First Three Years of Life: Check!

I haven’t written a blog post for something like six months to a year because frankly, I’ve been in depths of parenting myself. When my daughter was little, I was constantly consuming information about childhood brain development in the first three years of life. I was making all these connections between the bad behaviors I witnessed in the classroom as an inner-city behavior interventionist, and what the latest research said about the increasing lack of self-regulation in kids due to overstimulation and underdeveloped parts of the brain. I would wake up at ungodly hours with blog post ideas racing through my mind, and I couldn't sleep until I got them out of my brain and on to my blog. Right now it’s 4:31 am, and here I sit again wide awake, and it feels sooooo good to be excited about sharing again.

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve ever written, ever, then you know that the human brain grows 85% in the the first three years of life in the area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive function, learning, working memory and self-regulation (the ability to manage ones own thoughts, emotions and behavior). Well, guess what mommas… we are T-minus 23 days away from my daughter’s third birthday. I have (almost) made it! I am on the home stretch, rounding the bases. I have parented a child for almost three years, and have I ever nurtured that little brain into a full blown articulate, bilingual, self-regulating, reasonable, smart, even funny, big brain that is trying to figure out and make sense of this complicated world.

Also, if you know me at all, then you know that making it here was a HUGE struggle on my part June came out colicky, red-headed, fiery and ready to take on the world (aka me!) My boss wouldn’t let me come back to work after three months as originally planned because I was in such bad shape. I sat in her office with a 2-month-old June screaming her head off, and she said, “Yeah, why don’t you just come back next school year. You’ve got a lot on your plate.” I got shingles when she was four-months-old from physical exhaustion; my mom had to fly me home from Texas to Indiana so I could get some self-care. I thought the colic was bad, but I’d take it any day over the terrible-two’s; at least then she was a tiny baby that I could physically manage. I had to cancel a completely paid for trip to Mexico with my friends and kids AFTER CHECKING IN AT THE AIRPORT because she was melting down so badly, I literally couldn’t physically handle her. I’ve left multiple parks, birthday parties and neighborhood gatherings with a screaming, red-faced June under my arm. None of this is an exaggeration.

When people hear these stories, they are usually shocked. I guess because I founded a business that’s named Calma kids, one would think that I had a Calma kid of my own. Ha. Nope.

When I founded Calma in February of 2017, I never wanted it to be about parenting. I wanted the programming and trainings to strictly focus on managing classroom behavior because that’s what I knew, and that’s what I was good at doing. Personally, I was in an abyss of parenting struggle. Also, my daughter was only one-year-old at the time, so I didn’t want to be that know-it-all mom who was telling everyone else what to do with their children while struggling to manage my own.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by an amazing, very supportive, and very busy, group of mom (and dad) friends who convinced me to put together a parenting workshop. They encouraged me that even though I may suck as a mom myself, I had years of experience & training as a behavior interventionist, had consumed all the latest parenting books, was obsessed with childhood cognitive development research, and that they simply didn’t have more than a couple hours to learn what I knew. So, I did, and it’s been the most successful part of Calma kids thus far. Even still, I felt like a complete fraud. I was shocked when my friends showed up on Saturday mornings, and paid me actual money to learn what I had to share, and I would pray that the attending parents who didn’t know me personally would never see my parenting in action.

But now, almost three years later, here I sit, finally feeling like I'm getting the hang of this parenting thing. I’m definitely seeing the results of all this intentional parenting stuff from the first three years of life both by June’s intellect and behavior. And, now, I know I have something to share with other parents, as a parent, because I haven’t only been professionally trained, but I have experienced the struggle, and am now on the other side of it. Sure, June and I still have our bad moments, even bad days, and if she’s anything like me as a teenager, then I haven’t seen the worst of it. But, I’m out of the abyss, and excited to dive into the parenting side of Calma kids because calm & loving minds begin and end at home, and if my struggle can help ease yours, then we all win.