My hiking app told me that Hayley and I hiked 3.5miles in The National Forest today. In my head I convert miles to km (the Swedish measurement for distance), 3.5mile is 5.6km. The next thing that happened in my head is that I measure 5.6km from the house I lived in as a child and think about how long bike ride 5.6 km is. It´s to my friend Sarah´s house. I don´t do this on purpose it happens automatically. Hayley and I hiked the distance from “my” house to Sarah´s house today. Except that the road to Sarah´s house was a highway, Hayley and I hiked on a narrow, rocky, mountain trail.
I recently become aware of this process in my head. If it´s a longer road that needs to be measured I have other preferences between different towns in Sweden that I lived in.
I wonder how many of my early childhood discoveries that still affects my everyday life now? One of the authorities I look up to when it comes to infant and early childhood development died last week. I´m talking about psychologist Daniel Stern. I first become familiar with his theories when I studied for my preschool teaching degree http://www.kau.se/ . Daniel describes a child´s learning process like a spider web with different overlapping layers, were new connections/threads are made every day. Threads that spread out in different directions, instead of thinking of the process like a stair that goes straight in one direction. I´m a visual person that thinks in pictures (many of you probably already figured that out.) I really like thinking of all the new connections that takes place in my child´s brain like a spiders web, it´s very easy to picture.
According to Stern, Hayley would now be in the second of four main senses of self. She would be in the phase of developing a “core self” (2-6months old.) Gaining awareness of her own features (like when Hayley flirts with strangers at the store just to see their reactions) and start bonding with caregivers on a new level. This is a very important phase of an infant´s development; ruptures in this phase can according to Stern be a factor in borderline disorders. At this age the child learns whether she can trust her parents/caregiver to see to her needs or not.
The way I see it, it is one of life’s greatest blessings to be by our children´s side while their web expands and gets bigger and bigger. And to offer our children the right amount of positive stimuli based on their personality and development.
I would like to know how Hayley will measure distance as an adult. Will it be measured by the length of her favorite trail? The road to the ice cream place? Or something completely different?
I can highly recommend every parent with children under four to read Daniel Stern book The Interpersonal World of an Infant. You climb in to an infant´s world and follow him closely as he discovers his universe. Stern describes everything the child experience with many colors and different angles. He had five children of his own, was a psychiatrist and psychoanalytic theorist with a passion for young children’s development – he knew what he was talking about. I like this book because it´s easy to read, a bit challenging and offer a lot of new thoughts (I think of new things every time I read it.) You don´t need a PHD to understand the content. I read the book several times and I will read it again as Hayley enters different phases of development.
Interested? You can buy it here http://www.amazon.com/Interpersonal-Infant-Psychoanalysis-Developmental-Psychology/dp/0465095895.
If you already read it or decide to read it I would love to hear your thoughts about the book.