Baby’s Daily Routine

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Veronika turns three months old tomorrow, which means her “fourth trimester” is at an end. I love the idea that in the first three months, a baby is like a fetus… but outside the womb. Indeed, I found this concept enormously helpful with both my children. It helped me to understand their needs, their lack of a schedule, their reliance on comfort, and so much more.

But by three months of age, it’s normal to see a routine developing. Sussing out that routine now can be super beneficial in the months to come. It might seem like your baby is still all over the place, but I would suggest that if you track feeding and sleeping cycles for about three or four days, you’ll notice patterns.

I’ve always been a spreadsheet person, tracking numbers and collecting hard data.

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But for an interesting experiment, I decided to try a more visual approach to Veronika’s schedule on the eve of her three month birthday.

I don’t do bullet journaling (or “bujo” for short), but loved this exercise. For four days, I tracked her wake and sleep intervals in bright bold colors. T

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Turns out, she reliably does four short naps, interspersed with wake intervals, and the naps are roughly at the same time of day – more so than I would have thought!

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Your baby’s schedule might look similar (especially if he or she is also being dragged along according to an older sibling’s schedule), or it might look nothing like this at all. What counts is tracking down the patterns in your child’s day.

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Seeing these patterns can help you decide what your baby needs when, and can also help you organize your day as an adult – you’ll know roughly when to schedule appointments, meetings, or other “grown-up” things that need to get done.

Just don’t forget: babies have a habit of changing things on you, as soon as you think you have it figured out! In which case, pull out the bujo and jot down a few more days to suss out what’s new.

Haircut Doll

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This craft is fantastic on so many levels, whether you want to give your kids some practice with scissors, help alleviate fear of the barber shop or hairdressers… Or your kids just want to have fun and pretend it’s a day at the salon!

I made the craft for Travis, but your child might be interested in helping step by step. First, I used a hole punch to punch about 12 holes around the rim of each of two empty toilet paper rolls.

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You can use any color yarn you like for the hair. We stuck with realistic yellow and brown, but why not green or rainbow!

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For each lock of hair, thread a strand of yarn through a hole and knot to secure.

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Once the hair was on, Travis helped pick out clothing patterns for each doll.

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I cut patterned paper into shapes for tops and bottoms. Finally, I added a round face for each with googly eyes glued on.

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Once the glue dried, it was time to head to the barber shop!

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This craft marked a milestone for Travis, moving up from his plastic safety scissors to preschool scissors (these still have a blunt tip, but the blades are real metal). He was so proud!

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He didn’t miss a beat before the snipping began. He loved pretending he was his own barber, making a mess of hair on the floor.

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I watched in delight as the haircuts grew ever shorter.

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Until we had a buzz cut!

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Then Travis decided he wouldn’t be satisfied until each figure was bald!

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(Alas, you’ll notice they lost their eyes in the process, too).

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Overall, this was a fantastic activity: a craft; a fine motor skill builder; an imaginative game, and a way to alleviate fears all in one.

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Hand Control

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It’s a delight watching Veronika use her hands these days. She was an early grasper, at only about two months, but now she can control an object as she holds it. To enhance her experience, today I set out a variety of toys with a variety of textures (hard, soft, crinkly) so she could fully enjoy the use of those little hands!

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By variety I mean not just multiple toys, but also that some contained multiple textures in one toy; items like these are great for babies who are exploring with their hands.

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Veronika loves that she can hold the wooden ring on this giraffe, while feeling plastic or soft parts of it elsewhere.

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Meanwhile she tested out holding a crinkly banana…

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…and a hard musical rattle.

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Baby books with soft pages are great for little grasping hands too. Some have built in handles or teethers…

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…and others are sized just right for tiny fingers.

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And of course all those dangling toys on the playgym are perfect for encouraging a grasp. I make sure the toys hang low enough that Veronika can bat at them or grab on. She always seems delighted when her efforts are rewarded!

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Early Explorers Music

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What did Max and Mia send from Early Explorers this month? Travis was eager to see when he found the envelope waiting at his lunch table. We instantly were doing the flashlight find-it, and he trotted off to put the stickers on his map (for region-specific instruments like didgeridoos and bagpipes) without my help!

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The activity book contained great examples of more than/less than, counting, mazes, and other favorites we’ve come to expect.

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Music Craft:

The craft in the booklet was a rainstick – a simple project similar to those we’ve put together in the past. But it featured a neat aluminum foil coil on the inside!

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Tear off a piece of aluminum foil about twice as long as a paper towel tube. Compress with your hands into a long snake.

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Now twist the snake, almost into a double helix shape.

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Cut a circle of construction paper larger than the end of the tube, and glue around the edge. I recommend a rubber band or two as extra security, especially if your child will want to shake the rainstick before the glue dries!

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Now slip in the aluminum helix. Spoon in a few spoonfuls of rice – you don’t want it to be too full. Now seal the other edge of the tube.

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Shake up a rainstorm! The booklet contained information on the history of this instrument, notably that they are traditionally made of bamboo tubes filled with stones, which Travis thought was neat.

Music Science:

Ok, there wasn’t anything in the booklet that could classify as STEM this time around, so we explored a social science… Interviewing a musician! This is a great way for kids to delve further into what it’s like to live surrounded by music. I connected with a man we’d heard play at a local festival last spring, and he was happy to answer a few questions Travis typed up.

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Music Keepsake:

The treasure inside for Travis this month was a little music box to wind. He was thrilled to have his own, since he loves an old music box from my childhood. This one is great because kids can watch and understand the mechanism of dots and moving metal bars that produce each note. It plays Twinkle Twinkle, which will be a familiar and comforting tune.

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Music Field Trip:

Check out a local concert, of course! This can be anything from a small, kid-friendly show at a venue near you, to a blockbuster show. We were lucky enough to have a big name in town – Laurie Berkner!

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Travis loved dancing in the aisles with his tambourine.

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It was a fantastic opportunity to see a real musician strumming a guitar on a big stage.

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Music Further Activities:

First, we had to have a family sing-along. I loved that this crate got us pulling out our old bag of musical instruments. For a toddler who loved music, Travis plays instruments surprisingly rarely now, and it was a great chance to jam and sing to old favorites.

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Next, we headed to a local music shop, hoping to find some neat instruments. A few were familiar of course, but Travis loved this huge rainstick…

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…and could listen to a plethora of sounds by spinning the knob on a synthesizer.

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Check out the mandolin and banjo!

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We also looked up world music online, finding a great library of clips at allaroundthisworld.com.

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Travis also has a chime toy from Little Passport’s shop. We spent some time with it, a great early intro to a piano and playing notes. Children can play along by color to classics like London Bridge and Jingle Bells.

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We also were inspired to learn lyrics to favorite songs that we’ve heard, but might have misheard (otherwise known as a mondegreen). Aha, so that’s what they’ve been saying…

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First Giggles

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We’re on a mission around here… To get Veronika to make her first true giggle, that is!

Social smiles abound these days, including the best gummy smile when I first greet her in the morning. But the giggle is more elusive, and you are probably equally excited for the first time your little one truly makes that sound. It’s a milestone that will happen right around three month’s old – i.e. right now for us.

So here’s a round up of some fun ways we’ve been eliciting smiles from Veronika. She goes wild for peekaboo…

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…loves when I make silly faces, like a puckered fish face or bubbly lips…

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…and grins when I say nonsense words like “scootchie tootchie!”

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And then there are her near-laughs for big brother!

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We’ll get there soon, and we’ll have fun trying in the meantime. How did you get your baby to laugh for the first time? Please share in the comments!

 

Connect with Classical

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Travis has pulled out his old violin this morning (from a brief foray into Suzuki last year), which was a nice reminder to put on some classical music for the whole family to enjoy!

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Classical is fantastic for babies (not just Bach, although that’s what we started with). I put on concerto music and held Veronika in my arms, and I could instantly feel her whole body relax. Mine, too!

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We listened to the music at various volumes – first loud, then softer, then loud again. She was practically dancing to the music!

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I also whispered to her what we were listening to: string instruments like cellos, bold brass instruments, winds like clarinets, and more.

Although the jury is still out on whether or not the “Mozart effect” actually helps babies’ intelligence, there’s no reason not to listen to classical music. It certainly calmed us all down on a chaotic Saturday morning! A nice reminder to leave my Mozart and Bach on repeat in the background.

Ready, Action

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Veronika is familiar now with some of our favorite fingerplays, like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus. Today, it was her turn to get in on the hand motions!

Sit your child in a comfortable position facing you; the Boppy or a similar nursing pillow is a great option for little ones who can’t sit up on their own yet.

I knelt in front of Veronika with a big smile, and held her hands as we went through the rhyme. She seemed so excited that her fingers were making the spider go up, too!

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Down came the rain…

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…and out came the sun.

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Next we tried Wheels on the Bus, which consists of fun movements for your infant to join in on. Her little arms went round and around, up and down, open and shut, you name it.

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This game made for an adorable morning of play, and we’ll be sure to try it again soon.

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Advanced Tummy Time

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At almost three months old, Veronika can now keep her head up at a 90 degree angle during tummy time. So it was time for some advanced tummy time play!

Today, I placed her on a soft blanket, and helped prop her up on her elbows.

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Then I got down with my belly on the floor and looked right at her. Well boy was she ever surprised!

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We sat this way for a good five minutes, and she wanted to chat the whole time. It was an absolutely adorable tete-a-tete. If your child is hesitant still about tummy time, talk to them reassuringly, or perhaps sing or play a song they find soothing.

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Veronika jumped right in to the game, though! And I wasn’t the only one she wanted to check out at floor level; the cat caught her eye, too.

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Another way to do tummy time with babies who resist it is to place them right on your chest. Nothing says you need to be on the floor to strengthen those little muscles, plus you get great skin-to-skin time.

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Either way, on the verge of three months old, we’re aiming for 15 to 20 minutes of tummy time daily, so it’s time to step it up!

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Hang a Mobile

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I’ve been meaning to hang an old mobile above Veronika’s crib for quite some time, but in full disclosure…we haven’t even bought a mattress for the crib yet, since she’s so comfy in her bassinet!

But I didn’t want to lose that small window of time for a mobile; by the time babies are grabbing things down around 6 months old, they become a hazard, so two or three months of age is really the sweet spot. We’ve had items temporarily dangling over her, but I wanted something more permanent for her to enjoy.

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So today, I screwed a small wall hook above her diaper table, and put the mobile there. Now it’s the perfect visual during our daily diaper changes, since she spends a lot of time looking up from here!

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The screw gives me flexibility as well; to keep things interesting, I can also hang our Cricket Crate mobile there on occasion.

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For a fun DIY “mobile” idea, you can also attach small felt animals or toys to the spokes of a bright umbrella. First I tied strings onto the umbrella’s spokes.

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We affixed felt finger puppets to the end of each string – a nice reuse of this project!

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Rather than secure the umbrella from the ceiling and risk it falling, I simply held it over Veronika and spun it around, to her great delight.

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What’s hanging from your baby’s mobile? Please share in the comments!

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Tower of Blocks

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Today was time for Veronika’s first engineering lesson!

Ok, not really, but soft blocks are a great toy for babies, and the first step towards all the stacking and building to come. For now, the fun is simply in the bright colors, and of course, the knocking down!

Use any soft foam or fabric blocks for this game; save the wooden ones with sharp corners for later.

I built a small tower of four blocks next to Veronika, and first let her just enjoy looking at it.

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Then I knocked it down, whee!

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The next time, I built it up and encouraged her to knock it down. Boom!

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She loved the back and forth of this, and we built quite a few little towers. You can talk about the colors, shapes, and more as you build.

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She seemed so intrigued by the blocks that I then set them up as visual stimulation for tummy time – a nice variation that kept things fresh.

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How do you and your little one play with blocks? Please share in the comments!