First Instrument

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We’ve played several games focused on hearing for Veronika lately, and today I made her her first “instrument”. Essentially a maraca, this easy little project had Veronika fascinated!

First, I showed her the two things we would need to make it: an empty plastic water bottle and dried lentils. Be sure to use a small water bottle, so that it fits in your little one’s hands.

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I carefully spooned in the lentils, letting Veronika watch wide-eyed, until the bottle was about one-quarter full. Replace the cap, and shake shake shake!

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First I just demonstrated shaking, but then we shook it rhythmically and sang some of her favorite songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

Wheels on the Bus was fun because I could move the bottle along with the words of the song – up and town for the windows, around and around the town, etc.

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Next, let your child try to hold the bottle and shake along with you, so they can feel the rhythm. He or she probably won’t be able to grasp it solo, but let them feel the rhythmic motion and associate it with the visual of the lentils.

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In sum, this toy makes a great musical intro.

Join a Local Parent and Baby Group

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Life with a newborn can feel terribly isolating, especially for first time parents who aren’t being dragged about on an older sibling’s agenda. But even veterans might find it jarring to find themselves at home once more with a preverbal little person, and a full day to fill!

One great suggestion is to join a local group. Look to your town’s library for this, or perhaps a local rec center, or mommy group on social media in your area. One of these will surely point you in the right direction.

So today, Veronika and I headed off to meet our group! Full disclosure: We went to the first class last week, but she slept right through it:

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It was an adorable “share and play” time with other babies aged two months to one year, with no walkers allowed, which made it a safe space. The small age range also meant that all the parents in the group are dealing with (roughly) the same issues: sleep, teething, milestones. Consider the time as much for the parents as for the babies!

Meanwhile, Veronika loved checking out the toys during open play…

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…followed by a story time with a huge-format book, great for little eyes.

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We also had a quiet reading moment together from my lap.

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Her favorite part by far was bubbles, her first time seeing them!

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Wherever your local group is hosted, take advantage of meeting new faces, having an adult conversation (a rarity, perhaps!), and gleaning advice from the hive mind of new parents.