Our little one is turning one in one week. I can’t believe how the time has flown and how much she is doing. She just started walking this week. She still prefers crawling, but it is oh so sweet to see her toddling along eyes bright with the accomplishment!
Communication with babies can often be difficult. They can’t tell you with specificity what is bothering them. So as parents, we come up with a working knowledge of each cry and scream, decoding the various tones and volumes and hypothesizing about what their needs are. The earlier we can communicate with them and have them communicate back, the better. That is why I am so thankful for baby sign language.
I am not an expert with sign language. But I have used it successfully with our FOUR babies at early stages. I wrote Simple Effective Baby Sign Language where I shared the most basic and most necessary baby signs. If you are just starting out with baby sign language, I would start there with the most basic baby signs.
Are you like we were as new parents? Absolutely in love with this precious bundle with perfect, soft skin. Do you spend hours just sitting and watching her sleep, dream, goo, gah, and generally be perfect?
Well, you might be surprised like we were to wake up one morning (ok, it was probably the middle of the night) to see your sweet, perfectly skinned little one with tiny red spots. It starts out small, almost imperceptible. Then the spots multiply and redden. Then they spread over the entire surface of baby’s face! And if you are a new parent, you will start to wonder if she is having some sort of allergic reaction. You will search on the internet and find all sorts of horrifying skin ailments and try to compare it to your baby’s current state of red bumpy-ness.
I have never met a baby who didn’t love to gaze at herself in the mirror. And I have never met a baby who didn’t smile at least once at herself. Starting around 6 months, baby begins to recognize herself in the mirror and can begin to learn more about what she can do. Baby is also beginning to put language and vocabulary together. And a mirror is crucial to this process. Simply put: mirror time matters.
Just like tummy time for your little one, mirror time can be done everyday for at least 15 minutes (not necessarily continuously). We brought a full length mirror downstairs for our oldest (22 months) when she was around one year old for a preschool unit on the body. But she had a mirror in her bedroom that we used (and still use) everyday long before she was a year old to help her build awareness of her body. Our second little girl just turned 6 months old and has really started to enjoy her time in front of the mirror.
We all know that our little babies grow and develop so fast, it seems like a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-stage of life, but really there are a LOT of hours in the day. I know as a new mom, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for my tiny baby’s development. I wasn’t playing and talking enough. I wasn’t singing enough. Basically, I felt like if there was silence in the house while she was awake, I was wasting precious development opportunities. I struggled to fill the time with lots and lots of activities to stimulate her.
So I came up with all sorts of things to do with her even when she couldn’t really get much out of it. But the development came fast and furious. And to be honest, it would have anyway.
Well, along comes baby number two and all the same old feelings are back. I feel like she is not getting enough stimulation because I am constantly running after her older sister. I worry she isn’t getting enough time on her tummy, enough goos and gahs, etc.
Since we just welcomed our second baby and I have a few friends that are having second, third, and fourth babies, I have preparation for baby-ness on the brain. And there are so many things to consider when bringing home any baby: what to buy, what to clean, and what to cook ahead of time. But, one of the big considerations people often overlook when getting ready for baby is preparing your home for help.
We ended up having to have a c-section for a breach baby the first time around; creating a need for lots of help after my husband went back to work while I recovered. Then we got pregnant pretty quick (seven months later) and I had to go on bed rest for 2 months at the beginning of that pregnancy. Then, we had another c-section for baby number two. All told I had someone not in my immediate family in my home every week day for almost 20 weeks over the last two years. That is INSANE! We were so blessed to have lots of helpers: my moms (biological and bonus), my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law as well as various friends.