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#1 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have no idea where to post this... thought I would try here.

Basically I find that I am coming into conflict with most people around me on how to raise a child.... when it comes to babywearing, BFing, cosleeping, organic food, toys in moderation etc etc etc. Nothing new here, I guess most mamas on this board are in this situation in one way or another.

What I am trying to figure out is what ARE the developmental needs of our babies and young children.

My gut tells me that by incorporating my child into my life and letting him learn about my life, with my life objects in a way that he is not 'entertained', but rather left to explore, I will be meeting DS's developmental needs in a healthy way. Something seems very wrong to me about having babies and toddlers surrounded by bright noise and visual clutter without any 'down time'....

Also, DS is developing just fine, why would I want to 'stimulate' him with toys that 'teach' him? Surely he learns as much by sucking on, and playing with, a wooden spoon (I am talking about a 6 month old) as he does by garishly coloured expensive toys that have been marketed to parents as essential to development.

I am also thinking that it might not just be not necessary, but also perhaps over stimulating.... and therefore not actually that beneficial.... perhaps even a strain on the nervous system? (EEEK, I know this is not going to be a popular idea)

These thoughts come out of my conviction that TV is not a good idea for little children. This was confirmed for me when I heard of a study that links dypraxia (poor motor planning) with screen time - and the treatment??? PLAY! Outside, on swings and slides and see saws etc. Good old-fashioned stuff is actually just what our little children need. But now we pay lots of money to a professional to play with our children.

So, I am looking for two things:

1. Someone to contradict what I am thinking - get my brain cells moving

2. People who might have something to add. Here I am looking for links as well.

An idea that I am playing with is that the brain of an infant, a toddler, a young child and a school going child are all very different brains. With different needs, and different parts developing... ie initially the brain stem is the level that the brain of an infant is working on - ie all the reflexes.
Then the brain development moves up into the limbic area (with the reflexes integrated) and only when the child is older does the cortex actually start to develop. Kinda in line with Piaget's theory on cognitive development (the very little that I know).
I do know that perceptual development follows a progression from kinaesthetic experience, to a 3D, and then 2D, ie the child needs to move inside, on top, behind etc before he plays with blocks to learn about perceptual concepts and then finally it can happen on a page.

So, anyone out there thinking about this? Thought about this? Studied this?

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#2 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 09:40 AM
 
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I guess what I don't quite understand is what you are looking for-validation or a re~bunk of your parenting style?

I'm not really sure all that you are looking for--but personally I disagree with some of what you are thinking.



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garishly coloured expensive toys that have been marketed to parents as essential to development.
Isn't this a left / right brain thing?

What you may find appealing your child may not and may need more.


You do not need $$$ & plastic but many people (babies too) enjoy color! This could be a simple as a colored tissue paper.
I guess I don't get the not adding stimulation thing. Who enjoys hearing the same book over and over, seeing the same pictures over and over, eating the same foods over and over, same music? ....again, what I see it more of a left brain / right brain thing. It is very hard to know at 6 months what type of child you are dealing with. Simulation does not mean again $$, it could be done very simply.

So much as been said about children left with "lack" of stimulation in orphanages and so much as be said about adding stimulation and it's benefits.
www.iahp.org

How many writes and artists formed their creativity because of their surroundings?


Wooden spoons are great, but are you adding new ones every other week? Different deigns, shapes? I really personally see that see new things adds to exploring. This could simply be done as many do with "toys" by having them around for a period of time and taking them away and re-adding them.

I feel there should be a distinction between "useful" everyday object (play things) and "toys".


Stimulation can take on all forms, but I definitely feel adding on a regular / weekly is essential.

 

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#3 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 10:08 AM
 
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#4 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for replying.

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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
I guess what I don't quite understand is what you are looking for-validation or a re~bunk of your parenting style?
I think neither. I am sure that the choices I am making are for the best for my family. I am wanting to get a broad variety of opinions to help me better understand why I am making the choices I do. Help me clarify what I am thinking.... If that can make sense.

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I'm not really sure all that you are looking for--but personally I disagree with some of what you are thinking.
Great, this is a good start.


Quote:
Isn't this a left / right brain thing?

What you may find appealing your child may not and may need more.
I am not sure I understand what you mean by right brain / left brain. I totally agree that what I find appealing is very likely not what my child would find appealing... I am inclined to think that an infant/young child experience things very differently from adults.


Quote:
You do not need $$$ & plastic but many people (babies too) enjoy color! This could be a simple as a colored tissue paper.
I agree. But we do not live in a world without colour... our clothing, furniture, plants outside, food, utensils, bedding... in short the environment is full of colour. I *love* colour and working with colour. I just do not understand why children need 'special' toys to learn their colours and to appreciate colour... but I could be missing something.

Quote:
I guess I don't get the not adding stimulation thing. Who enjoys hearing the same book over and over, seeing the same pictures over and over, eating the same foods over and over, same music? ....again, what I see it more of a left brain / right brain thing. It is very hard to know at 6 months what type of child you are dealing with. Simulation does not mean again $$, it could be done very simply.
I guess this is obvious to me. DS does like a variety... and has different spoons, rattles, dolls and 'stuff' that he takes a liking to that we are using.... it keeps him busy and he likes it. So, I guess I am providing a stimulating environment - without meaning to.


Quote:
So much as been said about children left with "lack" of stimulation in orphanages and so much as be said about adding stimulation and it's benefits.
www.iahp.org
I think this is a very extreme example. I also think that just because NO stimulation is so disastrous, does not mean that over stimulation is a good idea. Granted, how do you define over stimulation? However, integrating a baby into my daily life gives him automatic exposure to such a huge variety of things such as colour, shape, texture, movement, social interaction, language, the variety of human emotions.... pretty much everything (I think anyway). Why would I need to add to that if my child is developing 'normally'?

Quote:
How many writes and artists formed their creativity because of their surroundings?
I honestly do not know. I also do not know how you can attribute creativity to either the environment or the genetics - from what I have read (not a lot) it is very hard to do.

Quote:
Wooden spoons are great, but are you adding new ones every other week? Different deigns, shapes? I really personally see that see new things adds to exploring. This could simply be done as many do with "toys" by having them around for a period of time and taking them away and re-adding them.
This makes sense, rotating. It does keep his attention

Quote:
I feel there should be a distinction between "useful" everyday object (play things) and "toys".
What is the difference between play things and toys?


Quote:
Stimulation can take on all forms, but I definitely feel adding on a regular / weekly is essential.
I'm going to look more closely at what I am doing and see if this happens anyway.

Thank you so much for replying and getting this rolling. This is what I love about MDC.... I can be in touch with people and explore aspects of parenting that I otherwise would not be able to.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#5 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 12:03 PM
 
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right brain / left brain - many people look at the same thing in different way, some live in a house with all cream colored wall, others do not (just brief) what you may consider "over" stimulation may not even be enough for your child, everyone is different (again just brief)

I tend to view "toys" as special objects just ment for PLAY, my DS loves the REAL telephone, but has a "PLAY telephone" to used, this goes for other objects as well.

I just feel lack of a changing environment (same toy/objects) and repetitiveness do not foster creativity. I feel a newborn need constant changing stimulation to better develop and mature.

You might start by looking into your interests, be it art, music, literature, etc. and reading about the lives of those people of your interest, to better understand what stimulated them to become who they are.

There are tons of studies on developmental aspects, you just need to find what makes you content.

 

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#6 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 12:20 PM
 
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Sorry, serenbat...... but babies do need repetitiveness and routines for proper brain development. They need to get where they think ahead and anticipate the next move in their day.


To the OP, wear your baby so they see the adult world and you in it doing your thing. Then, sometimes put baby on the floor with a new object to explore or look at. Tell them about it, and then leave them to poke it and prod it on their own. An apple, an orange, a plastic cup, etc. Develop getting up rituals, naptime rituals and bedtime rituals in which you do the same things in an particular order so that you help your baby's cognition along. After only a few days your baby will look for the book when its storytime or get wiggly when its bathtime. It's so much fun to see them put their world together.
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#7 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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The real world is constantly changing and evolving, adaption is essential for survival.

By child needs to learn that things change.

 

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#8 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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I think incorporating a baby into your daily routine is great. However, consider that when humans were evolving, the daily routine meant going to gather foods, constructing shelters, making clothes (from plants, animals, etc), going on hunts, socializing around the campfire. You can see that there would be a lot of stimulation there. But what is our life today? Personally, I'm a computer programmer...how much stimulation does my baby get from watching me type on a keyboard for 8 hours or more? Mostly we have moved away from physical work where there is something for the baby to observe. And for those that still work with their hands, as in construction, is that really a safe place for baby? I think my baby needs more stimulation than what my lifestyle can provide.
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#9 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 12:59 PM
 
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SOme toys can help unlook a babies sense of curiosity without being loud, noisy and computer chip generated.

May I present my top list of toys: not in any particular order
1.measuring cups/spoons
2.pots and pans
3.wooden spoon
4.soft things (homemade baby blanket, stuffie or doll)
5.blocks
6.balls
7.boxes
8.music
9.books
10.you

other goodies
11. silk scarves
12.paper/crayons
13.clothes
14.instruments


Really, you probably own most of these in some form. They make great play things!

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#10 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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I will jump into the discussion, because it is something I think about a lot. OP - I have frequently had the thoughts and ideas that you present. Some things to add to the discussion here:

Design and marketing of "developmental" toys for infants (bright colors, sounds...) came on the heels of scientific discoveries about what infants "prefer" to look at and listen to. I put "prefer" in quotes because these studies basically determine an infant's ability to discriminate between two stimuli and to look at/listen to one stimulus for longer than another one, not necessarily a conscious preference or choice. So, an infant can discriminate between red and white, but not necessarily between two shades of pink that are close in hue. An infant can discriminate between black and white, but not necessarily between 2 shades of grey. Given a curved line or a straight line, an infant will look at the curved line, and for a longer time than the straight line. Given a pattern (checkerboard, for example) or a non-patterned visual stimulus, the infant will be more likely to look at the pattern and for longer. Given movement over stillness, an infant will look at movement...etc. The same sorts of research tell us what infants "prefer" to listen to - a woman's voice over a man's, patterned music (e.g., Mozart, but any repetitive music probably fits the bill) over random musical sounds. Primarily, the sound research is done by giving an infant a pacifier that is hooked up to speakers. The pacifier is controlled by sucking rate. If the infant sucks at one rate (e.g., fast), it hears mama's voice. If it sucks at another rate (e.g. slow), it hears another woman's voice. An infant will suck at the rate which allows it to hear mama's voice.

How does this get translated into the infant product market? Make toys in lots of bright colors!! Contrasts everywhere! Let's make infant toys with LOTS and LOTS of COLOR, and CURVES and MOVEMENT and PATTERN and NOISE... The marketers conclude that infants NEED to be stimulated with these contrasts...that it is GOOD for their development...that it is NECESSARY to add these contrasts ABOVE and BEYOND what is typically there in their everyday life.

However, the studies don't necessarily tell us that infants PREFER (make a conscious decision or choice) these stimuli. They tell us that infants can make the discrimination among them. In fact, there is much research to suggest that infants do not have the ability to CONTROL their attentional deployment. That when they look at one stimulus over another, it is because their attention is drawn to that stimulus, but they aren't necessarily CHOOSING to attend to that stimulus - their system just does it fairly automatically. Learning to CONTROL attentional deployment is something that develops over time and with regular repetition and routine (something another poster mentioned and is relevant here). An infant watches or pays attention to these stimuli because she MUST. She cannot control her attention enough to DISENGAGE from it. You and I have learned to ignore irrelevant stimuli and pay attention to all that is relevant, but an infant's attention is just drawn to what is the most obvious in her environment. If I banged a pot next to you or started playing music, your attention would be drawn to it, but you might be able to learn to ignore it over time once you learn that it is something that can be ignored. An infant MUST pay attention to that stimulus. So, an infant watches Baby Einstein not because she WANTS to, but because she MUST. Of course, there are individual differences in this - some will ignore the TV or be able to withdraw their attention from it. But, on average, infants have not developed the ability to consciously choose to watch TV. And when you put something on that is brightly colored, that moves, that makes sound...all these things draw their attention, and they, on average, cannot withdraw this atttention. Thus, parents who refer to Baby Einstein as Baby Crack.

THe same sorts of design and marketing decisions come from deprivation research (cited above by a pp), which shows that infants who develop in deprived environments show delays or deficits in development. But, there is no research that demonstrates that infants who develop in TYPICAL environments are lacking in development, are delayed, or are deficient in their development.

There is SOME research to suggest that stimulation is good. For example, rat research that shows that rats raised in an enriched environment - lots of rat toys like toilet paper tubes, habitrail-like toys, wheels, and lots of other rats for socialization - have greater dendritic structure in their brains than rats raised in a deprived environment - alone in a cage with adequate food and water. But, the extent to which this can be applied to humans, we're not sure. Yes, stimulation is necessary....but is MORE stimulation GOOD or necessary? Or are we to a point where we might be OVERstimulating our infants?

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#11 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 01:07 PM
 
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There is a really good page on early brain development in the stickies of the Family Bed/Nighttime parenting page.

Casey, wife to Danny, mom to Olive : and Darcy : .
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#12 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 01:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FREEmom1120 View Post
There is a really good page on early brain development in the stickies of the Family Bed/Nighttime parenting page.
So I didn't need to spend 20 minutes typing that out and sounding like a pompous a$$?

But they are things that I think about. And they formulate my basic reaction to most infant toys on the market...

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#13 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
right brain / left brain - many people look at the same thing in different way, some live in a house with all cream colored wall, others do not (just brief) what you may consider "over" stimulation may not even be enough for your child, everyone is different (again just brief)
Left brain is cream coloured walls and right brain is colourful walls? Where does stimulation fit into left/right brain?
Quote:
I tend to view "toys" as special objects just ment for PLAY, my DS loves the REAL telephone, but has a "PLAY telephone" to used, this goes for other objects as well.
I haven't gotten to this stage yet, but DS loves to tug on the phone cord and pat pretty much everything that I am using.

Quote:
I just feel lack of a changing environment (same toy/objects) and repetitiveness do not foster creativity. I feel a newborn need constant changing stimulation to better develop and mature.
I think we might disagree. I am inclined to think that if the environment is too unpredictable it would be stressful for an infant/child. There is something soothing about knowing more of less what is going to happen next, it kinda allows you to focus on doing what you are doing without trying to figure out what the next thing is.... if that can make sense. I know for myself when I am feeling overwhelmed I prefer some repetitiveness. I also know that this is used in treatment of all sorts of nervous and behavioural disorders. But perhaps we have a different understanding of 'repetitiveness'.

Quote:
You might start by looking into your interests, be it art, music, literature, etc. and reading about the lives of those people of your interest, to better understand what stimulated them to become who they are.
Interestingly I have been reading a bit about Yehuda Menuhin and was fascinated by his childhood and his mother protecting his childhood and his need to get outside and play in the playground with his siblings... yes, he also practices hours every day on the violin, but he also had to do stuff other kids do.

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There are tons of studies on developmental aspects, you just need to find what makes you content.
Agreed. I am hoping that through this discussion I can find some studies and just understand better what I am feeling.

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Originally Posted by philomom View Post
Sorry, serenbat...... but babies do need repetitiveness and routines for proper brain development. They need to get where they think ahead and anticipate the next move in their day.
This makes sense, to me.
Quote:

To the OP, wear your baby so they see the adult world and you in it doing your thing. Then, sometimes put baby on the floor with a new object to explore or look at. Tell them about it, and then leave them to poke it and prod it on their own. An apple, an orange, a plastic cup, etc. Develop getting up rituals, naptime rituals and bedtime rituals in which you do the same things in an particular order so that you help your baby's cognition along. After only a few days your baby will look for the book when its storytime or get wiggly when its bathtime. It's so much fun to see them put their world together.
This is pretty much the direction I am headed in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
The real world is constantly changing and evolving, adaption is essential for survival.

By child needs to learn that things change.
I agree that change is inescapable. And our children need the tools to deal with this. I am not sure I want to start equipping my infant to deal with change. I think he is too little, and just because this is something important to know in life, does not mean an infant needs to be exposed to uncertainty. I actually feel quite strongly that by keeping things as consistent as possible, I am laying the foundation for DS to deal with change when he is older and this is inescapable.... I am not quite sure why this is so important to me, but it feels right.

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Originally Posted by lmk1 View Post
I think incorporating a baby into your daily routine is great. However, consider that when humans were evolving, the daily routine meant going to gather foods, constructing shelters, making clothes (from plants, animals, etc), going on hunts, socializing around the campfire. You can see that there would be a lot of stimulation there. But what is our life today? Personally, I'm a computer programmer...how much stimulation does my baby get from watching me type on a keyboard for 8 hours or more? Mostly we have moved away from physical work where there is something for the baby to observe. And for those that still work with their hands, as in construction, is that really a safe place for baby? I think my baby needs more stimulation than what my lifestyle can provide.
Now, this is a difficult point. I am one of those highly idealistic types who has put a hold on her career to stay at home and provide as consistent and varied environment as possible... ie we have our little morning routine, afternoon routine, evening routine and these routines include walks, meeting up with friends, dressing, undressing, bath, eating, outside and inside time with me singing, DS babbling, me on the computer (MDC), cooking, cleaning, in the garden while DS is with some object of fascination - or DS is in a sling. This is something I am very passionate about, and where we live it is financially possible, in fact financially preferable. But agreed, nothing much for an infant to learn by observing a parent on the computer 8 hours!

Quote:
Originally Posted by brendon View Post
SOme toys can help unlook a babies sense of curiosity without being loud, noisy and computer chip generated.

May I present my top list of toys: not in any particular order
1.measuring cups/spoons
2.pots and pans
3.wooden spoon
4.soft things (homemade baby blanket, stuffie or doll)
5.blocks
6.balls
7.boxes
8.music
9.books
10.you

other goodies
11. silk scarves
12.paper/crayons
13.clothes
14.instruments


Really, you probably own most of these in some form. They make great play things!
Yes... I think we agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FREEmom1120 View Post
There is a really good page on early brain development in the stickies of the Family Bed/Nighttime parenting page.
Going to go and check this out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASusan View Post
So I didn't need to spend 20 minutes typing that out and sounding like a pompous a$$?

But they are things that I think about. And they formulate my basic reaction to most infant toys on the market...
So not a pompous a$$ - actually it made so much sense to me to read all that you wrote. And helped clarify for me why I am so annoyed by the infant toy market.... To date I have had to exchange every toy given to us (luckily the store has cotton clothes and Natural baby products)..... will be going over to read about brain development. :

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#14 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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Thanks for this post/thread! I find this so interesting and wanted a more "old-school" approach to my parenting too, though all moms know there isn't tons of time to research...so, I am constantly thinking about the great minds/talents of the past and asking myself:

what did THEIR moms do?

So DH and I arrived at: books outnumbering toys, no tv, plenty of mother nature and music, baby appropriate excursions, and the "family bubble."

As far as colorful toys etc...I also suspect there's likely some over-stimulation going on with these, but that it's more harmless than tv and trips to florescently lit/extremely busy stores/the mall IMHO. The great outdoors provides infinite variety for a babe, and museums, zoos...fun!!!!
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#15 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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This is a fascinating subject, thank you so much for starting this thread.

I do think that infants, toddlers and preschoolers learn best when things are consistent. They learn by repetition. That's why they ask for the same books to be read 10 times in a row. It might drive an adult bonkers with boredom, but the predictability, the repetition is how little ones learn. I think routine and repetition instills a sense of stability and confidence from knowing what comes next. Once that baseline of stability is created, then their brains are ready for more dynamic modes of learning. I venture to guess that the timing on this is very individual, but probably happens closer to age 6 and older.

Things like wooden toys, plain blocks, playsilks, beanbags etc. that are open ended toys actually foster MORE creativity, imo. A battery operated toy that makes noise and sparkles is yes, stimulating, but more closed in it's utility and flexibility.

Also, about motor skills being the basis of lifelong learning. There is a saying in pediatric PT (and ema, you probably know this, being an OT yourself) that "proximal stability leads to distal mobility." This is how fostering gross motor skill development and core muscle strength the early years, by jumping, climbing, running, bouncing etc, can have a direct impact on later fine motor/academic skills such as writing/penmanship.

As for equipping a child to "deal with change", in my very humble opinion, the best way to do this is to solidify in their minds that there are things that he/she can absolutely count on. I can also see a detrimental attitude about learning arising from constantly changing stimuli without the higher level cognitive ability (that comes with age and developmental maturity)to process the changes...the idea of "why should I bother learning this, because it's only going to change."

Looking forward to more discussion on this!
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#16 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.educarer.com/brain.htm

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Dr. Spitz did studies in the 1940's and found that infants need a loving, trusting adult to act as the interpreter of life experiences, otherwise they have no meaning. He compared infancy to being in a foreign land where no one can understand you or speak your language. This stable relationship is a necessity for survival.
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The root of all emotional feeling is in the brain stem. It takes nearly one and a half years for a child to learn how to control her feelings. How well she does this depends solely on the parents.
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Dr. Brazelton has said that he can recognize by eight months which kids expect themselves to succeed and which do not. Children mirror what is around them - like sponges, they absorb. If a child is in a violent environment, he needs a calm, nurturing and predictable caregiver. A mother only has to be "good enough", not perfect.
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Play is essential to a child's development. Everything is learned through play. The first ability to symbolize their experiences is through play. They duplicate the world around them. We, as teachers, learn about children by watching and listening to their play. Play is linked to mental development. It is the experience, NOT the toy, that aids growth in the brain. Observation is the best way for parents to learn about their children.
My bolding.

The article (I found it is the family bed forum) is amazing. I just put a couple of things that made sense to me, but pretty much it all makes so much sense! Wonderful read if you are interested in infant/child development.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#17 of 91 Old 09-11-2008, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
This is a fascinating subject, thank you so much for starting this thread.
We cross posted! thanks!

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I do think that infants, toddlers and preschoolers learn best when things are consistent. They learn by repetition. That's why they ask for the same books to be read 10 times in a row. It might drive an adult bonkers with boredom, but the predictability, the repetition is how little ones learn. I think routine and repetition instills a sense of stability and confidence from knowing what comes next. Once that baseline of stability is created, then their brains are ready for more dynamic modes of learning. I venture to guess that the timing on this is very individual, but probably happens closer to age 6 and older.
Yes! How exciting to be finding more and more mamas who think like this!

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Things like wooden toys, plain blocks, playsilks, beanbags etc. that are open ended toys actually foster MORE creativity, imo. A battery operated toy that makes noise and sparkles is yes, stimulating, but more closed in it's utility and flexibility.
Yes!
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Also, about motor skills being the basis of lifelong learning. There is a saying in pediatric PT (and ema, you probably know this, being an OT yourself) that "proximal stability leads to distal mobility." This is how fostering gross motor skill development and core muscle strength the early years, by jumping, climbing, running, bouncing etc, can have a direct impact on later fine motor/academic skills such as writing/penmanship.
Exactly! There is also lots about sensory integration! (I learnt about this 7 - 8 years ago, but am now wanting to study this is earnest)
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As for equipping a child to "deal with change", in my very humble opinion, the best way to do this is to solidify in their minds that there are things that he/she can absolutely count on. I can also see a detrimental attitude about learning arising from constantly changing stimuli without the higher level cognitive ability (that comes with age and developmental maturity)to process the changes...the idea of "why should I bother learning this, because it's only going to change."
Very interesting and lotsa WOW!

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Looking forward to more discussion on this!
Me too! :

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Who enjoys hearing the same book over and over, seeing the same pictures over and over, eating the same foods over and over, same music? ....
Uuuuuhhhh....babies and toddlers!!! My niece is 9 mos old and recently learned to clap her hands. She would let my sister sing "if you're happy and you know it" 15,000 times a day if my sister could comply. My son loves "the very hungry caterpillar" and would let me read that book, and only that book, to him every hour of the day. And we have played with his wooden train tracks literally every day for the past 6 mos. There is SO MUCH to learn from playing with a familiar object in more than one way. By the way, with the trains for example, though it is the same toy, it is new every day because he can experiment with endless new combinations of track and trains, make longer and shorter trains, etc. He learns problem solving, patience, weight, length distance, etc. Something new every time!

I think one of our problems (someone referenced this already) is that current kid/baby toys are marketed for ADULTS in a couple of ways: 1. draw attention from a shopper on a shelf full of a whole lot of toys, and 2. encourage futher buying of the same toy or another toy from the same brand (keep us buying more!)

It is well documented (though I am cursing myself for not having the reference here) that noise levels on baby toys are generally set with the goal of catching an adult shoppers attention in the noise level of a large store. WAY too many decibels for what a child should have next to their ear playing with a toy at home.

And MANY toys are one dimensional. They can be played with in just one way. This leaves kids without the opportunity to make their own discoveries and develop creativity.

I have also read (though, again, don't have the refence with me) that if two groups of kids are both given the same wide variety of toys, but one group is given each toy one at a time, and the other group is given free range to play with all the toys in any combination they come up with, the second group will show dramatically higher levels of learning and creativity development with the EXACT same toys. So I read this as a testament to the importance of quality and experience and interaction with the environment rather than "fancy" toys.

**Excuse any weird sentences or incomplete thoughts...I only have a second free, and I tried to get in what I could, I will be back later to make more sense or clarify where needed***
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Thanks for this post/thread! I find this so interesting and wanted a more "old-school" approach to my parenting too, though all moms know there isn't tons of time to research...so, I am constantly thinking about the great minds/talents of the past and asking myself:

what did THEIR moms do?

So DH and I arrived at: books outnumbering toys, no tv, plenty of mother nature and music, baby appropriate excursions, and the "family bubble."

As far as colorful toys etc...I also suspect there's likely some over-stimulation going on with these, but that it's more harmless than tv and trips to florescently lit/extremely busy stores/the mall IMHO. The great outdoors provides infinite variety for a babe, and museums, zoos...fun!!!!
I love this and ITA. DS seems to really be into books now, and we love to encourage that.
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Originally Posted by lovetobemama View Post
Uuuuuhhhh....babies and toddlers!!! My niece is 9 mos old and recently learned to clap her hands. She would let my sister sing "if you're happy and you know it" 15,000 times a day if my sister could comply. My son loves "the very hungry caterpillar" and would let me read that book, and only that book, to him every hour of the day.
: Isn't it a classic thing that mom knows every.single.word of every.single.kid.video while the 2-year old's still saying "again!!"?

I think everyone interested in this topic should read the book "Einstein Never Used Flashcards." Basically, according to the child development researchers, the flashy toys are all gimmick and what the OP describes is the way to go for learning and learning potential.
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Originally Posted by lovetobemama View Post
My niece is 9 mos old and recently learned to clap her hands. She would let my sister sing "if you're happy and you know it" 15,000 times a day if my sister could comply. My son loves "the very hungry caterpillar" and would let me read that book, and only that book, to him every hour of the day. And we have played with his wooden train tracks literally every day for the past 6 mos. There is SO MUCH to learn from playing with a familiar object in more than one way. By the way, with the trains for example, though it is the same toy, it is new every day because he can experiment with endless new combinations of track and trains, make longer and shorter trains, etc. He learns problem solving, patience, weight, length distance, etc. Something new every time!
Yup!
Quote:
I think one of our problems (someone referenced this already) is that current kid/baby toys are marketed for ADULTS in a couple of ways: 1. draw attention from a shopper on a shelf full of a whole lot of toys, and 2. encourage futher buying of the same toy or another toy from the same brand (keep us buying more!)
Again, YUP!
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It is well documented (though I am cursing myself for not having the reference here) that noise levels on baby toys are generally set with the goal of catching an adult shoppers attention in the noise level of a large store. WAY too many decibels for what a child should have next to their ear playing with a toy at home.
Gosh, makes sense.
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And MANY toys are one dimensional. They can be played with in just one way. This leaves kids without the opportunity to make their own discoveries and develop creativity.
This is my biggest annoyance. I am not sure what kids are supposed to do with most of the toys when the toys essentially do the playing and 'entertain' the children. I am inclined to think this is not a good idea. I have not found the way to tell grandmother (MIL) that I do not want DS entertained - she thinks it's great and what's wrong with him being entertained?????? I guess I should be asking the question why it is not a good idea to entertain children as opposed to letting them explore and learn? It seems (form what I have seen around me) that this is what happens for many many families.... but it does not feel right to me.

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I have also read (though, again, don't have the refence with me) that if two groups of kids are both given the same wide variety of toys, but one group is given each toy one at a time, and the other group is given free range to play with all the toys in any combination they come up with, the second group will show dramatically higher levels of learning and creativity development with the EXACT same toys. So I read this as a testament to the importance of quality and experience and interaction with the environment rather than "fancy" toys.
This is interesting. Somehow I would have guessed that fewer toys would actually be getting better results... ie if there are too many toys it's too much stimulation and the child kinda doesn't know what to do, whereas a smaller number of toys and the child can construct their play without being overwhelmed by choice... but I could be off on that.

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**Excuse any weird sentences or incomplete thoughts...I only have a second free, and I tried to get in what I could, I will be back later to make more sense or clarify where needed***
Thanks for sharing! :

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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
: Isn't it a classic thing that mom knows every.single.word of every.single.kid.video while the 2-year old's still saying "again!!"?
I'm not at this stage yet, but I am looking forward to it
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I think everyone interested in this topic should read the book "Einstein Never Used Flashcards." Basically, according to the child development researchers, the flashy toys are all gimmick and what the OP describes is the way to go for learning and learning potential.
I have seen this book in the education forum and thought: EXACTLY! And who is a better example for thinking outside the box in a creative kind of way?? I am going to have to get this book I think! And be able to present my choices in an intelligent way when family members freak out that I am not doing what every other parent they know of small children is doing.... Although slowly slowly I think people are getting that I might be on to something!!!

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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The way I explain TV and babies to my 3 year old is:

He is just a baby, he needs to learn all he can about real things, things he can touch and taste first.
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#23 of 91 Old 09-12-2008, 09:44 AM
 
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There all ways for learning and what is fine for one may not be to the other.

As I mentioned, left and right / brain people, they learn in different ways and like different things as well. You may want to look at this web site and listen to the 360 pod cast
www.drawright.com
www.studio360.org/episodes/2006/09/14
~it's just a start to exploring the vas differences~


Quote:
"Einstein Never Used Flashcards."
this does NOT work for all, many left brain children only need to see a "flashcard" once, and the use of cards works for them.

Many children respond to repetitive actions (books read 10 times, songs repeated, etc.) but researches are finding NOT all do. Some are very bored and can not stand this type of actions. Schools are starting to change how they teach, no longer doing repetitive lessons and homework.

As with an infant, unlike most posters, I know of none who are able to maintain effective repetitiveness, nap time, feeding time, etc., are constantly in flux and thus promote change. What was fine at 6 months may not be a 7 months, there is constantly a need to adapt.

Some people like re-runs, others would not think to read a book twice, babies and children are the same way.

 

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I didn't read all the replies, so I am not sure if anyone suggested the book Our Babies, Ourselves? It is awesome. It discusses different parenting practices globally and how the human infant evolved over time so that much of the "western thought" on childcare actually goes against evolutionary biology. VERY INTERESTING!!!

goorganic.jpgwife to footinmouth.gif, currently WOH and geek.gif on my doctorate. (I'm dissertating!) We: novaxnocirc.giftoddler.gifgd.giffamilybed1.gif  with DS (4/09)!
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#25 of 91 Old 09-12-2008, 12:06 PM
 
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I think that this is a great discussion, and although I don't have time at the moment to reply I just wanted to say that I have looked over the posts and requested some of the books mentioned from my local library. I also wanted to add a resource that I have enjoyed and others may have heard of - it's an organization called "Zero to Three".

It has lots of research information regarding brain development, as well as articles and handouts for parents regarding play, etc. Just thought some of you may be ibterested in some of the topics they discuss!

Amanda + Steven SAHM to James (Feb 19, 2008) and Alexander (Jan 7, 2011). Lost little ones always in my heart (07/11/2009) (04/2010)
 
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Originally Posted by wannabe View Post
The way I explain TV and babies to my 3 year old is:

He is just a baby, he needs to learn all he can about real things, things he can touch and taste first.
Yes, this makes sense to me.

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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
There all ways for learning and what is fine for one may not be to the other.

As I mentioned, left and right / brain people, they learn in different ways and like different things as well. You may want to look at this web site and listen to the 360 pod cast
www.drawright.com
www.studio360.org/episodes/2006/09/14
~it's just a start to exploring the vas differences~
I am rather notorious for not following up on links - or it takes me a long time anyway. I will look them up later.
I am fascinated to think of an infant having right/left brain learning. When looking at left brain/right brain I know that the hemispheres both process information differently and process different information. They also work independently and synergistically. I know that after a stroke the prognosis is very different depending on which side of the brain the stroke happened. I know that I took a test and found that I work 53 - 47 % of each side of my brain. However, from what I know we are talking about the cortex of the brain, not the brain stem and not the midbrain (correct me if I am wrong).

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this does NOT work for all, many left brain children only need to see a "flashcard" once, and the use of cards works for them.
The card works in the way that they have learnt a number/letter? From what age do you think flashcard can benefit a child?

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Many children respond to repetitive actions (books read 10 times, songs repeated, etc.) but researches are finding NOT all do. Some are very bored and can not stand this type of actions. Schools are starting to change how they teach, no longer doing repetitive lessons and homework.
Do you have links (that I will get around to looking at). How are outcomes being measured? What is a definition of success?

Quote:
As with an infant, unlike most posters, I know of none who are able to maintain effective repetitiveness, nap time, feeding time, etc., are constantly in flux and thus promote change. What was fine at 6 months may not be a 7 months, there is constantly a need to adapt.
I do not know what other posters experiences have been. With this being my first child and me learning all the time, I can say that my DS does not maintain a schedule - but there is a rhythm emerging out of the disorder/chaos, and I am trying to work with that. I also need my DS to fit into my life. There are things that have to be done that cannot wait and I do think there is merit to DS at 6 months fitting into my life (this is obviously not possible with a new born). I think I need to think about this more, as I am not expressing myself very clearly yet.

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Some people like re-runs, others would not think to read a book twice, babies and children are the same way.
I think this might be where we disagree the most. I think that the way infants and young children experience the world is fundamentally/qualitatively different from how an adult experiences the world. Of course it is impossible to claim something as being right for every child. I guess I do not see the correlation between an adult not liking to see re-runs and a child not wanting to be read the same story. Yes, both are people, but I would argue that the reason and adult chooses to see a re-run and the reason a child asks for the same story are different reasons... although I am not yet sure I can put my finger on why. I am going to think about this.

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Originally Posted by New_Natural_Mom View Post
I didn't read all the replies, so I am not sure if anyone suggested the book Our Babies, Ourselves? It is awesome. It discusses different parenting practices globally and how the human infant evolved over time so that much of the "western thought" on childcare actually goes against evolutionary biology. VERY INTERESTING!!!
No, I do not know this book. It sounds like it could shed light on this discussion. Could you share more?

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Originally Posted by PhotoJournMama View Post
I think that this is a great discussion, and although I don't have time at the moment to reply I just wanted to say that I have looked over the posts and requested some of the books mentioned from my local library. I also wanted to add a resource that I have enjoyed and others may have heard of - it's an organization called "Zero to Three".

It has lots of research information regarding brain development, as well as articles and handouts for parents regarding play, etc. Just thought some of you may be ibterested in some of the topics they discuss!
I'll get to this link - it does sound like it could have interesting material. Could you also share more?

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#27 of 91 Old 09-12-2008, 03:42 PM
 
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This is such an interesting thread! I wish I had more time to respond, but I just wanted to thank everyone for the different thoughts and opinions.

It occurred to me as I was reading, that isn't it possible that infants learn from BOTH novelty and regularity? I know I have read a study that concluded that infants learned from novelty (new things to look at, touch, taste, listen to,etc). I also know there is research showing that infants do well with regular routines and predictability. For example you can have an afternoon routine of napping, going outside to play, playing on the floor with toys, having snack- and yet have differences day to day....different toys or household objects to explore, different playgrounds or walking routes, different snacks to taste.

I would also agree infants come with their own tastes, preferences and temperaments. My own little one loves new things- gets excited over new foods, tosses old toys that she gets bored with, loves to talk to new people (and especially pets!). We have a baby friend of the same age that refuses new foods, loves the same toys, and is initially hesitant around new people or animals. When they are together the differences are very apparent.
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#28 of 91 Old 09-12-2008, 05:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
This is interesting. Somehow I would have guessed that fewer toys would actually be getting better results... ie if there are too many toys it's too much stimulation and the child kinda doesn't know what to do, whereas a smaller number of toys and the child can construct their play without being overwhelmed by choice... but I could be off on that.
**Glad you mentioned this, I knew I hadn't been as clear as I wanted. The children weren't given loads of toys, but were given a small assortment of toys and allowed to play with them in any way that they wanted, and in any combination. The problem with giving kids one dimensional toys one at a time was that they were creating just one play scheme for each toy. But when several toys were presented and children were allowed to play with any or all toys in an manner they chose, they explored many more play schemes with each toy, becasue they looked at it in any way they chose, and then combined it with anything they wanted to. Each new play scheme is a new set of synaptic connections that have been formed, and as far as brain development goes...the more the merrier!!
Here is an example from my son at 8 mos...he had a wooden spoon, and really enjoyed it for a few min but then got bored, but then I also saw a roll of packing tape. So I rolled it to him, and the kid spent something like 20 uninterrupted minutes just doing anything he could think of with the 2 items. Banging one on the other, than reversing it. Putting the spoon through the roll, then on the roll, etc. I'm sure if there had been 15 things, it would have been too much and he would have not explored either thoroughly, but because it was 2 familiar things, but put together, he explored them both in new ways. *Neither object technically a "toy", BTW!

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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

this does NOT work for all, many left brain children only need to see a "flashcard" once, and the use of cards works for them.


Many children respond to repetitive actions (books read 10 times, songs repeated, etc.) but researches are finding NOT all do. Some are very bored and can not stand this type of actions.
I have 2 questions about this post: 1. For the first sentence, just because this may be true, does it suggest that flashcards then SHOULD be used in place of other types of learning? Just because some kids can learn from flashcards, does that suggest that they wouldn't learn just as well from being introduced to the material in other ways?

And for the second sentence above, what age children is this research referencing? I only ask because I was under the impression that the OP was talking about babies and toddlers, and, in my experience, I have never met a baby who didn't like some repetition. Like a baby who has just learned peek-a-boo for example...I have never met one who learned it, and then was immediately bored with it and didn't want to repeat it even just a little bit. Just trying to clarify! Thanks!
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#29 of 91 Old 09-12-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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this does NOT work for all, many left brain children only need to see a "flashcard" once, and the use of cards works for them.
Don't get hung up on the title. While it does address what flashcards do and don't work for, that's only part of the whole thing.

I'm also not getting what babies needing different patterns of eating and sleeping at different stages of physical development has to do with arguing against repetition for mental development. Both 6 and 7 month olds (and 1 month olds and 17 month olds) eat when hungry, sleep when tired (okay, maybe not the 17 month old), doing so at different times isn't really "change."

I suspect that you're thinking in terms of older children. The book, and my take on this thread in general, is about kids under 6 years or so.
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#30 of 91 Old 09-12-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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Megan, thank you for starting this discussion. i have appreciated seeing the different perspectives. This is a fairly big issue in my life right now too.

My healthy, happy, friendly, social seven month old is essentially toy-free and his development does not seem to be impaired by the fact that he plays with people instead of inanimate objects. Our family structure and lifestyle are quite nontraditional and i certainly wouldn't expect Terran to be blossoming so beautifully as far as going to work with me in the carrier if my job consisted of sitting at a computer for 8 hours straight every day, nor would i expect a dh who was paying all the bills so i could be a sahm to be...um...overly happy about my housecleaning and cooking standards, shall we say?.... but this is the life we have with the cards we have been dealt and i am very happy with what i am able to provide for my child.

My older children were raised with more of society's norm of "educational"
TV, always discontent and nagging for new plastic toys, hopelessly cluttered house, Christmas a nightmare of bickering, pettiness, and power trips among the adults in their lives and all that other crap most people who will read this haven't lived through yet.

I also found that the time I gained from having children who would "go to the other room and play with your toys now because we need to do big important things that grownups do when they get the children out from underfoot" was greatly overshadowed by all the time i had to spend pickintg up, organizing, cleaning, assembling, repairing, replacing and otherwise maintaining toys.
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