Learning: Part 1 (8 Months Old)

It all began two nights ago when we were all getting ready for bed, Penelope was in her pink Lama pyjamas and had her warm bottle in hand. I was brushing my teeth and Tony was laying in bed beside her on his phone doing some last minute things for work. Thats when it all happened. 
In a split second the overly tired Penelope started screaming at the top of her lungs. Me being the concerned mother, ran with toothpaste still in my mouth over to see what was wrong.  She threw herself backwards in a bought of rage, making sure to shriek as she smashed into Tonys leg. Until this point in parenthood, we had never witnessed Penelope like this. We froze shocked, and immediately I picked her up asking her as if she could answer, “Whats wrong!?”, checking her over to make sure nothing was pinching her or if I could see some sort of reasoning for it. 
A few minutes later she calmed down, reaching for Tonys phone. He still needed it for work, and took it back from her gently saying “No, hunny”. 

She SNAPPED! Throwing herself backwards in a shriek of terror let out of her small body. Thats when we realized, she wanted the phone. Its not her fault because she sees her parents on their phones, and even though she has no idea what this device does she just knows its something to be wanted. 

Tony and I looked at each other in embarrassment. I instantly felt a pinch of regret, I had unknowingly showed my daughter that it was okay to be on my phone more than necessary, which was enough for her to figure out that she needed this device. 

If you would asked me two years ago or even 10 months ago while I was still pregnant with Penelope, what I thought about raising our child with technology, such as iPads and cellphones? I would have said it was completely irrelevant because I will “never” be “that” mom who lets her child have her phone just to get it to calm down. 

Well I am. 

My first thought when Penelope was in a panic was to give her whatever she wanted, even if what she wanted was my phone. I picked up iPhone off the bathroom counter where it was while I was brushing my teeth, and quickly handed it over to my now smiling baby. She fully knew I was weak, and that she would get her way with me. Tony was a different story, he stood his ground and instead of letting her have it he took the phone from her as she watched in horror.

 He said “No! Babies don’t need cellphones and we shouldn’t give it to her” 

I agreed, “Something needs to change” 

We were spending more time in our phones lately, with me and my social media which has proven to be a successful source of income in the last few months, and I was spending more and more time doing projects that required photo editing, video editing and so on. 

“We need to be better roll models, and read more books instead” said Tony.

He was right, I have started at least three books since Penelope was born and not finished either one of them. They lay closed on my bedside table, on the living room table and even in the diaper bag hoping for me to put down Instagram and pick up where I left off. So I grabbed the closest book on the table beside me, “ Child Minds”  and began to read. To my surprise Penelope who’s eyes were filled with tears, watched me. She watched me open the book, find the page and start to read out loud. She than reached for her book, “The Pout Pout Fish” which was one of her favourites. There she sat beside me pretending to read as if it were a mirror to what was doing.  I turned the page, and slowly Penelope turned the page. 

“See,” Tony said “She does whatever she sees you doing”

I knew this, I was a Early Childhood Educator and had done many reports and essays about this exact situation. How different it is when your actually living it, rather than studying it. This has been a learning experience and it was very important we understood it now, rather than when she is older. Being the person I am, I needed to come up with a solution and a plan. I know this is common and for most parents i'm sure its not a huge deal, but in our home we decided to begin a reading plan for Penelope. According to IntellBaby.com “Your baby can actually learn to read beginning at 3 months of age” by developing visual pathways and making reading fun by using a “higher-pitch tone” of voice, and eventually by the age of 3 you will be teaching your child “phonics” using flash cards and DVDs. 

If you are interested in starting a reading program for your baby, a good place to start is by checking out: http://www.intellbaby.com/teach-your-baby-to-read/ 


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