Monday, December 18, 2006

Mysteries Revealed

I'm reading a great book now that all parents of toddlers should read.
It's called "Magic Years" and it was written in the 1950's by Selma
Fraiberg, a child psychologist. Practically every page has been
revelatory, as Fraiberg reveals the child's perspective and how the
parent should respond to provide him or her with a suitable
environment to learn and grow.

I won't recount all the interesting points I've learned from the book
- just read it yourself - but I will share one tidbit that helps me
understand Jada better. I was always amused that she would always
have to carry one or more things in her hands as she climbed the
stairs. It certainly adds to the degree of difficulty to climb our
steep stairs with a teddy bear in one hand and two books in the other.

Fraiberg tells us walking or climbing up the stairs is such a complex
act that it takes hundreds and even thousands of reps with the aid of
a hand to hold onto in order to master. So the thought of doing it
without holding onto anything is unthinkably scary. Even though they
are driven by instinct and curiosity to walk and climb, they usually
need to transition from holding hands to doing it completely solo.
Fraiberg even shares about a patient of hers who would hold her own
hand as she first learned to walk by herself.

So Jada needing something to hold onto, even if it makes the task
harder, is about that transition from walking/climbing with help to
walking/climbing completely untethered. It doesn't make me any less
nervous as she ambles up our steep stairs with her hands full. But at
least I understand better where she's coming from. Thanks, Dr.
Fraiberg, and I'm looking forward to more insights as I diligently
work my way through your book.

Post a Comment