Make a Splash

Make Splash (6)

Veronika has officially graduated from the infant tub to a mid-sized option. One clever hack is to place a laundry basket in a full-sized tub so your baby still feels safe and confined. (Bonus points: you can wash bigger kids in the same tub at the same time, this way). I also have an inflatable tub that’s just the right size for a baby until about age 1, and today Veronika moved up.

The nice thing about the new tub is the ability to add little toys to the water. I added not just the classic rubber ducky, but also other farm friends, like a rubber horse, pig, owl, sheep, and cow.

Make a Splash (1)

These seemed to really help Veronika feel comfortable despite the very new bath setting.

Make a Splash (4)

They’re also just the right size for her little hands to hold, and hopefully will soon encourage her to splash and play.

Make Splash (7)

And simply seeing the bright colors entertained her, as the animals floated around.

Make a Splash (2)

As a reminder, make sure one hand is always supporting your baby’s head, even as you add in these toys, and never leave a baby unattended in the bath. What does your infant play with in the tub? Please share in the comments!

Make a Splash (3)

 

He’s Got the Whole World

He's Got World (4)

It was the perfect lazy Sunday morning for some music play with Veronika! Today, I taught her a new song. This particular tune is great not just for melody and instrument play, but also for talking about the members of your family.

First we sang the song with the normal lyrics:

He’s got the whole world in his hands x 4

He’s got the tiny little baby, in his hands x 4

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

He’s got you and me, brother in his hands x 4

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

etc.

He's Got World (3)

I shook instruments like bells and maracas for Veronika as I sang, and offered her the chance to hold and shake these, too.

He's Got World (1)

Next came singing the verses about the people closest to her. We sang “He’s got Travis and Veronika in his hands…” and “Mommy and Daddy in his hands…” and mentioned grandparents and even our cat!

He's Got World (2)

Songs like these are great for building familiarity names of those your child will interact with the most. Plus fun simply for singing!

He's Got World (5)

 

Play Patty-Cake

Clapping Game (3)

Babies generally can’t clap until they are about 8 or 9 months old, but they sure do love clapping games long before that. Today, we simply played patty-cake, a perennial favorite of parents for good reason. It had Veronika giggling and wide-eyed as I guided her hands through each motion.

As a reminder, here are the words:

Patty-cake, patty-cake, baker’s man

Bake me a cake as fast as you can.

Roll it, pat it, mark it with a [child’s initial]

Put it in the oven for [child’s name] and me!

The first time, I simply said the words and did the actions for her: Clap during the first two lines, roll your hands for “roll it,” pat baby’s tummy on “pat it,” and trace their initial on “mark it.”

Clapping Game (2)

The second time, her hands joined mine – clapping, rolling,  and patting. She looked so excited to be part of the action!

Clapping Game (1)

I also broke my no-screen rule and let her watch a cute cartoon of the song, to increase her familiarity with the tune.

Clapping Game (4)

In sum, this is a fun one to do throughout the day, or at diaper changesdiaper changes!

Try On-Site Day Care

on-site (1)

Today’s activity with Veronika was more of a challenge for me than for her – could I leave her in the hands of strangers for about 30 minutes to work out?

This suggestion in my baby activity book was a needed push; three-months-old is a good age to test out time away from your baby. Separation anxiety has yet to set in, and truth be told, I waited far too long before parting ways with Travis, which made separations like nursery school much harder down the line.

So today, I sought out a gym in town where I could exercise for a daily fee, and my daughter could hang out with the other babies!

Here we go! She looked so innocent and trusting as we checked in, little knowing I was about to leave her side for 30 minutes.

IMG_20190215_091221

But did the world end in the 30 minutes we spent apart? The answer was a refreshing…No! Not only was it nice to be in an adult realm…

IMG_20190215_093917

…but Veronika did just fine. The excellent caregiver on duty reported she was fine for the first half, and then did get hungry and fussy toward the end. But I had peace of mind knowing that she was in a comforting embrace until my return.

In between, she got to watch other kids play, ranging in age from 9 months to 3 years. I didn’t want to violate the privacy of the other children, else I would have taken many more pics of the great playspace! It had safari-themed structures for bigger kids to climb on, and plenty of toys for the little ones.

IMG_20190215_100632

Although I won’t necessarily be doing this again any time soon, it’s nice to know it’s an option. So challenge yourself, mamas! Whether it’s a solo workout, or an exercise class, or a dip in the pool, find a gym near you with a daycare center, and enjoy!

Varsity Tummy Time

Varsity Tummy (2)

Veronika started with basic tummy time, moved on to advanced activities, and now she’s pulling out the varsity moves!

Once your little one is comfortable up on his or her elbows, try these tricks to encourage them to last longer on their bellies, and make the time more enjoyable. Ideally at 3 months old, you should be fitting in about 20 minutes of tummy time daily.

First, I held up one of her favorite toys, just above eye level. This was great for strengthening her neck muscles even further – a big first step before crawling!

Varsity Tummy (1)

Next, we played games to encourage her to turn her head. Place a baby-safe mirror first on one side…

Varsity Tummy (5)

then directly in front…

Varsity Tummy (6)

and finally on the other side. Good turns, Veronika!

Varsity Tummy (7)

You can also continue to get right on your belly, face-to-face with your baby. This time I made funny faces, puffed out my cheeks, and talked up a storm of encouragement. Don’t be afraid to get silly if it helps your baby stay a few minutes longer!

Varsity Tummy (3)

Finally, we did another pre-crawling activity. I placed a toy with lots of colors and parts in front of her, but just out of reach. Well hello toy, Veronika seemed to say!

Varsity Tummy (4)

I placed a rolled blanket behind her feet to encourage her to press her weight against it, and shift forward, pushing ever so slightly.

Varsity Tummy (9)

She got the idea right away, although she isn’t quite strong enough yet! Later, I actually pushed against her bare feet and did away with the towel, and this seemed even easier for her.

Overall, have fun with tummy time, and your child will be loving it before long. What’s your favorite tummy time game? Please share in the comments!

Varsity Tummy (10)

Baby Playlists

Playlist (3)

Quick, think about music and infants, and you probably think about lullabies – am I right? And for good reason, of course, because what parent hasn’t resorted to a song to soothe a crying child to sleep?

But upbeat, silly, and rhythmic songs are also great for infants, and indeed can help signal that its playtime or time to stay awake. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to get your baby into a rhythm with distinct naps and wake cycles.

So today I created two playlists for Veronika. The first was what you’d expect: soothing lullabies. You can download these from online services like Spotify or itunes, and make a quick playlist that you can return to again and again.

Playlist (1)

This way, you don’t have to stay and sing; Veronika’s list includes 45 minutes of soothing songs culled from our favorite Music Together collections. I can set the music near her and tackle chores around the house without having to stay by her side and sing.

Looks like the songs are working!

Playlist (4)

The second playlist was completely different! This time I added our favorite upbeat tunes, with silly lyrics, great drum beats, or other playtime elements.

Playlist (2)

Once she’s awake, I turn on this list, and let it be the background music to our play.

Playlist (6)

She looks ready to have a good time!

Playlist (8).JPG

A few ideas to get your list started. For the lullabies, try:

My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean

Shenandoah

Braham’s Lullaby

There’s a Little Wheel a’Turning

Ally Bally

The Water is Wide

and All the Pretty Little Horses

For playtime, try:

When the Saints Go Marching In

Don Alfredo Baila

Ridin’ in the Car

Alabama Gal

Hey Ho Nobody Home

Jim Along Josie

Frere Jacques

Train to the City

Mississippi Cats

and Noses and Toes

Note: All of the above songs are part of Music Together CD collections.

Playlist (7)

Finally, please do check out the my own lullaby CD! Hopefully the a cappella tunes can soothe your little one long after you’re tired of singing.

Picture This

Picture This (1)

Today, Veronika and I had a very different sort of story time. Rather than simply reading text to her, I wanted to actively engage her with the pictures and words. In fact, because we were focusing on what she saw rather than the story line, magazines were better for this game than books. You can use adult magazines, kid ones, or even catalogs!

We snuggled up and talked about the images. “Look, the girl is in a red dress. Look, the boy is at the beach.”

Picture This (4)

This will help your baby process the images on the page, without having to follow rhyming words or plots.

You can also encourage your child to point to what they’re seeing. So if I said, “Let’s touch the maraca,” I would then place her hand on it.

Picture This (3)

She doesn’t understand yet of course, but over time this will help her associate a word with the proper image.

Picture This (5)

You can also have your baby practice turning pages. Magazines aren’t as good for this, with their thin paper, but her latest issue of Hello magazine was perfect.

Picture This (2)

“Let’s turn the page!” I said, and then guided her hand until we turned it together.

Overall, this was an engaging activity, and a nice quiet pause just the two of us.

Picture This (6)

New Gurgles and Coos

Gurgle New Sounds (4)

If you’re following along with my baby activity journey, then you’re already engaging in “conversation” with your little one, and actively encouraging those gurgles and coos. Today’s activity takes it to the next level.

To foster the link between different sounds and actual words, listen closely to what your baby says today. When Veronika said “geh!” for example, I would respond, “That’s right, you’re a girl,” or “Yes, you’re wearing green,” or anything else beginning with a hard g sound.

Same goes for her adorable m’s (“milk! mama!”) or b’s (“brother! bubble”).

Gurgle New Sounds (1)

This is also a good way to get older siblings “talking” to baby, especially if they’re frustrated at the lack of real words yet. Listen hard, and string together ideas for him orher.

Gurgle New Sounds (3)

You can also have fun with vocal sounds in general today. In addition to words, make new noises like clicking tongues and see if your baby responds. Veronika’s not so sure about that tongue clicking!

Gurgle New Sounds (2).JPG

Truth be told, Veronika clams up a lot in our house (with Travis around, it’s hard to get a word in edgewise!) so usually she opens up to me when we’re quiet and alone during… diaper changes. But after we made a point of this game all morning, I caught her narrating play on her playmat, talking up a storm to her little toys.

 

It was hard to catch the moment on camera, but here she is working on some “m” sounds.

 

Introduce Peekaboo

Peekaboo (2)

No doubt you’ve played peekaboo with your baby; by three months old, hasn’t every child engaged in this game at least once? It’s funny that this is one of the first games we instinctively play with babies, but there’s a good reason for it. Babies don’t yet understand that someone who leaves will come back (otherwise known as object permanence), so “disappearing” behind your hands for a moment and then quickly coming back helps cement the idea that a beloved caretaker exists, even when not in sight.

So with that science lesson out of the way, have some fun with peekaboo today!

To combine peekaboo with hand control, you can put a light scarf or towel over your face, then encourage or help baby to pull it free. Peekaboo, there’s mommy! The more surprised I acted, the greater Veronika’s enjoyment of the game.

Peekaboo (1)

You can also get stuffed animal friends in on the game, covering gently with a scarf and then having a big reveal.

Peekaboo (3)

We also played with flap books for extra peekaboo action. Where are the chicks? Peekaboo!

Peekaboo (4)

Finally, I love playing peekaboo at the diaper table. A (clean!) diaper makes a perfect peekaboo toy. Hold the diaper up over your face, then – surprise! – reappear with a big smile. This one in particular gets a giggle from Veronika every time.

Peekaboo (5)

 

Tasty Toes

Tasty Toes (6).JPG

Unless your child grows up to be a troupe member in Cirque du Soleil, chances are this is the only time that he or she will ever be able to get his or her toes into the mouth. So encourage this adorable action, and let them enjoy!

This morning, I pointed out her toes to Veronika, drawing attention to the lower digits by feeling them, naming them, and wiggling her toes for her.

Tasty Toes (1)

Next, I encouraged her to touch her toes, handing a foot to her just like I do with a toy. She held on right away!

Tasty Toes (2)

Gently bend your child’s legs until the feet are near the mouth. Nibble nibble!

Tasty Toes (4)

There are lots of other fun ways to draw attention to those cute toesies. Later in the day, we played games like “This Little Piggy”.

Tasty Toes (5)

Mid-afternoon, I caught her playing with her toes all by herself! Who knew feet could be so fun?

Tasty Toes (3)