This week has been like summer. I know that there’s no need to weather report, but I can’t help it, because I’m finding it deliciously warm. Maybe that’s what’s toasting my brain. Although it’s more likely this end stage of pregnancy. My brain is going to mush. I feel like I’m on some low-level drug which numbs it so that nothing really matters. From the shelf that’s standing smack bang in the middle of the passage, to what’s for dinner tonight (takeout). It’s like I’ve gone very strangely inward and introvert. I can’t even bring myself to leave the house today. Luckily for a couple of contractions last night my hubbie agrees. So finally I’m getting a day of maternity leave, real maternity leave. I could do this more often. No lifts, no cooking and…well I did try shop online, but Pick n’Pay has a new website and I couldn’t log in, so no shopping too!

I’ve been keeping my mind a bit busy though reading a book that my sister-in-law highly recommended, along with Oprah. Child Sense – How to Speak Your Baby’s Language: the Key to Successful Parenting from Birth to Age 5, by Priscilla Dunstan.

Her two main themes are – BABY LANGUAGE and the SENSORY WORLD OF CHILDREN

I’ve had children for the last eight and a half years and I haven’t explored these two topics seriously at all. Even though every single Prince has sensory integration issues.

So for all moms with babies out there – BABY LANGUAGE. You can decipher what your baby is saying if you listen out for 5 ‘pre-cry’ sounds that signal babies 5 most important needs. (EG. Neh is ‘I’m Hungry’.) Dunstan identifies them and you can look them up on this link – where she appears on the Oprah show. It’s a fun link and really worth watching and spreading to anyone with babies. (If the link doesn’t work just google key words Priscilla Dunstan Baby Language Oprah.) It’s worth a try. PLEASE comment if the baby language works or doesn’t work for you. It’s every mothers dream to understand what their baby is actually crying about. How many times have I wished that I could understand what my babies were saying when they were screaming their heads off.

Next, and this is the special emphasis of Dunstan’s book, is the dominant sense which babies and children interact with the world. It could be Auditory, Tactile, Visual or Taste/Smell. She goes into great detail outlining each of these senses so that you can place which one is your child’s dominant sense. So for example my two Princes are Tactile dominant. This means that they learn through movement (surprise, surprise). They need plenty of touch and I know (now) if I want them to listen to me, they will hear me a lot better if I place my hand on their shoulder and give them a gentle squeeze. They’re very social and love active sport. They learn and explore through touch, so if I want Prince No. 1 to learn his Hebrew words, he’ll learn it better if I give him the hebrew word as a tangible object eg. a carrot. They would learn their letters by making them out of play dough rather than just reading them off a board. It’s a very different way of learning to the Auditory, Visual or Taste/Smell child.

Prince No. 2 is Auditory I’ve discovered. Which is why he’s so crestfallen when I raise my voice sharply. It’s also why he can be overwhelmed by lots of noise and things going on and therefor withdraws inwards when this happens. Being an Auditory child he loves music, song and dancing, and when he’s out of his shell chatters non stop with a running commentary. He learns through hearing, an ideal child for our school environment.

Of course there’s a lot more detail in the book. And I do think children can be strong in a couple of the senses. I know that Prince No. 1 is also very visual. But he’s definitely dominant in his Tactile sense.

The book also has a quiz for parents to see what their dominant sense is. It’s not so easy to place oneself however. I can’t figure out if I’m predominantly tactile or visual. It helps to know what you are because Dunstan goes into how the different senses can clash, for example a tactile parent who shows love through touching to an auditory child will not reach the child, because the child wants to be listened to. This can lead to clashes. She covers this all in great detail, with great tips and practical advice. From how to put your child to sleep, to their eating and playing times. I highly recommend this book to all parents. I’ve certainly gained a better understanding of myself and the Princes.

I’ve downloaded Play School songs (Play School is a wonderful Australian children’s program which I used to LOVE as a child) off iTunes for my Auditory Prince, and I’ve been hugging and kissing my Tactile Princes with great success, it certainly calms them. I’ve learnt to sing instructions to my Auditory Prince and to throw balls to the Tactile Princes when I want their attention. Little things like that make things run smoother. (But don’t worry Power Hour is still a stress, I’d cancel homework to make those couple of supper, bath and bedtime hours go smoother. I think it’s definitely worth looking into the benefits of making children have long school hours plus homework. If there are any that is.)

So book club Child Sense. Look up Priscilla Dunstan. Her story alone as a mum (an Australian mum btw) and what she discovers is interesting enough. I love it when moms find their way through their children. A bit like me really, a bit like all of us…