About me and my blog

martes, 31 de enero de 2012

On our shelves last week

I was about to consider last week's environment a complete flop but after having a glimpse at the pictures I took I've been able to see M showed more interest in some of the activities suggested than I could remember. For part of the week she was dumping objects not knowing what to do with them. It was there when I realized my idea had not been too good.
I had set up a mono-thematic work station, as you can see, and it was a bit too abstract for M.
Dick Bruna's book was one of the things she liked best. The 7 shapes puzzle was of course too difficult and I knew. It has no knobs and I had been wanting to make a 3 shapes knobbed puzzle but I kept running out of time.
On the lower shelf, the stacking shape blocks belong to a wooden train M got for Christmas. The house for sorting shapes is a recent acquisition. She has been toying around with the blocks but has not sorted them at all.
The second picture, where she can be seen comparing the real dish to the one on the book (I was lucky to find one the same color, uhu?) was one of those flashes where you tell yourself "this must be coincidence". Maybe not, who knows.
The bit of art work I suggested was not a flop. She was interested in the stickers and sticked some of them to a kitchen paper roll.

Any of you with 13 months old? What activities are you doing? Has it ever happened to you that a suggested environment was a flop?

Our shelves

Showing interest in the round shape

Comparing real plate to the one on the book

Having a close look at the new exhibition

Working with blue square stickers

martes, 24 de enero de 2012

Homemade materials and toys

Some of the homemade materials and toys we've recently made have been dictated by the kind of activities M is interested in but there were some that are either timeless, see discovery bottles, or planned for the near future.
 A simple box and toilet paper roll for coordination skills. M found this way too easy so I am currently doing another one with three cylinders -small, medium, and big.
 Bottle caps and handmade box. We used a small box, strengthen it with construction paper and covered with sticky contact paper. The interior of the drawer is lined with purple velvet. It was very easy to cut a slit with the paper cutter, and voilà!
 This sensory bottles are merely bottles filled with water and (red / golden) glitter. Easy, cheap, and very nice. M likes them a lot.

Having dressing skills in mind, I have designed a sun with detachable rays. M is not ready to button her clothes yet but she is always willing to help me dress her so I feel it won't be too long before she starts noticing buttons, hooks, zips, and so on. This activity is intended as a motivation. For the ball I used a knitted ball (thanks, mum, for helping me with that). The rays are made with felt. The buttons were removed from an old jacket before trashing it.

lunes, 23 de enero de 2012

Our week in images

Before I rearrange our shelves tonight, I would like to revise what we've done this past week. A bit tired after a whole weekend of activities, including a wonderful and totally unplanned trip to a nearby farm, I am going to summarize our week in pictures. We are so lucky!!! We've set out for a walk this morning and been invited by a young farmer to have a look at all his poultry. After a week playing with the new set of farm animal magnets, transferring wooden eggs, and reading Rosie's walk, a visit to a poultry farm on Sunday morning was just ideal.

Hand-eye coordination skills:

Turning on the lights.

Getting the plug in the socket.

Eating with spoon and fork at the same time...

Gross motor skills:

Dragging her chair.

Climbing onto her chair.

And our trip to the farm:

sábado, 21 de enero de 2012

Our daily rhymes

I think it is common knowledge that rhymes favor the development of language.
I have always had a tendency to make things rhyme for fun but since my daughter was born I surely do it even more. We started out with rhymes very early with songs and riddles. I sometimes had the feeling I was odd to sing "one two three four five, once I caught a fish alive..." to a two months old baby. That tiny baby used to smile at the song encouraging thus my silliness. Jokes apart, to my surprise, now that M is 12 months she always smiles at the sound of "one two three" and together with her smile of recognition, she points at her fingers.

Some of the songs we like:

In English:
Ring a ring o' roses
Old Mc'Donalds had a farm
Round the mulberry tree
Oranges and lemons
Ten little indians
Ten brown teddies
Twinkle, twinkle little star
Jack in the box

In Spanish:
cucú saltaba la rana
el caballo de cartón
canta pájaro lejano

In Catalan:
La gallina ponicana
Les oques van al camp
Una plata d'ensiam

We also have some books, mainly for counting, which contain rhymes. I specially like the Australian "One Woolly Wombat" and "An Old Oxford Ox".

There are of course some of my fav. lullabies. Songs we repeat every day.

Some of the daily repeated rhymes we have made up are:

When dressing:
One hand through the hole, the other hand through the other hole.
One sleeve off, the other sleeve off.
Toes with toes, heels with heels,
and sock up to the knees.

It's cold, very cold,
let's get some clothes.

We will now count to twenty-five and we will sleep all through the night (up to now my words have unfortunately had no effect).

All this repetition is, in my opinion, very important for language learning, and it has proofed pretty useful in our getting-dressed routine.

Do you have some rhymes you would like to share? I'd love to hear!!

viernes, 20 de enero de 2012

Of buggies and carriers part 2

Well, I find it surprising but here I am informing the world (or whoever is so nice as to stop by and read what I post) that my little one, M, who for months rejected the stroller every time we tried it, seems to have gone to another stage and now hates the carrier (our otherwise outworn Manduca).
As we were preparing to leave home this morning, she has clearly expressed, as she has been doing lately, she had no intention of being carried. I wanted to give the carrier another go, since we were going to a place where strollers are a nuisance -there are no elevators at the underground station, sidewalks are narrow, streets crowded...- but after a while I have realized M is now in a new stage and we would better use the stroller. Staying at home was not an option, since I had been invited to talk about Montessori at a gorgeous place called "mamás graciosas". To my surprise, I have invited M to sit in the buggy and she has gratefully accepted. We were in the garage, so I have only been able to offer her an ugly toy, one of those I won't have in the house. However, and despite my dislike for the toy, she has started playing with it, we have set out, and she has stayed happily in her seat for a whole walk to the station, around 15 minutes, and 20 more minutes in the train. In the city, my dear "hubby" was waiting for us to have lunch together. Of course, the moment M has seen her father, she has raised her arms to be picked up.
As a memorandum of our " babywearing times":

M was here around 2,5 months and we were both wearing native American costumes.

11 months there and I am afraid that's the end of a cycle.

jueves, 19 de enero de 2012

A visit to the pediatrician

We have been scolded by a doctor today, can you believe it? I was so surprised I haven't even answered back. He said I haven't been feeding her right. She is approximately in the 3rd percentile. I knew M is small -both short and thin-, I am not a big woman myself and we have had this problem all the time. At the beginning we were told to bottle feed her in order to make her put on weight. Nobody succeeded at convincing me and time proofed it was right to breastfeed her exclusively up to the sixth month (a bit more, actually). During the first months she put on weight and grew all right, nearly reaching the 30th percentile. Lately, after the 8th month or so she has been growing, slowly, but growing.
Today the doctor, an old-fashioned, severe doctor, has scolded me and told me to give up breastfeeding "'cause the breast is not feeding her at all now". Humm, my dear doctor, let me disbelieve you. If it weren't for the breast, she would be much smaller... Since she was able to sit and showed interest in food, we have let her lead the weaning and this has meant that some times she was not eating much. Nevertheless, she kept trying new things and eating solids every day, apart of course of nursing on demand. This doctor has probably never heard of "baby-led weaning" but I don't find this surprising. What surprises me is that a doctor may still have this kind of behavior as if he were THE authority. He has scolded me as if I were a young girl doing mischief. Then, the doctor's nurse has meant to correct me when I was explaining my daughter what they would do to her next. To be more exact, the nurse's words have been: "don't tell her so many things, just say "it's nothing, it's nothing 'cause otherwise she complains more". "Oh, my!-I've thought- how many of the attitudes towards children I dislike in only 10 minutes!" I firmly believe it is healthier and more honest to explain things than to discredit a child's own experience. My baby sometimes complains, whimpers or cries but never without a reason and we have encouraged her expression of feelings. I feel to say "it's nothing" is just to repress the expression of feeling.
Well, I would like to see the positive side of this. From now onwards, I will offer M food more often and try to get her to eat more. I won't  force her, though. She knows more than I do when she is thirsty or hungry. It amazes me how doctors tell you how and when to feed a baby as if the baby would not exist.
I wish the real patients at the pediatrician's surgery, that's children, were treated more respectfully.
What is your opinion? I would like to hear about your experiences at the pediatrician's surgery.
Do you believe it is good to tell a child "it is nothing" when something is indeed happening to her?

domingo, 15 de enero de 2012

On our shelves this month

When the year -and the month- started I wanted to prepare a basket with winter items but I always try to follow M's current interest and as she has lately been very much into putting things inside other things and looking for animals in books, I thought this would make a better theme. Her new attraction are farm animals (one of her Christmas presents was a whole set of farm animal magnets) and looking for ideas around the house I discovered we had several hen-related activities that suited her interests.
This is what I prepared for one of her shelves.

The first item on the lower shelf is an imbucare box, followed by a stacking rings activity where you can find an egg hidden behind the last ring -the red one. Then we have a stuffed hen and some egg-boxes, which my mother painted for M, and finally a basket of wooden eggs. On the upper shelf I placed three books related to our theme: the farm.

miércoles, 11 de enero de 2012


Since M turned 12 months last December, I have been a bit more disciplined in keeping a journal. She is learning new things every day and at such fast a pace that I find it difficult to record everything.
Something she started doing last month was pointing at her right hand fingers with the left forefinger when hearing "one, two, three, four, five" (both in English and Catalan).
She spends much time putting things through holes. For that purpose I have given her different items: a box with a slot and some bottle caps; a container with a small opening and a handful of hazelnuts, a game I made with a cardboard box (putting bottle caps through the hole in the image below).

Today she has spent around 20 minutes putting hazelnuts through the opening on a small container and asking me to take them out every time she had them all inside (sorry for the mess in the background...)

She now masters drinking water from a small glass.  She started asking for water using the word "ababa" last week and we are so happy to pour more every time she is thirsty.  In a couple months I intend to set a water station and she will be able to pour herself a glass.

She is also interested in getting dressed. I left a bag full of old clothes to give away in the corridor and she has spent some time trying to put some on.

Other activities she is very much into are putting the caps on bottles and putting eggs in egg boxes.

(I apologize for the poor quality of the picture)