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Toddler - Week #58

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Week 58: Evan's Teeth Have Come a Little Late!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           Your 58-week-old baby most likely has many teeth by now. Well, not Evan! He only had two on the bottom of his mouth and one on the top-until this week! He grew two more on the top this week, and it has had quite the impact on his sleep. Unfortunately, he has been waking up in the middle of the night this week. It took a long time for Evan to establish a bedtime routine. He had been reverse-feeding when I returned to work. In other words, because I was at work during the day, he was receiving his milk in a bottle; therefore, he made up for missing out by having nursing sessions at night. This was fine with me since I missed him as much as he missed me. I will admit I let him do this until he was about eleven months old! But for a few months now, he has had a decent bedtime routine. That is until these teeth threw a wrench into it!


Creating Good Readers:
           Books can be a wonderful part of a bedtime routine. If you have established a book as part of your normal routine, you may be thinking it has become boring or too simple now. Maybe you are considering switching the book to one of the lift-the-flap types or some other type that seems more exciting now that your child is a little older-but don't! The simple book that you have used night after night has become part of a routine that provides comfort to your baby. It is a means of security and familiarity to him. At the same time, the repetition of this simple book is helping build his vocabulary and comprehension. Repetition is important for developing reading skills. Sooner than you can imagine, he will begin to say words from this book as you read them and imitate your pointing and expression.


Book of the Week:
            Goodnight Moon

       By: Margaret Wise Brown       

       If you do not already have a bedtime book established, this book is for you! It is simple but wonderfully sweet. It has an easy rhythm that helps lull the readers into that cozy lap moment. The bunny is simply saying goodnight to every object in her room. This repetitive text is easy to read to baby and will lend itself to imitation. However, there are also hidden treats in this book for older children. For instance, the clock pictured shows the progression of time during this bedtime ritual. In this way, the book will grow with your child letting you explore different skills.


           There are several exciting activities you can do to accompany this book. If you want to make something that can be a memory, here is an activity for you. Make a silhouette of your child. Sit your child in his highchair and give him something that will keep him busy for awhile-like his favorite snack. Then place a large white piece of construction paper behind him. This paper must be big enough to capture his whole shadow. Set a flashlight up on the counter so it casts his shadow against the paper. This can be easier if you have a helper who is willing to hold the flashlight while you trace. Trace around his shadow to create that silhouette. It looks best if you get a profile from the side. Now cut this silhouette out of the white paper. Trace this onto black paper so it really looks like a shadow. Glue the black form onto a new piece of white background paper. Now you have a treasured keepsake of your child.       

       In keeping with the shadows themed activities, why not have fun with the flashlight and show off your skills in casting shadow shapes onto the wall at night? Remember how much fun this was when you were a kid? You can even make the bunny from the story! With your left hand you can make her face by creating a circular form by touching all of your fingers to your thumb. Now in front of that hand, you place your right hand in almost the same position, except the ring finger and pinky are the only ones to touch the thumb, while the pointer and middle finger stand straight up to create the bunny's ears. You have to play around with the positioning while the flashlight is on your hands, but eventually, you get a pretty good bunny shape. You can then make her appear as though she is talking. Of course she will be saying, "Goodnight moon"!       

       My week cannot go by without letting Evan get involved in a messy craft! Cut out a simple circle shape from grey construction paper. This will be the moon. Then scrunch up a paper towel and dip it into chocolate pudding "paint" for your child to pounce onto the moon. The texture from the paper towel will make it look like the moon has craters, and if any "paint" gets into baby's mouth, it's okay because it is pudding! Be sure to hang this moon in your child's bedroom so you can say goodnight to it during your bedtime routine!


Rhyme Time:
           Here is a simple moon rhyme you can say to baby:       

        I see the moon and the moon sees me.

       God bless the moon and God bless me.

       Of course you will also want to say the "Hey Diddle, Diddle" rhyme to accompany this story as it is portrayed in the book's illustrations so nicely.       

        Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle

       The cow jumped over the moon.

       The little dog laughed to see such sport

       And the dish ran away with the spoon.

       Finally, this song is one that my husband included in my four-year-old daughter's bedtime routine. As she got older, she really grew to love this because she names everyone she loves into the song. They sing the old-fashioned song "Baa-Baa Black Sheep" but with their own little twist like this:       

        Baa-baa black sheep, have you any wool?

       Yes, sir-yes, sir! Many bags full...

       One for my daddy, one for my mommy, one for my Grammy.....

       Alice goes on and on with the song naming everyone she can think of as getting a bag of wool. Of course, she uses it a little to prolong her bedtime and keep her daddy in her room for just a few minutes longer, but it is a very sweet ritual they have together.


Evan's Opinion:
           I have to admit I waited too long to get a good bedtime routine established with Evan. We got the dinner then bath pattern down pat right away, but I hadn't included reading in this routine (I know, shock and horror! I am a teacher and I didn't include reading in my baby's bedtime routine!) But I am a busy working mom, and I have always been thankful to have a husband who gets the kids to sleep at the end of a tiring day. Plus, being a big reading enthusiast, my reading style is often very stimulating, and when I read with the kids, I usually get them going with my excited voice and my drama. My husband is not a big reader. He seems to cringe when the kids ask him to read to them. When he does reluctantly read to our children, I can tell from his flat tone that he is feeling pain with every word! But this book is simple enough for him to add into the bedtime routine, and it's quite similar to the routine he established with Alice when she was young. Not to mention, the flat tone isn't so bad at bedtime. It is calm and soothing like what is needed at bedtime. He has been rocking Evan to sleep since he was born and then putting him down fully asleep. We just learned that this isn't the best way for a baby to learn to put himself to sleep, and we need that now that Evan has been waking up at night again. If we can work this book into the routine and also say goodnight to all the things in Evan's room, he will be going into his crib sleepy but not fully asleep. It will certainly be a rough few nights in the beginning, but it will be worth it if Evan can acquire the skills to comfort himself in the night.       

       As far as the activities, Evan enjoyed the shadows immensely, probably because Alice got a huge kick out of them. He tends to imitate her quite a bit these days, so when she laughed, he laughed. I'm not sure how much of the laughter was really about the shadows-but it was still fun.       

       Painting with pudding is also fun! I know, I know-he's playing with his food! But he already does that anyway, and this is much safer than regular finger paint. They do this at his daycare all of the time. They use all sorts of foods as finger paint including whip cream!


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "How do I take care of all of these new choppers?"       

       You would think that it is easy to know how to take care of simple things like teeth-after all, we have our own teeth and we know what to do! But babies do not come with instruction manuals, and it isn't as simple as knowing what we do with ourselves and just replicating it for babies. A thousand questions come up. What if he swallows toothpaste or am I supposed to brush his teeth once or twice a day or am I even supposed to brush his teeth at all? Taking care of babies can be confusing. It's easy to forget to ask about brushing teeth at those appointments with your pediatrician since so much is going on during these times. (A helpful hint: Keep a notepad somewhere and write down any question that pops into your mind to take to those appointments so you don't forget everything.) Here are some things I have learned along the way about caring for those new teeth.       

       By this age your child should not really be using a bottle anymore. It is better for him to drink from a sippy-cup. But even if you do still use the bottle, make sure you are not leaving the bottle (or the sippy-cup for that matter) in his crib. Babies should never fall asleep drinking a bottle. Also, if you allow your child to drink juice, this should only be in a sippy-cup. Experts say sugary drinks should not go in a bottle.       

       You can clean your baby's teeth from the start. When they were younger, you probably cleaned those first few teeth with a washcloth. Now you can use a small, soft toothbrush designed for toddlers. You will have to do this yourself because your child will be clumsy on his own. But you can supervise letting him explore his mouth with the toothbrush to foster some independence. We know our little 14-month-olds love to do everything on their own! Toothpaste is not necessary right now. There are some toothpastes designed for babies that do not have fluoride and are not harmful if swallowed. But toothpaste with fluoride will not be introduced until at least two years old and is not really necessary right now. What is most important is maintaining a healthy, balanced diet with little to no sugar (Babies really do not need juice!) along with washing the teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says four things are needed for tooth decay: a tooth, bacteria, sugar, and time. So if you can avoid the sugary foods and you do not let anything sit on those cute new little teeth for long, you will not get any decay on them!       

       Last but not least-if you haven't gone to visit the dentist yet, they recommend now is the time! Actually, the experts say he should have gone by his first birthday! Guess I better go and make a call!


Fears and Tears
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

           As children grow, they sometimes go from being fearless daredevils to scaredy cats. As they begin to better understand the world around them, children sometimes develop fears that are both rational and irrational. It may be a fear of animals, the dark, water, new people or new situations. Parents are often confused about how to deal with these fears. An effective way of dealing with them is to take the time to truly understand where these new fears originate. If your child is truly frightened, do not make light of the situation as this could cause them to lose some trust in you. You should explain to your child the best you can that there is no need to be afraid. Explore the situation with them. If your child is afraid of the dark, spend time with him or her in their bedroom with the lights off. Do not just tell them that there is nothing to be afraid of but show them. Be understanding and accepting to a certain extent, of course. If explanation and exploration does not calm your child's fear within a few weeks, you may want to mention the problem to your pediatrician.

Keep Watching Me!
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           Toddlers are awesome at getting your attention. They know your weaknesses. Just when you relax and think your child is playing contentedly on the floor with a safe toy, he is up and toddling into danger. The remote control, the pet's food, the cord from the lamp or anything that you react to is fun and fair game.       

       Should you react? Should you ignore? Obviously, if your child is heading into real danger like the stairs or the litter box, you need to intervene quickly. Realize, though, that your child delights in seeing your reaction so keep calm and just redirect him to another toy or area of the room.       

       Sometimes your child just wants to interact with you and that is why he does what he does. If your child just begins to walk away from your location, you may want to simply pick up one of his books and begin reading it excitedly. This usually draws his attention back to you and away from potential harm.       


Raising Children with Food Allergies
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

            My husband and I recently took Austin to an allergy specialist to have him tested for nut allergies. My dad is severely allergic to nuts and food allergies can sometimes be hereditary. We decided not to take any chances because nut allergies, much like seafood allergies, can be extremely dangerous. I was not all that surprised when the results came back showing that Austin was in fact allergic to numerous types of nuts. I had a gut feeling about it. Just like my dad, he is not allergic to peanuts as they are not actually a nut as they are a legume. Although he is not allergic to peanuts, the doctor said that peanuts and peanut butter are still out of the question because they are often packaged and prepared in factories that also deal with other types of nuts.

       Now that we know Austin is allergic, there are many precautions that we need to take. If your child has a food allergy, especially an allergy to nuts, it is very important to read the label of any food that you give them. Many foods that do not have any nuts in them still may have traces of nuts due to the fact that they were made in a factory where nuts are used.  If you are out at a restaurant, bakery or ice cream parlor, be sure to ask if the food is safe for people with nut allergies. You must also be sure that your family and friends are aware of the allergy and are reminded of it often. It is also very important that you have an EpiPen Jr. on hand at all times. You should carry this in your baby's diaper bag. Anyone who babysits for your little one should be trained in how and when (only in the case of an anaphylactic reaction) to use the EpiPen.       

By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           Nate has a mild form of hives. Last week, we took him to the doctor even though the spots were obviously lighter than they had been. He still was not itching and there was no fever. We just wanted to rule serious illness out and to take him while the doctor was still able to see the spots. The doctor said that this was the third case of hives this week, and that there are a number of reasons, some still unknown, that can cause hives in children.       

       Adult hives can be caused by stress. I am wondering if toddler hives could also be caused by new routines which cause them stress. Nate is just adjusting to being at the sitter's house for the morning. She and I are working together to keep his day structured and routine so that he can feel secure.


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