Peace Hug

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After a busy weekend away, I felt like I was scrambling today. Not just to complete today’s to-do list, but to catch up on the past four days, too. And I know we’ve all been there.

It was the perfect day, in other words, for a peace hug.

What’s a peace hug, you might ask? Babies (and older kids) can pick up on your mood when you’re stressed, or tense, or anxious, and one of the best tricks you can have up your sleeve as a parent is a way to calm yourself down. You can do this simple hug after you erupt, if it comes to that, but ideally you’ll do it before and prevent the stress eruption in the first place.

Feeling my stress rising, I simply took Veronika to my chest on the couch and sat.

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Listen to your breathing. Listen to your baby’s breathing. Feel your chests rising up and down together.

It might take as long as five minutes, but gradually you’ll feel yourself relax. Keep hugging. If baby falls asleep, then the peace hug has worked even better.

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Consider this peace hug offering my belated Happy Mother’s Day wish to all my readers! I remain so grateful for your readership.

Sitting Up Ball Games

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By six-and-a-half months old, your baby is probably a sitter – which means it’s time for some ball games together! Veronika can hold a ball easily, but today we got more sophisticated with her ball play; consider this her first little sports lesson!

First, we played a basic rolling game. I rolled an easy-to-hold baby ball to Veronika.

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Her natural inclination was to pick it up and keep it to herself for play, of course.

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But I encouraged her to roll it back, using the word and gesturing. When she dropped it, it rolled toward me accidentally, but I praised this like she’d done it on purpose.

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In this way, we kept up a little back and forth that she soon loved.

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The next goal was to teach her to pass a ball between her hands. For this game, I used large fluffy pom-poms; these have the benefit of feeling yucky if your baby puts them up to the mouth, and I wanted Veronika to focus on her hands.

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I handed her the ball first. She loved the novel texture!

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Next I showed her how to pass it from hand to hand, then gave it back to her and encouraged her to do the same. As with the rolling, this really happened by accident, but each time, I praised her success! From right…

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…to left!

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Next, I held out my hand and asked her to hand me the ball. I had to sort of take it, but then could “pass” it back to her, talking to her about what it meant to “pass”, too.

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These games are both great ways to build up linguistic concepts and motor skills all in one!

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How do you and your baby play with balls? Please share in the comments!

Maraca Craft Challenge

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Last month, Travis’s Highlights magazine challenged him to make robots with only a few simple items. This month, the challenge was maracas!

I laid out: empty plastic water bottles, dried beans, tape, and craft sticks. “How would you make these into a maraca?” I asked him.

“Let’s add beans first,” he decided right away.

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He began dropping in the beans one-by-one. When I added a few faster to a second bottle, he admonished, “No, copy the way I do!” My teacher for the day!

Next, he needed to figure out how to use the craft sticks. He requested a piece of tape and soon had a handle.

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Then he decided a double-handle in the shape of an X was sturdier.

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Finally, the caps were reattached, and we could shake up a storm! I loved watching him puzzle through this challenge. What does your child’s maraca look like? Please share in the comments!

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Super Healthy Cookie

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Much like the Oatmeal Energy Balls we made a few weeks ago, these cookies are designed to give your kids a boost! They’re perfect for after school or after sports practice.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup flaxseed
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 (6-ounce) bar dark chocolate
  1. First comes the fun part: place the bananas in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until very smooth.
  2. Add the coconut oil, oats, flaxseed, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Chop the chocolate bar into pieces, and stir in.
  4. Drop the dough by tablespoons onto baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.

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