Rambling thoughts about stimulating babies

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Fran, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'>While thinking about hyperactivity in children, I remember thinking that it was important to stimulate and expose kids to help them grow and think. Do you think we over stimulated kids at too early of an age or too much? Could we have triggered their hyperactivity by always keeping them on the go? As a toddler, difficult child and I did something almost every morning. Parks, playgrounds, groups, museums, zoos etc. We had story time, craft time, tv time, play time. It's not that he didn't have down time to play on his own but it was after afternoon nap.

    I was thinking of women who tended fields with their babies. They were in a crib of some sort all day except for feeding. They grew up. Maybe they weren't the sharpest but maybe they were. The kids who spent a lot of their toddler days in a playpen while mom did laundry or cooked or cleaned.
    Could it be kids who have "different" nervous systems are triggered by so much stimulation? What could be a positive in a neurotypical kid could be a negative (if you believe hyperactivity to be a negative) in someone who isn't neurotypical.

    I have no scientific information. I'm on vacation and I was just thinking about hyperactivity. What do you think?</span>
     
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Missy was easily over stimulated. She had a natural curiosity. She turned her head to look at the tv when she was a few weeks old. She loved to watch the news (she thought the talking head were talking to her). I didn't go out of my way to stimulate her, but I did talk to her a lot and I was always out shopping or doing something and would tell her what thing were.

    She knew her ABCs and was speaking full sentences and clearly by 14 months. However, easy child slept a lot. Had no interest in tv. He watches it now, but would rather play with his toys and have the tv on just for noise. He is almost 4 and still doesn't know his alphabet and barely counts to ten. He's smart in there somewhere, but he doesn't seem to care.

    I think there is something to what you are saying.

    I remember reading about an autistic boy in English Class in High School. His parents were both doctors and stimulated this kid from the minute he was born. He wouldn't speak. The book kinda leaned toward what you are saying, Fran. Some kids are just pre-disposed and some aren't. I think over-stimulating any child can't be good, but some kids can easily come down froom the "high" of it and some can't. Missy can't. Mighty can.
     
  3. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    My opinion is that probably isn't the case. I do believe that holding and rocking infants helps brain developement, and I believe that trauma can effect that developement even in utero. But I think we all do a kind of dance with our infant/toddlers where we respond to their likes and dislikes and they respond to ours. I guess there can be a bad fit were the baby doesn't like the stimulation and yet they can't escape it, but in general I think they would let you know it was too much by being difficult and you would modify your lifestyle to keep the peace. I clearly remember an outing to a toddler amusement park I took my difficult child to. We were accompanied by children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and disassociative disorder, severe brain damage, and downs syndrome. Guess who was just awful, my 3 yo kid of course. He couldn't handle the stimulation. He almost had a melt down when his cousin tried to hug him, I spent 20 minutes getting him in 4" of water and another 30 mins getting him out. He was miserable and so was I.Needless to say he didn't go back to a theme park for some time and then it was close to home and for limited amounts of time. If your son was effected negatively by your outings I think he would have let you know.
     
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Fran...I dont know that this is really across the board true. My boys werent exposed to that much constant stimulation on a daily basis when they were infants and I have one truly ADHD and then Cory. My mom kept Jamie from the time he was about a month old for me to go back to school and she sure didnt take him out to parks or museums every day. As infants, their lives were fairly quiet. They did spend a lot of time in play pens and on the floor with toys.

    Now I find it interesting that you cannot find a play pen anymore to buy. I was looking for one for the baby and simply cannot find one.
     
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I did those same things with my easy child and difficult child - our mornings were usually full of activity. We'd have library twice a week, playground twice a week and the stores once a week. We'd usually get home near lunchtime, have lunch, then quiet time, a short nap and when they woke up they'd either play with playdoh or something till dinner was ready. Our days were fairly structured but full of activities. Later on, we added brownies and gymnastics, T-ball, etc. *Just wanted to add that from the moment difficult child was born, she needed to move. She hated the swaddling as an infant. I was frutrated I put her in the swing supported by like 8 blankets rolled up at only 4 weeks. At 2 months she was in the johnny jumper - the ONLY thing that kept her from screaming her head off all day. She was up at 7 AM and down at 8PM and slept through the night; I had to wake her to breastfeed her, my :censored2: were so sore from trying to calm her by day. She cried from the moment she woke until the moments she dropped off.

    When my easy child was about 8 and difficult child 6, they had an eye appointment with a behavioral optometrist - this really ancient man, the nicest man ever. His exams were thorough, almost 2 hours long. I remember wondering how difficult child would make it that long without having a little meltdown. The first thing the DR said when he had her in the chair and was looking into her little brain through her eyes was, "Well, this one here is a real mover and shaker, isn't she? I'll bet you can't keep her down and have gates all over your house, don't you?" I was astonished! How did he know?? We chatted about it for a while. He said there was movement behind her eyes that was indicative in many of the hyperactive children he saw! It was his own little observation, but nonetheless fascinating for me to hear.

    Both my dds' had basically the same upbringing and activity level, socialization, everything until difficult child was about 8/9 years old. It was at that point that I realized I had to parent each a little differently. So, based on my own personal experience, I don't think that keeping them structured or 'busy' as toddlers made a difference in whether or not difficult child would end up hyper or not. difficult child was simply wired that way. easy child has never been hyper - she's always been very even tempered and quiet. easy child is a listener; she asks questions and thinks it over. difficult child is a screamer - asks questions later. LOL.
     
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Fran

    I've wondered for a long time along these lines.

    My Mom was what I call a "runner", so was my grandmother. There always seemed to be somewhere to go, or something needed to be done. And as kids we were usually drug right along. More so with me and my brother than the other kids. Both grandma and Mom got so used to always running that after awhile too much down time would drive them crazy. So we'd find ourselves running just to run around. lol

    My brother and I were both hyperactive to the max. The older kids were fine. Same with grandma's kids. The older ones were ok along those lines, but the younger ones were hyper. When I look back at the pattern of both women's lives they became more active as "runners" as their children aged. Both had large families, so it appears more evident in the younger kids who were probably toted around much more than the older ones.

    I don't remember ever trying to stimulate my kids. If it was some new parenting idea at the time I guess I was out of the loop. lol With T it was always trying NOT to stimulate him. So our family life has been pretty sedate and as boring as I could make it.

    Both T and N were evaled twice for ADHD/ADD. There is no doubt they don't have it.

    I've noticed a change in Darrin recently. While I sat for him and easy child was in school he was a pretty darn mellow lil guy. Now that he only comes here to visit, is in daycare all week, and with his Mom who is one who loves to run around he has begun showing signs of hyperness, aggression, and defiance.

    Just what I've noticed with my family.
     
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Fran, I did not read all responses yet.

    Here is my opinion. Babies, kids, teens - they all tell you in some way what they want. If your son was not doing well with all the outings or it was causing him some changes I think you would have noticed it. He would have let you know in some way.

    I believe kids determine way more than we give them credit for. If your child screamed everytime you went to the playground you would stop taking him there.
    Everything in moderation is probably OK for most kids. Our kids - it is different and they will be sure we know it. My difficult child was unable to be creative or play on her own. Talk about exhausting! So, we did go alot of places. That was the result of her being unable to play on her own. We went to alot of movies, playgrounds and museums. It was easier to teach her how to play by letting her see others play. Still was not the same, but it helped.

     
  8. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I have 2 son's. Both were exposed to a lot of activities and age appropriate learning experiences. Both were engaged while they did the activity and both loved the experience but one is very hyper and the other is not.
    I'm not saying allkids just the one's that tend to be wired somewhat differently.
    I was just thinking about babies and how we raise them now as opposed to how I raised mine and how we were raised. All different based on what we know or think we know.
     
  9. stepmonster

    stepmonster New Member

    My two cents:
    My nephew was diagnosis'd Hyperactive in the 60's. That really wasn't known alot at that time. My sister didn't overstimulate him at all. We had to search out things to keep him busy, so he wouldn't find trouble.
    She was also told to check foods for BHA.
    -b
     
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm not sure. We did things with difficult child but I wouldn't call it constant. He was on the get go from the beginning but that could have been the drugs the birthmom.
     
  11. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Fran,

    I think the trend is clear: we did more with our kids than we did as babies and toddlers. Is it too much? It probably depends on neural predisposition but I also agree with Wendy that difficult child's have a readily available way to tell us when they have had enough--even if they haven't started yet.

    I don't know what you had in mind when you were doing these things, but I had in mind a general level of exposure to many things to see where the kids gravitated. Perhaps it is because they were adopted, I had no preconceived notions, or because they were so obviously different form one another from the get-go.

    However, today there is something that I think is very different going on than the slight historic trend to more activities for very young children: instead of focusing on process of experiencing whatever--the park, the children's, museum, the zoo, etc. there is the "build a better baby" phenomena in which each activity has a product "goal" to in some way improve the child. "Making baby smarter" is big business. It's weird to me but I can't tell you how many young mothers have asked me two things: First what type of "baby music" program did I provide to both kids; and second, ow old was ex-difficult child when he started music lessons--2, 3, 4???? The answers are: none (what's a baby music program?) and 7.5, after HE had begged for lessons for a year. These young mothers are SHOCKED--I guess I was negligent. If I had gotten him a baby music program or started piano lessons before he was out of diapers, he might have turned out talented. I'm being sarcastic but the whole idea of "creating" a better baby through commercial products creeps me out in a way that signing up for baby gym class (where interaction with parent was paramount) did not. I never felt when my kids were babies, that parents were at baby gym so their babies would be Olympic athletes--now I wonder if that is the "new" motivation for baby gym.

    You raise some very interesting questions--I'm not sure what the answers are, but diagnosed disorders are increasing, and for the most part, no one knows why.

    Martie
     
  12. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    Fran, I have asked myself that same exact question many times.
     
  13. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'>First off, I'm glad I'm not the only one who looks back and says "why? what's different?" Thanks for not making me feel crazy. I am in no way trying to asign blame or guilt. I am just thinking of generations of women who worked to survive with their babies nearby. I'm looking for the differences in that group and my group and the next group.

    Making super babies always made me laugh. I couldn't make my kids potty train. LOL. If they were not inclined they would not do it. No how, no way. Both of my sons have very distinct minds of their own. For the most part I let them lead the way to their own development. I'm just the overseeing security blanket and nurturer.(well,maybe nudger too). I know that making either of them play a musical instrument or a sport that they did not want to do, they would not do it. There was no fear of displeasing mom. They simply wouldn't. It's annoying as heck and in some cases to difficult child's detriment but I'm pretty sure they are not inclined to follow anyone or succumb to peer pressure. They are simply such stone heads that they will do what they believe and no one will convince them otherwise. Those that think that if their kids can do something at 5 indicates they are going to be exceptional are pretty much kidding themselves. I'm not talking prodigy. Those kids are rare and are inclined to find their way with or without parental help. I'm pretty sure that we have seen only one or two prodigy's on this site. They have unique parenting needs. So if playing Mozart to your baby in utero makes a new mom think she is making a super baby- go for it. It doesn't hurt but I'm pretty sure it does not create prodigies.

    Certainly keeping them unexposed to stimuli is a proven negative. It makes sense that the other extreme would be equally negative. So where is the middle ground?

    My difficult child's hyperactivity really showed itself once difficult child didn't have the restraint of not walking. Once limitations were overcome he had no boundaries and he didn't set them himself.He was an exuberant baby and he set about exploring the world with same enthusiasm and lack of cause and effect or fear. I set the concern for difficult child at 8 months. He had the first of 4 febrile seizures. I don't know if that triggered the change but it was my first experience that difficult child was different. Until then we often said we were "blessed" by such a sunny, good natured baby. It was less and less a sunny experience as difficult child was more mobile. He never walked, he lurched and ran. I don't think that I overstimulated him to tell the truth but I just wondered about differences throughout time in babies,parents and the inability of my hyperactive child to not be able to focus enough on anything mundane to complete it. It always has to capture him to the point of hyperfocus for difficult child to actually invest himself in doing something.
    Oh well, I'm just thinking. </span>
     
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><span style='font-size: 11pt'>I know that making either of them play a musical instrument or a sport that they did not want to do, they would not do it. They are simply such stone heads that they will do what they believe and no one will convince them otherwise. So if playing Mozart to your baby in utero makes a new mom think she is making a super baby- go for it. </span> </div></div>

    Fran, I really got a chuckle out of that statement. The other day my easy child, 19, college student remarked to me that I didn't push her enough to take lessons in various things like language, musical instruments, etc. (NOT TRUE) and that she plans on making HER children take piano, dance, and spanish lessons as soon as they can walk talk or feed themselves. I just got the best laugh that day! I did all those things and then some - the bottom line was she wasn't interested enough to either stick with it or enjoy it, so why waste my money? She did things she enjoyed, most of which included beauty days and shopping - lol. I reminded her of the afterschool spanish classes, the gymnastic classes, the dance classes, the piano, guitar & flute lessons, etc. She just stared at me and said, "Hmm, I forgot about that."

    :slap:
     
  15. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    JoG it's that selective memory that they are going to do things better. More power to them. I get to sit back and watch. Hopefully neither of my son's will have a similar difficult child but I'm pretty sure they won't have easy going babies. Doesn't seem to be our genetics.
    I'm laughing about your difficult child's plan. Tell her to let us know how it's going.
     
  16. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    You know what's really funny, both boyfriend's she's had were little difficult child's, her first boyfriend was a big difficult child. I think she may be destined to have difficult child babies. LOL -

    I know it's not nice to laugh, but I can't help but see some irony in it. She's tried so hard to separate herself from difficult child's gfgness and make sure everyone knew she was the 'normal' daughter...it only seems fair that she have her own little difficult child! :wink:
     
  17. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran</div><div class="ubbcode-body">[size:11pt

    My difficult child's hyperactivity really showed itself once difficult child didn't have the restraint of not walking. Once limitations were overcome he had no boundaries and he didn't set them himself.He was an exuberant baby and he set about exploring the world with same enthusiasm and lack of cause and effect or fear. I set the concern for difficult child at 8 months. He had the first of 4 febrile seizures. I don't know if that triggered the change but it was my first experience that difficult child was different. Until then we often said we were "blessed" by such a sunny, good natured baby. It was less and less a sunny experience as difficult child was more mobile. He never walked, he lurched and ran. [/size]</div></div>

    Fran from this I wonder if all those expeditions you made to playgrounds, libraries, etc. were an effort to let him "burn off some steam". I would guess you were reacting to his actions rather than him reacting to the stimulus you provided. In other words he was the driving force. His igh activity level was there before the you started taking him to all the activities. Like you I am always looking for reasons. -RM
     
  18. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><span style='font-size: 11pt'>

    My difficult child's hyperactivity really showed itself once difficult child didn't have the restraint of not walking. Once limitations were overcome he had no boundaries and he didn't set them himself.He was an exuberant baby and he set about exploring the world with same enthusiasm and lack of cause and effect or fear. I set the concern for difficult child at 8 months. He had the first of 4 febrile seizures. I don't know if that triggered the change but it was my first experience that difficult child was different. Until then we often said we were "blessed" by such a sunny, good natured baby. It was less and less a sunny experience as difficult child was more mobile. He never walked, he lurched and ran. I don't think that I overstimulated him to tell the truth but I just wondered about differences throughout time in babies,parents and the inability of my hyperactive child to not be able to focus enough on anything mundane to complete it. It always has to capture him to the point of hyperfocus for difficult child to actually invest himself in doing something.
    Oh well, I'm just thinking. </span> </div></div>

    I haven't caught this thread til now, and this is something that runs thru my mind almost endlessly. What's different in our world now? Why are these kids like this?

    My difficult child 2 is identical to the above quote. He walked at 8 months and its been downhill from there.

    And I do think that what is good for some may be detrimental for others, and while some may say "stop", others with delays, I believe, may not. I also beleive there is probably little to no way to know at that age what's "best".

    I also wonder about "survival of the fittest". Back when family unity was required to survive, what happened to these kids? And while I'm really glad we have the miracle of modern medicine, how does our "tinkering" affect this? People who were infertile just 10 years ago are now able to have children. Babies born too early that wouldn't have survived, but now are, Those of us with severe allergies that may not have survived and do now, the list goes on and on. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad its there, I just wonder, is it a factor that "natural selection" is being eliminated?
     
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