And Now, This Message from Mom
As we often say here at First 5 LA, a parent is a child’s first teacher. Below, First 5 LA staffers who have experienced the joys – and sometimes the uncertainties – of motherhood share their “teachable moments” with lessons they have taught to – and learned from – their young children.
Reading the Cues
“At 2 weeks old, my first child was at risk of developing health complications because she had lost too much weight since birth. The pediatrician instructed me to make sure she was eating a set number of ounces of breastmilk every two hours and I followed his advice to the letter. But she was not gaining enough weight and her pediatrician and I started to worry.
“I was determined to breastfeed and was looking for cues in my books and other sources about the first year but, in fact, the best cues came from my baby as I decided to trust her and I started nursing her on demand. I didn’t know exactly how much breastmilk she was eating but she looked happy and, most importantly, by her next check-up, her weight and height increased so much that she was no longer at risk.
“As a mother, I learned to trust my daughter and read her cues. It is beautiful to realize that we both naturally fulfilled our roles – she learned to trust my instinct as a mother and I learned to trust her cues as my child.”
– Communications Officer Fabiola Montiel
“As a parent, you are constantly trying to teach things to your kids about life and always have the hope that, one day, they would take a little bit of it and apply it towards life.” – Linda Vo
A (Book) Case for Learning
“I was getting ready for work when I heard my 5-year-old daughter, Daisy, call out for help from her room. When I arrived, I found that Daisy removed all the books from her bookcase and tried moving it by herself! After helping her to clean up the books, I thought this was a good learning opportunity for Daisy (and me!). I asked if she would like to first draw a map of the room with the location for the bookcase and measure the space to see if the bookcase would fit in the new location. Once she did these tasks, she and I moved the bookcase together to the new spot. This experience helped strengthen her pre-reading skills by translating objects from 3D to 2D, reinforced the importance of asking for help on with certain tasks, and emphasized the importance of planning – all important aspects of child development and being ready for school. This moment also reinforced for me that Daisy had a plan and she just needed a little support in executing that plan … and the bookcase actually looks much better in the new location!“
– Best Start Senior Program Officer Leanne Negron
“As my 3-year daughter has grown older, her sleep habits have changed. She has a hard time settling down at night and then is often hard to wake in the morning. She curls up into a ball and refuses attempts to get dressed. I remembered the advice of a colleague that sometimes a little cuddling time is helpful to preschoolers. So, one day I decided to hold her first for a little while before starting the process of getting dressed. It worked! Even though I don’t always have a lot of time in the morning (I’m not a morning person either), I try to spend some time cuddling before we start to get ready. It makes me feel more ready to start the day as well!”
– Program Development Officer Nancy Watson
It’s Nice Up in the Sky
“As a parent of two little ones, 5 and under, I feel that one of the biggest responsibilities I have as a parent is to teach my kids the importance of family. So, when my father-in-law became terminally ill, I felt the need to teach them even more so to appreciate him for all that he was and to show them how important they were to him before he was gone.
“I knew that, in order for my kids to understand the importance of family, they would have to see for themselves just what family meant. So we ate together as a family, played together, and even did errands and chores together.
“Ironically, because I knew that my kids understood the importance of family, I was now really concerned that they would not be prepared to deal with the passing of their grandpa. Surprisingly, on the day that their grandpa died, Dylan, who was 3 years old at the time, told me not to cry because grandpa was in heaven now and that it’s nice up in the sky. He continued to say that Grandpa wouldn’t have a ‘boo-boo’ anymore because he would be taken care of up in heaven.
“As a parent, you are constantly trying to teach things to your kids about life and always have the hope that, one day, they would take a little bit of it and apply it towards life. But, honestly, at the end of the day, you know that they are just little kids so don’t expect very much from them. Dylan proved me wrong and taught me I should never underestimate the ability of a child to comprehend things. Kids are capable of more than what we give them credit for; especially when they are exposed to and taught things at such a young age!”
– Executive Assistant and Board Secretary Linda Vo