Next up on my RIE reading list was Respecting Babies: A New Look at Magda Gerber's RIE Approach by Ruth Anne Hammond. It was another concise overview of the RIE approach, with a lot of additional personal details and stories from the author's experience. I especially enjoyed the in-depth biography of Magda as well as all the scientific references and footnotes for each chapter.
Trained with magda and rented space from church for new center
Teaches at pacific oaks college in Pasadena
RIE training process
Part 1 building security and creating cooperation through respectful interactions
1 touch with care
Hands are everything to the baby. Touch gently and move slowly. Take into account baby position and responses.
Implicit memories created in infant by early touch which influence self view in rest of life
Speak to child to prepare him. I want to pick u up now to get bath started. Then hold out hands for nonverbal cue. Then wait for small muscular adjustment of cooperation before picking up.
Choreography for picking up baby
Infant in quiet alert state
Adult speaks quietly about what is happening and waits for a response
Adult gives full attention
Preset all needed equipment. If baby hungry, better to let stay with discomfort than to prepare food holding baby in one arm.
Adult does not feel rushed. Use the toilet first. Slow down.
Adult has skill in handling moving baby. Baby calls shots about position and movement. Diaper change on tummy or standing if that's what kid wants.
Relationship more important than task. No distraction. Ok if during painful procedure but should be honest and of kids choosing. I guess you can't choose right now so I'll choose for you and I'm going to pick you up now.
2 round the clock routines
Infants thrive on boring sameness and routines
Partner dance metaphor of routine and leading and following cues
Adults should adjust their lives not infants since infants need regularity
Minimize car trips. Necessary evil. Rearrange own life to not waste baby time with errands.
Include infant in the conversation with the grocer
The curriculum is what happens
Naps at 9 and 1 and for young babies at 4
Put to bed before overtired
Put to bed when rubbed eyes or yawned once
If hard time falling asleep, put to bed even earlier next time
Sleep time is not playtime. Act bored during night wakings.
Feeding. Adults decide what and when and kids decide if and how much. Weaning chair from pikler institute. Don't use food to transition from one activity or place to another. I will give you more banana when you are sitting on your stool.
3 setting stage: make the environment a partner
Modular climbing equipment
Learn to move on hard surfaces like thin rug or wood floor
Freedom of movement means no flat head even if placed on back to play
Open wooden 18” cubes for toy shelves or climbing
A little boredom inspires initiative
Don't always change toys all the time. Wait to see lack of interest after a while and change slowly.
3-4 objects per child
Don't over decorate play area. Simple small amount of artwork. Place u would enjoy. avoid childish murals or big primary colors.
Quiet observation. Wait until child looks at u before speaking. Excess chatter hard to continually block out.
Music exposure of different styles and rhythmic patterns from time to time good. Best to make the music yourself by singing or playing the music yourself
Bed inside and outside. No bad weather, just wrong clothes.
Walks with guide at older age fully led by child's pace and interest.
4 talk to babies. language and literacy from day one
Talk about immediate experience
Wait for baby response after u communicate
Be authentic in matching ur language and emotions and facial expressions. If ur not happy don't pretend
Don't interrupt play just to teach words
Timing of onset of spoken word is random. No pressure on child to say things or perform. Modeling of pragmatics.
Can you ask with a nicer voice? It makes me angry when you yell at mommy.
Individual reading time after morning diaper change. Read to child and tell them you are reading.
5 setting limits that make sense
Selective intervention: red/green/yellow light
I'd like you to keep your giggles quieter please do we do not bother X
Swift calm early action to enforce limits
Offer choice where ur satisfied either way
Child must save face
Give yourself or child space to reboot or settle down alone if too angry
Always adult responsibility to build bridge back to peace after disruption with child. Invite to read a book or get drink of water.
Part 2 initiative integrity autonomy
6 freedom of movement and self awareness
Don't put baby in position cannot get into or out of himself
Carry horizontally until can sit up himself
Cross lateral movement of crawling important for brain development
7 play as an expression of personhood
Play is for play's sake only
Allow finding his own hands by not hanging toys above him
See through partially inflated beach ball
Good toy ideas
When can walk go for real walks without stroller
Outdoor play good. Get dirty. Get wet. Be exposed to germs better in long run.
8 babies and toddlers together
Need support and information not judgment
Allow conflict and experimentation as long as doesn't affect safety
Allow contact between infants and narrate what's happening. If someone upset, then can intervene while showing appreciation and calm
If want to touch another's face, say gentle and softly and demonstrate and offer doll if wants to pull hair or touch eyes
Just be near and don't rush to separate infants. Don't be anxious. Being with others is peaceful and pleasurable.
Let go of notions of ownership or forced sharing
Narrate feelings and offer duplicate toy
Ur responsible for adult sized problems and kids take care of their own
Reflect the feelings but don't solve the problem
Avert conflict and safety issues through sportscasting
Be proactive and firm to stop serial grabbing/stealing. Shadow the child to intervene early. No judgment. I won't let you hurt anyone or anyone hurt you. I won't let you take the you away from X. You can give it back or I can help you give it back. I wonder what else there is here for you to play with.
9 learning to pay attention: entertainment vs engagement
Take away toy during diaper change
Sportscast or talk when baby looks at you during play. Otherwise don't interrupt.
I heard from Ryan Holiday in his latest newsletter about The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. I thought the title was humorous, and I didn't think the book would be that serious. However, it turned out to cover several serious and useful topics like Stoicism and finding out your true values in life.
The point of the book is not about being indifferent or not caring about anything; the point is to only care about the very small number of things that really matter to you (core values) and not sweating the small stuff about anything else. I liked how the chapter titles and main messages were very much contrarian to typical positive-thinking psychology stuff out there. I also identified a lot with the concepts of realizing how much you suck and aren't special and how constant learning and growth and failure is part of life ("you're wrong throughout your life because you're always growing and learning... just trying to be less wrong each day than before").
1 don't try
Wanting positive experience is a negative experience. Accepting negative experience is a positive experience.
Only focus on the true important things
Subtlety 1: not about being indifferent. It's being ok being different. Willingness to stare failure in face. Fuck it to everything unimportant in life.
Subtlety 2: first find what to give a fuck about. Find something meaningful.
Subtlety 3: you're always choosing what to give fuck about
2 happiness is a problem
Life itself has suffering. Pain and failure inherent.
Disappointment panda. Tell truths hardest to hear. Suffering biologically useful.
Problems never go away. Solution of one creates another.
Happiness comes from solving problems not eliminating
Emotions are overrated. Biological signals to nudge you. Question them.
Hedonic treadmill. Everything involves sacrifice.
Choose what pain u want to deal with because every path has it.
Joy is not in summit but climb itself
3 you are not special
Things fall apart
Not that great and not that horrible
Ordinary things are what actually matter
4 value of suffering
Self awareness onion
1 Actually know own emotions
2 Ability to ask why
3 Personal values
Values determine ur problems
Good values are reality based and controllable
5 major values
Contemplation of own mortality
5 you are always choosing
You are responsible for the problem
You choose how to respond to events
Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense. U always get to choose.
Not about cards u r dealt but choices u make
6 ur wrong about everything but so am I
Wrong throughout ur life because always growing and learning
Just trying to be less wrong each day than before
Testing ur beliefs is scary
Certainty enemy of growth
Ppl find patterns in randomness and believe they r right
Tend to Avoid opportunities that threaten to change ur view of self or identity
See yourself in simple identity not in narrow unique way.
Be less certain of self. What if I'm wrong? What would it mean if I'm wrong? Would being wrong create worse or better problem?
Much more likely ur screwed up than everyone else
7 failure is way forward
Just do something
Action can be cause of motivation
8 importance of saying no
Rejection makes ur life better
9 and then u die
What will u leave after ur gone
Nothing to be afraid of
Accept own death