Oh, Baby! Ideas, posts, and thoughts relating to sweet babes

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

 Well, we are about to dive into month 10 tomorrow (eeek!) and realized I hadn't done a month 8/9 favorites!  I have a bazillion things I loved these last couple months, that also made our life a teeny bit easier, but I narrowed it down to the following things:
1.) Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Musical Walker: Best. Purchase. Ever.  Just last week, Ledoux started **trying** to walk.  Although still a bit unsteady enough to walk unassisted, she uses this walker to walk all around our house.  She hasn't quite figured out how to turn it, so she runs it right into the wall, and will let out a loud shriek to let Lee and I know it is time to come and turn her around.  So that she can run it into the wall on the other side of the house.  Over, and over, and over again.  She loves it. That's what matters, right? (PS: I left the batteries out of it.  I cannot take one more singing toy in my house!)

2
.) Bright Starts "Having a ball" activity table: This is one of Ledoux's very most favorite toys.  When she started standing up at the end of month 8, this was so much fun for her!  She could pull herself up on it, and play with all the music and sounds (and lights!)  Side note: I have every song it plays memorized, and find myself humming them under my breath.  When Ledoux is not around.  Sigh.

3.
Yogurt Melts: Hands down, next to bananas, Ledoux's go to snack are yogurt melts.  She loves these, and I go through about 4-5 bags of them a week.  She shovels these things into her mouth.  I don't blame her for loving these, have you tried them?  Gosh, at the risk of sounding like a weirdo, I love baby food.  SOOO good.  (another of my her favorites? Baby 'Cheetos' found here.  So good!)

4.)
Munchkin Snack tower: Love this!  Ledoux's snacks all go in this, and it pops apart to easily pour out for her for each snack time.  I put fresh fruit, melts, puffys, you name it in this.  Its neat, organized, and takes up very little space.  Win!

5.)
Edushape My Soft World Blocks: I had no idea Ledoux would love these as much as she does!  These are her "go-to" toy in her nursery.  She crawls right over and takes them out of the container.  They are foam, and super soft, and she loves to chew on them.  Great buy for less than $20!

6.) 
MAM teether: Doodle is teething right now (when isn't a baby teething though...really?!) and she loves this teether.  She carries it around in her mouth, as she crawls, like a little puppy dog.  Its pretty funny! It fits her gums well, and has little 'bristles' in it that massage her gums when she bites down.

7.) 
This Little Piggy board book: This is Ledoux's current favorite book.  Who doesn't love the little piggy story? It has a fun little finger puppet in it, which makes Doo crack up laughing! 

8.)
Eric Carle "Around the Farm" sounds book: Ledoux also loves this book.  I love Eric Carle anything thanks to the bright pictures, and I am glad Ledoux does too!  Each animal picture also has "sounds" so on each page, we can press the button that goes with the animal and she can hear what noise each one makes.  Her favorite is the turtle (random) and the horse (neeiiiggggggh!)

So there you have it, our favorite things for 8-9 months!!  I cannot believe that tomorrow my baby turns ten months... one year old (and a walking baby) are right around the corner! Slightly nervous, very excited!






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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Traveling with baby...

 


Well, it was another whirlwind weekend for us in the Abel household, holy canoli! We brought Ledoux on her very first 'real' trip! We have taken a couple roadies here and there, but nothing like this! Lee's little brother and his wife are having a baby girl, and this weekend was their baby shower. Paired with the promise we made to visit Texas (where Lee is from) before Ledoux turned one, we decided this was the perfect weekend to go visit, go to the baby shower, and introduce our little doodlebug to all of her family in Texas! Here is what our weekend looked like:



Can you say crazy? CRAZY. When I booked all of this, I thought it looked pretty good on paper. I mean, how bad can it be to do all of this? In a weekend? With a baby? Shucks, this will be nothing. Oh my gosh, what the hell was I thinking? Clearly, I must have had a glass bottle of wine when I put together this travel itinerary. No, I am not kidding. I must have had a bottle of wine. The visit was totally worth it, but never again in my life will I choose price of tickets over ease of travel. At the time that I did all of my brilliant travel plans, I was more worried about price (mostly because we were getting ready to close on our house and I wanted to save where I could...) and less concerned with the fact that I was going to do all of this with an 8 month old in a weekend.

I have a post in the works about Ledoux's trip to Texas (stay tuned later in the week!) but I felt it important to share my words of wisdom (or lack thereof) when it comes to traveling with a small little babe, to save any of you brave mamas getting ready to venture out on your first big airplane adventure with the wee one.

1.) Don't drink and book your travel.

2.) Think ease over cost. If you are going to travel, wait until you can afford to choose the flights and times that work best for you. Translation: don't do priceline. I did priceline, and in an effort to find the best possible price for tickets (I was on a serious hunt!), I chose the 'name your own price' option, and selected the box that said search 'surrounding airports'...which ended up scheduling me for flights out of Phoenix (rather than Tucson, where I live, and is about 110 miles from the Phoenix airport.) Oh, and the flight back was at the un-godly hour of 6:30 am. Texas time. Which is 4:30 am my time. Which means we had to be up and at the airport at 2:30 am our time. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Priceline is great, but not so great when you have a baby to consider, and no flexibility in the times/schedules of flights. The cheaper fare is not worth the hassle. Two years ago, when it was just me and Lee, I could have cared less. Today, I care. Also, when possible, pay the extra moo-lah for direct flights. The worst thing is having to land, wake up your sleeping babe, and then have a layover. And then do it all over again. (I am exhausted just thinking about this!)

3.) Speaking of layovers, if you do have one, make sure it is long enough to go have a drink you have plenty of toys to keep the babe busy. I didn't go overboard, but brought a blanket (for her to sit on...as if she ever just sits), a rattle, a teether, and a couple of her favorite toy books to play with. Let's face it, she'd rather play with my water bottle anyway. Or my beer mug at the airport bar. :)

4.) When choosing your flights, plan them around feeding times. The flights I happened to get corresponded perfectly with Ledoux's feeding times. So each time the plane took off, we had a bottle ready to go, and gave it to her as the plane left the ground. This worked well for two reasons: the bottle helped put her to sleep for the majority of the flight, and her ears didn't get sensitive to the pressure change because she was sucking/swallowing on something during takeoff.

5.) If possible (meaning you are traveling in the US) keep the baby, and yourselves, on the same schedule. With the time changes, it can be hard to keep their routines consistent. But we did, and it was great. Although Texas was 2 hours ahead of time, we kept Ledoux on her Arizona schedule, so her feedings/naps/bedtime did not change, even though the time change did. It may be a little inconvenient, but I would rather have a happy baby then the alternative! (For example, in Ledoux's world, she wakes up at 6 am, which was 8 am Texas time. Instead of waking her up, we let her sleep until her normal wake up time, so she was on Arizona time the whole time we were there.) Yes, it meant we didn't get going quite as early, and had lunch a little later, but we also had a happy baby. On a side note, why the heck do we have time zones? Add that to the list of things that really suck when you have a baby.

6.) Leave the car seat and pack and play at home. Unless you are super attached to them, leave them. Rental car companies have car seats, and I gladly paid $10 extra for one versus lugging it around the airport and dealing with the hassle. Also, when booking your hotels, call ahead and make sure they have cribs. I brought my own bedding for the crib, but just had the hotel bring the actual crib to our room. It was so nice to not look like a pack mule in the airport, pulling all of that stuff along with me.

7.) Baby doesn't need an ID card to travel. Actually, unless your baby looks 2, they don't need any documentation. Lee and I were halfway to Phoenix when we realized we had nothing to prove Ledoux was ours, or when she was born, or who she was, etc... and had a moment of panic. After frantically calling the airline, we were reassured to find out they needed nothing unless there may be a question as to her age (meaning she might be close to 2 years old, which is the age that babies must have a paid seat).

8.) Buy your diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, etc. when you get to your destination. Who wants to pay those ridiculous baggage fees? And lug around heavy bags? I opted to stock Ledoux's diaper bag with enough dipeys, wipes, and food to last us a full day...and bought the rest when we got to Texas. (Hellooooo, excuse to go to Target!) Not having an entire suitcase full of all of that stuff was great. I also planned out each outfit (from baby bow to outfit to shoes) and put them in ziploc bags to save space. It made it super easy to pick out her outfits, as I just pulled out a bag. Of course, in baby land, you always pack way more than you need in case of a nasty little blow out surprise.

9.) Plan ahead. Easy enough, right? I checked in online to our flights and printed our boarding passes, paid our nasty baggage fees online, and had everything ready to roll out the door the night before. It made it all so much easier that we didn't have to stand in line to check in at the airport, and could just drop off our bags and head to security. Obvi, with a baby, even as prepared as you are, something will still come up--- so control what you can. These things, I can control. The blowout all over her new babygap outfit as we walked out the door? Uncontrollable. It's always something *fake smile*

So there you have it, my tips for traveling with baby! All in all, the travel itself was much easier than I had imagined, thanks to these little things we did. I am all about easy travel, mostly because travel is just stressful by nature. And on a side note, I really got a kick out of the people who would look at us and our baby, and quickly go sit on the other side of the airport like we had the plague. I laughed on the inside knowing that I knew what they were thinking... "Please don't let me have to sit next to them on the airplane..." Trust me rude airport people, we probably don't want to sit next to you either.
So excited to go on her first trip!




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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Baby Activity: Babies and Mirrors...


"Your so vain, you probably think this song is about you..."

Kissing the baby in the mirror

 OK, now that you have that catchy tune stuck in your head for the rest of the day, and the most hilarious scene from 'How to lose a guy in ten days' running through your brain (your welcome!), let's talk about babies and mirrors. Have you ever noticed how much your baby LOVES starting at his/herself? Oh my goodness, everywhere we go, Ledoux is finding her reflection and staring at herself. It can be the car window, in can be a store front, heck, it can even a spoon that gives off a faint reflection. If there is any chance she can look at herself, she can do it. And the funniest thing about all of this? It has nothing to do with vanity (at least, not yet...I don't think.)

When I was putting together Ledoux's nursery before she was born, my mother gave me an unbreakable, totally baby safe mirror to hang by her changing table to look at herself... and at the time, I remember thinking "why on earth will she ever want to stare at herself?" Fast forward to today, that might be my favorite thing that Ledoux has right now (and I am pretty sure, it is one of hers too!) This mirror is plastic/acrylic, so there is no chance of her hitting it hard and shattering it. She can eat it, she can lick it, and her new thing is giving the 'baby in the mirror' kisses. (If you go to amazon.com, and search for unbreakable mirrors, there are tons to choose from. Ours is similar to this one: http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Factory-Baby-Wall-Mirror/dp/B003BL7REW/ref=pd_sim_sbs_ba_14) I got this one because I can attatch it to the wall, or put it on the floor to play on for when we did tummy time.)

 

 


So if your little babe is still little (think newborn-8 months or so), they may not be able to differentiate between the baby in the mirror and themselves, but around the 8 month mark, babies start developing self awareness-a very important thing! Go purchase some cheap different sized, baby safe mirrors and let your baby have at it. Unsure of what to do with it (other than put it in front of them)? Here are some ideas!

1.) Put the mirror in the bathtub. Ledoux LOVES this! Bath time is already something she enjoys, and when she realized there was a mirror, she loved it! I propped it in front of her, and then we put it under the water. Watching her face as she tried to figure out how there was a baby, under the water, was so fun. You can see the wheels in her little head moving.

2.) If you haven't already, put a mirror in front of her car seat, so your babe can see him/herself. (Bonus: you can see baby too!) Ledoux just sits there and talks to herself in the car, I always wonder what "they" are talking about.

3.) Help develop that self awareness--sit in front of the mirror with your babe, and say "who is that baby?" Ledoux is starting to notice that she is that baby, which is pretty neat to see! Test to see if your baby has put the connection together by putting a little bit of baby food on your finger, and while looking in the mirror, putting it on her cheek. Does she reach for the mirror to wipe it off, or herself? If she reaches for herself, hooray! That self awareness is coming along. And if not, that's OK too, babies all develop differently.

4.) Sit in front of the mirror and make different faces. A calm face, a happy face... and see if your babe changes expression with you.

5.) Play peek-a-boo in the mirror. Easy- just grab a towel and put it over the mirror, and then take it off quickly and say "Peek a boo!" Games likes this can occupy a sweet babe for, well, minutes. Which in mommy time, is like hours.

6.) Put the mirror on the floor, and sing a silly song, while pointing out her nose, her lips, her fingers, etc. Any excuse I have to sing, American Idol style, into a mirror I will take... so this is one of our favorite games. (However the hubby hates it, hes just jealous he can't sing like Ledoux and I can...)

7.) If your baby is a bit older, put some shaving cream or baby safe finger paints on the mirror and let them go to town. To see their faces when they wipe away the paint/shaving cream and see their reflection is priceless. Yes, it will be a mess, but that is the fun of it all!

8.) Show your baby the reflection the mirror makes when the sun hits it. Ledoux just discovered that if she moves her little handheld mirror, the sun makes lights on the wall. I literally saw the learning going on when she made that connection... and it was awesome. She took the mirror and would move it a little to the left, a little to the right, and try to find the light relection on the wall.

8.) Lastly, and most simple...just put the mirror on the floor for them to play with. If your baby does tummy time, put the baby on top of it. Give them time to just explore. We have this little mirror, which is self standing, that we really like: http://www.amazon.com/Sassy-Crib-and-Floor-Mirror/dp/B002J4U8M0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366817333&sr=8-1&keywords=unbreakable+mirror

So there you have it, a fun and easy way to keep baby occupied (and you can do your makeup at the same time! Just kidding. Kind of. Multitasking people!) I hope your week is flying by... I know ours is! There is no rest between work and finishing the never ending task of moving!

 

 

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Choosing a childcare that is best for your baby...

Hi blog friends!


It is the day us mommies (and dads!) dread... the day when the times comes that it is time to go back to work, and leave our sweet little baby in the hands of someone else. For some lucky enough to stay at home with your babies, what a blessing! For others, help comes in the faces of grandparents, aunts, friends... but for alot of us, our only choice is to bring our sweet babies to childcare.

I went back to work when Ledoux turned 3 months...hardest day of my life. I cried for weeks before (perhaps some of those tears were because I actually had to return to work, lets be honest) but I was devastated at the thought that I would have to leave my baby with someone else. And scared. So scared. There was no way anyone could take as good of care of Ledoux as myself. This, in alot of ways, is so true. Then I remembered, isn't there a saying "It takes a community to raise a child?" I think it is something like that. Anyway, at the end of the day, my only option was to trust that someone else would love, nurture, and help me raise my sweet baby. And giving that trust to someone else is soooo hard. But I did it.


I did ALOT of research on what made a quality program. I am lucky, in that my Masters is in Education and Early Childhood, and my mother is the department head of the Early Childhood department at a local college...so I had some tools in my belt when the time came to select who I was going to trust with the most important job in the world... my child's care. TIMEOUT: I just said the most important job in the world. If you haven't thought about this yet, think about it. These are the professionals we are entrusting to raise the next generation of our cities, states, country, future... they are shaping the minds and development of our children. If that isn't the most important job EVER, I don't know what is. Ok, I am off my soapbox. When it comes to choosing your child's care, there are so many things to consider, so I thought it might be helpful to compile of list you may not think of when it comes to selecting who you will trust...








How could I leave this silly little face?

1.) What is the name of the program? Ok, you are thinking this is silly, but this is my biggest pet peeve. Think about it...would you want to bring your baby to somewhere called Kidz 4ever, or Skool Time? WOW. That just screams professional, doesn't it? A place of education... that doesn't even spell their name correctly? And it is on purpose? EEK. Also, if the world "babysitter" or "daycare" is in their name, look elsewhere. A quality program will refer to themselves as childcare.

2.) Education of staff. Do I need to continue? DO NOT bring your baby somewhere that doesn't value education of their staff. You need to ask the director of the program, and each teacher that will interact with your baby, what their education level is. If they haven't made it past high school... or look at you like your question is cray cray, leave. now. Early childhood is an ever evolving field, with new discoveries being made daily as it relates to your baby... Your baby deserves the best, which starts with the people who will be with your baby everyday. The first question I asked when visiting programs was education level. I was looking for either a staff who holds their CDA or AA in early childhood (of course I prefer a BA!), or currently enrolled in a program.

3.) Staff Retention. What is the turnover of the staff? How long have the teachers been in the field of early childhood and working with young children? The people working with my baby need to be passionate about the field... continuity of care is CRITICAL with our babes (meaning they bond and have the same teacher, consistently.) In a center with high turnover, that is not going to happen, which will leave your baby lacking a strong bond with their main teacher. I also ask how long they have/want to be in the Early Childhood field. I do not want someone watching my baby who is teaching as a job... I want it to be their career.

4.) Spend at least 3 days in the classroom. This is important for multiple reasons. First, you want to help your sweet baby transition (especially if they have never been away from you!). On day one, you spend a couple hours with your babe in the room. The next day, perhaps you stay for an hour, and leave for an hour. The third day, leave your baby for a full 2 hours. (heck...if you don't have 2 hours, do 30 minutes... whatever is possible!) It really helps the transition easier. I also do this simply because I want to see what the teachers are like, what the dynamic of the classroom is like... are the teachers responsive to the needs of the babies? What happens when there are two babies crying? How is the day scheduled? Talk to the teachers... what does your gut tell you?

5.) Accreditation. Is the program accredited? Easy as that. Did you even know that childcare programs can be accredited. Yep. They can. And the quality ones are. Accreditation holds the childcare program to a standard that is far higher than the others, which means the quality of care is going to be higher. Period. And with accreditation comes a higher probability that the staff is educated (or in the process). Accreditation and the means in which quality is measured differs from state to state, but a good place to start is by asking the director of the program. If they give you a deer in the headlights look, run. fast. If they start telling you, that's a good sign, but ask them what standards their accreditation requires. Knowing they are accredited is great... but if you don't know what the accreditation requires, what good does that do you? NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) is a biggie-- they set the standard for early care in alot of ways.

6.) Go to your local childcare licensing agency. You can find yours simply by googling "childcare licensing in... (your state)" Did you know that all licensed programs have visits by them to make sure they are meeting the requirements for licensing? Any and all infractions, warnings, and penalties are public information and you need to know what they have been warned/written up/fined for. In Arizona (where I live) I can find the information online about any licensed program in the state. Anything, from cleaning products not being locked up to major things like child abuse, will be listed.

7.) What is the teacher to child ratio. This one is easy... the less children, the more teachers, the better. In an infant room, I look for nothing more than 1 teacher to 4 babies (which is still high to me...) I am lucky that my baby is in a room that is 1:3 right now, which is awesome.

This is a list that is living... meaning I think of new things that I want to share with the mommies out there ALL THE TIME. I wrote all of these questions, and more, down and did an interview with every center I visited. And then I compared my notes. That being said, I will continue to share things that may not be top of mind as I think of them. Hopefully, someone out there will be able to use some of this to help find a great place to help in raising their sweet babies.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Activities with babies! This week... MUSIC!

Ok, I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself twiddling my thumbs and thinking to myself, is there cheaper and more meaningful way to help my baby learn (and by learn, I mean learning through play!) I have all the fun (and sometimes, expensive) toys, I interact with her daily, but is there more? (and if I can do more and cheaper...bonus!) I am always seeking out new activities to do with our sweet little ones, that are not only FUN, but also teaching and enhancing their development! (And they don't cost a ton of money!
Yes- this is my babe's new favorite toy.




This week, it's all about music! All you need are the things you already have around your home! We all have empty soda cans, formula tins, extra bottles, plastic water bottles, etc. laying around the house (and if you don't, you will eventually, right?!) I bet you also have a bag of dried beans, dried pasta/rice, or random paperclips from your office. Here is the thing, infants just LOVE noises- they observe noises, they make noises, they are soaking it all in. So why not make music with your baby? Ok... I am not talking about singing Kumbaya (but if thats your thang, go for it!), or doing a recording session. It is so much more simple than that! Ready? Set? Go...!
Take your empty tubes and fill them with different things. I filled a baby food jar with rice (and hot glued the lid on it!), a water bottle with a quarter of the water in it and added jingle bells (that I had from Christmas time!) and a baby bottle that I don't use filled with dried kidney beans from our cupboard. Ledoux LOVED it! She had so much fun playing with the new noises, and banging the tubes against the floor. Of course, with anything, make sure you keep an eye on your babe at all times while they are playing (you don't want your 'instruments' to come open!) I double triple made sure the containers I used were secure (you can't have too much duct tape and hot glue!) and was on the floor playing with her the whole time.


Sooooo now that you have your fabulous instruments constructed, what now? Try doing these things with it:

  • Shake it (like a salt shaker).. Ok, sorry for the musical reference. I couldn't help myself :) But seriously, shake it with your babe and different speeds!
  • Roll it: roll it on the floor, down an incline, help your baby discover all the different ways to play with it!
  • Drum it: exactly what it sounds like!
  • Play "copy the sounds!" You make a sound, and then encourage your baby to make the same sounds/beats/shakes
  • Have a DANCE PARTY! Ledoux isn't walking or talking yet, but that doesn't stop me from making lots of noise and dancing with her! Blast some music, shake your instruments (and your bum!) and have some fun... Not gonna lie, I kinda want to have a dance party right now. (I still can't get the shake it like a salt shaker song out of my head...!) I think Ledoux and I might have to pull that one up on the Ipod and dance to it with our shakers now!

Oh- and on a totally random and unrelated note, I wanted to share some advice with all of the mamas out there... Don't ever put you babe in arms reach of a wine bottle. Your welcome. :)



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March 25, 2013

Baby Sign Language

Ledoux is signing "mommy you need a glass of wine!"



I used to think (before I had a baby!) that people who talked about teaching babies sign language were loco. I mean seriously, its a baby. What do you expect it to do? Start signing at you in a way to communicate?

Well, yes.

Until this point, the only way for her to really "talk" to me was through her cries. I studied Dunstan baby language when Ledoux first arrived (and downloaded the app) so that I could learn what her cries mean (if you haven't read/heard of Dunstan Baby Language, you MUST GO HERE NOW: Dunstan Baby Language) Doo and I are in a groove, and I know what her cries mean and what she needs... now I am ready for the next step: sign language.

It is official...I have jumped on the baby sign language band wagon. I am that mom that repeats the same words and phrases over, and over, and over... and attached signs with those words/phrases. My hubby sometimes looks at me like I might have finally lost it, but after just a few short weeks, I can tell Ledoux is already starting to pick up on it. I mean, she isn't sitting there signing at me, telling me about her day or anything...but its clicking in her little baby brain. "I can communicate with my mommy." When I say something, and show her that I am doing the same sign every time I say it, she is putting the two together. I read that they probably won't start signing back until after 8 months old, but they are processing it now.

So, here it is. I am not sitting with my baby for hours a day teaching her the entire English language. I have picked out a few words/phrases, attached a 'sign' to them, and every time I say that word/phrase, I am signing too. These are the signs we do right now... and if it goes well, I just might start adding a few more!

 


Soooo what do you think? I think even at the chance of Doo being able to communicate with me is worth it! Don't forget to let the hubs, the grandparents, and the teachers who interact with your babe everyday know you are doing this... consistency is key! :)

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March 18th, 2013

Baby Brain Power: Activity!


Ok...so am I alone in thinking I am not doing enough to help my baby learn? I mean, the kid has a million toys (I swear I pick up something new for her in the toy aisles at target every week), but is there more to little babies then the flashy toys? What should I be doing to help her learn, grow, develop... I started thinking about this, and realized I needed (or wanted, I suppose) to be more intentional in my interactions with my little babe. Every word I say, every toy I give her...she is pulling and learning from EVERYTHING. If that isn't scary, I don't know what is (enter the new cuss jar we are trying to use in our house!)


All jokes aside, I am sure alot of you have heard of cognitive development. But what in the HELL does that even mean? At the simplest point, it is baby brain power. We all want our babies to be little smarty pants, so take a moment to think of the traits 'smart' people have...ability to focus, to plan, to remember. I want my baby to be able to do those things! (Crap...I want to do those things!) By the time your baby reaches eight months old, rapid connections to their brain’s frontal lobes (where these functions will be housed) are starting to form. Ok, so now you probably think I am going to tell you to start reading psych books to your kids... NO. Some of the most simple of activities can enhance your babies brain power. Every week, I am going to start posting some awesome things us Mommy's (and daddy's!) can do to start encouraging and growing our own generation of smarties!

Activity for this week is SIMPLE: Let your baby lead. Don't teach. Allow (and encourage) your sweet little baby to do what they want (provided it is safe) even if that means going ape shit with a potted plant for a photo shoot (see my St. Patricks day post if you are confused!) If they see a roll of toilet paper and want to reach for it, let them. What is the worst that is going to happen? They completely unroll the entire roll...and you have a awesome photo for the baby book! Put different toys in front of them, and let them decide which they want to play with. Let go of any pressure you feel to teach them something and instead help them explore what they are interested in...you are planting seeds for ideas, passion, and follow through that will be crucial in later life.




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