What does play look like for a newborn?



(Photo via Donnie Ray Jones, Flickr Creative Commons)

Recently during a Facetime chat with baby J. and his abuelos, grandfather, noticing J.’s play space, remarked, “¿Qué? ¿No le compráis juguetes? (Don’t you guys buy him any toys?)

Con E., siempre la teníais en la taca taca, o con un juguete colgado en el cochecito. (With E., you guys always had her in the baby walker, or with a bunch of toys hanging in her stroller.)

So, what’s changed for us the second time around?

Thanks to Magda Gerber’s philosophy of respectful infant care, as well as the work of play advocates like psychologist Peter Gray, preschool teacher and blogger Teacher Tom, child delopment professor David Elkind, and RIE associates/bloggers Janet Lansbury and Lisa Sunbury (among others!), I have come to understand what play really is and why it’s important for children of all ages, including a newborn.

Wait, what?


Yes, from the day they enter the world!

So, what does play look like for a newborn? And, what is a parent’s role? Continue reading

From day one: bodily autonomy and consent


(Photo via Mirra Photography, Flickr Creative Commons)

¡Feliz viernes, amig@s!

You’re probably no stranger to the recent news surrounding the US presidential elections, and specifically the track record of candidate Donald Trump: allegations of sexual assault, lewd comments about women caught on tape in 2005, which have sparked intense backlash from both men and women, in and outside the political sphere.

One response in particular caught my attention last week: Canadian author Kelly Oxford tweeted about her first sexual assault at age 12. Her tweet led to a flood of women tweeting their own stories, demonstrating once again that even in 2016 we are still dealing with a culture of rape.

What do Trump, sexual assault, and rape culture have to do with parenting? A lot actually.

Bodily autonomy and consent:

We teach them to our children from the day they are born.

As parents of young children reading the latest headlines, we may be resigned to feeling helpless (“So, this is the world my children are destined to live in.”), or to falsely thinking we have 10 or 15 years until we have to “have the talk” with our teenage children.

I’d like to offer an alternative option.

I believe there are practical, everyday, steps we parents can take now, when our children are young, so that they grow up to be adults who not only respect their own bodies but those of others.

Be encouraged, friends. Continue reading

Please, thank you, & I’m sorry: teaching morals to young children


(Photo via artethgray, Flickr Creative Commons)

Recently a friend of mine posted a faith-based article entitled “Should I make my child apologize” on social media, and I had the privilege to respectfully and honestly dialogue with her on-line.

Since the issue of manners and morality is one that concerns all parents, secular or religious, I thought I’d invite you all to join in the virtual conversation with my friend and me through today’s blog post.

My hope is that this post is filled with respect and humility since I know the topic of disciplining children is a sensitive one.

I want to reiterate that the purpose of this post (and, the blog as a whole) is to process my own parenting journey and to explain to others the “why” behind the decisions D. and I have made for our family.

I also hope that everything I write here serves to prompt an honest and authentic dialogue with any reader who might feel led to comment.

So, let’s jump right to it! Should we make our children apologize (or, say please and thank you, or share, etc.)?

Continue reading

Is he a good baby?…& other questions about life with two children


¡Feliz sábado, amig@s! And, happy September! (How is it already September?)

This summer has flown by as D. and I have been adjusting to being a family of four, finding our new normal. Baby J. is already nine weeks. Two months?!

These past two months have also afforded me time to reflect on my life as mamá to a toddler and infant with all of the well wishes, congratulations, and…questions I’ve gotten from friends and family. What’s it like with two?, I’m asked often.

I’m actually thankful for all of the questions because they’ve got me thinking deep and hard about my parenting. Today I’d like to share a few of the most common questions I’ve gotten over the past few weeks and then offer alternative ones that I think are more respectful and productive in how we view babies.

Since so many other parents and child experts have written more eloquently than I ever could on these topics, I’ve included links to articles and blog posts in case you’re interested in learning more.

I look forward to keeping the conversation going, friends.

Happy weekend!

Continue reading

A Day in the Life: a snapshot of our daily routine


{Photo courtesy Fernando Tomás, Flickr CC}

Lately I’m asked how the transition has been from one to two children. Besides the lack of sleep and constant nursing, our home life and daily routines have pretty much remained the same: slow, simple, and rhythmic. I’m so thankful for the wisdom of RIE founder Magda Gerber when it comes to how to structure your day with infants and young children.

While our family is still slowly easing into a daily rhythm as a unit of four, and while newborns require you to be flexible, here is a look into a day in the life of the Kratovils:

You’ll notice two characteristics to our daily life, both inspired by the writings of RIE founder, Magda Gerber (pardon the long quotations, but they’re so good!): Continue reading

Reflections from postpartum, round 2


Friends! In case you haven’t been following me on social media you may have missed the great news: we welcomed baby boy J. to our family on June 28! (That explains my long absence around the blog. I think it’s a pretty good excuse, if you ask me.)

Already a month old, he’s packing on weight like a campeón, grunting like a little old man, and enjoying the moving shadows on the blank wall next to the changing table.

That last one: watching the light on the wall from the changing table. A fine, but important, detail about my son that I completely missed postpartum with E.

I attribute my noticing J.’s intense fascination with a blank wall – and my not shoving baby rattles and mirrors in his face – to the fact that going from one to two kids is so much easier than becoming a mom for the first time. Not easy, just easier than. Continue reading

On my bedside table {current reads}


(Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn, Flickr CC)

Oh, wow, it’s been a while since I last blogged. Sorry for the radio silence, amigos. It’s been a rough two months with this pregnancy, but I’m feeling much, much better now, and I’m glad to be back again around the blog. The upside to spending a few weeks on quasi-bedrest is that I got to READ!

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you might remember that one of the running series here is “on my bedside table:” books, articles, and other blog posts I’m reading and recommend. Continue reading