emotions are right through our tones of voice. Whether that tone of voice is consistent with what we're saying. And that's again, that's that sarcasm piece.

Speaker 2:46:02Um, and, and they're learning about whether, you know, we're making positive or negative observations, the better babies, right? In their presence. I mean, I'm not saying that like if you talk about how ugly your baby's toes are, that for life obviously, and what maybe has ugly toes. That's a silly example, but I'm just saying like when we make judgements, we are showing our babies that we aren't dubbing them, you know, it's all. Yes, this all started so early and the more aware and intentional we be about the way we engage with our children from day one, the more we're setting them up for success as far as that social emotional development piece is concerned. Cool. So in the book I go through and I talk about different, just very basic specific ways that you can do that, like labeling your baby's emotion, um, or giving your baby time to respond to you when you asked the question again, that sort of serve and return piece, but you're, you're making space for your baby too.

Speaker 2:47:11Take a turn at a conversational turn, right? And talking to your baby about what's coming next in the day. Right? Making your baby have a part of that process of the day talking through. Yeah. Those are all little little ways that you show respect for your baby and in doing those little things you are supporting your baby's social emotional development and like you said, that is week 14, right? So this book through week by week, little things that you can do, right, and each week is a different domain of development, whether it's motor development, social, emotional development, cognitive development or communication development and of course in each of these things they're not only like we said, addressing one area because that main area is also social. That piece of respecting your baby is also developing communication development, right? So it's an easy sort of framework to look through things and it breaks things down. Like what my baby is bed and a close and his had a nap and now he's staring up at me and I have no fricking clue what to do. What am I going to do? What could I do now? Yeah. Yeah. I go look at the book. Right.

Speaker 2:48:38And all of this stuff is like with stuff you already have in your home, right? Because I think that's the other piece of it, is that we get so bombarded with the sense of, you know, what can I do yet for my baby, what are the tools that I can buy for my baby so that he has the right equipment to learn? How can I, what can I get to support my baby? And really it's not about what you buy for your baby. It's about the way that you interact with the materials that you have, whether those are fancy wooden toys, native organic wood and paint, or whether or whether they are an MPA, like the value of each of those things is exactly the same. If not, or the egg carton has more value depending on the way that you use those tools to interact and play. That's the key, right? It's all about maximizing that time that you have, whether you are full time at home or full at work to support your baby and engage with your baby and form that connection and bond and it doesn't take fancy, expensive toys. The able to connect with your child and support your child.

Speaker 1:49:59My when my son was, um, probably like six months or so, like, you know, he's not quite rolling and moving and stuff like that, but he's kicking and flailing around and um, I've worked in the architecture design industry for a bit and so I've traced paper which is this roll of paper and it's crunchy sounding like it makes, you know, again, you talked about the baby business. The baby business is trying to tell you, you know, all this stimulating toys that your kid needs and why it's amazing that spirals and color and you know, whatever noticed that, you know, we, you know, somebody who did buy us one of those little floor mats to put on the ground for them to play with and you know, there was a little squeaker in a corner and there was a section of it that actually did make, like a crunchy sound.

Speaker 1:50:38And when he has his heel, found that one piece of it, he can bombing it and making it. And I thought, well I've, I've taken wads of trace paper and balled them up and thrown him for years now. And you know, to the corner waste and then I thought that makes the same sound. So I grabbed this roll of trace paper, laid it out on the, you know, the rug and put him on it. And once you realize that every part of his body made that sound, it was just horrible just watching him just kicking whale and smiling and stuff like that. And it was like, dude, this is the best toy ever.

Speaker 2:51:13They are international environment all around us. Right, right. You can make a drum out of the laundry basket, out of a box.

Speaker 1:51:25Lots of pants,

Speaker 2:51:27pot and a pan, a book. Anything is. So that's one thing. Another thing I love, like as far as the, um, I love that the trace paper is awesome. Tissue paper is another great thing. Another one is like an empty container also make like the soft ones often me that squishy sound so great and like you don't need to buy an extra thing for you to have them engaged in that. So I think really so much of it is like how do we utilize the things that are already in our environment and maximize those tools so that we can maximize the interactions.

Speaker 1:52:10Yeah, and be observant of what seems to be engaging and encouraging that,

Speaker 2:52:15right? So much of it is following our child bleed and what a beautiful example that you gave. Like he loved this tiny little piece of the map and you notice that and you, you, you know, you took control of that and you created an opportunity and allowed him to engage in something but you didn't have to buy that you already had in your trash bin, which is often as we know, the place to find the best toy and allowed him that. What a great,

Speaker 1:52:49what a great mom.

Speaker 2:52:56But that's the key, right? When we, when we do that, when we trust our gut, when we watch our baby engaged with something in a new or different way than we can think about, oh, what else do I have lying around? What else can I do to, to allow them to engage with their environment or with me? In that way, or in a slightly different way, right? For this repetitive thing, but trying to create value out of it. Right? Your baby was learning all kinds of things about that little section of the map. If I move my leg in a certain way, if I hit it up and down, if I find it in that corner, that corner, that corner right here is problem solving. He's learning to move and engage his body and his muscles. He is at creating a cause and effect and he is playing with something in a way that that can change and shift depending on his level. Right? And then you take something and you're like, okay, that is something he's experimenting with. How else can we experiment with this? I'm going to give him a repetitive experience in a very way. Right? So this repetition with variation. I'm going to, I'm going to find something that speaks to him that his interests right now and I'm going to give him a different experience with that thing.

Speaker 2:54:28That's how

Speaker 1:54:29awesome. That's, that's it.

Speaker 2:54:41You know? That's great.

Speaker 1:54:43Cool. Well, thank you for that because I feel like again, like most parents do, I've got probably 10 examples of where I really fucked it up. I want to talk real quick about it will, it will be real quick is we got to make it a good answer for everybody listening, but we do have parents that, you know, your book goes through zero to 12 months, but in about at about three months is we've mentioned a noted that a lot of parents have got baby. Both of them were able and lucky enough to be able to take the time off. Um, but one of them may have been able to do it. Not every parent gets the benefit of maternal leave, but when they do that three month period and then all of a sudden they got to go back to school to work whatever it is.

Speaker 1:55:26And now we're taking all this really important emotional and cognitive and social communicative development that we just said was really, really critical. And we said, okay, now someone else gets to do it for eight hours. And not everybody gets, instead of picking who that person is going to be, sometimes it's grandma. And for me it was mother, you know, my mother in law who stepped in because of, you know, she was available to do it and it was helpful for me to, you know, I stayed home a lot. I was still self employed, but I did rely on her and you know, everybody brings in, not everybody's a parenting or a childhood expert or development expert. I want, what do we tell our, you know, how, how does our parents, if they have the choice, what, what could they be looking for in that, in that caregiver provider to help them feel like they're choosing somebody that, uh, understands, you know, some of these important things.

Speaker 1:56:15Are there questions that they can ask? And um, and then I guess the second follow up question to that is if they don't have a lot of choice in who that person is, um, and they're okay with that. Like, you know, in is going to do this here. Um, are they losing opportunities for this vital development to go, you know, to happen still with their baby if for some reason that eight hours, that thing with someone else isn't following, you know, the, some of the guidance and stuff and that does happen. I mean, you know, you're sitting there going, you need to watch my kid and I wish you would do these things, but you know, they're doing what they want to do or feel like they're doing there. I mean, so how do we, how do we let me parents select or think about and questions to ask, you know, maybe I'm a caregiver and um, and if they can't have, they messed up everybody like as a kid ruined, you know, can you overcome it at like 5:00 in the afternoon?

Speaker 2:57:12I have to deal with this. And of course in the US, go back very quickly to work. I think the first thing to consider is have had that person come in. If you are having a person who's coming into your environment, okay, consider how are they engaging with your baby? What kinds of ways that they talk to your baby? Are they using touch, are they using materials, are they, you know, what, what is their natural way of being? And of course your, your natural way of being doesn't have to be the same, their natural way of being, you know, many people engage with babies and lots of different ways, but you are going to know if you like that approach or not.

Speaker 2:58:04So that's, you know, that's if, if you have someone who's coming into your home now, oftentimes we have people who are, that we're going into a caregiving environment, right? So a daycare or childcare center or what have you. One of the things, there's been a lot of research about this and one of the things that we know is that a child is going to a flourish and learn and develop beautifully in a, an environment in which they have one or more primary caregivers, right? We mentioned this before and what you want to look for is, you know, a decent, uh, baby to caregiver ratio a way that, you know, is there a small, if it's your baby, who, you know, is there a baby room or a place where that face for baby, is there a lot of area that baby has to Laura the environment?

Speaker 2:59:02Is it a safe environment? Is it a cleanish environment? You know, and it doesn't have to be sparkling and beautifully organized, right? Most of our homes, but it needs to be safe and it does need to know, be easy to explore. Right? And that doesn't have to be like complicated, right? That's your baby has a place to roll around on the floor and explore the floor. Does the baby have different kinds of things to explore whether that, you know, toys with different textures, toys with an outside and an inside environment. Um, you know, things like that. What is important to you? And, and then I think also is the opportunity within that environment. Is that a lot of TV? Yeah. Is it, is it a lot of electronic toys? And I'm talking like button pushing toys, right? These are great toys to have a few of these as awesome, but if that's all you see in that environment, some and you're getting your baby is going to be learning about cause and effect all day.

Speaker 2:60:11And that's just one way to explore the world, right? Like you press a button, something happens, that's awesome. But the way of we know that babies learn and develop and explore is through that. So simple materials like contact paper, tissue, paper, whatever it is, right? That is the way that open ended play where there is no specific way that you are supposed to engage with that client material. Right? So, so what kinds of materials are in the environment? Um, and, and how are the, the caregiver is engaging with the babies. You'll know it if you, if you agree with or feel comfortable with those ways. And it's so hard because, you know, I have very close friends who have, how has it been like, okay, I'm going to go back to work. Uh, I'm going to put, this seems like a fine place of this is where we can, it's going to go.

Speaker 2:61:08And then a few months later I felt like, no, this was not the right place for my baby. There's no good communication. My child is always hungry or tired or not changed or whatever it is. You'll know whether it's not the place for you navigating when it's like a family member, you know, a friend of mine whose mother in law watches their kids on a fairly regular basis was talking to me about like, you know what I was asking like how, what is it like is this, is she, are you happy with that? I know it saves you money, but how is it? And she was like, you know what, it's not how I would do it, but I, I know and I can trust that my baby is fed clothes changed, she's safe and she's making a, you know, she has a good relationship and unimportant, positive, primary relationship with, with her grandma and right now that is important. And so it's all about, you know, what managing your expectations, having a clear understanding of what you expect and what you're doing, caregiver expects or caregivers and, and making sure to check in Austin, you know, how that's going because like any relationship, it has to be an ongoing relationship and if you can't trust the caregiver or caregivers that you employed or you know, reap the volunteer benefits from especially a mother in law or mother or whatever, you know, we don't always have the luxury of getting the exact person that we want.

Speaker 1:63:02I guess part of this too is to um, to assure that there is, you know, babies can form multiple positive relationships and that's a good thing and that's a part of the learning experience. Um, and then when you've got your baby back with you at the end of the day, you still get to really strengthen that relationship with them.

Speaker 2:63:24And those things are. So it's basic routines that we do everyday and rituals, whether those are, you know, a few minutes at a time or the entire day. Right? I mean, let's face it, we know that a stay at home mom is not spending her day on the floor with her baby staring at each other, right? That's not happening.

Speaker 1:63:46Right?

Speaker 2:63:48And taking advantage of those moments like folding the laundry or changing a diaper or sitting on the chair and singing a lullaby or listening to a lullaby and padding along for the rhythm if you're not comfortable singing yourself, those are the moments that we create bonding experiences and that we teach and learn and, and, and help our babies learn. Um, and we can, we can maximize those moments because those repetitive kinds of experiences are the ones that often matter most and can, can, we, can utilize to the sort of best of our ability to really to take those moments and really make them count.

Speaker 1:64:37Right? So you've got, you mentioned your podcast and your website called strengthened words and it's a valuable resource for these new parents and you know, that are going through this and wanting to look for this. Please tell everybody about the podcast show in the website and the community lab that you have set up.

Speaker 2:64:57Yeah, strengthen, whereas is the place for families to come to access high quality, evidence based resources. How are babies learn and develop and also to access each other, uh, and other professionals. So on the podcast I often cover a topic, whether that's some kind of developmental learning, whether that's some, uh, issue of early parenthood and I often have a guest to bring on to talk about, you know, either their personal experience or a professional who talks about their professional experience, a variety of both personal and professional and we take it all with a grain of salt and hopefully, you know, those, they, those topics that we cover, you get to, you know, learn from and integrate into your own life in whatever way you see fit. And then the community lab is where we get to engage with that concept content and synthesize that information because we know that there's only so much information we can ingest before.

Speaker 2:66:13It's enough that place where we can come together and discuss what we're learning and how it's working or not working for us. And you know, we can't parents in isolation. We were not meant to, we are humans, we don't do things isolatedly, right. Social and emotional development is so important for parents and this sense of like continuing education as parents as um, you know, we, I think the community lab is a place that we can just, like our babies are distantly and constantly experimenting with the world around them. We need to have a place where we can experiment with what works and what doesn't work for us as parents and caregivers, whether that's the way, you know, what we can. I used to play with our babies or you know, you know, have, have you used toy rotation before? How did that work for you?

Speaker 2:67:12Or you know, Oh, here's a way that I've been playing with my baby in a caregiving routine. This is working for us right now. Or you know, this is something that I'm really struggling with. What kinds of things do you have with this? Right? So it's not a place to impart parenting advice. It's a place to share resources, share experiences and ideas, um, and, and give and give that to each other, right? Because a gift. And when we, when we learn more and have access to other parents and caregivers experiences that that's the place where we can just learn and stop judging. Right? I mean we can, we can take that judgment piece out and say, Oh, I've never had to deal with that. So that's really interesting. Fascinating. And now I can see how my best friend who's dealing with that probably feels. I had never thought about that before.

Speaker 2:68:12Right? I think first of all, you know, many of us don't have access to community based organizations unfortunately. Uh, and even when we do, we don't always get to access the kinds of high quality programming that may, may or may not exist in our communities. And so having a virtual space where we can do that. Awesome. And I do have lots of live workshops and replays of workshops that we do consistently within the community and that, you know, you can access that. It's sort of a premium level, but that community and that space is open to everyone. So

Speaker 1:68:52cool

Speaker 2:68:54that community strength strengthen words that come and strength inward. I want to emphasize that because I think a lot of people and get confused with strengthened versus strength in

Speaker 1:69:05speech pathology coming out right there. Yes. So it'll be in the podcast notes and stuff like that, so you can build and also a link to your book, um, that is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle, understanding your baby a week by week development and activity guide for playing with your baby from birth to 12 months. So I'm a yell at. I am so stoked. I'm happy and thankful that you did this with me today. I appreciate you taking all this time. This was. This was an awesome episode.

Speaker 2:69:36My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me. It was a, it was an enjoyable morning. Awesome.

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