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|Toddler - Week #62|
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The toys are taking over in my house! Every room seems to be covered in toys of all shapes and sizes. You can barely see my living room floor. You have to push toys aside in the bathtub in order to take a shower. Yet amidst all of these toys, what does my 62-week-old toddler enjoy playing with for what seems like hours? Tupperware! He has always loved playing in the kitchen with containers, pots, pans, and wooden spoons. But this week I noticed he is having more fun with the containers because he is learning to take the lids on and off. I watched him the other day, and I was amazed that he knew exactly which lid went with which container. He would take a smaller lid and put it on the wrong container. Then seeing the lid fall into the inside of the container, he knew immediately it was wrong. He would search the drawer until he found the correct container. Once he had the pieces assembled correctly, he would look up at me with that proud grin. Such seemingly small things are absolutely amazing to me.|
|Creating Good Readers:|
Interactive books are the best kind of books for busy toddlers. In my opinion, toddlers need to view books as fun. So if they appear to be as fun as all the other toys, toddlers will want to sit and play with them. However, I have separate books for separate occasions. There are books that can be viewed as toys. There are books that can be for the bathtub. There are books that are just for bedtime. I want Evan to play with durable, fun, interactive books during the day. But I also try to have at least ten minutes of lap time reading to balance things out. I think it is important for him to see books are as much fun as other toys, but I also want him to know they are different in many ways, too. Therefore, consider your child's playing with books as his beginning reading, but try to balance it with your reading aloud at least ten minutes a day to reinforce the concepts needed to create a good reader.|
|Book of the Week:|
Soft Shapes: On and Off |
By: Kate Davis
Once I saw Evan enjoying matching the lids and taking them on and off, I knew I had to find him the perfect puzzle book. Alice, my four-year-old daughter, has had older versions of this type of book that have more pieces than I wanted for Evan. I was delighted to find this book by Kate Davis. It is made of foam and has a piece on each page to remove and put back after reading. You read the page which will say something like "The cat has a coat on." And then you take the coat off. You find the opposite statement under the foam piece once you have lifted it. There is a whole series of these books based on different themes. I like this theme because it is fitting for toddlers who seem to love to remove their own clothing!
The wonderful thing about these soft shapes books is that they can be used in the bathtub. It is fun for baby to discover that the pieces float in the tub. This inspired me to do a whole sink and float activity in the tub. It is a very early science concept that you can build on as your child gets older. Simply gather a handful of toys made of various materials. Then let each go in the tub. I was very dramatic when something sank, saying, "Uh-oh, that one went to the bottom. It sank all the way down!" and I exclaimed happily when something floated on the top. |
Try this at home, too. Purchase a bunch of different sized Tupperware from the supermarket. Many sell cheaper versions that are disposable. Find a toy that fits just right and place one in each container. Then open each container with your child and take the toys out as he watches. Mix everything up and allow him to try putting them all back into the containers. Then encourage him to see if he can put the correct lids on top as well. Don't worry if he doesn't get everything correctly matched-instead just let him explore with shapes and sizes. There are toys that are made like this, but why spend the extra money when you can make your own? Plus, you will be able to switch up the little inside toys as much as you want, almost creating a new toy every time. This activity is wonderful for fine motor skills and manipulation of objects.
Here is a rhyme I made up for our sink and float fun. It is sung to the tune of London Bridges : |
Will it sink or float?
Sink or float? Sink or float?
Will it sink or float?
It floats on by us.
Will it sink or float?
Sink or float? Sink or float?
Will it sink or float?
It sinks to the bottom!
Continue to sing the song for each object as you put it into the water. After the third "sink or float" verse, you will put the object into the water declaring whether or not it floats or sinks to the bottom.
Evan loves books. He loves baths. And he loves to play with containers! This week was perfect for his enjoyment of all three things to come together. He can play with containers forever, so to find toys inside and take them in and out was extra exciting for him. I love when he feels successful and looks up at me with that cheesy, toothy grin. |
He also can stay in the bath forever, so we have to invent ways to entertain me while we are in there. I had fun with sink and float, and I think Evan did as well. My kids love when I make up my own lyrics to songs, so this is also entertaining-especially to Alice if she knows the real words to the tune.
We all have a high opinion of this book. Evan loved it as did Alice. It was easier for Alice to manipulate the pieces though. The shapes are not as basic in this book as I see they are in some of the others in this series. They are not as easy to fit into the spots. But I love these books now. I want more of these after playing with this one. There are others in the series that have simple shapes like basic triangles and circles. I think they will be easier for Evan to get back into the book, so I will try this next time. But he still enjoyed trying to put the pieces back in and didn't get frustrated if they didn't fit just right.
|You're Probably Wondering.....|
Question: "What do I do about all of these messes my toddler is making?" |
He dumps your folded laundry out of the basket. He dumps every toy out of the little toy bin. He constantly tosses his plate off the high chair. You feel like you have to follow this little hurricane around all day cleaning up after his wake of destruction! What is going on?
What is happening is exploration of his world. He is learning about cause and effect. He is exploring the rules of gravity and special relationships. Oh, and exploring his personal relationships with different people as well-who is going to pick that spoon up for me time and time again without getting annoyed? He's refining his fine motor skills and working on his intellectual development.
But how can you deal with all of this as his curiosity works on your nerves? For starters, everything is easier to swallow when you stop and tell yourself he is not doing this on purpose to work your nerves! Once you remind yourself that all toddlers do this and it is something that shall pass, you can focus on how to allow the development to occur but cash in on the exploration, too. What I mean is, this curiosity that moves him to dump the laundry out of the basket is the same curiosity that you can use to get him to help you put the folded socks into a drawer. He wants to put things into containers just as much as he likes to take them out. You can roll those socks up into balls and shoot them into the drawer! You can also make cleaning up a game by singing and making it fun to put the toys into the containers and bins. Of course, this doesn't mean he won't be taking them right back out moments later!
It also helps to control the environment. Don't put your baby in the position of being in a place that he can't explore. Yes, we all have to visit relatives that have a thousand knick-knacks just waiting to be touched. But I try not to go too often with Evan. If I have to go, I try to go without him. But if I have to bring him, our visit is going to be short, and I always have an escape plan. I control the environment at home, too. In each room, there is a drawer or cupboard that is for Evan and Alice. If you have the extra space, I highly recommend it. In the kitchen, for instance, there is a bottom drawer that is theirs with a plastic tea set and plastic pots and pans-though they favor the real ones! And if we have cleaned up the living room and placed the toys back into the bins and if I want to keep it that way-we leave the living room! Otherwise, how can I not expect him to dig them right back out again? Putting them away was so much fun! Redirect the baby to a new experiment like sitting in the high chair and playing with finger paints! Let's make a new mess! It's okay-it's all in the name of learning and growing!
|Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease|
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious viral infection that is extremely common in young children. This disease typically affects children under the age of ten and most often children of daycare age. Hand, Foot and Mouth is spread through contact with infected mucus, saliva, feces or popped blisters. It is most commonly caused by the Coxsackie virus. Symptoms often include the following: fever, sore throat, blisters on hands, feet and in the mouth, loss of appetite, fatigue and irritability.|
If your child contracts Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, they should remain out of daycare or school until their fever has broken and the sores in their mouth have healed. To keep your child as comfortable as possible while they are ill, provide them with plenty of cold fluids to keep them from dehydrating without causing pain on the blisters or their throat. You may also want to give your child popsicles or ice cream. Only give them soft foods so as to not irritate their mouth sores.
You can find this and additional information on Hand, Foot and Mouth disease at the sites below.
|To Halloween or to Not Halloween?|
You cannot escape it. Scary spiders with spiderwebs hang over many neighbors' doors. Candy and costumes line the aisles of stores. Parents may look forward to dressing their toddler in a cute costume and traveling the neighborhood for treats, but your fourteen-month-old may not really appreciate the experience until next year. |
Still, parents can have fun with their little one this Halloween season, especially if there are older siblings. Choosing a simple, easy-on and EASY-OFF costume is best. Find a local pumpkin patch and as a family, have fun choosing the perfect jack-o-lantern specimen. In the early evening, take a walk for a few nights before Halloween to check out neighborhood decorations. This way, all the fun is not relegated to just one night. Keep trick-or-treating to a minimum or invite a few friends over for an afternoon party.
All in all, holidays and traditions can happily include young children with just a few easy tweaks. Do not worry as there is always next year to more fully involve your toddler.
|One Sick Baby|
It was obvious last Tuesday that Austin was coming down with something. He was cranky and not sleeping well and very clingy. This is not him at all. He typically sleeps twelve hours at night, very happy and way too busy for any snuggling. By Thursday morning, Austin had congestion, a runny nose and drainage coming from his right ear. We went to the doctor and his pediatrician put him on antibiotics for a double ear infection and sinus infection. She was very concerned about his two pound weight loss as he is already underweight. She advised us to let him drink and eat anything he wanted for the next week or so.|
That night, the vomiting started and continued through Saturday. Monday the diarrhea hit. I was so worried about additional weight loss and dehydration that we made an appointment to go back in to see the doctor the next morning. It is a good thing we did, because later Monday night Austin began to get these blister like bumps on his hand and feet. Being a teacher and former nanny, I had seen these blisters many times in the past. It was a lovely case of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. The doctor said that it was probably part of the virus that he had originally, with the ear infections and stuff, but I think Austin picked it up at our first visit to the doctor's office last week. That is how it is with kids. You take them to the doctors for a sick visit and end up going back every week for a month to get rid of all the stuff they catch in the waiting room. They may as well say, "Don't forget to pay your co-pay and pick up your new disease on your way out!". No, I know it is not the doctor's fault but it has just been a horrible week of illness for us. Austin took it really well. He was a real trooper.
Nate has welcomed fall by having a bout with the common cold. His nose is runny, he is sleepier than usual, and his eyes are a bit glazed over. To top it off, I see that three molars are working their way through his gums. It cannot be fun to be a fourteen-month-old. |
We are using the regular home remedies: Baby Vicks, extra cuddles, Tylenol when necessary, and naps when needed. Mom and Dad are doing their best to be extra patient and realize that Nate's crankiness will not last.
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For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.