Harley is screaming ahead in her development. It seems that every day there is a new discovery, a new ability, a new goal. I want to do everything I can for my little one to develop, to help her reach her milestones and understand the world around her. I want to help her become a little genius, not just the savant kind that is only good at one thing – I want to help her become a balanced, brilliant, creative, free-thinking, kind human being. Of course it’s all conjecture about how to do that at this point, but here are some ideas for what helps little blobs develop into cool people.
This is a really important time for baby development. That first year of life is incredible if you think how much they accomplish. To go from crying, helpless blobs to tiny people who can play, get around and sort of communicate… it’s amazing! Because they are growing so much during this period, it’s important to work with them on motor skills, as well as social and mental development. At this point, physical stuff is still the most important as it’s how babies experience the world and understand everything from how their bodies work to how the world and physics work (yes, Harley knows that things drop now, even though she still enjoys testing it out).
I’ve written so much about learning, about early childhood development. I am always so intrigued by the way that we discover the world, and all the ways that we as parents can help our kids understand the world around them. The first few years of their lives are so important, can make such a difference. And sure, they all learn to do things even without extra fun activities, but it’s just so rewarding to watch them learn and explore. But seeing that understanding in their eyes? There’s nothing quite like it!
I will still write about swimming lessons, and bath time, but this is just a quick post about a specific moment that made me so happy. Last night, Harley was taking a bath. We had already done all the cleaning stuff, naming her body and getting her face wet as training for swimming. So it was basically “free play” in the water. She could just sit there and play with her toys, splash or whatever else she wanted to do. It’s how I generally do bath time, and the ending bit where she just plays can last anywhere from 2-10 minutes depending on how she seems and how bored either of us gets.
Harley has been able to sit on her own for a while now. It’s absolutely divine – I can plonk her on the floor surrounded by her toys and she will just sit and play for a little while. Sometimes a little while is a few minutes, sometimes it’s way longer, but either way it’s nice for me to get a bit of time not holding onto her, and for her to get to explore on her own. She has learned how to get on all fours and back onto her back. In fact, she’s so good at that I’m hardly able to encourage tummy time anymore; she just pushes herself back up to a seated position. Despite hints of it coming, Harley has been SO close to crawling for weeks but has yet to do it. She does, however, pull herself up to standing. While she might seem poised to jump into the world of walking, I really want her to crawl first.
I know, they are milestones and not set in stone or something, but I do think the crawling thing is important. I don’t want Harley to skip crawling and go straight to walking. Sure, it will be great when she does both, and she already has her own unique way of getting around sorta like an inchworm, but with all the developmental stuff that crawling encourages, it’s not something I want her to breeze past.
I have been shopping for Harley’s nursery school. I want her to start in January, with the idea being that it will give me time off in the mornings to get my work done – once she is crawling and walking, it will be pretty much impossible to get anything done with her at home. Last week I visited a school, and then over the weekend I visited two more. Plus I have more appointments to visit a couple more this week. It’s sort of like shopping for a dress or something – I want to see what’s out there and make sure whichever one I choose is the right fit for me and for Harley. In seeing some of what’s out there, I have some new ideas and concerns, including a weird new interest in hand washing.
At one of the schools I visited, all the kids were playing outside when I arrived. When they came in, they all had to wash their hands before snack time. At another school, they use hand sanitizer when they arrive and leave the premises, something that has apparently cut down on illnesses. It seems sort of fitting that I got a blog drop from Lifebuoy along this theme as well.
I have lived in a few wonderful places. I grew up in New York and loved it. Then we moved to The Hague and it was fantastic for me while in high school. Then I moved back to the States and tried living in LA, which wasn’t really a fit for me at that point in my life (being under 21 and without a car, I felt so restricted after the freedom of Holland). Then it was back to the Netherlands to study in Maastricht, which was a wonderful student town. Then Joburg, which has its flaws but has been a fun and wonderful place for me and Dean to start our lives together. But now South Africa is changing, and I’m not sure about the rest of the world, too.
I don’t like to talk politics here on the blog. It’s supposed to be about my thoughts about my family, my life, and all things geeky parenting. But I can’t help but think about how politics are impacting on those very things. Thanks to poor political management, the Rand has gotten so weak that buying games and books and whatever else has gone from a monthly norm to an expensive extra. And as we start to talk about emigrating and making a better life elsewhere, I have to consider the potential risks associated with any move.