Friday, January 28, 2011

Her baby

Sus is a BIG Curious George fan.  She got this big plush George for Christmas, and last week, he was her baby for a couple days.  I tried to follow her around and snap a picture of her mothering him -- feeding him in her high chair, rocking him in the bassinet -- but they kept coming out blurry since she was always on the move.  I caught this cute picture of her coming out of her room, holding her wrapped up "baby" tightly.  I love how you can just barely see the Curious George face enough to tell who it is.

Tomorrow we are going to a local Barnes and Noble to SEE Curious George!  Let's hope she likes meeting him more than she liked meeting Santa Clause. :)  Regardless, I'm sure it will be a fun outing for our family and I plan on letting her pick out a Curious George book to bring home with us.

Linking up to Simply Modern Mom.
Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Ten A.M. . .

. . . and time to read.

Lately Susie (who is now 19 months) has been all about Dr. Suess books.  It started with Cat in the Hat, which she still loves, as well as Cat in the Hat Comes Back, Green Eggs and Ham (she calls it "Am Am" -- not sure if that's "Sam I Am" or her way of saying "ham", but either way, it makes sense), and now One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

I left for work and saw her perched on the couch thumbing through her new favorite library book.  I called to my husband to make sure he snapped a couple pictures.  I think he did a pretty good job!

Linking up to Simply Modern Mom's "Glimpse Into Motherhood". 

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sharing the snow

Simply Modern Mom had a great idea of taking pictures and posting them once a week that show a small snapshot of motherhood.  I loved looking at the pictures other people showed, and thought this one was just perfect for me this week.  Sus and I spent a great morning playing out in the snow.  This was her second real snow-playing experience, and she ate it up (literally).  Here she is sharing a taste of snow with me!  You can see a little fleck of her previous bite on her lip as well as tell-tale flakes trapped in the neck of her vest. 

 I just LOVED the way she looked right up at me to offer some snow.  Do you think I took a bite?  Wouldn't you??
Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Friday, January 07, 2011

Reading to Babies Part 2

A while back, I posted some tips on reading to babies that I hoped would encourage parents of little ones.  Last night as Susie and I were reading before bedtime, I realized that as she has grown, my methods have changed somewhat, and that I had some new tips to share on reading to young toddlers.

I almost have a hard time calling an 18-month-old a toddler, but I realize that is the correct term.  But one year old baby/toddlers need lots of read-aloud time with Mama, too, and we are laying groundwork for the longer books of our future with the books we read today.

1. Consistent book exposure -- It may sometimes feel like the books are just everywhere, and try your sanity a bit as you try to keep them tidy.  However, having print (and pictures) accessible to your little one will greatly benefit them down the road, and increase the likelihood that they will request to be read to.  Being able to look through a book at their leisure introduces the concept of independent reading.  To make books accessible, consider keeping some in baskets in regular play areas, or at least in reach of their little fingers.  I have a gorgeous bookshelf mounted up above our changing table that Susie cannot reach, and that's where I keep the special books that I wouldn't want to have ruined (for now).  However, the vast majority of her books are all over the place.  I'm thrilled that she has the freedom to "read" those books to herself.  One time I cracked up to see her reading Cat in the Hat and saying "NO NO NO!!!"  If you recall, "no no no" is the major theme of the book -- the cat making trouble and the fish and kids wanting him to leave -- so she was telling herself the story as she looked at the pictures.  

2. Familiarity -- this is the reason that kid's birthday parties often have the theme of their favorite "characters":  the kids feel like they know those characters through consistent exposure.  Several months back I noticed that Susie was frequently saying the names of the characters in her books, and recognizing them everywhere.  For example, every monkey was "George".  It dawned on me (over time) that she liked reading the same books over and over because it was like she knew these people.  So, as much as I'd like to broaden her horizons by introducing new books every day, I know it will take time for her to warm up.  Here's how I introduce a new full-length picture book:
  • I let her flip through the book while I point out things happening in the pictures.  I let her handle most of the pages, even though I keep the book moving forward (no need to read every page if she skips one). You may let your child do this several times or on several occasions if necessary before actually reading it.
  • I read the book (if she hasn't cast it aside already) out loud as far through as I can.  I might possibly summarize parts of longer pages to keep the pace going.
  • The 3rd time through (assuming she wants to read it again, or perhaps if we pick it up later) I read it entirely.  By this point, she has gotten a pretty good grip on what will happen and the story is far more enjoyable if I don't leave anything out.  
  • Henceforth, I usually insist on her waiting to turn the page until I have finished reading what is on the page (more on this later), though I don't insist we finish reading the book if she loses interest (this is not usually a problem.  By this point, it will surely be "again!" when we get to the end). 
This worked incredibly well with a new library book we got yesterday.  From about 4pm to bedtime, we read it 9 times, and she was sad when I said "all done" for bedtime.  She even told her daddy what happened in the book at dinner.  Here's my point: sometimes we get discouraged because a child doesn't seem to like a book initially because they are flipping through it.  However, by taking baby steps to familiarize the child with the story, they will often warm up to the book. Just give it time.

3. Freedom and responsibility -- at this point, I still want my baby to have freedom to explore the books.  
  • I don't always require her to sit on my lap (or sit at all) while I'm reading to her.  Usually she does (she's a cuddler) but sometimes on our 4th time through a book, she just can't hold still any longer, and she will stand and look at the book, or even walk around a little and come back.  Unless I can tell she's just done, I keep reading.  
  • If she is inclined to do so, I let her turn the pages.  Usually this is a favorite part of reading for this age level.  When a child tries to turn a page too early, it might seem like they don't care about the story, which can be discouraging.  However, I think that most likely it is just their eagerness to do their part and see what is coming next. Sometimes I say "just wait, mommy has to finish reading this page" and sometimes I let her turn it, look, and then I turn back and pick up where we left off.  We are gently guiding these little ones to understand the order of a book, and at the same time teaching them patience and responsibility.  
  • This is the age to begin to instruct them in responsibility for their books.  I don't let Susie walk on her books (paper page books, that is), or throw them.  When we read, sometimes she wants to put her feet on the pages, but since I think that could tempt her to kick and tear the pages, I tell her not to put her feet over the pictures.  All of this sort of instruction is done in a very patient and gentle manner.
4. Don't give up, or refuse to read -- If your baby doesn't seem thrilled by books, don't give up.  Keep reading, even little snippets when you get the chance.  Anything is better than nothing.  If your kiddo is constantly requesting the same book 47 times, don't refuse her (tedious though it may become)!  This era will soon be past, and you'll miss those snuggle moments when they are gone!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

I haven't blogged in quite a while, and that's because I have been enjoying family time, home time, and holiday time rather than being on the computer as much.  But I did want to say Happy New Year, and share some of my goals for 2011 as well as a few favorite holiday pics.

1. Re-read some really great books, in addition to reading some new ones.  Some of my SILs and I are planning to read Carolyn Mahaney's Feminine Appeal together, which is really exciting.  I always have stacks of books I want to start, but I'm choosing what should rise to the top. 

2. Sewing.  I am the new owner of a sewing machine, thanks to a very generous Christmas gift from a friend!  I have several projects in mind I want to try, but first I'm planning to sort of learn with a few practical things, using fabric I salvaged when I cleaned out my closet.  I also have a little bit of pretty fabric stowed away that I'm excited to get my hands on. :)

3. Home organization.  I would like to really improve in this area.  I think for the past year or two, I've sort of just gotten doing the basics.  I'd like to streamline quite a bit, and clear out closet space, etc.  I know this won't happen overnight, but planning to do a chunk at a time!

Here are a few fun pictures from our Christmas festivities:

Lots of cousin time -- playing piano with Cede
Christmas day -- so fun to explore all the new gifts
Playing in matching jammies on Christmas eve
Little helper ready to bake!
Reading with older cousin "Mack" (as Susie says)
We had several opportunities to enjoy the snow!
Cutie Christmas dress and babylegs