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Toddler - Week #53

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Week 53: I can see you! Can you see me?

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           Do you remember when you could put a toy away and your baby would forget about it immediately? Not anymore! For a few months now, your baby has probably been developing what experts call object permanence. Doctors believe it begins at around nine months old. But now it is more than developed-it's actually fun! Object permanence is a term that simply means your baby now knows a person or toy is still there even if he cannot see it. However, he still seems to think if he hides himself under a blanket or such, you cannot see him. At this time, peek-a-boo play becomes very serious! In fact, all play time is serious business. My son plays with toys now, as they are intended. Cars make vroom-vroom noises and dolls are for hugging. He is beginning to have the ability to fit puzzle pieces in the slots they belong and stacking blocks into large towers. Playing is learning, so let him explore!


Creating Good Readers:
           Books, too, are for exploring. As you read to your child, let him explore the pages. He will like to do the page turning, hold the book, and more. It sometimes makes story time rough, but it is an important reading stage. Remember, books and reading are supposed to be fun! We try to buy books that have tough pages made of board not paper. Also, most intriguing to baby are the interactive books. If there are buttons to push that reward us with noise-great! We also love to lift flaps, touch different textures and more.


Books of the Week:
           Wiggle Your Toes! By: Karen Katz

       Where is Baby's Belly Button? By: Karen Katz       

       This book is completely interactive. It's a board book with something fun to do on each page. Babies will delight in wiggling the cardboard toes, playing with the fluffy yarn hair and pulling the tab to point to the nose. If your child loves to play peek-a-boo, this book is for you! There are textures to feel, flaps to lift, and bright colors to stimulate the young mind. The book ends with a movable hand waving bye-bye to you. It is a very fun book to enjoy with the littlest ones.       

       There are other fun ones like this by Katz as well. Another great one to enjoy in this same theme is called Where is Baby's Belly Button? It is very similar to the book above with its flaps and doors. It's like a fun game of hide and seek.


           Hide and Seek with toys:

       We've been playing outside quite a bit this week. Play has become so important to Evan! He got a sand table for his birthday last week. He loves playing with his cars in the box. To add a little bit more fun to this play, I decided to tap in to his peek-a-boo fixation. I hid his cars under the sand as he watched. He found this play activity to be hilarious! He enjoyed digging the cars out with his shovel.

       Continuing with this idea, I hid his banana pieces under his Cheerios for breakfast.

       Also, for an art activity, we made a collage out of birthday pictures. Using pictures of his favorite faces (Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, etc.) we made a collage on half the side of a paper. I then folded the paper over so that the faces didn't show. Then I could open it and say "Peek-a-boo!" and close it again. The laughter from this activity is fantastic! Just beware of the glue stick-everything enters the mouth these days!


Rhyme Time:
           How about "This little piggy" this week? After playing with baby's toes in Katz's book, try playing with your baby's toes with this classic rhyme. Your child will take pleasure in the rhyme and the tickle and really watch where your fingers go as he head up his leg to tickle his belly.       

       Also, try singing "Where is thumbkin" to compliment your hide and seek activities. As you sing the song and hide your fingers, your baby will be curious about where "thumbkin" has gone!


Evan's Opinion:
           Evan loves these books! We have had them for awhile now. They grow to be more fun each time we use them. He really has grown in his abilities to explore these books. Each time we read them, he remembers more about where a flap is or what he should do on each page. He has begun to point to his own belly button when the book instructs him to and tickle his toes when we read those words.       

       Also, Evan found the hide and seek game with his toys completely enjoyable! He was hysterical with laughter. He kept digging the truck out and handing it back to me to hide again! We spent nearly two hours standing at that sand table. Talk about an activity that held his attention and kept us busy!       

       Finally, the art activity gets a mixed review. The glue stick in the hands of such a young guy was sticky-pun intended! It was messy, sticky and he needed lots of frequent redirections to not eat the glue! But the final product was worthwhile. It's a keeper. In fact, I thought about how it would have been a nice thing to send to daycare when Evan had first started. When he started, he had just developed the object permanence skill which meant he knew I had left him. He must have been wondering where I was and when I was returning. This little collage might have been helpful for that separation anxiety. He could have had little pictures of all of us to help him through the day.


You're probably wondering.....

       How can I make leaving my child at the daycare easier?       

       Evan didn't start daycare until he was around nine months old. I think it might have been harder for him this way. Not only had he had more time to be very attached to me, but he was also just developing his object permanence. He was just learning that even though things or people are out of sight, they still exist. But he was too young to have learned about the returning phase. So, basically, he knew I left and I still existed, but he had to wonder where I was and if I was coming back. To make things easier for him, I spent the week before he was to start full-time exposing him to the new place. The first day, I simply played with him there for an hour so he would begin to know the teachers and see they were fun. Then over the next few days, I left the room and returned after a few minutes. I hoped this way he would learn that I was coming back when I left him. His first full time week was hard. Now, to make the separation easier, I make my good byes brief. They are not too quick where I leave him feeling rushed. But they are also not too prolonged to make it harder to separate. I leave him with a favorite toy or his bottle so that he has something else to think about when I am leaving. Or I get him engaged in an activity with one of his little friends. Leaving him behind usually ends up being harder for me than it is for him!


Chicken and Veggie Pasta
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

           1/2 cup of cubed skinless boneless chicken breast

       1/2 cup mixed carrots and peas

       2/3 cup cooked linguini (cut up)

       A pinch of Parmesan cheese       

       Cook chicken thoroughly in a frying pan in a 1/2 tsp. of olive oil. When the chicken is cooked, add in the pasta and veggies (already cooked). Stir well and add Parmesan cheese to the top for taste.       

       This is a healthy, well balanced dish for children of any age.       

Using Your Parenting Strengths
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           My husband is great at putting our one year old to bed. I can do it, but our son responds better to him. At the same time, I have more success feeding our son. For some reason, his mouth opens more readily and the hand blocks are not as often for me as for my husband. Needless to say, I usually feed and my husband usually tucks our son into bed.       

       Instead of becoming jealous when your child responds in a more positive way to the other parent, moms and dads should see each other as allies in the parenting world. Even when you are doing the exact same thing that your "ally" does, sometimes your child will respond better to one person over another. Do not become frustrated. Your child and/or your spouse will most likely pick up on your feelings and it could become a bigger issue than it really is.       

       Celebrate the different parenting styles and strengths that are within your household. Also, celebrate the fact that your child has once again shown his or her individuality. Having preferences and making choices are signs of self-awareness. Having caregivers who are there to meet his or her needs is what a child really depends upon.

Mixed-Up Munchies
By Lindsey Hill, edHelperBaby

           Want or need a little extra serving of fruit, protein, fiber or even chocolate (which has iron) during your "on-the-go" day? Just grab some chopped walnuts, sweetened and dried cranberries, a bag of M & M chocolates and plastic snack size zipper bags. After mixing two parts walnuts and dried cranberries to one part chocolates, divide the mixture into several snack size bags, about one half cup to three fourths cup. Place the bags in your pantry or in a basket by the door for easy "on-the-go" munching.       

Let Your Baby Entertain Himself Occasionally – You’ll Both Benefit!
By Laura Delgado, Ph.D., edHelperBaby

         By the time your baby is one year old, you both have come so far.  You have weathered sleepless nights, teething, changes in schedules and in some cases allergies, colic and other baby issues.  If you are a stay at home mom, you may very well think of your baby as your best little friend.  Your baby is learning so much every day that you may not be able to wait to see what is next in her developing repertoire of skills.  Still, there are some things that you have been wanting to do as well.  It could be, you miss working out on your treadmill.  Perhaps, you blog but it is terrifically hard to type with a nascent toddler sitting on your lap.  It might be, you just want to relax with a book and a cup of coffee.  Just because you are a stay at home mom does not mean that you are obligated to entertain your baby twenty-four hours a day (or at least the percentage of those hours that your wee one is awake!).  Rather, let your baby put to good use some of those amazing skills that he has acquired.  Make the playpen (travel yard) your new best friend as it is not just for traveling anymore.  Set up the playpen in your living room in order to safely contain a mobile baby and fill it with the toys that your baby loves best.  If he loves board books, give him an assortment, although it is certainly best to save the flap books for when you are reading together!  If your baby loves stacking cups (even if he just loves chewing on them), give him a set and see how long he remains content playing with them.  You know best which toys hold the attention of your baby.  Save these toys for the times when you really want your baby to be focused enough that he is content to do without your intense interaction for a little while which is when he will be content with the occasional wave or "hi, sweetie!".  In this way, you can buy time for yourself that you may not otherwise have! Your baby will enjoy the play time, and you will enjoy the opportunity to do what you want or need to do without worrying about your baby's safety.


By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

           Austin really enjoys playing with our keys, cell phones and the remote control for the television. So for Austin's birthday, his aunt and uncle gave him some of his own. The brand name for these items is Parents and are the best replicas available for children Austin's age. Austin loves to press the lock and unlock button on the key ring and he likes to use the horn. He also really likes the phone. He presses all of the buttons and holds the phone to his ear. There is also a button that is used to record your own message. When Austin presses the button, he hears my husband and I saying "Hi Austin! We love you!". He gets a real kick out of hearing our voices and has kept his little hands off the real telephone!       

The One-Year Check-up
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           Nate had a miserable day at the doctor's office. There was nothing physically wrong with him, but as soon as he was stripped down and placed on the parchment paper, the tears came rolling down. His pediatrician gently and quickly took care of his physical checks i.e. ears (the worst!), eyes, stomach, etc. When it came to the developmental check points, things were only so-so.       

       According to the "chart," Nate should have said three words by now. We told the doctor that Nate knows many words but he has not officially said any. He tries say "ball" and "book," but that was it. My husband and I realize that since he is our only child that he has most of our attention. We know what he wants and we understand the baby gibberish. Why would he need to talk? In a few weeks, he will begin day care. We are certain that being surrounded by his peers that his words will start flowing out of his mouth.

Pointing, Naming and Reading
By Lindsey Hill, About my child Camden

           My son, Camden, loves to read books. We prefer board or plastic books for him because he still explores everything with his tongue and teeth and tends to rip the pages in his brother's "big boy" books. We have always read books with Camden throughout the day and before going to bed. We have discovered, however, that he always goes back to one particular book, "Where is Baby's Belly Button?" by Karyn Katz. He loves to flip the pages himself, as well as raise the flaps that hide Baby's body parts such as her eyes, mouth, feet, hands and belly button. He has not yet started pointing to these body parts on himself or others, but we discuss them every day in the bathtub, in his high chair, in the car and while dressing or playing. This book is great for entertaining while he overhears us repeat the words in the book and point to parts on his body as well as on our own bodies.

Our Overworked Playpen
By Laura Delgado, Ph.D., About my child Therese, Nicholas, Michael, Mary-Catherine

         Our playpen was a permanent resident of our living room for years. Although admittedly, it was my youngest children, my now three year old twins, who utilized it the most.  With my oldest daughter, I thought it was my duty to interact with her the majority of the time and while I talked to her almost incessantly, I quickly came to realize that she reached an age at which she wanted to explore for herself sometimes, without my direction and yes, interference.  She needed her down time from me just as I needed my down time from her.  On a more practical level, when my twins were born, my second son was only seventeen months old, so I needed to put him in the playpen in order to make sure that he would not race off somewhere while I was taking care of two newborns (diapers, nursing, etc.).  He did not view this situation as unpleasant confinement. Rather, he was happy to play with the special toys that were reserved just for playpen time.  Finally, when my twins became mobile, there were many times when the playpen was a lifesaver! Two babies speeding off in different directions can exhaust any mom, especially one with an older toddler and a preschooler as well.  Sometimes everyone needed a breather, which for the twins, meant some playpen time.  The twins were lucky because they had a playpen playmate in addition to their playpen toys! I realize that some parents may view a playpen as a kind of "baby prison" but how you use it determines how your baby will perceive it. Your baby will benefit from his or her special playpen time if it is used as a time to explore new toys or reunite with special favorites. Refrain from putting the baby in the playpen as a form of punishment.  Your baby will never guess that you benefit from his individual play time as much as he does!


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