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Toddler - Week #65

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Month 15: The Doctor is Seen!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           Can you believe baby is fifteen months already? This week, Evan saw the pediatrician for his fifteen-month check-up. Here is what you can expect from that visit. In the waiting room, things were easier during this visit because Evan is so mobile now and interested in toys. The usual routine was encountered when the nurse took us into the room-checking his weight, length, and head circumference. The doctor checked all the usual spots, too. Evan's soft spot is completely closed now, as you may find during your fifteen-month check-up. She also checked his development by asking me a few questions. I had filled out a form before going in so she would know about his walking, talking, playing, and more. Evan is quite bow legged and we addressed that during this visit. Something different about this visit is the first in the measles-mumps-rubella series of vaccinations. I was advised that this shot might have given Evan a reaction several days later. This did happen and he had a slight fever and a touch of diarrhea. Diarrhea is not listed as a symptom, but I think it may have been linked to the fever somehow. In any case, the symptoms were short lived-less than an hour and he was fine.


Creating Good Readers:
           Books are everywhere and the doctor's office is no exception. You will be very pleased if you have shared books with your child so much that he seeks pleasure in them. In fact, in the waiting room there are toys along with the books. But typically in the actual doctor rooms, there are only books. I think in most cases this is because they wish to reduce the germs that toys can spread. Therefore, if your child is interested in books, you will be grateful that there is a way to pass the waiting time. Also, sitting in your lap and enjoying a story will help your child feel safe and comfortable in the office.


Book of the Week:
            Froggy Goes to the Doctor

       By: Jonathon London       

       This is a book in a series of Froggy adventures. In this book, Froggy has a doctor's appointment. If you have read any other Froggy stories, you know this little guy is a bit of a handful. It may be too young for your fifteen-month-old, but he will still get a kick out of your giggles, and trust me, you will be chuckling right from the start when Froggy realizes he forgot to put on underwear and has to wear paper ones his mom makes! He continues with his usual antics-even gets the doctor in the eye with a paper airplane! This book is hilarious.


           Do you have a doctor's play kit for your child? If not, this is the week to purchase an inexpensive one or make your own. You can collect items like popsicle sticks, band-aids, bandages, a little plastic hammer, and even a little flashlight. However, pre-made kits can be very inexpensive, too. Whichever you choose, have fun this week before the visit playing doctor with your child. You can take turns being doctor and patient. Once your child has observed you being the doctor, he will certainly love tapping your knee with the hammer, too. Be careful playing with band-aids though.  Do not let your child play with these unattended as they can be a choking hazard. In fact, be careful after the actual doctor's visit if she puts a band-aid on your child after the shot. Sometimes kids will pull them off and some young toddlers still love to put everything in their mouths!       

       The other fun thing you can do this week after reading this book is play with paper airplanes! Paper airplanes are quite simple to make and provide lots of enjoyment. Make a basic plane (Don't go crazy with complicated forms since most will end up crushed quickly!) and head to a high spot outside. We threw ours from the porch so they might catch a tiny bit of air before crashing!


Rhyme Time:
           I like singing some of my old favorites and changing the lyrics around to be kid friendly. For instance, remember this fun disco tune , Super Freak , by Rick James? I love to change it and sing about Evan:       


   He's a very cranky man

       The kind who drives his mama crazy

       But he will never let your spirits get down

       Once he gives you a big squeeze

       Oh baby!

       Or how about this one to the disco tune Macho, Macho Man ?       


       Grouchy, grouchy man, yeah

       Why do you have to be a grouchy man?

       Grouchy, grouchy man, yeah

       Stop your being a grouchy man  

       So this week, I decided to throw in a little Doctor, Doctor but just the chorus so it could be kid-friendly:


       Doctor, doctor, give me the news

       I've got a bad case of loving you

       No pill's gonna cure my ills

       I've got a bad case of loving you!

       You can see most of the time I am singing these to Evan when he is grumpy. That's because sometimes the tune will cheer him up-but for certain, it will cheer me up every time!


Evan's Opinion:
           Obviously, Evan's opinion of the doctor's visit is two thumbs down though he did give her a nice hug anyway on his way out!       

       But Evan had a favorable reaction to the rest of the activities and to the book. This is mostly because he enjoys a good laugh and he is a pretty happy baby! He loved the giggles I had while reading the book. He also absolutely loves it when I sing to him like this-probably because I love to dance around with him while I sing these catchy disco tunes!       

       Evan was also adorable playing doctor. He loved to "tap" (yeah, right-more like whack) me on the knee with his doctor hammer. He also had fun playing with paper airplanes, although not exactly the fun I had intended. His enjoyment of this activity came by chasing the paper airplanes I drifted into the air and bringing them back to me to do again a few more times before crumpling them up in destruction mode! He thought this was absolutely hysterical!


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "Why is my baby bow legged?"       

       I was very concerned about this before this visit to my pediatrician. None of my other children were bow legged. But my pediatrician reassured me that this is a very normal condition that most toddlers will outgrow. She explained to me that it is a cause of the way the baby was curled up inside my uterus before he was born. She said the tibia, which is the big bone in his leg, is slightly bent because of his curled position in the womb. She assured me that most children outgrow this when they walk more and more because gravity helps them straighten their legs out with practice. There are things to look out for to make sure it isn't a more serious problem. Have your child stand or lie with his feet together and measure how many of your fingers fit in the space between his knees. You can check this in a few months and see if the space has grown larger. Most pediatricians will not be extremely concerned until after the child has turned two or even three years of age. But if you feel the problem is getting worse or the space is getting to be much larger, you should ask your doctor to recheck your child and share your concerns. If the problem is serious enough or your child is older and still very bow legged, the doctor may refer you to a specialist. The treatment options range from fitting the child for a brace to surgery. In any case, for now, all I need to do is keep a keen eye on Evan's development as I always do, and try not to worry!


Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer
By Liz Hanson, edHelperBaby

           It is amazing what music does to a toddler.  Anytime they hear a radio jingle, muzak or an opening song for a television show, toddlers are set into motion.  If your toddler is like mine, she is looking for any and every opportunity to dance.       

       Musical Books and CDs:

       One of my favorite musicians growing up, who also happens to be my daughter's favorite, is Raffi.  Young and old alike cannot help but sing along and move to his wacky and silly songs.       

       You can dance to some of his popular CDs or you can sing the songs in board books.       

       Raffi CDs from my childhood:
  • Baby Beluga
  • Singable Songs for the Very Young
  • Bananaphone
  • Rise and Shine
       Some newer CDs that I am hoping to purchase:
  • Radio Raffi
  • Raffi's Box of Sunshine
  • The Singable Songs Collection
       Board Books Inspired by Raffi's Songs (Songs to Read Series):
  • Baby Beluga
  • Down By the Bay
  • The Wheels on the Bus
  • This Little Light of Mine
  • Five Little Ducks
  • If You're Happy and You Know It
       My daughter and I love singing, dancing and reading together.  It is one of the best ways for us to bond.  The "Songs to Read" books have been our favorite books of all the books we own.  It is fun to read and or sing them over and over.       

       Rhythm is everywhere.  I am sure your toddler is clapping, bobbing his head and drumming on everything in sight.  There are many activities you can do with sound and music.Here are a few:
  1. Fill an empty water bottle with popcorn seeds, rice, beans or any other found object in your house that will make noise.  Watch your child shake different bottles to make different sounds.
  2. Get out the Tupperware and let your child pound away.  You can also arrange them like a mini drum set.  This is free and is always entertaining.
  3. Put on some music and move.  Try clapping to the beat or dancing on your feet.  No matter how silly you look, you're toddler will not mind.
  4. Many communities have free musical performances for children.  Check your local paper for opportunities for live musical performances.
  5. There are many toy instruments for toddlers out there.  If your child is interested in music, he may like to play with a toy xylophone, drum, trumpet, piano or maracas.
       You are probably wondering what benefits music has for your toddler. The Mozart Effect, as named by Alfred A. Tomatis, is the idea that listening to Mozart can temporarily increase brain development.  This idea has research to back this up with animals, preschoolers and school age children.

       Many people after Tomatis latched onto this idea and began to speculate other benefits of classical music.  In fact, some states now give classical CDs to new parents and in other states, classical music is continually played in child care centers.

       I have noticed my daughter responding to classical music when she hears it.  I personally do not know whether it had to be Mozart or if music in general seems to increase brain development.  There sure seems to be an intense engagement in toddlers when there is the littlest bit of sound, rhythm or rhyme.       

       There are many products on the market that feature classical music.  "Baby Einstein" has many CDs with classical music.  A television show called Little Einsteinsfeatures classical music and pieces of fine art.  The CDs and television show are from Disney.       

       Robert Todd Carroll. The Skeptics Dictionary.

       www.skepdic.com/mozart.html  July 23, 2008       

Cooking as a Family- Rice Krispies® Treat Pumpkins
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

           Cooking as a family is always fun, especially when you are cooking a tasty treat. Kids love to get their hands dirty so let them help. This recipe is one that even your 15-month-old can help with (the decorating anyway!). Cooking can help improve math skills in older children while also teaching them how to make their way around the kitchen. Cooking can also build confidence in children, allowing them to accomplish a task which is typically left to adults. Roll up your sleeves and dive into this fall treat.


       3 tablespoons of margarine or butter

       1 10oz. bag of marshmallows

       6 cups of Rice Krispies®

       3 cups white chocolate chips or wafers

       Orange food coloring

       Pumpkin cookie cutter

       Black and green icing or gel


       Place butter in a sauce pan on low and allow to melt. Add in marshmallows and stir frequently. When the marshmallows are completely melted remove the pan from the burner and begin stirring in the Rice Krispies® one cup at a time.  Using a buttered spatula place the contents of the pan into a greased baking sheet, leaving the Rice Krispies® treats about ¾ of an inch thick. Allow them to cool for about 30 minutes and then use the pumpkin cookie cutter to cut out the treats.

       Now that your Rice Krispies® treats are done, melt the white chocolate either on the stove top or in the microwave. After it is melted, add a few drops of orange food coloring to the chocolate. Cover your Rice Krispies® Pumpkins in the orange chocolate. You may want to just dip the front of the treats in the chocolate or you may want to roll the whole thing in it. After the chocolate is on, place the treats on parchment paper to dry. You can decorate your chocolaty Rice Krispies® treat pumpkins with icing or gel.       

There's Help for Ear Infections
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           Yes, ear infections are common but that does not make them easy to deal with. Our doctor told us some ways to ease the pain. Even while he is on antibiotics, he can have the usual dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Elevating the mattress by putting some books or other sturdy item under the mattress lifts your child's head. She also said that a warm cloth against the ear could help ease the pain temporarily, too. My husband and I are providing plenty of extra cuddles and doing things that we know our son enjoys. This helps keep him distracted from the pain, for a little while anyway!


Amelia's World
By Liz Hanson, About my child Amelia Pearl

             I have been singing to Amelia since she was born.  There are about a dozen songs that I have made up for her and then there are the regular songs that everyone knows.

       "Twinkle, Twinkle" was one of Amelia's favorite songs for the first six months of her life.  Whenever she got upset, I would sing it to her and she would instantly calm down.  I am not quite sure what it was about that particular song that helped but I was very happy when I discovered that it had magical therapeutic qualities.

         When Amelia was a month old, she shocked her grandma, aunt,and I when she sang the last three words of "Twinkle, Twinkle" with me (what you are).  It was only the second time I had sung that song to her and I am sure it was a huge coincidence, but it is something we will never forget.       

       Create a song for or with your child.  It will be something special between the two of you and the only song like it in the world.       

       Some of Amelia's songs:       

       (Song Start)

       Amelia, Amelia

       This you need to know

       Amelia, Amelia

       How I love you so

       Amelia, Amelia

       All I have to say

       Amelia I love you more

       Each and every day

       Amelia I love you more

       Each and every day

       (Song End)       

       (Song Start)

       Drink your milk

       So you can grow up strong

       Drink your milk

       Someday you'll sing along

       Drink your milk

       And you can play with Mommy

       Drink your milk

       Because it's really yummy!

       (Song End)       

       (Song Start)

       I love Amelia

       Amelia I love you

       You're so precious

       Everything you do

       You're my world

       Am I yours too?

       I love Amelia

       Amelia I love you!

       (Song End)       

Arts and Crafts Taken to a New Level
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

           I thought it would be nice to have Austin make my mom one of those good old macaroni necklaces for her birthday, so I dyed the pasta with food coloring and we tried it.  I knew it would be difficult for him to string the pasta so I tied one end of the string to a piece of a drinking straw. The straw acted as a makeshift needle. I showed Austin how to string a couple of pieces and then helped him string one. In minutes, he was stringing away on his own. I was so impressed by his hand-eye coordination. I really did not know if he would be able to do it, but he did a fantastic job! His Grandma will love it!       

Parent Guilt
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           Nate has had a cold for two weeks now. Both Mom and Dad have colds, so we were doing our best to comfort Nate while letting the cold run its course among us. Fortunately Nate had his 15 month check-up scheduled at this time. His doctor informed us that he has an ear infection. In fact, she told us that Nate has discomfort now, but if we had not caught the infection when we had, he would have been in for major pain in a day.       

       This is his first major illness, although I know that ear infections are so common in young children that they are not really considered "major" depending on their severity. But as  first time parents with a usually healthy child, we question ourselves. Did we wait too long to bring Nate in? Were there any signs that we missed? How bad was his discomfort?       

       And then, we realize that we are doing our best. If we missed signs or if we did not bring him to the doctor fast enough, we will do better next time. All we can do is learn "on the job." He is on an antibiotic, sleeping with a raised mattress, and being loved. That is enough for now.       


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