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Toddler - Week #90

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Week 90: He Amazes Me!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           This week has been amazing to me! I cannot get over the growth and development that has occurred in such a short timeframe. Not only has Evan sprouted taller (what seems like a foot taller!) but he also has started talking up a storm! One morning early this week he was eating his cereal and picked out a blue loop. He held it up to me and with a toothy grin said, "Blue!" and then proceeded to show me red, "lellow," and green. I thought I had to be imagining this. But I confirmed it with his teachers, and sure enough, he has learned his colors at school! Then I was visiting a friend whose son is the same age. Her son was saying all the animal sounds on demand. I had said I didn't think Evan could do this. But I was wrong. I went home and asked him what a duck said, a kitty, etc., and he could answer me nearly every time! And all week he has been my little parrot. He was grabbing a cracker, but he took two. I was joking and said, "Oh, well, take two then!" and he repeated, "Take two?" He also is constantly saying sorry these days. If he hits or drops something or makes any mistake, he says sorry. I am just truly amazed at the amount of milestones that all piled up in one week!


Creating Good Readers:
           Everyone grows at his or her own rate! The same holds true for reading. Some people will tell you their children learned to read at only two years old. My middle son didn't learn to read until he was seven years old. Everyone is different. However, there are always general guidelines for these types of things. There is a typical sound pattern that is acquired for toddlers. For instance, your child probably has control of all of the vowel sounds and says the sounds for the letters m and d. He may add in the sound of the letters p and b in the next few months. He most likely won't be able to make the sound of the letters f and v until he is five years old. These sounds and others are all important in being able to read. Just like the typical ages for sound acquisition, there are typical ages to expect certain milestones in reading. The United States Department of Education suggests most children will be reading by age seven. They also suggest six-year-olds can read or retell familiar stories. But this doesn't mean for you to wait! In fact, just as Evan absorbed his color names with the use of flashcards at school, little ones can absorb sound and letter pictures, as well as favorite stories. So keep reading!


Book Of The Week:
            Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle       

       It doesn't get much better than Eric Carle books! This is a classic board book that is a must have for any toddler. It is the perfect book to learn about colors and animal sounds. Each page has the previous animal seeing a new animal looking at him. It is a simplistic, rhythmic pattern book. It is highly predictable with its phrasing. Coupled with the brightly colored art work, it is an easy one for a young child to read on his own. It is the type of book that your child will memorize quickly and really be able to feel like he is reading.


           There are so many wonderful things you can do with this book! People have made matching games, collages of colorful animals, puppets, and more. We have a few of the stuffed animals from the book thanks to a great sale at a local department store! They had the animals and all of Eric Carle's books for five dollars apiece! And some of that money went to a reading charity!       

       I like to make my own Eric Carle-type pattern books with my kids and even my middle school students! One time, my students made their own versions of this book using a country of their choice. For instance, one girl made her book about China. It was Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See in China, Over There? She had researched the country and had the panda bear spying things like hot dogs and fireworks, which had been invented in China. She did a great job!       

       I made a book with Alice and Evan called Kelley Kids, Kelley Kids, What's in Your Belly? Sounds weird, right? But, here is the background story: A teacher at the daycare always says Alice/Evan Kelley with a ....in your belly. Typically, their belly item is seasonal, like a pumpkin, a snowman, a leprechaun, or an umbrella. It is silly and they love it! So they each cut out twelve pictures from magazines and printed some off the Internet. Then we put each in a Ziploc bag. This became Evan's and Alice's bellies. I drew each of them onto tag board two times-one for the front and one for the back. I let them color their pictures and we cut out a circle where their bellies are. Each page was then a piece of poster board with a missing belly circle. The page pattern says something like, "Kelley kids, Kelley kids, what's in your belly? It's January, so there's a snowflake in my belly!...It's February, so Cupid is in my belly...etc."       

       You get the idea. I did this because Alice is learning the months of the year right now and I figured it would help. But you can use any theme for your child. Maybe you are just learning colors, so you could do a flowers book with a new flower of a new color on each page. You could even try finding the real flowers, cutting them, then pressing them into the book. Just use your imagination!


Rhyme Time:
           Here is the song Alice has learned to memorize the months of the year. It might be a little too early for our toddlers to learn the months, but, again, these little ones are sponges, so why not just sing away to them anyway!

        (To the Tune of "Three Blind Mice")

       January, February, March,

       April, May, June.

       July, August, September,

       October, November, December.

       These are the twelve months of the year.

       Now sing them together so we can all hear.

       How many months are there in a year?

       Twelve months in a year.


Evan's Opinion:
           Evan has even grown in his ability to sit and do something crafty these days. He was so good just coloring when we did this project. He loves to glue! He wasn't so impressed with his final product. In fact, he could care less about his book. But oh, well! Alice, on the other hand, loves her book! She thinks it is hysterical! She doesn't exactly like to share her special joke with Evan, though. She wasn't too pleased when the teacher started saying it to her brother, too. Lately, she has been overwhelmingly emotional about these types of things. My sister-in-law announced she is having another baby. I thought Alice would be thrilled. Instead, she sobbed that now there would be another baby that everyone would love more than her! Ironically, Evan feels upset by her upset! He isn't overjoyed by everyone gushing how cute he is; he is actually more upset that his sister is bitter towards him! He idolizes her and just wants her to love him.


You're Probably Wondering.....
           "How do you handle sibling rivalry?"       

       My heart broke for Alice when she said this after the announcement of the new baby. She is our only girl, so she has always gotten lots of attention. Plus, her older brothers (seventeen and nearly thirteen) have always lavished her with love. Evan took a little of that away when he came. But he was a boy, so she was still sort of okay. Then Cousin Brooke came along, and though she isn't our baby, she is another girl grandchild that took some of Grandma and Grandpa's attention away.  Now another baby is coming, and Alice just lost it! Grandpa always calls Alice his little cutie pie. She was sobbing saying he never calls her that anymore. He had to stop and think about it to remember if he had said it recently. It has become a vicious circle because she is miserable, dramatic, and loud. She has been into mischief and been mean to her brother. This often gets her into trouble and gets Evan a little more TLC if she has been mean. That fuels her inferior feelings toward him, which makes her more miserable, dramatic, and loud. What is a parent to do?       

       The only thing I can think of to help this situation is to pour the positive praise out to her. The minute I see her doing the slightest nice thing, I am praising her. If she simply gets Evan a tissue, I gush over it. But I make it more about her and me and less about Evan. I say something like, "Oh, thank you so much for getting that tissue. That was such a big help to me."       

       I have also been making sure I compliment her. For whatever reason, she is a child who seems to need reassurance that she is pretty, smart, and loved. So I make sure I tell her that I like her outfit or her hair looks beautiful. And for goodness sake, I have begged everyone to bring back their pet names for her. She is almost five years old and it seems like everyone has stopped babying her. But her little pet names do not have to be about babying her. Her brother used to call her his little Alley Cat. Now he simply calls her brat. She is a brat lately, but I begged him to call her the nickname again. If he wants her to be less bratty, she needs to feel happier.       

       Also, while I have many ways I expect and encourage my children to share, there are things that are theirs and theirs alone. Alice has toys that belong to only her and she is not expected to share them. Evan is expected to respect that ownership. It isn't always easy, but I believe it is vital for each of them. Years ago this wasn't always the case with my two older boys. I think my oldest had to share all of his toys a little too much, and he resented his brother for it. It wasn't his brother's fault; it was our fault. But the resentment ended up aimed at his brother, and they have a strained relationship. I learned my lesson in this and have things that Evan just is not allowed to touch. And Alice does not have to hide these things from him; he simply needs to be told not to touch. Again, it is not easy, but well worth it to me.       

       Finally, sharing you and your attention is always hard, too. I try to set aside a special time with Alice for a girls' night. We will go to the mall or just hang out and paint our finger nails. I've even taken her with me to get a real manicure! Trying to give each child his or her own memories with Mom or Dad is a great idea! Also, doing things all together as a family, things that are fun for everyone, will help cut down on the conflicts.       

       So whether you already have more than one child or you are considering another baby now that your toddler is outgrowing his baby stage, think about how you will handle the feelings of jealousy and resentment as your children have to share their belongings and your love. Empathize with them and try to make mindful choices regarding their feelings. Give them their own individual space and things, as well as teaching them to share. And finally, spend time with them each alone, and together. Now, I am going to go spend time with them instead of my computer!


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