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Infant - Week #27

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Stacking Cups and Overcoming Guilt

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Baby's Development
           At nearly seven months, your baby is beginning to leap out of your arms to reach for things she wants.  Her mind is very busy and her body is starting to keep up.  Her hands and mind are interconnected.  She will make greater connections to the world around her if you give her opportunities to explore using a hands-on approach.  Give her toys that she can explore to help her figure out how things work independently and also in conjunction with other objects.  The following is a list of activities you and your baby can do together using stacking cups, also known as nesting cups.  The ideas are not bound to only these twenty.  If while playing with your baby you come up with a different activity, go with the flow.  Teachers call those "teachable moments."  The overall purpose of these activities is for your baby to begin learning important skills and for your baby to feel pleasure from your encouragement and praise.

       Twenty Stacking Cup Activities Your Baby will Love
  1. Stack the cups from smallest to largest and largest to smallest.  Which one seems easier for your baby to knock over?
  2. Order the cups in front of your baby from tallest to largest so each cup touches the next.  Walk her hand up and down the steps you just created.  Do you think she senses the upward or downward motion?
  3. Line up the set of stacking cups.  Hide an object under one or all the cups for your baby to discover.  As an alternative, stack the cups upward with a hidden object under each one.  When your baby knocks the tower over, she will find the hidden treasures.  Does she acknowledge the hidden objects?
  4. Tape circular pictures inside each stacking cup for your baby to discover.  Does your baby find them intriguing?
  5. Use the upside down stacking cups as mini drums.  Can she use an object to bang them together?
  6. Place a stacking cup on one of your baby's hands.  Let her explore it with her other hand.  Can she pull the cup off her hand?
  7. Place a stacking cup on each hand.  Do they stay on very long?  If so, is she able to bang them together?
  8. Line the cups up in front of her.  Use a plastic golf ball to demonstrate how to toss the ball into an open cup.  Give her the ball.  Does she make a hole-in-one?  If so, show praise for her accomplishment.
  9. Cover one of her ears with a stacking cup.  Say "I love you, (name)."  Then cover the other ear, then both ears, repeating the same phrase each time.  The last time repeat without covering.  This activity will give her an idea of how sounds vary and that her ears are important for hearing.  How did she react to having her ears covered?
  10. What attributes does a stacking cup have?  Does it roll?  Does it have flavor?  Does it make a sound when it is dropped?  Does it float or sink?  Experiment with your child.  What did she discover?
  11. Using a small blanket or cloth, partially hide an object underneath.  Is your baby able to locate and uncover the hidden object?
  12. Use the stacking cups in the bathtub to pour and scoop water.  Is she interested in playing with the stacking cups, or is she more interested in splashing around in the water itself?
  13. Build a pyramid using the stacking cups.  Discuss concepts of colors, numbers, etc. to guide your construction.  About how long does it stand before she grabs it to explore?
  14. If your cups have numbers on them, trace the numbers with her index finger as you say the number.  Then count up to that number together and show her how many using your fingers.  Let her grab your fingers so she can feel the quantity.  Is she interested in your finger representation of each number?
  15. Lay on your belly in front of your baby.  Place a stacking cup on your head as if it were a hat.  Sing "Mommy's got a hat on her head.  Mommy's got a hat on her head.  Get Mommy's hat."  Does she reach or try to knock the hat off your head?
  16. Color match each stacking cup to a corresponding paper circle.  Name the color and give an example of something that color represents.  For example, "Red.  An apple is red."
  17. Obtain a set of Little People farm animals.  Arrange the stacking cups in front of your baby and place a different animal under each cup.  Sing "Old MacDonald" and when you get to "Old MacDonald had a ..." encourage your baby to lift up a cup to reveal the animal you will sing about.  Continue singing and let your baby play with the animal during that animal's portion of the song.
  18. Place your baby in her highchair.  Arrange the stacking cups in front of her with a bib, a jar of food, some finger foods, etc. under each cup.  As she lifts up each cup, she will further conclude that it is time to eat, and she will discover what items are on the menu.
  19. Go on a nature hunt and use the stacking cups to collect treasures.  Collect grass, small harmless bugs, flowers, etc.  Talk about each one as you add to your collection; just be careful she doesn't attempt to eat her treasures.
  20. Once your baby begins to crawl, place the stacking cups around the room with a baby toy under each one.  Encourage her to crawl around and find each one discovering its contents.


  From a Parent's Perspective
           These twenty activities were very quick and required very few additional items.  My daughter belly laughed many times while we were singing and playing "Old MacDonald."  I am still not exactly sure what she found hysterical but something definitely tickled her funny bone. Then I began wearing the cups as hats.  She was not sure what to think about the stacking cup on my head.  I could tell she wanted it but wasn't sure if she was supposed to go after it.  One suggestion would be to make sure your hair is pulled back out of the way or your hair will become entangled in those precious little fingers.  We also worked on pouring, scooping, floating, and sinking in the bath, which she enjoyed.  My older daughter played as well.  She experimented with placing other bath toys in an open stacking cup.  Her goal was to see how many toys it would take to make the cup sink.  Then she began nesting just the cups together to see how many cups it would take to sink them all.  How many did it take?  Well, you'll have to experiment with your little one(s) to find out the answer to this one.  Have fun laughing, bonding, and learning together!


  Parents Are Not Superheroes
           Discussing what works and what does not work with other parents can give you strength and encouragement to keep your chin up during times when you feel life is beginning to  drag you down.  If you were engaged in a conversation between a group of stay-at-home moms and a group of professional working moms regarding the pros and cons of each role, you most likely would either leave the conversation feeling extremely depressed or pleasantly satisfied with the role you play in the family.  Whatever your feelings would be, just remember that you are special and unique and your role is extremely important to you and your family; so keep your head held high and challenge yourself to think positively about what you must do each day to keep your family functioning successfully.  Even if parents were given the superhero gifts of transformations, rocket boosters, and rescue powers, they would still require the necessary time it would take to implement those special skills.  The bottom line is balance.  Celebrate your achievements and strive to improve your shortfalls.  You wear many hats; prioritize them accordingly and wear them well!

       At some point or another, every mother will come down with an awful case of Guilty Mom Syndrome.  Guilty Mom Syndrome consists of a stomach that flip-flops, a heart that aches, and watery eyes that can ruin even the best application of make-up.  Unfortunately, there is no absolute cure for the condition as a whole, but instead there are mental exercises you can do daily to help eliminate the onset of some or all of these symptoms.  Are you following so far? If so, pay very close attention and the tips and tricks provided below might give you ideas on ways to feel better about having to leave Little Johnny behind when you head off to work, run an errand, or head out one evening for a little adult time.

       Tips and Tricks
  • If you drop your child off in the mornings, make it a habit to prepare your child's diaper bag the evening before to help eliminate rushing around in the morning.  Your child will pick up on your stress and anxiety.
  • If you drop your child off and she is crying as you leave, keep in mind that most likely the crying will be short lived and she will soon be distracted and off to something else.
  • Spend a few quiet minutes with your child each morning before you head off to work.  Your memory of your last cuddle time will give you something positive to hold on to throughout the day.
  • Leave your little one with someone you trust whole-heartedly.  Your instincts and other's experiences go a long way.
  • Ask your daycare provider to only make you aware of the "big" important squabbles or issues throughout the day.  If you constantly hear about EVERYTHING that happens, you will begin to feel even guiltier about your absence and even more insecure about your choice of childcare.
  • Hugs, kisses, turn, and leave.  Do not show your guilt and do not prolong leaving.   Your child will pick up on your hesitation and turn it into his/her insecurity.
  • If you begin to feel the onset of Guilty Mom Syndrome, take a deep breath, take an antacid, be thankful you wore your waterproof mascara, and attempt to crack a smile even if it is fake!


Starting a Mom's Group
By Alicia Magee, edHelperBaby

           Finding other mom's with babies within the same age group as your own is a great way to learn more about typical child development and can be a very enjoyable way to make new friends. These moms can be a great resource for ideas on issues you may be having with your baby from sleep schedules and solid foods to good day cares and baby sales. It is also a good way to keep you smiling and laughing at the challenges and mishaps, as well as a great place to share funny baby stories that only others with babies can appreciate.  Here ideas for starting a Mom's Group:
  1. Members: Many area hospitals, church groups, local newspapers or Internet meeting sites are great places to start looking if you do not already have a group. You can also start with just a friend or two and grow the group as you all meet other moms looking for friendship and support.
  2. Meeting Times: Weekly meeting times can be a great way to host your mom's group. Weekend brunches or afternoons can accommodate both working and stay-at-home moms. Weekday meetings are great gatherings for moms with more flexible schedules.
  3. Frequency: Some groups meet weekly, but if the group finds this is too much, keep the group together by being flexible. Meeting once or twice a month can be a great way to stay in touch and keep group unity.
  4. Locations: The group can take place at an area park, café, children's attraction such as the zoo or museum, or by simply rotating houses of the members. Seasonal events, such as open swim times, local gardens or farms, and children's concerts are another way to branch out with your group.
  5. Agendas: Some group meetings may have a specific topic or theme or the meeting may just be an informal gathering.  Many in the group might be dealing with the same issue and want to focus on specific suggestions, books or articles to help and inform the group. Inviting a guest speaker or attending a class as a group can be very helpful and informative.  Some groups may simply prefer to have everyone bring a snack, spread blankets on the floor for the babies to play and let mom's talk and share.
       Moms groups can be such a great help and resource, and also a place where lifelong friendships for both moms and children can blossom.       


Baby Loves Music!
By Alicia Magee, About my child Keenan

           Keenan is six months old now and he really enjoys music. We played music to him before he was even born and just an hour after his birth. Keenan listens to lullaby CDs,to mom and dad's favorites during the day and in the car and sings nursery rhymes daily. He loves the tinny, mechanized tunes on his baby toys, and he kicks his legs and shakes his whole body to the live music we heard at the park and a local block party recently. It is such a joy to see him get excited about music, and also to think about what music will mean to him as he grows.


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