News from the Executive Office

T. Berry Brazelton

When I think back to the time when my children were very young, and I consider the sources of help I turned to often, T. Berry Brazelton comes to mind. Along with Drs. (Benjamin) Spock and Penelope Leach, he was one of my go-to authors. Dr. Brazelton died at age 99 this week. I never got to tell him how much he contributed to my children’s health and wellbeing and to my peace of mind. He was my 24/7 pediatrician. Reading his obituary in The Boston Globe instantly brought back memories of trying to use “anticipatory guidance” and testing whether my newborn responded to my voice in the same way she responded to my mother’s or husband’s or neighbor’s.

Through the developmental stages of my children’s childhoods and my parenthood, I was relieved to learn from Brazelton about regressive behavior. He wrote in Touchpoints: Birth to Three: “Emotional, behavioral, motor, and language development all occur at their own pace but also affect each other. A child’s advances in any one of these areas are preceded by temporary backslides, or regressions, in the same area, or another. The cost of each new achievement can temporarily disrupt the child’s progress — and the whole family’s stability. Yet each of these disruptions also offers parents a chance to reflect, consider a change in direction, and grow along with the child.” It might have been hard to remember this lesson in the moment, but for an anxious and exhausted mom, truer words were never written!