Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brain Insights - Early realationships make a difference!

ANNA HAS INSIGHTS… and questions!  

Anna says………

Good morning! I just woke up and see I am in my crib. I feel good after having all those hours of sleep. I can’t fully express that feeling yet, so I just coo a little to myself.
But wait… the feeling of contentment is beginning to fade. I am beginning to feel lonely in here all by myself. I am also beginning to feel wet and hungry. These sensations make me cry.  I need someone to come and take care of this discomfort I am feeling.
When I cry, I have found that my mommy or daddy comes to me to see what they can do to meet my needs. This feels so good and comforting. I am completely helpless. I have to have someone take care of me.  See…  I told you, here comes my daddy already. He looks like he is glad to see me. He smiles at me and says, “Good morning Little Sweetheart!”, as he walks into the room. (He calls me a lot of different names. It is fun to see which name he will call me each time). I stop crying right away, smile back and wave my arms and kick my legs in excitement. I am so glad he is here!
He picks me up and holds me. It feels so warm and secure in his arms. I feel so special when he looks at me and talks to me. He asks me if I slept well and if I want my diaper changed. I just continue to smile back at him.
Daddy lays me on the changing table and takes off the wet diaper. He continues to talk and then stops to make silly faces at me. It makes me laugh. We are having so much fun together. Because my daddy and I have times like this so frequently, it makes me know I am someone special.  
The hungry feelings are getting stronger now. I start to cry a little again. Daddy says, “I know you are hungry!”  It is wonderful to have him so tuned into my needs.  It sure makes me not cry and scream much.
Daddy carries me in to the other room. Oh…. I see Mommy! She is smiling and holding her arms out for me. I give her my biggest smile! I can hardly wait for her to hold me and give me a morning kiss. Because my brain is still very immature I do not have the ability to wait very long to get my needs met. But, due to Mommy and Daddy being so consistent in paying attention to what I need and then meeting them, I have already learned to calm myself a bit.
Mommy takes me, sits down, and positions herself. Because of the repetition of this process, I already know this is in preparation to feed me. I get so excited with the anticipation. It feels so warm and soothing to be fed and held at the same time. Mommy usually loves looking at me and caresses my hand while I eat. I feel so incredibly secure!  
Not only does this feel wonderful, but I am excited to know that scientists have shown that what I am experiencing is having a positive impact on my developing brain. Research demonstrates that secure attachment that results from consistent nurturing responsiveness to my expressed needs can have an incredibly important impact on my ability:
  • ·         to form healthy relationships with others
  • ·         to delay gratification
  • ·         to problem solve
  • ·         to put up with the frustration of failure and have more patience
  • ·         to calm down from excitement
I may also:
  •           have a longer attention span
  •           be able to better manage physical reactions to emotions
  •           have an increased capacity for empathy
  •           feel less anxiety
  •           have greater skills in communicating emotions in healthy ways
  •           exhibit fewer behavioral problems
  •           have more confidence and a positive self-perception
  •           be less fearful
  •          have more willingness to explore and learn through challenges
I am such a fortunate baby to have all of this happening in my life. The thing that makes me very sad, is to know this doesn’t happen for all babies. There are many babies that do not have their cries answered or have their needs met consistently. These babies become very fearful, distressed, frustrated, and hopeless. When this occurs repeatedly their emotional development remains “stuck” at this stage. When these babies grow up they will still have a focus on needing someone to care about them. Their stunted development can have a  affect on relationships and learning in many ways.These children will more likely have an extensive focus on survival and control behaviors and may not have a very positive self perception.
I really do not understand why all parents are not given this information at child birth classes. Do you? It could make such a difference if this were known by every parent. Is there anything you can do to help? 
There is not much I can do from my crib, except to share my insights with you. But, I would love it if every baby could have the wonderful experiences I am having.... because every baby deserves it. I would really appreciate it if you would do what you can to take steps to ensure EVERY baby develops with a secure attachment.

Now that I am fed and got the attention I needed ... I really need some playtime! 

Love Your Baby Brain Packet provides EASY ideas and simple brain information for loving interaction leading to secure attachment and healthy overall development!


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Priceless, and I also do not understand why this information is not available to every expectant parent. You are providing such an important service with this, Deborah, and I only wish Anna's message was available in every home, every classroom, every place where people are even thinking about the possibility of becoming a parent. It would be so effective, so smart, and so incredibly powerful!
I look forward to hearing lots more from Anna!

January 18, 2011 at 3:17 PM
Deborah McNelis said...

Thank you very much for the VERY nice comments! Hopefully together we can figure out the answers to Anna's questions... and her message will be heard!!

January 19, 2011 at 9:03 AM
Unknown said...

I just discovered your blog and I added to my google reader! I'm looking forward to more posts! Have you done any studies on the child's brain in the womb, what they can hear, how it is developing, etc. I'd love to read any references, resources you could direct me to!

February 2, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Papa Green Bean said...

Ha! Ha! Great post—love it—my daughter is Anna! I have a solution to Anna's my rant (inspired by a book I just finished). Please give me your thoughts!

December 30, 2015 at 6:02 PM
Deborah McNelis said...

Thank you John. Of course I am in agreement that we need to focus much needed attention on the early years. This is the time of the greatest brain growth and wiring for learning, health, relationships and overall well-being in life! To make the difference that is so greatly needed, we need to use the valuable science we have available. As I continue to say, We ALL benefit when ALL children have well developed brains. We can no longer afford to ignore what all young children need.... AND deserve!

December 30, 2015 at 6:26 PM

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