Friday, May 1, 2015

Goodbye Baby; Hello Toddler

Long time no see! As you'll see below, I've been pretty busy lately. Felicity keeps me on our toes, I keep us active (for both our sanity :D), and I've picked up quite a few more babysitting hours to help our finances and give Felicity exposure to other kids. I also haven't had much inspiration to write, but hopefully that will change soon :). 

TODDLERHOOD IS HARD. I am so glad Steven and I have been (slooooooooowly) reading a parenting book for a while now, because we are already having to use some of the things we've learned! I guess I didn't expect to have issues until Felicity was closer to 2, which is probably naive since I've spent most of my adult life caring for small children in one capacity or another. But it still surprises me that at 14 months she is exerting so much independence and showing just how impulsive toddlers can be. I think it is exacerbated by the fact that she has always been ahead physically and her little brain hasn't caught up yet. I am beyond blessed with a husband who has a large say in our parenting- who wants a large say, and has been willing to do the work with me to figure out our parenting style, and then to find practical things to do or say when situations arise. We have settled on gentle/positive parenting, which is a nonviolent way of disciplining, guiding, and teaching your children. It seeks to have children behave because they want to and understand why they should, rather than out of fear or demanded compliance. The word discipline is derived from the word "disciple", so we like that positive connotation rather than the negative one it usually carries. I need not mention that, like all parents, I'm sure we will struggle and falter along the way, but having a framework to work from has already proven helpful to us. I have found so many great resources that fit how we'd like to parent/are learning to parent, so I thought I would share some of them here in case they might help someone else along in their parenting journey:

Aha! Parenting is probably my favorite and, though it can become an overwhelming rabbithole, pretty much addresses anything you could ever want to know from infancy through the teenage years. I have already gotten so many ideas from this site! I signed up for their emails, too, and some I delete because they don't apply, but some have great tips and reminders.  

This blog post only addresses throwing (our current target behavior), but the principle they use to deal with throwing can apply to so many other behaviors. As we learned in the social work world, all behavior is communication. I particularly find practical, hands on (rather than ideological) ideas helpful. Giving me things to say and do in a given situation, from a gentle framework, is so helpful to us as parents who are in that very frustrating moment with an impulsive toddler. Instead of sitting there trying to think of how to react or, worse, reacting poorly because we *don't* think, we can take a statement directly from this post. That's not to say that's how it always happens, of course, but it's a vast improvement on not having any practical ideas in our tool kit! 

Janet Lansbury's site is a bit harder to navigate but is also really helpful with ideas and, what I really love, information on development (cognitive, social, emotional, etc). It's easy to think your kid is a jerk if you don't know what's going on and why, and this website helps you to realize what things they are lacking at various ages, what things they're gaining, and how you can help them. 

And last, L. R. Knost is my favorite book resource. She has lots of great stuff online, and on her facebook page too, but her book (The Gentle Parent) is what we are going through slowly and is actually in 3 parts with one being a workbook to help us, which I'm really excited about getting to.

Last but not least, the cutie pie who inspired this post!

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