We had the good fortune of connecting with Kira Solomatova and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kira, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I teach Parent-Infant Guidance Classes based on the Educaring approach (RIE®). I work with both babies and their parents in our cozy RIE® Pasadena studio. RIE® (pronounced “rye”) is the acronym for Resources for Infant Educarers®, a non-profit (501c3) co-founded by Magda Gerber and pediatric neurologist Tom Forrest, M.D. in 1978.
In my classes, we talk about parenting with respect. When people hear the word “respect” they react differently: many nod their heads because ‘respect’ seems like a good word and a good thing to do, while some are surprised to hear the word respect in connection to a baby or to a parenting approach. My wish (or hope) is to make the word “respect” less abstract and more tangible: what can we do to demonstrate respect towards babies?
I think respecting other people is not always easy. Respecting babies is even harder because they don’t talk and because many grownups don’t view babies as a whole person.
How we can demonstrate respect to a baby? We can start with letting the baby know about everything that concerns him: turning the light off, picking him up, exiting the room, going to the doctor. We can involve the baby in everyday routines: diaper change, dressing up, eating, etc.
I believe that this kind of relationship can create a new pattern for the whole world and will result in the butterfly effect. All of us could benefit from a new level of relationships and connection with the people around us.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I vividly remember my childhood from a very young age. I often think about events, people, and how they affected who I am today. Observing myself and other people was always fascinating to me. For example, I remember having a meltdown at the age of three: my grandma held me and walked with me around the room; my mom ran after grandma, frantically looking at my face, asking grandma what was going on with me. I thought, “My goodness, mom is very concerned and worried about me” and at that moment I realized that I couldn’t remember why I was crying so hard. “Wait,” I thought, “My mom is so concerned that I can’t just stop crying now – I need to keep going.” I often think about these kinds of memories and how children’s minds work differently than our minds as adults, and how it’s easy to forget how we were at a very young age. At the age of seven, I decided to become a teacher.
When I started working with children and families I noticed right away how easy it was to build a relationship with some children while it was more difficult with other children who had conflicts with the people around them. The more I observed, the more I came to a realization that teachers, including myself, had a lack of knowledge in this area, which pushed me to learn more about child development. I started actively studying child development, reading books, and observing children’s interactions. There was a lot of perseverance involved, trying various approaches and reading different philosophies. It was only when I found Magda Gerber’s Educaring Approach that the missing piece of the puzzle fell into place. It changed my entire life. Not only did it change my professional life, but it also helped me become a more authentic individual and find my equilibrium in life.
It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I decided to take my career path into my own hands and work with parents and babies on a more personal level to help parents implement the RIE Educaring Approach in their everyday lives. Today, I feel like I can give support to parents with young children: help them to connect, observe, slow down and be present when they are interacting with their babies.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
On a beautiful sunny day, I would take my friend to the Arboretum, the gardens of Huntington Library, wander the streets of Bungalow Heaven and hike to the mountains in Eaton Canyon. At these places, you can find the most unusual and unexpected plants and observe some beautiful wildlife. On a day that is particularly hot or rainy, we could visit the Norton Simon or Getty Museum.
After a long day of exploring, we would go out for sushi at Kabuki – I went to this place thirty years ago in 1991 when it was just a new place with a very simple design and I continue to be a loyal fan.
I would also want my friend to meet Ruth Anne Hammond, my amazing colleague, friend, and mentor. Ruth Anne has the special skill of listening to your opinion without making you feel judged in any way.
And finally, if we have time, we could rent a cabin in Big Bear for a day or two, which would give us the opportunity for more hiking, more nature, more observation, and more opportunity to slow down!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Ruth Anne Hammond – is an amazing friend and mentor; she has the unique skill of listening to your opinion without making you feel judged in any way. Ruth Anne Hammond looks deeply into every question and is ready to see them from different angles. I recommend Ruth Anne Hammond because she supports families and babies and shares respect, calmness, and love. She is truly a magnificent person.
Ariel Cannon, Nicola Borland, Margaret Gruesbeck, and Irina Popa