Be Kind

I don’t remember what we were talking about but I remember clearly saying to my husband, “just be the better person.” I noticed Lavin watching his parents go over their day together. I thought about what I really just said. I said that I thought we knew more than the other person. It indicated privilege, superiority, and dismissal of another perspective. This certainly is not the message I wanted our son to hear, it isn’t the message I even meant to convey. Read more

Bonjour Bébé

“Bonjour, Bébé!” A stranger was reaching out stroking Lavin’s arm. She looked at us and started saying something else in French. We were shopping and Lavin was attached to me, facing out, in a baby carrier.

“Bonjour! English?,” we said wishing we’d brushed up on our French. We were on vacation, the island was a Dutch and French territory so we expected a language barrier. The woman quickly turned to find her friend, then motioned for us to wait there.

The two women come back chattering excitedly.  The woman told a story to her friend, who said, “She see you on beach… were you at beach? Umm, Happy Bay?”

I said, “Oui, yes, we were there!”

The woman exclaimed again to her friend, who translated, “She saw baby there, she thinks he is sweet! Fun to see a baby.”

Then the woman bent over, took Lavin’s little face in her hands, and lovingly spoke to him in French. This went on for a few minutes.  We only understood a few words, mostly “oui” and “bébé.” She smiled and said something to us in French before happily walking away.

At first the stranger’s touching our baby made me uncomfortable but the more I thought about it the more I appreciated it. More strangers touched our baby that week than they had his whole life. On this trip here was a sense of love and care for our baby, an admiration from complete strangers. They weren’t worrying about germs, the exact words to say or if we were anxious about other people getting too close. They were simply excited to see a fresh-faced baby, grateful to interact with him with a genuine interest in seeing his face light up with a smile. This experience, and so many others, is why I want to keep traveling with Lavin.

In America, there are so many hidden rules behind babies. We worry about germs, how close people are to us, and stranger danger. There is an underlying sense of fear around outsiders taking an interest in our children. In St. Maarten it was different. People noticed our baby and weren’t nervous to approach us. They wanted to talk with him and see his smile. They wanted us to know it was exciting for them to see a baby on the beach, in the shop and at the market. They weren’t worried about the last time they washed their hands or even that we didn’t understand their language. They only wanted to share their love and interest.

I want our baby to experience more of this kind of world. The world where people notice and say hello. This is why travel is so dear to me and why we make a huge effort to get out of our comfort zone. Immersing in other cultures and having Lavin experience the languages of the world is important to me. Our interaction with the woman at the store confirmed for me that the language we can all understand is love. I have taken her lead and am overcoming my self absorption to go out of my way to say hi and smile at those around me. Whether it’s smiling and saying, “you’re a good mom” when I saw a mom stand firm with a crying toddler, I made eye contact with  the barista and said hello before rattling off my order, and I was the last to stop waving at the 3-year-old neighbor.  I have surprised myself with the joy these little connections can bring.

 

Favorite Bedtime Books

Bedtime is the perfect time for reading. These are some of the books we go back to again and again while we are snuggled in bed. I like to choose books that are easy to read for bedtime. I think the simple language pattern in these books is soothing and calming. Read more

Building a Library – Board Books

Building a library in your home is important for your child’s literacy development. The research in literacy development indicates that the number books in a household directly impacts a child’s vocabulary development and even greatly impacts a child’s success in school in the later years. Early and frequent reading is an important part of childhood. So, what does it mean to have a “library” in your home? Fortunately, this does not mean shelves and shelves of books lining every wall. When I write about a child’s library I am talking about a curated set of many books that are high quality, interesting to your child, and accessible to your child. Read more

Love Learning Project Reading Series

Creating a love of reading is the most direct way we can encourage our children to become lifelong learners. Books inspire new ideas, create healthy imaginations, develop new connections and can even encourage emotional development. Books entertain, enlighten and enrich our lives

IMG_4751.jpgTo celebrate books the Love Learning Project will host a series on literacy. I will share research on why literacy is important, how to build a small library of quality books in your own home, and tips on how to read to your child. I have a master’s in literacy education so I have a lot to share on the topic and will be linking my favorite books for children. For this series I will post on Saturday mornings as usual and will have a bonus post sometime during the week. You can sign up in the right sidebar to receive email notification when a new post is made or check back soon. Thank you for following along and feel free to share your favorite children’s books in the comment section.  Read more

Internalizing Strengths

Internalizing Strengths

Little yellow papers were piled on my desk. They were essays written by students applying to lead their class in student council. The essays were sweet and hopeful. In their essays students shared all about themselves One wrote about earning their black belt in karate, another about helping their sister at home, and one strategic applicant told all about how much she loved Minnesota (a girl after my own heart). Their next step was interviewing with me. The interviews were short, I only had two questions prepared; what are you good at and what is one thing you would like to change about our school? Read more