Feb 29, 2012

Postcard 8

3 comments:
100 postcards... 100 invitations to send a message. What message would you share if you had the chance to have your voice heard... anonymously?

Postcard #8
Click the image to enlarge.


Disclaimer
The opinions expressed on the postcards are those of the postcard's author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Deliberate Mom.

Click Here To Read More

Feb 27, 2012

Snowed In

3 comments:
On Friday it started snowing and snowing and snowing! On Saturday, we cancelled all of our plans and decided it was going to be a snow day. Here's a photo journal of how we made the most of a very snowy day.

The tree outside our house was devoid of snow.
A few hours later, it looked like this.

We brought out the paints and did some painting.

We assembled the play tent in the living room.

We brought the snow inside!

We used snow and hot maple syrup to make maple taffy!

And ate it all up... yum!

Even though it was blustery outside, we warmed our home with some playful family fun. We simply took the ordinary and made it into something extraordinary.


 
A sincere thank you to Sofia from Sofia's Ideas for inviting me to participate in this blog posting link-up.   
 
Click Here To Read More

Feb 26, 2012

Characteristics In Children That Are Given A Bad Rap

7 comments:
Characteristics in children that are given a bad rap. Why do we frown on them? What can we do to see them in a more positive light. #parenting

When you think of qualities you would like to see in your child you may think of empathy, kindness, gentleness, or politeness. But there are some attributes that are often underappreciated or even discouraged. I thought I would share a few of these qualities with hopes to dispel some of the negative attitudes surrounding them.


Eagerness 
"Can we go now? Can we go? Is it time to go? Can we go now???"

Sometimes it's given a bad rap and labelled as impatience. However, the eager child is the adult you want to be working with, the person who is ready and willing to get the job done. The eager child is the adult who will join you in dance, yoga and pottery lessons. They're excited to try anything and everything.

Eagerness can also be a wonderful attribute to observe in your children. This past Christmas wouldn't have been half as exciting if my oldest daughter didn't remind me daily of how many more sleeps until Christmas. I want my children to be eager... their eagerness helps feed my own excitement about life.

Outspokenness
This is a quality that people often regard as rude. Being outspoken does not necessarily mean being rude. I want my children to speak up. I want them to be bold. They may need direction on how and when to do so, but I don't think being outspoken is a negative quality! If my child's rights are being violated or they see someone else being bullied or hurt, I would certainly want her to be outspoken.

Persistence
"I can do it! I don't want your help! Let me do it"

Persistence. This is a quality that often gets under a parent's skin. However, persistence is a beautiful quality to observe in young children.

The other day I was watching my baby lying on her play mat in the living room. She propped herself up on her elbows and looked around the room. I saw the distinct look in her eye when she spotted her favourite item... her soother. She used her arms to lurch her body forward... dragging her legs behind her. I observed closely as this "commando crawl" turned into a real crawl. She toppled over and let out a cry of frustration but then got up and pulled herself forward again. When she got to her soother, I observed her pick it up with her little hands and maneuver it skillfully into her mouth. Wow!

Where would we be if our children didn't have persistence? This quality is the cornerstone of learning and inevitably leads to mastery. Why would we discourage it? I want my child to be persistent.

As parents, we want the best for our children. However, sometimes the "best" may not fit the mould that society deems as the best qualities. Take a moment and consider your own child(ren). Are there any qualities that they display that get under your skin? What is it that you don't like about those qualities? Is it more about you than it is about your child (i.e. you're fearful of how others will regard you as parent, if your child is demonstrating those characteristics?). Perhaps as parents, we need to appreciate and support our children as who they are instead of trying to change them.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Can you think of any qualities or characteristics in children that are given a bad rap? I would love to hear your opinion on this matter.


Click Here To Read More

Feb 24, 2012

{this moment: whoops}

7 comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Wishing you an amazing weekend full of wonderful moments!


Click Here To Read More

Feb 23, 2012

This Posting Is All About Poop

3 comments:

Before you think I'm being clever or funny, I just want to clarify, this posting really is all about poop. So if the topic disgusts you or you're just about to eat meatloaf covered with brown gravy, perhaps this isn't the best posting for you to be reading right now.

Since that's out of the way, let's talk poop.

I never envisioned as I exchanged wedding vows with my husband, that our relationship would eventually hit the poop stage. However, it has and at the moment, I can't imagine a day when we aren't taking about poop.

You see, a little over a month ago, we started feeding my seven-month-old solid foods. Whilst she loves the variety, it has bunged her up (translation: the poor kid is constipated). As we have been knee-deep in poop talk, I have had a few revelations that I thought I would share with you today.

Poo is not as funny as poop.
It's all in the word. Poo just isn't as funny as poop. When someone says "poop", even the most reserved person cracks a smile. It must be the extra "p".

Many foods that ease constipation start with "p".
Speaking of the letter "p", I was surprised to discover that the recommended foods to help ease constipation start with the letter "p"; peaches, pears, peas, plums and prunes. Interesting (and suspicious) isn't it?!

Poop Stinks
Yes, I know, I should have known this by now but really... baby poop stinks more than any other poop.

Poop is often compared to food
I don't understand this one. When asked to relay size and consistency of the baby's poop, comparisons to food are often used. For example:
  • The consistency of butterscotch.
  • The colour of green beans.
  • The size and consistency of a chicken nugget.
  • Looks like soft-serve ice cream.

You get the point. I just don't understand the need to compare feces to the food we put in our mouths!

Babies poop a rainbow of colours.
Really. I've seen every colour so I'm rarely surprised when I unveil my baby's artistic creation of the day.

Baby poop and the dealing with said defecation has developed it's own unique language.
Never before have I learned so many new phrases that are understood primarily by the diaper-changing people of this world. For example:
  • Blowout: When baby's diaper explodes, hence leaking all of the contents, covering the entire inside of child's garments.
  • Full load: This is a diaper that is borderline blowout... change diaper now!
  • Poo finger: When you go to check baby's diaper and retrieve your finger only to discover the nail is sporting a new shade of brown.
  • Cling-on: This word is used to describe a poop that's still in the process of being pushed out or is stuck to the diaper.

Never, ever, Google "poop images".
Yeah, I did that. I went there. I urge you not to... but now that I mentioned it, you probably will. Don't say I didn't warn you.

So there you have it... I just made you read an entire blog posting about poop. One more item to cross off of my bucket list... just kidding.

Click Here To Read More

Feb 22, 2012

Postcard 5

4 comments:
100 postcards... 100 invitations to send a message. What message would you share if you had the chance to have your voice heard... anonymously?

Postcard #5
Click the image to enlarge.

Disclaimer
The opinions expressed on the postcards are those of the postcard's author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Deliberate Mom.
Click Here To Read More

Feb 20, 2012

Snowflakes

3 comments:
I see her looking out the window.

The glass fogs up with every exhale.

I'm watching her... as I so often do.

She is my daughter yet she's so much more. She is my window to youth, to mystery, to seeing the world in a different light.

How could such a little person teach me so much? She has taught me how to love and to understand how God must love His children. She has taught me that everything is an adventure waiting to be embarked upon, and a mystery waiting to be solved. Most importantly, she has taught me to slow down and appreciate the everyday things that we take for granted.

"It's snowing." she announces.

"Yes, it is." I respond, "Should we get ready to go outside."

"Yeah," she responds, "I'll need my hat and my boots and my mittens and my fleece and my coat."

She walks to the closet and I watch as she wiggles into her winter gear.

We're going to the art gallery. It's been a few months since we've been there. I'm looking forward to getting out of the house. Lately, I've spent a lot of time cooped up. I never anticipated how much effort it would take to wrangle two children to get out of the house. So most days I think, why bother? However, it's the weekend and I've got my husband's assistance, so I'm taking full advantage of the extra pair of hands.

He's already at the car with the baby, waiting for my daughter and I to join them.

We leave the house and I watch as my daughter stomps out onto the sidewalk.

"Look at all the footprints!" she exclaims.

Then she does it... something that my hectic life, my seriousness, and my age stole from me. She sticks out her tongue and catches a snowflake on it.

"Mmmmmmmm. It tastes like chocolate candy!"

I smile.


"Can you catch a snowflake?"

I stick out my tongue.

At first I feel the sharp coldness hit my tongue and then it dissolves.

For a fleeting moment, I could taste the fudge my grandma used to make. Then it's gone and we walk together to the car.

She's excited that we're going to the art gallery.

However, I revel in the knowledge that no painting, no sculpture, and no masterpiece could surpass the beauty of a simple, beautiful, and extraordinary moment with my little girl.



A sincere thank you to Sofia from Sofia's Ideas for inviting me to participate in this blog posting link-up. 


Click Here To Read More

Feb 19, 2012

Giving A Boot To "You Can Do It"

2 comments:

The scene is not new. I'm standing in the front entrance watching my four-year-old daughter struggle with her winter boots.

"I can't do it!"

I offer to help.

"NO!" she shouts at me, "I want to do it myself!"

"But you just said you can't do it." I retort, hoping that this little verbal nudge will motivate her to put her boots on.

She might be tired, or perhaps she's frustrated, or maybe she's looking for some control. Regardless, the issue is not that she can't put her boots on. She actually can. She's done it over one hundred times before. She's been doing it since she was two!

This train of thought reminds me of something I can say to motivate her....

"You can do it! I know you can. You've done it before."

She starts to whimper.

"But, I just can't do it right now."

She sobs. My heart sinks. I feel awful. This isn't about the boots. This is about her needing her mommy's emotional support. It was as if the sky opened and a bright light shone down on the situation at hand.

I realized that in my effort to be encouraging, I was actually doing the opposite. By saying, "You can do it" I have placed an invisible pressure on my child. She may be thinking that if she actually can't do it, that she would be disappointing me.

After a moment of guilt, I recover the situation.

"It sounds like you're getting frustrated. You almost have it on."

"My foot's stuck!"

"Do you want me to help so your foot's not stuck?"

"NO!"

"Would you like to try standing up and push your foot in that way."

She whimpers, "Okay...."

She stands up, pushes one foot into a boot. She smiles.

"That's hard work you're doing."

"Yah, I'm working hard."

She casually pushes her foot into the other boot. Beaming, she walks to the door.

As a trained child care professional, I know that catch phrases like "you can do it" have minimal impact on a child and their behaviour. Unfortunately, as a busy (and sometimes stressed) mommy, I forget my early childhood training and do whatever comes to mind. I guess this is one of the reasons why I called my blog The Deliberate Mom... being mindful, reflective and intentional is how I aspire to parent my children.

So I am going to work hard to remove the "you can do it" catch phrase from my vocabulary. It may take a little longer to find the right words but being emotionally supportive for my daughter is far more important than getting to gymnastics class on time.

Click Here To Read More

Feb 17, 2012

{this moment: dress up}

13 comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Click Here To Read More

Feb 16, 2012

I'm Sad About This Posting

5 comments:
Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that I'm not a niche blogger. I write about everything... my latest craft project, day-to-day life with my girls, my recipes, parenting ideas, activities for kids, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes I write personal stories too.

If you're familiar with the blogging world, you are probably aware that you can run analytics on your site. I am sad to report that my most popular posting is Antepartum Depression: Stopping The Tears. Last month it received 442 pageviews... that's sad and frightening. The keywords that link to my site most frequently are: "Antepartum Depression". Obviously there are many other women out there who are suffering through the pre-baby blues. I am fortunate. After a few months, my depression passed.

I recently started receiving e-mails through my contact me form... so many women are desperate and looking to me for advice. What can I do? I am not a doctor but I hear you and feel your pain. So today I am going to sum up the information that I've been e-mailing back to the women who have been reaching out to me.

Talk to your doctor.
Your doctor is trained to handle all sorts of issues. It is critical to you AND your baby's well-being that you seek medical attention. Based upon my blog's statistics, you are obviously not alone. Your doctor has most likely seen this before and may be able to offer several courses of action.

Talk to someone. Anyone.
Your husband, your pastor, a counsellor, your sister, your best friend, your mom... it's critical to talk to SOMEONE. Don't bottle these emotions inside. The road to healing starts with letting others know that you are hurting.

Get some rest.
Sleep has a huge impact on mental and emotional well-being. Do what you can to get some extra sleep every day. Your body is working hard to grow and nourish another human being... you need your sleep now more than ever.

Eat some good mood foods.
I think this had the greatest impact on my mood. My dad had read my blog posting and e-mailed me a list of mood foods. I started incorporating healthy, "happy" foods into my diet (i.e. salmon, bananas, mango, and pineapple). Here's a few links to resources on good mood foods:

Leave your house... now!
You're feeling down... I hear you. I know the last thing you want to do is be social but this is not the time to lock yourself away at home. Get out and do something. Visit a friend, join a prenatal fitness class, treat yourself to a manicure, or go for a walk with a friend. Get out of the house and be social.

To conclude, if you are reading this and you are experiencing antepartum depression, I am so sorry that you are going through this. As a woman of faith, I can assure you that I will be praying for you.

I hope that this information has helped you even a little and please, please, PLEASE get professional help for you and for your unborn child.



DISCLAIMER:
As mentioned previously, I am not a doctor and this article should not replace the advice given by a certified medical professional. Please consult your physician for professional advice.

Photo Credit:
Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Click Here To Read More

Feb 15, 2012

Postcard 4

11 comments:
100 postcards... 100 invitations to send a message. What message would you share if you had the chance to have your voice heard... anonymously?

Postcard #4
Click the image to enlarge.

Click Here To Read More

Feb 14, 2012

Not A Typical Valentine's Day Posting

6 comments:

Chocolates, romantic dinner, kisses, hugs, candlelight, cards, sugar cookies with pink frosting... yes, it's Valentine's Day.

What did I get for Valentine's Day you ask? Well, it's none of your business.

Do you remember being in grade school and counting your Valentine's cards? Perhaps you were disappointed because you had less cards than a friend. I think it was in those early years that I realized that Valentine's Day seems to be one big competition amongst the women of the world.

What did you do for Valentine's Day?
Who got the most beautiful card?
Which hubby/partner is the most romantic?
He bought you a diamond bracelet?
He whisked you away to Paris?
He wrote you a song, put it on YouTube and within hours had a record contract and $100,000?

Wow. That's a lot of pressure to put on the guys in our lives.

Ladies, we've got to learn to bite our tongues and stop cackling about the gifts we get from our partners. It's not a competition and it's certainly not about the gift... it's about your love for one another! Don't cheapen this day by focusing on what gift you've been given. Enrich the day by basking in the love that you and your soulmate have for one another!

I can confidently say that my husband loves me 24/7, every day of every month, of every year. I don't need Valentine's Day to coerce him to say he loves me or to demand a gift or attention. I revel in the every day. The little things... the special, tender moments that make me love him so much.

So, with that... Happy Valentine's Day. Enjoy the time with the one you love and remember, today is about loving one another.

Disclaimer: If you are my husband and you're reading this... this posting does not let you off the hook! *winks*


Photo Credit:
Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Click Here To Read More

Feb 13, 2012

The Plant Is Growing Up To The Wall

7 comments:

"The plant is growing up to the wall!" bellowed my four year old.

"Mmm hmm," I replied, as I groggily poured myself a cup of coffee.

It's another typical morning in our house. The day started with a 6:40 wake-up call from my six-month-old baby. I fed her and before I could slip her sleepily back into her crib, my four-year-old burst into the bedroom to greet both of us.

My day has begun.

We walk downstairs together. I step over my sleepy dog, Maverick, who has made himself a cozy spot on the landing of the staircase. Every time I make this maneuver, I envision losing my footing, falling and landing on him before sliding down the stairs. Perhaps it's this repeated thought that keeps this dreadful reverie from becoming a reality.

Treehouse is already on the TV. This morning I feel no guilt over my daughter watching a few cartoons.... I'm exhausted. My day begins bright and early, every day, but last night was a rough one. The baby woke up every hour, wanting to be held, wanting to be fed. If only someone could hold me and feed me. It's going to be a long day and I'm clearly not ready for it. 

I put the baby down on her playmat and pepper the area with a variety of toys. 

I make a breakfast sandwich for my daughter and slowly eat a banana. I really should exercise. This is my only time to do it. Both children are somewhat content. If I don't do it now, it will never happen.

I pull out the DVD, my yoga mat and weights.

Once again I step over the dog and go upstairs to change into my workout clothes.

"I can do this," I mumble to myself as I pull my sweatpants on, "it's only twenty minutes... then I can proceed with my day."

I go back downstairs and muddle my way through the workout.

I turn off the TV and go to the kitchen to eat breakfast. I shovel some cereal into my mouth while standing at the kitchen counter... waiting for the coffee to finish brewing.

"The plant is growing up to the wall!" bellowed my four year old.

"Mmm hmm," I replied, as I groggily poured myself a cup of coffee.

I look at the lucky bamboo that was given to me over 2 years ago. It has grown a lot but why the sudden interest today?

"It's really bigger now."

"It's growing to the wall!" she hollers as she points at the cabinet beside the plant.

I look and see the shadows from the leaves on the wall.


Indeed, the plant is bigger and it's growing to the wall.

This is the magic of the mundane....
"Every ordinary moment has the potential to be extraordinary".

  
A sincere thank you to Sofia from Sofia's Ideas for inviting me to participate in this blog posting link-up. 


Click Here To Read More

Feb 10, 2012

My Response To Facebook Parenting

22 comments:
I have two daughters, 4 years old and 6 months old... I can't even begin to imagine what parenting them through the teen years will be like.

Today I saw this video and after the initial shock settled, I had to respond.


Social networking sites and the internet create huge obstacles for parenting. Children have a forum to behave in a way contrary to face-to-face exchanges. How do parents navigate this? How and when do they draw the line? As I watched this video I asked myself what would I do? I don't think I would have chosen this route of discipline. Hopefully things wouldn't have gotten to this point because I would have been talking to my child and navigating through her feelings of frustration before she decided to vent to the world. However, I couldn't help but think what if my child did this, what would be my reaction?

While this dad's rant is a little long, I thought the idea of him disciplining his daughter publicly by grounding her (via a video posted to her Facebook page) was unique, logical and undoubtedly memorable. She publicly humiliated her family (and apparently this wasn't her first offense), why shouldn't he post a response for her Facebook friends to see?

Then 7:20 into the video, my jaw dropped and my stomach flipped as he unloaded a round of bullets into his daughter's laptop. WHAT. WAS. HE. THINKING.?

Call me a typical Canadian, but seeing a gun, let alone witnessing it being fired several times made me feel ill. Moreover, the message took a violent turn for the worse. Yes, he was firing the gun at a laptop but I felt it to be a rather threatening position for a father to take. As my screen reverted to the static YouTube page, I had a overwhelming sense of pity for this girl.

Am I being too sensitive here? What do you think?

Click Here To Read More

{this moment: dad and girls}

8 comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Wishing you an amazing weekend full of wonderful moments!

Click Here To Read More

Feb 9, 2012

She's Watching Me

8 comments:



How talking about weight loss can affect your children. #weightloss #bodyimage #parenting






"I lost fifteen pounds already." Says the girl who's only four... and my daughter.

I wanted to puke.

For the past couple of months I have been exercising every day and eating healthy. I want to be healthy... or so I thought.

Hearing my daughter say she "lost fifteen pounds". Made me question my motives. Are the changes I've made about living a healthy lifestyle intrinsic or are they about appearances (extrinsic motives)?

I realized that I've been lying to myself, lying to others and lying to my daughter. However, the bright little monkey that she is, she saw through my tricks and smokescreens and called me out on it... I've been wanting to lose weight.

Living in the age of blogs, media and an abundance of social networking sites adds a subtle pressure to one's self-worth. I regularly see Facebook status updates, blog posts and twitter feeds that put the pressure on to lose weight and look good.

For example:
  • "Yay, I fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes again."
  • "Not only did I lose my pre-pregnancy weight but this is the lowest weight I've been in over 10 years!"
  • "No more fat panties for me... LOL."
  • "I'm one of the lucky ones. No stretchmarks!"

Nothing is necessarily wrong with these statements. It's me, the interpreter of these statements that has lost direction and been led astray. I can't compare myself to someone else's Facebook or Twitter feed. That's their journey and their direction.

I have stretchmarks galore and my belly which once housed children, on two separate occasions, kind of looks like an ass (sorry about the language but I have no other way to describe it). That's my body. That's me... or is it?

When I gave birth to my daughter, I knew immediately that she was a beautiful gift from God and I also knew that's the way I wanted her to see herself. So why do I desire that for her but I can't do it for myself?

"I lost fifteen pounds already...."

"You don't need to lose fifteen pounds. You're a little girl... you need to grow."

What else could I say? I quickly realized that I can't talk myself out of this one... my actions need to speak louder than words.

So starting today my language is changing, but more importantly, my attitude is changing. It's not going to be about pounds and inches... it's going to be about a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise. It's not going to be about calorie counting, it's going to be about making healthy choices and enjoying a chocolate bar and a glass of wine every once and a while. It's not going to be about the clothes I would love to wear or sporting a bikini this summer, it's going to be about a positive sense of self-worth, and a desire to live a long and fulfilling life.

She's watching me... and I have no doubt that how I proceed will have a lifelong impact on her.


Click Here To Read More

Feb 8, 2012

The Lost Project: Postcard 1

11 comments:
In 2004 my husband and I embarked on a project. We gathered 100 postcards, numbered them, addressed them (with the PO Box we had rented) and delivered the postcards everywhere we went. We stamped the postcards and left them with a loonie, a pen and a note encouraging the recipient to write a positive thought, a favourite quote, or whatever they wanted. The instructions also prompted the recipient to mail back the postcard as soon as possible. We were curious as to what messages people would share if they were given the chance to have their voice heard... anonymously. Life got busy and we never followed through with the documentary which we had envisioned as the end product of this project.

The other day I was cleaning the basement and I found the postcards.  I felt some remorse over the fact that so many people took the time to respond to our request, yet we never followed through with completing the project.

Some of the messages were sad and a couple were ridiculous. However, the majority of the messages were uplifting and inspiring. So for the next few months, on Wednesdays, I will be sharing all of the postcards, that were mailed to us almost eight years ago.

Enjoy.

Postcard #1
Click the image to enlarge.

Click Here To Read More

Feb 7, 2012

Nursery Art

1 comment:
As I previously shared in my posting, 12 Projects For 2012, I have been wanting to make canvas art out of my baby's hand and footprints. The inspiration came to me as I assembled a hand and footprint calendar for the grandmas in our family.


This was such a fun and simple keepsake project, I thought I would take this opportunity to share it with you!

First, I decided what prints I wanted to create. I decided that butterflies and ladybugs would be the cutest for my baby's room. Inspiration for hand and footprint art can be found HERE.

Then I purchased my supplies; a set of nine 3" x 3" premade canvases and acrylic paints.

I put my oldest daughter to work and got her to paint the background colour on the canvases.


After the background colour had dried, I had my husband hold my daughter while I painted her feet and pressed them onto the canvas (this was for the butterfly art).


I then painted the palm of her hand and pressed it onto the canvas (this was for the ladybug art).

I embellished each print with antennae (and spots for the ladybugs).

Lastly, I put my daughter's name and the date on the back of the canvas art.

Simple, frugal, and an adorable keepsake to hang in my daughter's nursery.
Click Here To Read More

Feb 5, 2012

Babies Play? Brain-building Activities For Your Infant

4 comments:

"The brain is the only unfinished organ at birth" (Schiller, n.d.). While secure, nurturing relationships are the cornerstone of healthy brain development, there are a number of other playful activities that parents can do with their infants as well.

Cause and Effect
Babies learn a lot through their interactions with things in their world. Set up activities that allow your infant to experiment with cause and effect.

  • Stack some soft blocks for your infant. Watch him knock it down. Repeat.
  • Place a soft ball by your infant, when it rolls away, bring it back to her. Repeat. When your infant is older, she will enjoy crawling over to the ball and pushing it away.
  • Shaking any toy that makes noise is a great cause and effect activity.
  • Set up shatterproof mirrors for your infant to interact with. Wave at the mirror, make faces, smile, etc.
  • Place a lightweight piece of fabric on a chair or stool by your baby. Allow your baby to pull the fabric off. Repeat.

Music
This is a wonderful time to expose your infant to a variety of music. Classical, jazz, ethnic, contemporary... make time to play music for your infant. Observe his face as he hears the tunes. You can also dance with him or play along with his favourite rattles.


Read. Read. Read.
I can not over-emphasize the importance of reading to young children. This key component of brain development applies to babies as well! Short, repetitive stories are wonderful for infants. A list of my favourite Board Books can be found HERE.

Allow your infant to interact with books too! Babies learn so much by touching and putting things in their mouths! My favourite books are the "Indestructible Books". The manufacturers claim that these books are "chew proof, tear proof, non-toxic and washable". I also love that the nursery rhyme stories show interesting, worldly "twists" on the rhymes.

Mary Had a Little Lamb takes place in Africa!
Hickory Dickory Dock takes place in London and the clock is none other than Big Ben!
Humpty Dumpty falls off the Great Wall of China!
Old MacDonald Has a Farm takes place on a farm in Bolivia.
Frere Jacques our favourite French baker, dreams of delicious treats in Paris, France.
Hey, Diddle Diddle involves a slick cat from New Orleans who likes to jam on his fiddle!

Rhymes and Songs
Words are a big part of your infant's brain development. Sing to your infant... any simple song will do! You don't even have to be a good singer... your baby doesn't care if you can carry a tune. Simply make eye contact with your baby and belt out those tunes. Simple classics like Mary Had A Little Lamb, The Wheels On The Bus and the Itsy, Witsy Spider will surely delight your infant.

Sensory Play
Infants learn about their world through their senses. Expose your infant to a variety of sensory experiences. Set up an environment which is "safe" for them to explore, taste and touch.

  • Place a variety of different fabrics around your infant and allow him to explore the different textures and colours. You can extend this activity by using descriptive words with your infant while he is exploring the fabrics i.e. rough, soft, smooth, silky, prickly, etc.
  • Fill a large ziploc bag with shaving cream and two different colours of paint. Tape the opening closed and secure it to your infant's high chair with more packing tape. Allow her to squish and squeeze the bag. The texture is unique and the mixing of the colours is fascinating. The bag can be filled with other things as well... hair gel and glitter; water, food colouring and oil; etc. Get creative!
  • Allow your infant to finger paint. Afraid they'll eat the paint? Allow them to finger paint with food (rice cereal, pudding, etc).
  • Infants are fascinated by water. Set up a small basin of water and allow him to splash and play with it. (Always make sure to be present when your infant is playing with water).
  • Cut shapes out of sandpaper, foil, and other materials and tape the shapes to the tray of her highchair. Your baby will love touching these interesting things!

Simple Games
What baby doesn't love Peek-A-Boo? You can also cover baby's favourite toy with a piece of fabric or a bowl, then unveil it... now you see it, now you don't!

Talk. Talk. Talk.
Your baby loves you and your voice delights him in ways you can't even imagine. You are his world! Talk to your baby frequently.

  • Let your baby know all the steps of her diaper change... "Off come your pants; there's your belly; Mommy's wiping your bum clean; here's a fresh diaper, etc.
  • If your baby is in the early babbling phase, mimic his sounds.
  • Extend her simple sounds into words (i.e. mmmmm... mama; baaaaa... baby; duh... dada, etc.)

These are special, precious moments . It is such a privilege to watch our babies learn and grow. I hope you find these activity ideas useful. If you have any other ideas to contribute, please feel free to share.


References
Schiller, P. (n.d.). Brain research and implications for early childhood programs. Retrieved January 19, 2012 from, http://www.teamcnionline.com/company-login/TrainingExchange/pdf/EarlyCare2.pdf.
Click Here To Read More

Feb 3, 2012

{this moment: puppy love}

6 comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Click Here To Read More

Feb 2, 2012

Our New Favourite Snack: Lettuce Wraps

6 comments:
For the past month I have made an effort to take better care of myself. This wasn't a New Year's resolution (I don't like resolutions) but rather a lifestyle change. God gave me a healthy, functioning body, and I felt it was time to start taking better care of it. Some of the changes I've made include:

- exercising daily (Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred or yoga)
- drinking more water
- making healthy food choices

These changes have invigorated and inspired me to push my body and to nourish myself with wholesome foods. It's been almost a month since I've had chips and soda. In addition, the only chocolate I've consumed is dark chocolate (a daily treat that I look forward to).

One of my recent favourite snacks are lettuce wraps. These delicious little morsels have become a staple in our house. Essentially, it's a sandwich but with a lettuce leaf instead of bread. The contents are scooped into the middle of a romaine lettuce leaf and then rolled up.


Our lettuce wraps have contained the following:

- egg salad (made with egg whites)
- cooked and shredded chicken breast, with peppers and snap peas
- snap peas, peppers, cucumber and grape tomatoes
- tuna salad

They are so delicious (and healthy too)! An added bonus... my four-year-old daughter loves them!

Click Here To Read More