I am a mom of four precious little children: three boys and one girl, all one year apart from each other.
As I look back over the last five years, I am amazed at what a whirlwind it has been. First one baby, then two, then three—three in diapers, three cribs, three carseats—and then just as one child was graduating to preschool age and leaving the baby stuff behind, another one came. I am so thankful for my little four, but it has been challenging! Many times I wished I had another mom to call on the phone and cry, “How do you DO this?” Or maybe ask a dozen random questions. What challenged me was not just all the normal questions that come to mind when you have tiny ones…
- Is it okay for him to keep sucking his thumb?
- When should I put him in a bed?
- Is it normal for him to be walking around on his toes so much?
… but answering these questions from a common sense perspective. As a psychology and education student, I was always concerned that the answers I was receiving were being more informed by ideology than values. A lot of times what I read or heard sounded ok but bothered me in theory. I was skeptical that it would produce good fruit. I was always especially bothered when I couldn’t find answers to my questions, or if my friends’ answers contradicted themselves. To be honest, a lot of what I wanted to know was silly, now that I look back on it. But at the time, it sure didn’t feel that way! It didn’t help that I lost my own mother to cancer just before my first baby came, and that the best mothers I wanted to emulate were either too busy to talk much, too remote to learn from, or were confined to a book! What I really needed was a good, live-in, scholarly grandmother.
To make it worse, my first son struggled with language comprehension and was finally diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder when he was three. Because language is so central to child development and bonding, he and I were really suffering to connect. I had a lot of concern that adhering to customary childraising techniques would hurt him because they relied so much on normal child development—especially good verbal skills. And yet I was also afraid to trust outlying advice because it seemed to completely neglect the moral training of the child. Indeed, when I sent my son to the public preschool out of despair, I was so disappointed. I had recently finished my Masters in Education, so I felt like I betrayed myself. They told me he had all kinds of problems, slapped a PDD-NOS label on him, and said he’s probably fail by third grade if he wasn’ t on an IEP. When my second son was diagnosed with a sensory processing problem, I was wise enough to skip the preschool option but still had few viable alternatives.
So this blog is the record of my journey to raise my little children with my own conscience and intuition for the last season, yet while being informed by standard science and educational pedagogy. It will be a work-in-progress for quite some time, so feel free to comment or question wherever you’d like. It will address problems I’ve worked through, questions I’ve asked, and areas I am still concerned about—from family planning to pregnancy, birth to preschool, and especially the intersection of child development and education (i.e. including healthy special education, for high functioning kids).
Some articles are very practical and even silly… What type of sippy cup is best? Do I need to buy a Pack ‘N Play? Others are expressions of my heart cry to God in areas where I’ve struggled… How do I reach a toddler whom I don’t understand? How do I discipline? What will help my son talk better? Especially where reading more things in Barnes & Noble or the Internet proved disappointing, unwise, or more confusing, I focused more attention. I have many posts on boys and speech development, and autism, due to the current scare. I am also including some practical resources like ideas for preschooling at home, books I love, and lists of meals and equipment I have found most helpful while deep in the swing of things.
My hope is that wherever your are in your journey with young children, that you will find something to help. And if your child happens to be struggling with one of the disorders my children do, and my testimonies can help you navigate or avoid pitfalls I fell into, then even better. I pray that God will spare even one mom the pain that we as a family have gone through, trying to weigh literature and advice from doctors, specialists, schools, and media.
Also, my hope is that even though I will share my own perspective, that you will gain the freedom of conscience as a mom to make your own decisions. I have some principles I believe I stumbled upon myself, but ultimately it is up to every mother to discover within herself the courage to take into account the unique feelings, needs, beliefs, and special situations of the family she is molding… and still feel submitted to common sense. I believe the current generation is being robbed of this courage.
Happy reading! I look forward to your feedback!