"Touchpoints" in Everyday Life

As I enter the room Keema, Katherine's energetic eleven month old, is standing beside mom's chair. As I walk into the room Keema momentarily turns toward and glances at her mom before reaching a chubby hand in my direction. She takes two wobbly steps toward the exam table where she then goes on about her business of exploring the chair, nearby drawer, and rolling stool. I seem to bore her right now.

Mom looks tired as she leans over, picks up and undresses her daughter to show me her summer-time diaper rash. Keema twist and squirms on the table communicating quite clearly that she was not done with her investigation of the room and her practice walking.

The diaper rash is easy to care for. Hearing and responding to mom's concern about her daughter's behavior is more challenging.

Katherine describes a long weekend in Richmond at her favorite family reunion. She explains that her family reunions get bigger every year as sisters, cousins, and nieces become new moms. Last year Keema had gone as a newborn and mom had enjoyed the extra attention she and the baby has gotten as well as the special rest she had received in this community of loved ones.

This vacation was different. Keema would go to bed as usual, then cry 2-3 times at night (something all family members did not appreciate!) Mom would find her standing in her crib "looking like she was really mad 'cause she couldn't figure out how to lay back down." Katherine has already appreciated that her girl was "strong willed and has a mind of her own." But Katherine explains that her daughter seemed more out of sorts this past week and did not call forth the same adoration for family members as mom had experienced the year before. "This reunion seems more like 'work' than 'vacation' and I'm just plain worn out."

This is a Touchpoints moment and an opportunity for me to connect significantly with this mom . As I watch Keema toddle around the room I reflect on her activity. "She has that wide-based gait of a new walker and hold her arms rather stifly in order to keep her balance. She almost lunges from one hand hold to the next and doesn't mind a few tumbles to the floor, " I say. Mom giggles at all the details of this newest milestone and perks up quickly as I go own to explain the concept of how a developmental surge like this almost always impacts a child sleep for a week or two. We discussed the how mom could help her practice getting back down from standing during the day so her girl would not be so frustrated at night. In addition we discussed that "A, B, C" (Attention that is Boring AND Caring") approach to night-time parenting of the toddler. (See upcoming blog on this "A,B,C").

Mom laughs and rubs her baby's curly head. I can just imagine how this new information will play out at nest Sunday's mom-to-mom family brunch. This young mom will be the newest "expert" as she shares how these temporary "ups and downs" at night are just proof of her child's normal and dynamic development.

© HUG Your Baby 2010