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Infant - Week #51

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Week 51: Sounds like fun

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           Your 51 week-old baby is lots of fun! By now, he is probably very mobile, either taking his first steps or cruising around with that perfected crawl. Even if he isn't taking steps yet, he's probably pulling himself up every chance he gets. With standing comes dancing! At 51 weeks, baby loves music and loves to dance. He's also really curious about sound. He likes to imitate all sounds and has begun to repeat some first words. "Dada" has been a common babble for awhile but is now being associated with Daddy after hearing this repeated with frequency. Also, "Mama" is being said since Mommy wouldn't be outdone by Daddy. Talk frequently with your 51 week-old and watch what you say at all times because those little ears are listening!


Creating Good Readers:
           The building block months for creating good readers are often considered to be from twelve months to thirty-six months. This is considered the pre-reading stage, a very important development period. Hopefully, you have already been enjoying story time with your little one-- but if not, it's never too late to start!


Book of the Week:
           Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?

       By: Dr. Seuss       

       This book is perfect for your 51 week-old baby. Just as he has begun to repeat sounds and really explore language, this book has fun with it. Through the pages, the reader gets to take a walk with the colorful Mr. Brown and investigate his world of sounds. Each page is engaging with colorful pictures and a fun sound to make, like "moo" or "splatt" and more. It is short enough for your squirmy guy since now that he is on the move, he doesn't like to sit for too long. The pages are short and the story keeps moving quickly.


           Have fun with sounds! You can make your own instruments out of items found around your home. One instrument that is a fun craft project to make is a shaker. Take an empty toilet paper tube and let your 51 week-old decorate it with crayons or paints while he sits in his high chair. Then fill the tube with Cheerios cereal instead of pasta or rice. This way, if the tube breaks open, there are no worries when he decides to eat the insides of his shaker! You can use two muffin liner papers to tape to the ends of the shaker to hold the cereal inside. When your baby moves it back and forth, he will love the sound of the cereal shaking inside.       

       Drag out the pots and pans and kitchen spoons, too. You will soon have your own marching band inside. It's a great way to keep your curious 51 week-old busy while you cook dinner. To explore sounds more, you can take your own Mr. Brown walk around the neighborhood. While you walk, point out everything to your baby. If you see a bird, say to him, "Look at the bird. The bird says, ‘Tweet-Tweet.' Can you say ‘Tweet'?" If you have a farm in your area, that's even better!


Rhyme Time:
           The classic "Old MacDonald had a Farm" is perfect for this week's sounds theme. Your baby will love the sing-song nature of this tune, and the animal sounds will be so much fun.       

       A new rhyme that is also enjoyable for this week is written by Jeff Foxworthy in his book, Dirt on my Shirt.

       It's called "Noises" and it goes like this:       

       "Boing, boing, boing" goes the happy kangaroo

       "Boing, boing, boing" goes the hoppy frog too

       "Yip, yip, yip" goes the puppy up the street

       "Tweet, tweet, tweet" goes our little parakeet

       "Ding-a-ling-a-ling" goes a fire truck in a hurry

       "Wah, wah, wah" goes my baby brother Murray


Evan's Opinion:
           Evan loved this book! Evan is always on the move, so when we read the book, I let him wander, but he kept coming back to laugh every time I made one of the silly sounds. The book is also sturdy cardboard, so he has been walking around with it all week (and sometimes tasting it). This activity was sibling-approved, too! Three-year old Alice loved it just as much as Evan.       

       He also loved making and playing with his shaker! I was surprised he knew exactly what to do with it when we were done. It did break open, but he just happily ate the Cheerios that dropped onto his tray.       

       We play rock band every night at dinner time, so this was nothing new to Evan. It's the only way I can get time to cook dinner. Evan loves to bang with a wooden spoon. He's also surprisingly aware of how the spoon sounds different when he hits different items. I am amazed at how smart he is when it comes to sound. He will even thump his hands on his high chair tray repeating a pattern I have thumped out. We spent countless minutes doing that all week. He got the biggest kick out of repeating my patterns. We also love putting on the music and dancing in the living room. It's great activity for him and me! Hopefully, the walking and dancing can help me shed those extra "Mommy pounds" I'm still holding onto!


You're probably wondering.....
           Question: "Is that really his first word?"       

       I know I wondered if Evan's "Mamamamamama" was really him calling for me. Of course, I wanted to believe he was seeking me, especially after hearing "Dada" for so long. I wondered if this babbling was really him naming people or items or just random sounds. Dr. Alan Greene, well-known pediatric expert and author, believes these early noises are not random. He thinks they are a process of imitating our language code. Research shows parents typically talk to young babies in single words like Momma. Experts say babies learn these words because they are used in isolation, not merely because of the frequency. So yes, your baby is calling you when he says "Mamamama"; he's responding to all the times you repeated your title with love.


Signing with Your Infant
By Lindsey Hill, edHelperBaby

           Signing with your infant can be beneficial and exciting for both parents and infants. Through sign language, infants are able to communicate their needs and wants, they may learn to speak earlier due to a better understanding of the language they speak and may also have above average intelligence abilities as they grow. Parents that sign with their infants may experience lower frustration levels, may hold deeper bonds due to an understanding of an infant's thoughts and may gain a higher level of trust from their infants. Since infants perfect the fine muscles in their hands prior to the muscles allowing them to speak, signing with your infant as you speak the words aloud makes sense. Signing turns those loud grunts and eager finger points into real "conversations".       

       You can choose the number of signs to teach your infant based on your own comfort level. The standard for most families begins with just three different signs, but some learn up to twelve or more. Once you have chosen the signs, however, consistency is the key. Show your child the sign each time as you say the word or do the activity.       

       The first signs to start with your child are the ones for your infant's needs such as "thirst" or "milk", "hunger" or "eat" and "more", "sleepy", or "hot/cold". You can also choose signs that are highly motivating to your child such as "Mommy", "Daddy" or "book". You can begin your own search using sign language dictionaries found at your public library, local bookstore, or on the Internet.

On the Run
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

        Parents cannot wait for their child to learn to walk. Walking is an amazing accomplishment and shows great growth. We are so proud of those first few steps and encourage this new ability. The first few steps quickly turn into a race around the house and when toys are added in, you have created an obstacle course. Just remember to have everything baby proof before your little one is mobile. You will need doorknob covers, gates, plugs for all of the outlets and locks for the cabinets. As well set as you may think you are, your baby will surprise you by finding his way into something he should not have. Do not feel like you were unprepared when these instances happen, but just fix it and move on. Babies are much smarter than many assume.

Baby Wearing
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           Baby slings are a very hip item these days but the idea of carrying your baby in a wrap as you maneuver the world of stores, work or home is a very old custom.       

       Baby wearing brings a closeness and a bond between mom OR dad and baby. Obviously, it frees up a parent's hands and enables the parent to get things accomplished. More importantly, it also, according to The Baby Book by Dr. Sears and Martha Sears, reduces crying and colic.       

       There are many different types of slings--all with their own unique way of tying in baby. There are questions to ponder before your first purchase:
  • Do you prefer your baby to be on your back
  • Do you want him or her to face you or face out
  • Will you be breastfeeding in the sling

       These are all legitimate questions.       

       Any baby sling representative or salesperson at a specialized baby store would be a good place to begin a parent's search for the right sling. La Leche League members would also know the right information to pass along. There is even an international website, www.thebabywearer.com, with links to articles, forums and local meetings.       

       For some parents, wearing their baby just is not for them and that is fine. There are many ways to bond with your child and using a sling is just one you might want to try.       


Worked for Me!
By Lindsey Hill, About my child Camden

           One of my favorite words to describe Camden, my ten month old, is talkative. He is not really saying many words other than the typical "Dada", "Mama", and "Baba", but I know when he needs something because he screams to get my attention. Those screams, at times, would turn into full blown tears. This was a sign to me (duh) that he was getting frustrated because I was offering things he did not really want just to try to stop the crying.       

       Camden and I have been signing for about 5 months, however, I am the one doing all the work right now. I chose just a few signs that I do regularly with him since his most frustrating times are while he is in his highchair awaiting a meal, gobbling it down or finishing his last bite.  The signs we use are for "eat", "more", "finished" and "drink". As I place Camden in his highchair, before I offer him the first bite, I make the sign for "eat" and then I place a few bite size pieces of food in front of him. Before I give him more food, I make the sign for "more" and then place more food in front of him. We do this at every meal in hopes that soon he will begin showing me the signs for his needs rather than the guessing game I play. We also use "finished" after the last spoonful or bite is gone. When I signed with my oldest little boy, he took hold of these five signs quite well by his first birthday, so as we approach Camden's first birthday, we have high hopes that he will be able to tell me what he needs more easily through sign language, too. I have also started signing "Mommy" and "Daddy" to encourage a deeper bond with all of us.       

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

           I started teaching Austin sign language when he was six months old in hopes that it would increase his ability to effectively communicate with us. With my husband and I both working full time and me finishing my masters degree, time was not something we had a lot of and the sign language was put on the back burner. Austin did learn a couple of signs, "bath" and "dog", but that was all we really did due to lack of time. I wish that we had worked on it more and now that I am home with him full time I intend to start working with him again also encouraging speech too of course!.

     The ideal time to introduce sign language is between six and eight months old, but it is never too late. A great book on teaching babies sign language is Teach Your Baby to Sign by Monica Beyer. This book is an excellent manual to baby sign and includes fantastic illustrations that are easy to understand. It costs about $18.00 and can be found at most book stores.       

Biking with Baby
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           My husband and I had been excitedly planning the large purchase of a bike seat for Nate for months. We had seen moms and dads riding around the park and passing us as we pushed our stroller. We longed for the day that we could safely speed along with our son.       

       Our local bike store specialist discouraged me from doing just that when Nate was five months old. I had not thought about the safety issues. I figured as long as he was wearing a helmet and we were not mountain biking that it was safe. The clerk told me that they really want a baby to be close to a year old before doing any jarring motions. Bike riding could be considered such a motion. Now, with helmet securely fastened, Mom, Dad and Baby are safely heading outdoors!       


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