Saturday, May 23, 2009

Patience

I read about the 4 year old "marshmallow experiment" on the Tranquil Parent blog yesterday, and decided to try it out with Wyatt. The idea is, you sit the child down, give them a marshmallow and tell them that they're allowed to eat it anytime, BUT, if they can wait until you get back, they'll get another one as well. It's a test of patience and choices, and gives you some insight into their ability to reason. Immediate gratification, or being rewarded for patience? Apparently, it also ties into their IQ... the sooner they cave in, the lower they test, generally speaking, but I never put much stake in those kinds of subjective links. It's interesting, but I don't think any test can paint a complete picture of a child.

So, I set up the video camera, and had Wyatt sit at his desk. I brought in a plate with the marshmallow, and told him that he had a choice to make. He was allowed to eat the marshmallow whenever he chose, but if he waited till I came back, he could have more. If he ate the one on the plate, that would be all he gets. I left the room for a few minutes, and came back to up the ante. I poured some chocolate syrup on the marshmallow, and said I'd be back a little later, and the rules were the same. If he could STILL hold off on eating it, he'd get another, also with syrup. I left for a few minutes more, and came back to find a very patiently anxious boy with an untouched treat!

While I was very pleased (although somewhat surprised) at how much self-control he had, unfortunately, the part of the experiment I was most looking forward to was fruitless. After watching this video, I was really excited and curious to see what he would do in my absence, and how he would cope with the pressure while waiting. Would he find distractions? Would he talk himself through it? What was his process? Well, all I know is that for the first couple minutes, he was silent, wiggly, fidgety, expressive (as usual), and not nearly as frustrated as I thought he'd be... but then my camera ran out of tape...

While I'll never know what he did while I was gone, (especially once it was covered in chocolate, lol), and I doubt trying it again would produce the same result, now that he knows how it all plays out, I am proud of him for doing as well as he did.

And, in a couple years, I can do it again with Dawson!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

So grateful for Sign Language

When Wyatt was around 6 months we started signing with him, because it can be extremely helpful to be able to communicate with a pre-verbal baby. It reduces tantrums and frustration, it gives them a way to make their needs known, and it has a positive impact on their future vocabulary and language skills. We found all of that to be true, and while we still loved watching our Signing Time DVDs and learning new signs all the time, we stopped using most of our signs around 1 1/2 years, because he was talking in sentences and there was very little that he couldn't tell us with his voice. I'll never forget when I realized how well he could put a sentence together. I heard him wake up through the monitor and he called for me, just once. As I was getting my legs out of bed to go get him, (all of about 30 seconds), I heard him heave a big sigh and say "My mommy doesn't wanna come get me outta my crib" (Talk about patience, lol).

Well, Dawson is a completely different story... at 19 months, he has less than 10 words that can be understood without any context to decipher them. BUT, thanks to the 55+ signs that he can use (and he learns more almost every day), he still has a way to get his point across and let us know what he really wants to say. That's not to say he doesn't have tantrums... it's just that the tantrums are mostly just because he doesn't always like my answer. They are rarely based on frustration of not being understood. His developmental specialist is VERY glad that we sign with him, since, thanks to months of colds and fluids in his ears, he's fallen behind a bit on some development areas that require full listening skills. (For those who don't know us, he was born at 33 1/2 weeks, 2lbs 10 oz IUGR, and has been mostly healthy and on target, except for size. The fluid in his ears is unrelated, and would've gone unnoticed if he wasn't being followed "just in case"). So, signing has definitely had a noticable impact on our lives, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share it with my kiddos :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Because they're soft...

One of the first steps I took towards natural living and parenting was the decision to cloth diaper my first son Wyatt when he was about 5 months old. I had a lot of reasons for it... healthier, eco-friendly, cost-saving and comfort... but in addition to all of the logic behind the choice, one of the things that made it so easy to continue was just how FUN it became for me! Not to mention, EASY!!! Especially if you stick to All-in-ones or pockets. But I also use fitteds (because they're adorable with so many cute prints) and when I'm in a bit of an "old-fashioned" mood, I'll throw on some prefolds (although my Snappi isn't quite as old fashioned as the pins I rarely use, lol). Anyways, I can guarantee I'll have more CD related posts in the future, but I don't want to overwhelm people with any one topic when I'm just starting up here, so I'll let you watch the short video I made instead... (please forgive the poor quality... my video camera is ancient)
video

Pop a Tot - a TRULY portable baby entertainer

The Popatot is one of those products that EVERY new parent needs to have! I only wish it had been around when my first child was born. It would have made life at home, and outings, so much easier. In fact, after having this for less than 2 weeks, I actually dropped off our FisherPrice Intellitainer at a consignment store. It was a great product and we loved it for 3 years, but with it's big plastic form, and toys that never change, it just couldn't compare to the portable Popatot, with it's ability to be wherever I need it (it folds like a camping chair), and to change the toys as often as needed (thanks to 5 velcro loops) to combat boredom or to change with their developmental interests. The cupholders have been lifesavers too, for sippys and snacks to hold their attention even longer. I can't believe how much easier it's been to get all those little tasks done, and to multitask thanks to this. I'm also an avid babywearer, but this fills the gaps with that too. I can't safely wear him while cooking or eating, and as he's mobile now, he doesn't always want to be snuggled up. The Popatot allows him enough freedom to be happy for awhile, without letting him get into danger. This is absolutely a must have in my books.


Meet my kids...



Here are Wyatt (4) and Dawson (1 1/2)... they are the reason for almost everything I do, including this blog. They inspire me, and make my life a true joy. They make me laugh all day long. But they also have their moments where they frustrate me, and there are the natural complications that are a part of life with kids. I have found quite a few ideas and products that help make our days more enjoyable than not, and I love to share these with everyone, in the hopes of making their lives easier as well. Now, I want to share these with all of you... as well as a lot of the interesting and adorable things that my kids do, and the things they show me. Come along on our journey...