Tag Archives: development

What is midline crossing, why it’s important and how to encourage it

brain connections

Until I started this parenting journey, I had no idea about midline crossing. I’d heard about it occasionally in other contexts, but I didn’t really understand what it was or why it mattered. I remember talking about it with my mom what feels like forever ago, when Harley first started at TopTots, and even though she has a degree in early childhood education, she was also pretty in the dark about it all. It’s relatively new research, so your parents, in-laws or even teachers might not be aware of it, but ask any occupational therapist about it, and they will rave about how important it is. So, here’s a bit about the whole midline business, and why it’s such a big deal, as well as some ways that I’m encouraging Harley to do it as much as possible.

First up, the what. The main one people talk about is crossing your left-right midline. Imagine a line drawn down the center of your body, dividing your left and right sides. Other midline crossing that is often encouraged is the front to back line, as well as the top to bottom line. For the first, imagine lying down and being sliced in half as if you were making a sandwich, while with the second imagine the typical way that a magician would pretend to slice an assistant in half. Okay, so now you know where the lines are, but why do they matter?

powerpuff midline Continue Reading

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Why boredom is important for babies and children (and adults)

bored kitty

My mom and I still laugh at some bizarre stories from when I was a kid. Seemingly out of nowhere, I’d dress up in a silly outfit and come barging out of my room with the Chinese restaurant menu that was printed on a scroll singing “Bell horses!”. I remember doing it, I remember thinking it was such an obvious and fun thing to do. I don’t remember why I thought that. But somehow it was a way for me to entertain myself, to have fun and to play. I also remember reading, teaching a pretend class, building with LEGO, or my favorite for years – my parents would give me the big box when we’d get a major appliance and I would draw all over it with markers, climb inside with a flashlight and read or pretend I was in a cave or any other type of play. Considering all the research that keeps coming out, it’s one of the best things my mom did; she purposely left me and my brother unscheduled, allowing us to be bored.

Boredom is often the bane of parents’ existence. When kids are bored, they get into trouble, right? When kids are bored, they whine about it, and then you find them covered in paint or suspended between two pieces of furniture or whatever else. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. And the same goes for adults, so we can all use this important reminder. Continue Reading

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Activities for baby development – making the most of car rides

car ride art

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a part of #CarseatFullstop – an initiative to raise awareness about car seats. It’s an awesome campaign and we hope that by boosting awareness we are able to save lives. But it also got me thinking about how much time we spend in the car every day. Most of us in car-centric cities spend a lot more time in our cars than we might like or be aware of. For example, every morning, Harley and I take Dean to work and then return home. In the afternoon, we pick him up again before returning home. Sometimes, we go shopping together, or go to a meeting, or go to TopTots, or visit friends or any number of activities. Each of those require strapping her into her car seat and sitting in the car for anywhere between five and 30 minutes. On an average day, that’s what – at least an hour spent in the car? Why not make the most of those car rides?

Luckily, Harley often sleeps in the car. It’s something about the movement and the noise that combines to conk her out like nothing else. In fact, when I went to an awesome seminar earlier this week, I timed it perfectly – changed her nappy, nursed her and then drove to the event. The combination of clean bum, full tummy and car ride combined to successfully knock her out for a couple hours so I could actually engage with the learning opportunity. But when our little ones are awake in the car, it can also be a learning opportunity, too. Here are some ideas of ways that you can make the most of the time spent with your spawnling in the car. Continue Reading

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How this mommy and baby class saved me and Harley

Toptots

With Harley now seven months old, I have enough distance from those early weeks and months to look back with some perspective. I’ve written about how traumatic her birth experience was, but even then I didn’t realize how traumatic it was and how hard it was going to make things with her. I was sick, she was so very premature, and we had quite a road ahead of us. I struggled to bond with her, I felt like everything was just so hard, and I was even resenting her. It was NOT good.

Luckily, while still pregnant, I had already decided that I wanted to try and find a nice mommy and baby class to attend once she was born. There are so many out there, so I wasn’t quite sure which one I’d go for. But I chatted to Geoff, my editor at Lazygamer, and his wife used to own a TOPTOTS franchise, so I decided to give them a whirl. It turns out, that was one of the best decisions I’ve made in the first six months of Harley’s life. Continue Reading

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Attachment parenting and the most important year

attachment parenting

I can’t stress enough how lucky I am. Sure, I have plenty of ups and downs and real life and troubles like everyone else, but I am incredibly lucky – I work from home. While it’s a lot of hard work, and I’ve struggled to find a balance at times, it has meant that I’ve been able to work and take care of Harley at the same time. She hasn’t needed a nanny or a creche; I have been her primary caretaker, her teacher, her entertainment, her jungle gym, her bed, her food source, so in a word – her mommy.

It hasn’t been easy, and I often felt like I was failing. Especially when Harley was even smaller than she is now, I wondered if it was enough to just hold her during the day while I worked, I would get frustrated when I didn’t know what was wrong or when I felt like I couldn’t help her. It’s gotten so much easier as she has gotten bigger and easier to understand, and a big part of that is because we both know that I can take care of her, even when I’m not totally sure how. But the more I read about attachment parenting, the more it sounds like what I’ve done with Harley naturally, and will continue to do cognizantly. Continue Reading

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