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Toddler - Week #75

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Week 75: Let's Dance And Jive!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           It's so hard sometimes not to compare your children to other people's children. My friend and I had babies only one day apart, so we both sometimes are guilty of comparing them. We do it in a well meaning way-to make sure our own child is developing properly, not to say one is better than the other. But even when it is for a good reason, it can be a bad idea! For instance, Evan walked a lot sooner than her son. But Evan is one of four children and saw his siblings running all the time. He figured he needed to keep up! Her son has always been a groover. He loves music, loves to dance, sing, and just has been moving to the beat since day one it seems. But it's taken Evan this long to really get into dancing. He has liked to play with instruments, and he would occasionally bob his head to a song. But it is only this week that he has really started dancing like he's in the club! It started with our "shaking pancake mix" song at the end of last week, and he's been moving and grooving to the beat ever since!


Creating Good Readers
           Music is a good way to help reading skills along, too. A sing-songy voice is really an important instructional tool. If you think about it, most things you learned to memorize were set to music. It's not too early to start singing the ABC's to your toddler. My friend I mentioned above has been singing them to her son all along, and he even sounds like he mimics her as she sings them! The point is not to think of reading skills only developing by reading books. Children learn to read, of course, through books, but they learn through music, drama, and other play techniques as well. So start singing those ABC's to your little guy!


Book Of The Week
           I've been waiting for the opportunity to crack this one out:

        Giraffes Can't Dance   by Giles Andreae

       I love this author! I talked about another one of his books, Commotion in the Ocean , in Week 56 when I was writing about learning to swim. The stories along with the illustrations are just so beautiful. This story of Giles is much more touching than the other. The ocean book is merely fun. This book is not only fun for little ones like Evan, but has a good message for older children, too. Gerald the Giraffe is awkward and clumsy with his long, knobby legs. He thinks he can't dance, and all of the other jungle animals make fun of him for it. They dance all sorts of fun ways. Each page has a colorful jungle animal doing some sort of dance-be it the cha-cha or the waltz! Gerald is sad about his inabilities but in the end discovers everyone's unique qualities make them special. It has such a great message, but delivers it with fun pictures, engaging sounds, and a wonderful story.


           So this week was all about dancing! It started because I was trying to figure out some way to get some exercise into my routine. It's getting cold and our after school walks are fading away. But I still have to do something! (Pretty soon Evan will be two years old, and I will still be saying my extra weight is from pregnancy-that won't work!) So I decided to put on some fun music and just dance around my living room. Evan doesn't let me do too much without wanting to be held, so I was holding out hope that he'd be entertaining himself with a truck somewhere else or something. Was I surprised when he started dancing with me! He was rolling on the floor, stomping his feet, clapping his hands, and having a great old time!       

       The next day of dancing became a "Follow the Leader" activity. If I threw my hands up in the air, Evan did the same. I tried all different things to see if he'd copy me. He did copy most. I even tried jumping to see if he'd mastered that skill yet, but the idea of it seemed to escape him.       

       I hoped he wouldn't lose interest in dancing if I kept doing it. But I knew it'd only be a short matter of time before he was tired one day or cranky and wanted me to hold him while I tried to do my little routine. Sure enough, that day came. But instead of quitting and giving in to his whiny pleas, I started running away from him. Soon we were in a game of chase!       

       We also did an art activity to accompany the book. I cut out a giraffe from construction paper and let Evan add the spots with the bingo markers. It was more of a colorful giraffe than a realistic one, but this sort of matched the colorfulness of the book.


Rhyme Time
           This week's rhyme is a simple one-it's the ABC song! I feel like I should have started singing the ABC's sooner! But better late than never! So all week we have been singing our ABC's. I like to change up the ending here and there to keep things interesting. Here are some ending ideas:       



       Now I know my ABC's; next time won't you sing with me?       

       Other ideas:

       Those are all the ABC's; let's sing them again, if you please!       

       All my ABC's are done; wasn't singing them so fun?       

       All my ABC's are done; now let's count and start with one!       



Evan's Opinion
           At first, Evan thought dancing was a blast. But on the days he was cranky and tired, it took a few minutes for him to realize I was going to keep on dancing anyway even if he whined. The day he ended up playing chase was hysterical. He was so whiny but after chasing me for a few seconds and whining, he decided chasing was fun. I think it was when I actually walked over the ottoman that he thought it was very funny. I stood right on top of it and then stepped down (hey-think of it as step aerobics)! It had been in the way of my escape from him, so I climbed it! That's when we both realized this was a fun game!       

       Evan liked the book enough, but in truth, my four-year-old likes it better. It may be one to try out, but it might end up being a book you save for later. Evan did like making his giraffe though! He loves to play with the bingo markers. Sometimes I just give him a blank piece of paper and a bingo marker when he is cranky and let him stamp it furiously! It gives us both a moment of peace. He gets some of his temper out, and I get a break from the whining and tugging!


You're Probably Wondering.....
           "How can I get any exercise in when this kid is so clingy?"       

       Okay, maybe you don't wonder that, but it's what I struggle with all the time! Let's start with the fact that I am not all that motivated to diet and exercise to begin with! I am very motivated to lose the weight. I love the idea of being thinner and wearing nicer clothes, etc., I just wish it occurred magically!       

       Ah, yet it does not! So what can you do to get some exercise into your routine when your world is consumed with baby, other children, husband, house, work, and the list goes on! When it was warmer, I was able to walk with the children after work, before dinner. It was a great form of exercise. It was also a soothing activity for Evan since that is his grumpy time and he loves being in the carriage. Now that it is colder, this is harder. There are ways I can still get a walk with the stroller into my routine. Often on the weekends, I will pack the stroller up and walk around the local mall. But this is a difficult thing to do daily. That wouldn't work for me. I have a treadmill for walking, too. But this requires me either getting up earlier in the morning or jumping on after everyone has gone to bed. Unfortunately, I often choose sleep over those options! I used to be able to pop Evan in the Snuggly pouch and walk on the treadmill. But that, of course, was before he grew to be a line-backer!       

       Dancing has been a good way for all of us to get some exercise! I just turn on one of the music channels on the cable and we dance. It doesn't matter if we look like Gerald the Giraffe! We aren't trying out for "American Bandstand" or anything! Just trying to work up a sweat and relieve some stress! Dancing is a great way to relieve stress and have fun. My daughter loves this exercise. The other thing my older boys have that is great fun is a game for their video game system called "Dance, Dance, Revolution."       

       Another thing I have been trying to do is get on the floor and play with Evan. He weighs about thirty pounds now, so he can be like lifting weights. I like to lie on the floor and raise him above me on my feet so he is flying like an airplane. He also likes when I sit on the couch and he sits on one of my legs and I move him up and down. That definitely works the muscles in my legs! Having him sit on my back while I giddy-up like a horse is exhausting play as well.       

       I guess what it comes down to is doing these things more consistently each day. By playing vigorously every day and trying to eat healthier, maybe I'll start getting more energy. Who knows? Maybe that extra energy will get me out of bed an extra twenty minutes earlier to hop on that treadmill!


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