Monday, July 16, 2018

2 Month Update

Two Months!  It doesn't sound like that long at all, but I still feel like keeping a tiny, helpless human alive that long is an accomplishment.  Babies are hard, but SO worth it!

 We still haven't started any sort of formal early learning plan yet (although, I just ordered some PlayWisely home curriculum and am excited to start).  We just kind of do "learning" activities depending on his mood (although, honestly, at this point, he's learning no matter what he does).

Social/Language Development:

Archer is so much more fun now.  He makes good eye contact and will often light up when he sees me.  He becomes very engaged when I sing him songs, particularly ones that have arm motions (itsy bitsy spider, the elephant song, etc.).   He also really likes it when I sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes to him and point to his body parts along with the song. Sometimes, he likes being read to, but only if I'm very animated.  I also try to narrate or describe a lot of what I'm doing, partially for vocabulary exposure and partially because it is weird to be interacting all day with someone who doesn't speak.

He wants SO badly to talk.  He is getting better at cooing, although, sometimes you can see that he really has to struggle to get the sounds out.  His little brow will furrow and he'll scrunch up til he can do it.  We're working on turn taking, where he'll coo and then we'll respond and so on.

Physical Development:

He still goes in his crawling track, just not as much as he "should."  Spit-up is still an issue.   In general, I'm trying to avoid putting him in baby "holders" all the time.  Unless he's sleeping or we're out and about, I try to either be holding him or have him on the ground.  That way he can move and learn how to use his arms and legs.  I'm definitely not perfect, though!  The bouncer has gotten us through a lot of meals.
He loves looking at his mirror.  It is one of the things I can do to make tummy time more tolerable for him.  Looking at his stimulation cards can also hold his attention for a while.  My friend got him some baby paper, which is awesome.  I put that down next to him to encourage him to use his hands while on his tummy.  He's also got a couple of the Taggies crinkle toys.
 Archer does seem to really enjoy his baby gym.  He's working on being able to hit the toys on purpose (he does it on accident a lot).  

Visual Development:

We use the crawling track and baby gym for this a lot too.  I usually prop some books up for him to look at while he's in there. He really seems to like his book of animals, which surprised me, since I thought it might be a little hard for him to make them out.  I try to do either black and white images or real photos.  Cartoons are just such an abstract concept, that I try to avoid them when I can.

We've also been working on eye tracking.  I use a toy or something in which he is interested, then move it back and forth for him to track.  I also go up and down.  He is getting so much smoother and rarely goes cross-eyed anymore!

I've noticed that when we do these kinds of focused activities, Archer is so much more content.  Maybe he gets bored if he doesn't have enough stimulation?  Regardless, we're having a blast watching him learn and develop!  

I'd love to hear what activities your babies have enjoyed at this age.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Archer Update - 6 Weeks

Baby Boy is now 6 weeks!  Crazy how it seems like he's been in our lives forever, even though it hasn't been that long.  

We've mostly spent these weeks snuggling and loving on him.  We sing songs, read stories and chat with him.  Unfortunately, he's not a very good sleeper and spits up more than any baby I've ever known, which makes tummy time particularly difficult.  Usually he ends up with spit up in his eyes and nose when we try tummy time.  We're still doing what we can, but not nearly as much as I could with big brother.
He does like playing with toys while lying on his back.  He particularly likes toys he can try to grab (like his Skwish and Winkle  I really want the elephant version of the Winkle, but can't justify it when we already have one :P).
Whenever we do get him on his tummy, we try to have nice high contrast things to look at.  I also make an effort to get done on the ground with him and encourage every time he lifts his head.
This week he has gotten VERY interested in his mirror.  Sometimes we can get him interested in the bathroom mirrors, but he can't get as close to those.
We have also been using toys to try to practice eye tracking.  We wiggle a toy in front of him and then try to get him to follow it with his eyes.  Sometimes he does great, sometimes he's too busy sucking on his fist.

I'm loving watching him learn and grow!  Can't wait til he can interact a bit more (and maybe spit up less and sleep more).

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Introducing Our New Little Learner

Baby boy has arrived!  Well, actually he arrived nearly three weeks ago, but we've been a little busy and I kept forgetting to update.  It is crazy how you forget just how hard the newborn stage and recovery are!

Anyway, here he is.  We named him Archer and he is pretty perfect in our eyes.

Xander is completely in love.  He keeps telling me that Archer is the cutest baby in the whole wide world.  He is excited for when he can pick him up on his own.
Since we're not sleeping and Archer tends to spit up a LOT, we're not doing as many early learning activities as we would like.  We do tummy time or spend time in the crawling track whenever possible, but it usually winds up with him smearing spit up all over himself.  He can make it down the track when it is inclined, which is fun to watch.  Usually, he just looks at the stimulation cards that line it.
Eventually, we'll start doing more formal learning activities and I hope to get back to blogging about it.  However, for now, we're just surviving enjoying the day to day.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Early Learning Newborn Goals

Since we moved when I was 37 weeks pregnant (crazy market where we live, not exactly ideal timing), I had to spend most of my third pregnancy packing instead of nesting.  Now that we have been in the new house for a week (and baby is scheduled to come in a week, if he doesn't show up before), I have finally been able to nest!

His nursery is set up (although he won't be sleeping there for a while, the board books are unpacked and his bassinet is next to my bed.  My amazing husband to take a break from unpacking to build me a crawling track for the baby.  I am so excited for Baby Boy to have a safe environment for tummy time, especially with two dogs that are not always all that self aware.
I printed and laminated infant stimulation cards from Doman Mom to line the sides.  We also have a baby mirror and pre-made infant stimulation cards we'll use for tummy time.

Newborn Goals:
Newborns are a ton of work and each one is different, so I am not going to delude myself into thinking I can perfectly plan out all our early learning activities ahead of time.  However, I can set some goals.

  • Face to Face interaction - with two parents and a doting big brother, as well as lots of extended family, this one should be easy.  He'll have no shortage of people wanting to talk to him and read to him.
  • Tummy Time - On family members' chests, in the crawling track and on the floor.  I'm going to try my best to avoid baby holding devices and get him on the ground whenever possible.  Doesn't mean I'll be good at it or that he will cooperate.
  • Very LOOSE Infant Stimulation Program (as outlined in How Smart Is Your Baby) -  the full program is much too rigorous for me to commit to.  However, I will try to stimulate some of his reflexes and provide the movement experience.
  • Visual Stimulation - baby can't learn to read until he can see really well, so I want to make sure he has visual stimulation to look at, hence the cards and mirrors. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

EL Reading for Parents: Bright from the Start

Recently I posted my Maternity Reading List.  I've been making my way through and trying to write short little reviews.  The next on the list was Bright from the Start by Jill Stamm.

This was another book I really enjoyed.  There was a lot of science and research behind the information, which is always encouraging, especially in a family of science nerds.  I also really liked how the author focuses on practical tips for what the parent should actually DO with the information.  She gives ideas for very manageable games to play and activities to do with babies and young children that take advantage of the developmental research.  It is very reader friendly and un-intimidating. 

Some Take Home Messages:
Notes: most of the information I have read other places, but the scientific evidence to back them up is reassuring, as well as the practical applications.

  • Face to face, direct interaction with babies is critical
  • No screen, audio or toy can replicate the benefits of directly interacting with caregivers
  • Focused attention, strong bonding moments and development of communication encompass all early learning

Thursday, March 8, 2018

EL Reading for Parents: How Smart is Your Baby

Recently I posted my Maternity Reading List.  One of the books I included, even though I had already read a few years ago was How Smart Is Your Baby? by Glenn and Janet Doman.  To be fair, I did not reread it cover to cover, but reread all of the introductory chapters and those pertaining to the first couple of stages of development.  As the baby develops, I'll go back and reread the next appropriate chapters.

I really like that this book has a lot of research behind it.  I have many online friends who have used some of the Doman methods with their kids with wonderful success.  I also attribute a lot of Doman's philosophies to how I was able to get Xander to learn to read at such a young age, as well as a lot of his other learning.  I am excited to start applying some of the research and philosophies to teaching the new little one, once he arrives.

However, I will also say that this book is INTENSE.  A full Doman program requires a lot of work, some of which I'm not super comfortable doing with a newborn several times a day.  I do not intend to do EVERYTHING suggested, nor as often as suggested.

That being said, there is a lot of valuable information in the book and I am grateful for the resource.  I actually bookmarked three sections that I want my husband to read before baby, also.  We will apply a lot of the strategies as long as we find they are working for baby and for us.

Some Take Home Messages:
  • Mothers are the best nurturers and teachers for newborns (makes sense, who could possibly care more that mom and dad?)
  • Babies/children want to learn and just need the right experiences and environment to make it happen
  • Learning should be enjoyable for both parent and baby

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

EL Reading For Parents: The Whole-Brain Child

Recently I posted my Maternity Reading List.  While I am still excited to get through the whole list, life and exhaustion have slowed me down a little (that's ok, I'll have lots of late night reading time when I'm feeding a baby).  The next one I read was The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.

This book focuses more on the emotional development of kids.  Each chapter focuses on one aspect of how the brain develops and how that impacts behavior and emotions.  It has tips on how to respond to different types of situations to help get the kid through it.  Then at the end of the chapter there is a section that you use to teach your kids about the concept and a section on how to integrate the knowledge into your own life.

All in all, I thought it was a good book and could see how it could be very useful.  However, having a psychology degree and being a parent already, I felt like a lot of the information I either knew already or felt kind of like common knowledge.  I did find myself wanting to share concepts and ideas with my husband, since he has not parented before and is a bit more stoic when it comes to the emotions department.

Some Take Home Messages:
  • Children have developing brains, and sometimes truly are unable to regulate their emotions and behaviors
  • Handle the emotions first/in the moment and then come back with logic and reason afterwards
  • Help children name their emotions to make them seem more manageable
  • When children are hyper-focusing on one thing that is bringing them down, help them visualize all the parts of their days/lives that contribute to their "self"
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