Dressing with a Point

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I’ve always loved to narrate to my children during diaper changes, a moment that’s rife with opportunities for vocabulary-building: I point out the names of each article of clothing; use action words (taking off, putting on); and of course simply get silly to bond with baby. Today’s point was a little different; at eight months old, Veronika is nearly old enough to point, and I wanted to encourage the motion!

To do so, as I named each article of clothing, I also pointed to it. “Shorts,” I said (pointedly of course).

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Veronika didn’t point back, but she did do lots of grabbing for each piece of clothing, which is sort of the general idea.

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I pointed out pajamas…

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And onesies…

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And dresses in the closet.

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Keep repeating this game, and your little one might point before you know it. I think Veronika gets the point, even if she can’t quite mimic the motion yet!

 

Rocking Horse Ride

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At almost eight months old, it was high time to take Veronika on her first rocking horse ride (or, in our case, a rocking lion!). As long as your little one can sit up unaided, he or she is ready for a ride.

First, I introduced her to the rocking lion.

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She was quite intrigued by this strange new creature!

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Then it was time to saddle up. Even though she can sit unsupported, I made sure to hold her firmly around the waist as she rocked back and forth.

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As you rock, sing fun songs for your little one. I sang “Giddy-Up Whoa Pony!” to her, as well as the gentler “Rock-a-Bye Baby”.

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Don’t be surprised if big siblings want a ride!

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Clapping Songs

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Veronika is nearly 8 months old and just yesterday she started… clapping! I was so excited about this milestone, so to encourage the action again today, big brother and I sat down to sing a few clapping songs with her.

First we sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” She sure was happy, but it didn’t inspire her to repeat the gesture from the day before.

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Next up was “Patty Cake”, an old favorite. Again, she smiled but just listened.

Then we sang this silly, sort of tuneless ditty:

Clap, clap, clap your hands

Clap along with me

Clap, clap, clap your hands

Until it’s time for tea.

Well this got her clapping! She was so quick with her movements that my camera only ever captured the hands clasped, not the full motion. But she was doing it!

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(Note: Repeat this ditty with “stomp your feet”, or “pat your knees” to encourage the next milestone movement).

Veronika also loves to clap hands after knocking down block towers, so Travis and I were happy to oblige.

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You can even see a quick clip of it about 4 seconds into this video.

When did your little one start clapping? Please share in the comments about this fun milestone.

Nose Day

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As a quick follow-up to other body part days Veronika and I have explored, today we had a nose day.

First, we sang about noses. Need ideas? Don’t forget ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes’ features it near the end!

Then we walked around the house to find family photos with noses.

And of course, talk about what your nose does best – smell! I lined up spice jars and held each in front of Veronika’s nose.

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Some earned a smile and some received a very confused look.

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The point is, you can have a day like this for just about any given body part. What will you choose next? Knees? Belly buttons? Please share in the comments!

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Wooden Block Towers

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Veronika has played with foam blocks in the past; she loves their texture and shape, and I love that I don’t have to worry about injuries with such a soft toy. But a 7-month-old baby can play with wooden blocks, too; you just need to use a little more caution and care.

Because of their sharp edges, I don’t recommend letting your baby have unsupervised play with wooden blocks at this age. Instead, pick a time for this activity and make sure you are sitting right next to baby the whole time.

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Veronika received a beautiful set of painted blocks as a gift at birth, and this was the first time I presented them to her.

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First she simply enjoyed reaching for them in the box.

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Next, I set them out for her. The blocks immediately felt good in her hands.

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And make excellent teethers.

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Then came the real fun: knocking down towers!

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As with soft block towers, Veronika can’t resist knocking them over as soon as she sees them. The difference is that I kept the height lower and made sure they were angled away from her so no sharp edges came tumbling her way.

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She loves it every time they go boom – and even started a motion that I think might count as her first clap! Block towers are such a simple but effective way to teach a baby about cause-and-effect, and it was a delight to watch her play.

When we were done, I packed the wooden blocks away until next time.

Ears Day

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In the past, Veronika and I have focused on a single body part for the day, like hands and feet. Today was all about ears!

Rather than just pointing out ears, we focused a lot on what ears can do – hear! That meant pulling out all her toys that prominently feature sounds. We listened to doorbells and animal sounds:

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Squeaky suns:

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And musical instruments:

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Find things around the house with a strong sound (like running shower water), and for each one, say “I hear with my little ear…”

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I also read a book from the library called I Hear, and made sounds alongside the pages.

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“I hear with my little ear… rain!”

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“I hear with my little ear… the telephone!”

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We also walked around the house looking for ears in family photos and paintings.

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What body part should we explore next? Stay tuned!

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Dinner Games with Baby

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Dinnertime doesn’t have to be difficult with a baby… Just strategic! Here are two simple ideas that I have found helpful in keeping Veronika entertained, both during meal prep and during the meal itself.

If you’re cooking for grown-ups or older siblings, that’s the perfect time to park your baby in the high chair. Right around 20 minutes before mealtime, Veronika gets fussy. Once she’s seated, she can enjoy watching the action while I narrate her through the cooking motions. Better yet, I make her my taste tester!

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Thanks to Baby Led Weaning, I’m not afraid to offer Veronika foods that aren’t “baby foods.” She can handle soft-cooked pasta pieces as I prepare a larger batch.

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Or I scatter about a few pieces of breakfast cereal (or try those very popular puffs). Veronika loves being my “tester” as I prep around her!

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When it’s time to eat, we invite a friend to dinner. Bring along a toy that’s easily wiped clean, and make it a special dinner guest.

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The first time we played this game, I showed Veronika how to “feed” the toy.

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Pretty soon she was cutely mimicking the motion!

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She loved having the company, and when she grew bored of the food, she could play with the toy!

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This is a great way to give yourself or big kids time to finish the meal before having to whisk baby off for a cleaning.

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How do you entertain baby in the kitchen? Please share in the comments!

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Off-Peak Play

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Grown-ups like off-peak prices on train tickets, and babies like off-peak hours at indoor¬† play spaces… but which I mean, going when it’s not too crowded! If you’ve been curious about checking out such a place with your baby, I highly recommend going when you know it won’t be packed (hint: lunchtime, when everyone else makes an exodus home).

To wit, we showed up at a play space today when it was quite crowded (whoops, I should have known, on a rainy day!). Veronika seemed tentative as she tried out a few baby toys on the soft mats…

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and the ball play area…

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and soft blocks to build with.

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Once the space cleared out, I saw her whole body loosen up. Suddenly her movements were bigger, her expressions happier, and the “ga ga gas” began in earnest.

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Now she loved baby toys!

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And balls!

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And soft blocks!

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I loved watching her and brother in the soft block space! If there is a ball pit, dangle your baby in gently and swish him or her around, for a gentle introduction.

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Do you have a favorite local indoor play space? Please share in the comments!

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Simple Shower

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This is a quick and easy DIY activity that will help teach your baby about cause and effect – and make for a great bath toy!

Use a leftover container from the grocery store that has an easily-pierceable lid: think non-dairy cream cheese or cottage cheese (if your family eats dairy).

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Use a small screwdriver or metal skewer to pierce holes through the lid. It helped to twist the screwdriver a bit to make the holes wide enough.

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Fill the container about half way with water and add the lid. Invert over your baby in the tub, and watch the water shower down!

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Veronika looked up in wonder – and of course tried to reach for it.

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I had to give the container a little squeeze for the water to come out, which was nice since I could control the speed. Drizzle the little shower of water over your little one’s tummy or hands, and then encourage him or her to take the container and continue the fun!

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Once in her hands, she was more interested in the container itself than in making it “rain,” but one way or another, it made for a fun bath.

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Create Your Baby’s First Fort

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Forts are such an iconic part of childhood – and it was about time to introduce Veronika to her first!

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To make a cozy, baby-sized version, use a children’s table as the top of the fort. I draped it with blankets, and set her gently underneath. Her eyes went wide and she took to it right away!

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Everything was fascinating, from the texture of the blanket “walls”, to the way the light came through the blankets, to the legs of the table.

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Big brother needed to join, of course!

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If there are no siblings in the house, consider inviting in a stuffed animal friend or two.

If you need an activity inside your fort, what’s better than a tea party or picnic? We added pretend food and invited Veronika to the “party.”

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Cupcakes fore everyone! She was delighted with the play scenario going on around her, and the fun only ended when we needed the table for the next meal!

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