I don't have to tell you that things didn't go exactly to plan. I never had the opportunity to read any of the books on my list (except for half of my What to Expect When You're Expecting book!)
When we came home from the hospital, I opened up the books on my list with renewed vigor...diving in where I left off. What to Expect the First Year, Babywise, The Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood...etc.
My enthusiasm didn't last long.
Samuel was so different. The question and answer section of the books drove me to tears. One mother is anxious about her child's continual case of the hiccups...another concerned over a rash...the next is wondering if their child is 'normal' - and I'm reading this at home with a baby who is hooked up to a whirring oxygen concentrator and a beeping pulse-ox monitor. While the author assures each parent that they have little to worry about as long as their child has been healthy; I realized that I was sitting at the other end of the seesaw. I knew that 25% of micro preemies end up with autism. I knew that the brain bleed that Samuel had COULD cause problems. I knew there was a chance he had CP from oxygen asphyxiation. I knew that Samuel would probably be developmentally delayed. And I knew there had been NOTHING healthy about MY child from the moment of his birth.
The chapters on feeding and sleep schedules for newborns upset me further. How could I follow the recommendations of a person who had NO IDEA what it is like to have to feed a child every three hours, around the clock, for it's first year of life?
After only a few days and even fewer attempts at the books, I angerly hid them at the back of my bookshelf...where they still reside today.
But after reading some helpful advice from a friend's blog, I'm beginning to think the time has come to dust them off and open their pages once more.
I'm sure Blanket Time is familiar to many of you...but it wasn't to me. Just another one of those things I missed by not reading the Babywise / Pre-Toddlerwise books. It's really such a simple thing to be blogging about, but it has made such a difference with Samuel that I thought I would share.
Blanket Time is an allotted amount of time in the day when you ask your child to remain on a small blanket and play with a few toys that you have chosen. This skill comes in handy when you need your child to obey you and stay put.
Like most toddlers, Samuel is always on the move. ALWAYS. He also has never been great at independent play (I'm sure my constant desire to work with him on his milestones caused that particular glitch.) Blanket Time has been the perfect solution...and he LOVES it. With the exception of our first few attempts, Samuel never tries to walk off his blanket. He happily sits and plays with the toys until the timer goes off. He has learned to look at books on his own without my attention. Occasionally he will look at me and ask, "Beep-beep?" But once I tell him no, that the timer has not gone off, he continues playing. So far we have worked up to 10 minutes of independent play at a time. I rotate blankets and rooms each day - to get him used to staying on the blanket no matter where he is or what's around him.
Out and about:
Thanks for sharing this tip Ashley! You've motivated me to pull out those books from my list once again. I'm sure this time I'll have a much brighter perspective!