Family Featured Parenting

How I Really Got Here

March 11, 2016

A few months ago I wrote about the Talk. Read. Sing.® program and just how important it is to a child’s development. If you need a refresher, this helpful program emphasizes a continuous dialogue between parent and child involving talking, reading, and singing. This makes it easier for parents to have access to the tools needed to help their children succeed, all suggested by First 5 California, a government sponsored program that promotes children’s early development.

Back in October, I was shocked to discover that research shows that 90% of a child’s brain develops in the first five years of life. (And 82% in the first three years alone.)

On the way to Fox’s doctor’s appointment last month I noticed that the bus next to us had a First 5 California banner on it, which gave me a much needed nudge to go back to the Talk. Read. Sing. page for a refresher. 

First 5 California - TheFebruaryFox.comLike every parent, I’m constantly mulling over my decisions and wondering if I’m doing the right thing for my son. 

I often reflect on my own childhood and what made me successful in becoming who I am today. I like to think I’m doing well for myself over here! Caring husband, a baby filled with more personality than I know what to do with, beautiful home, and my health. I don’t remember my parents having to strong-arm me into wanting to do well as a child. I made every honor roll, received the perfect attendance certificates… but I wasn’t raised in a strict environment. I just really loved the feeling I got when I was praised for doing well.

So how did they manage to make me want to be the best I could without making me feel like I was forced?

I believe that steering me in the direction of delving into books, listening to music, and showing enthusiasm for my achievements made me continue down the path of success.

It kind of reminds me of that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the women of the family have to convince Toula’s dad to let her work at the travel agency, but they have to make him think it’s his idea first!

Plus, I had to learn to make decisions on my own terms in order to have the sense to apply them later in life when I no longer had someone to hold my hand.

So that’s the plan. Let Fox be whoever he wants to be while guiding him through important stages of his life with eager enjoyment and support. We will continue to talk, read, and sing with him, expanding his brain power and creativity day-by-day.

Just yesterday I walked into my bedroom and Tyler was playing his acoustic guitar to Fox. It was the sweetest moment, with Fox dancing around and reaching up every once in awhile to strum the guitar himself. A few seconds later I really listened to the song and realized Tyler was playing Limp Bizkit – haha – we’re taking it one day at a time.

First 5 California - TheFebruaryFox.comFirst 5 California - TheFebruaryFox.comI encourage you to take a peek at the First 5 California activity page to learn more about what they have to offer, including free coloring book downloads, PDFs of books and cookbooks, and more helpful information.

Is there anything your parents instilled in you as a child that you feel helped you become who you are today?


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  • Reply Olivia Youngs March 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I love this post, Sarahbeth! I was raised in a very similar environment- and I’m only now realizing how beneficial it was for me. We have the same goals for Evie and Mara. And I LOVE that he was playing Limp Bizkit 😉 that’s definitely something Aj would do.

    • Reply Sarabeth McElhaney March 12, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m so excited to see how all of our babies grow and become their own little people 🙂

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