Friday, September 28, 2012

Phone Phun

Paisley loves to sit and chatter, so any time I see an activity that has to do with talking, I try to find a way to make it work for us. So, when I saw this one, I just knew we had to give it a shot. I dug around in Erik's toy box and found his toy cell phone, and then Paisley and I had a nice little phone call.
 
I would hold it to my ear and talk to her, and then put it up to her ear and give her a chance to talk back. She actually was too interested in the shiny mirror on the phone to do much talking, but she did get in on the conversation a little bit. I think as we continue to do this over the next couple of days she'll get into a little bit more. 
This is a great activity for social development. It gives Paisley a chance to learn about the give and take of carrying on a conversation, which is part of learning to talk. When you take the time to wait for her to say something, and then make a point of paying close attention when she does, it helps to build her self worth by showing her that you value her and her input. And don't forget, all that time spent talking and looking in each other's eyes is a great bonding opportunity!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cooking with Mom

Babies love to imitate those around them, and Erik is no exception. He wants to be where I am, and doing whatever it is that I am doing. The other day when I was cooking dinner, he really wanted to be involved, and was really getting in the way. Then I decided, why not let him join in? I put him in his high chair in the kitchen near where I was working and gave him a few items to keep him busy. 
 Any time I needed to stir something I'd hand him a stirring spoon and let him have a go at it (I had one spoon for him to stir with and a different one for him to play with. When we were done stirring I'd take away the used spoon and give him the clean one to play with until it was time to stir again).
 Any time I was using an ingredient that was safe for him to explore, I'd give him a small amount and let him feel it and taste it while I worked. He thought this was great, at least until he had a small amount of flour in his measuring cup and tried to drink it. He breathed out through his nose and the flour went all over his face and into his eyes. Not quite what he had in mind.
Since then, I've tried to help him get more involved in the cooking process. Whenever I'm peeling potatoes or carrots I peel them into a bowl on the floor and let him play with the peelings as I work. He loves exploring their slipperiness! I try to give him tastes of things when the ingredients are safe (or cool) enough to eat (obviously no raw eggs or anything like that!) so he can explore new tastes and textures. And then there's always his favorite activity, he thinks it is his right and responsibility to stir anything in the kitchen that needs stirring. If he catches me stirring something without his help then oh boy am I in trouble!
Now there are a few draw backs to this type of thing. When you've got a toddler for a sous chef things can get a little bit messy. Your cooking technique is not going to be at its best. You will be a bit distracted and can't count on things coming out exactly like they should (I tend to forget or skip ingredients when I cook distracted so I never know what's going to happen).
BUT, there are some major benefits to this as well, such as: building fine motor skills hand-eye coordination and awareness of spatial relations through manipulating tools and ingredients, learning new words as you tell baby what it is he's tasting or holding, building self worth as you show your child that you want him by your side and trust him to help you with your work, increasing sensory awareness through new tastes smells and textures, and teaching social interaction as the two of you work together.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"With...bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes"

I got the idea for this activity from Productive Parenting (which is a totally awesome site, I highly recommend it!), and I've been meaning to give it a try for a while. Well, today I finally pulled out some of Erik's old socks and a few jingle bells from my crafting supplies and we were ready to go in just a few minutes. 
I was really curious to see how Paisley would react. When Erik was her age he HATED jingle bells, so I was pretty cautious with Paisley. Luckily, she loved it!

 After a few minutes of just listening to the bells jingle when she kicked, she discovered that she could reach down and grab the bells, and that is what she really loved. She sat and played with the bells for a long time, and enjoyed every minute of it!
A word of Warning: Due the to metal edges on the bells, I don't think the string will stand up to much pulling and tugging, which means the bells may come off sooner than you might expect. They are small enough to pose a choking hazard, so make sure this activity is supervised and remove any bells that baby manages to pull off. If you notice the string wearing or fraying, replace ASAP.
That being said, despite a (slight) potential choking risk, this little game has some good benefits. It encourages baby to kick and move her legs which builds her large muscles in her legs. It helps her be aware of her body and its location in space. It also teaches her that her actions can have consequences, however small, and that she has some control over her environment.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Color in a Bag; A Squishy Adventure

I'm finding that Pinterest is my new best friend when it comes to locating new ideas for activities to do with Erik and Paisley. There are just so many cool things on there! This is one I pinned a long time ago and then forgot about. I rediscovered it in my boards the other day and I decided we had to give it a go. It's all the fun of finger painting with none of the mess, so what's not to like?  
Let's gather our supplies:
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 cups cold water

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove it from the heat and keep stirring for another minute. Divide the mixture into the desired number of bowls. Add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl and allow to cool. 
Put into zip top bags and squeeze all the air out before closing. Seal well with duct tape, making sure the edges of the tape go past the edges of the bag (see picture above). It may just be that I bought cheap bags (I got them at the dollar store, so I know they were not high quality), but ours came unzipped more than once. It wasn't a problem because I had made sure we had a really good seal with the duct tape, but it could have been really messy!
You can just squish these around while sitting in the location of your choice,  place the bag on a hard surface and (depending on your child) tape the sides of the bag to the table top so it can't slide around while they're "finger painting", or hang in a window to enjoy watching the light shine through as you play. Another thought is that this is made out of edible ingredients, and even has a sweet taste (it does have sugar in it), so it might be fun out of the bag for edible finger painting too, but we didn't try that this time around. 
Erik really preferred to just squish it around in his hands.
 That is, he preferred squishing it with his hands until he discovered the joy of stepping on it. Then all he wanted to do was squish the slime between his toes.
 This activity was a really fun one, and we'll definitely be doing it again. One nice thing about it was that the recipe made enough for 2-3 bags, depending on how full you filled them (we did three less-full bags). This meant that I let Erik play with the first bag for a day or two, then switched it our for a fresh one in which the colors weren't all mixed together. This way the fun lasted for a whole week.
By manipulating the bag of slime Erik was strengthening his hand muscles while enjoying the sensation of the squishy bag of slime. We talked a lot about the colors and the texture (squishy) of the material, as well as the temperature (this stuff seemed to stay cooler than the ambient room temperature, so we used it to talk about cold). The vocabulary building benefits of this activity were huge, there are so many more things you could do in that department with this activity! And the best part is that it's mess free!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Sister's Amazing!

Okay, so I know I don't normally post on the weekend, but I just had to give a shout out to my big sister who made the banner and helped with all the rest of the set up for this blog. She's so creative, some day when I grow up I hope to be like her! If you want to check out more of her work, you can go here to see her photography and other creative adventures.
Oh yeah, and one more thing, have you heard of the website Pinstrosity? Well, she's the genius who came up with the idea and she runs that site with one of our cousins. (If you don't know about Pinstrosity, I really suggest checking it out. It's hilarious and totally awesome!)

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Walk in the Park

Paisley LOVES to be outside. She loves the sunshine, and a breeze in her face, and watching the world go by. We try to get outside fairly often; sometimes it's just a quick trip to the mail box, but we do try to get to the park at least once a week (although I've yet to remember to bring my camera).
All ready to walk to the mail box. 
Sometimes it's nice to have a change of scene and society. When we go to the park Paisley loves to lay on a blanket and look at the leaf covered tree branches waving away above her. All the other kids in our play group love to come over and tell her hello, and I think she's started to enjoy the extra attention.
Getting outside is really good for little ones, even when they're tiny. The sunshine (though you have to be EXTREMELY careful about limiting sun exposure) prompts your body to make vitamin D and the fresh air just makes you feel so good! Playing outside is a GREAT sensory experience. The baby gets to see, hear, smell, and touch so many new things. You can help draw the baby's attention to a particular stimulus and tell them what they are experiencing (Do you hear the fire truck? Do you see the bird? What does this rock feel like?) so they can start to put names to things. There are so many great learning and growing opportunities when you go outside! Want to learn more of the surprising benefits of outdoor play? Here's an interesting article I found today.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Improvised Parachute Play

*This post contains affiliate links.*

I bet most of us remember that magical day in elementary school PE when we got to play with the parachute (which was something like this). It was so much fun! Well, we were cleaning up our sensory bin the other day and as I shook the sheet to get it straightened out for folding, Erik's eyes just totally lit up. We ended up spending quite a while playing in the sheet before we put it away.
Before you judge my terrible photography skills, remember I'm sitting under a sheet while a one year old tries to jump into my lap. You give it a try and if you can come up with a better picture I'd love to see it, until then this is all we get. 
We played hide-and-seek/peek-a-boo, I let him sit on the floor while I made the sheet parachute over him, I showed him how to sit on it while I pulled it around the room for a fun ride, and then there was his favorite; trying to walk around the room with the sheet over his head so he couldn't see anything. I had to stick really close to keep him from running into anything too hard, but he thought this was the best.
 This was a really fun way to burn up a ton of his crazy energy and to just spend a few minutes playing together. All the walking and running around helps to strengthen his legs and torso (gross motor). He got to watch the sheet as it floated down to him, and feel the softness of it on his face. He got to explore his world in a whole new way (when he had it over his head) by experiencing his surroundings through feel instead of sight. And, my favorite, we just had some good old fashioned fun!


*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Few Recipe Ideas for an Overly Independent Eater

Today's post is going to be taken from snippets from a couple of posts I did on the cooking blog that my sisters and I share. 
Erik went through a phase where if he wasn't putting food in his mouth with his own fingers, than it wasn't going in at all. This meant every meal had to be finger foods, but they also had to be soft since he was kind of a late bloomer in the teething area. Finding a variety of things to feed this kid was a daily challenge. 
 I started to look around online for ideas, and that's when I discovered tofu as a baby food. Tofu is packed with protein and nutrients, but is very soft, so it can be easily mashed between a baby's gums. It has almost no flavor of it's own, but will take on the flavors of other things very easily. This makes it the perfect baby food, that you can use for any meal. 
(Just in case you are also in a menu rut and need some inspiration, some of the websites I looked at while looking for meal ideas are here, here, and here.)

For breakfast: Cold Cereal Tofu 
What you need:
Firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
A handful of baby's favorite cold cereal, we used whole grain Cheerios, crushed in a small resealable bag.
What to do:
Toss the tofu in the bag of crumbs, give it a good shake, and then you're ready to go. You now have cheerio flavored tofu bites. Slightly crunchy on the outside, but smooth and creamy on the inside. Add some diced fruit (in this case strawberries and blueberries) and you've got a perfect way to start the day!  

 For Lunch: Crunchy Tofu Nuggets
You will need:
firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
flour (about 2-3 TBS maybe more, depending on how much tofu you've got)
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, or anything else you want to use to season the flour
Your baby's favorite crackers, I used gold fish, crushed up
milk (maybe 2 TBS?)
What you do:
Mix whatever seasonings you've chosen into your flour. Roll the tofu bites into the flour to coat.
Dip the bites into the milk, just long enough to moisten them, not long enough to soak the flour off.
Roll in the cracker crumbs, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until nice and crunchy on the outside. Add some veggies and you've got a meal.

For Dinner: Italian Tofu Treats

What you need:
Firm tofu, cubed
spaghetti sauce
bread crumbs (either pre-seasoned, or you can mix in some garlic and onion powder, basil, oregano, parsley, etc...)
What you do:
Roll the tofu in the spaghetti sauce, then in the bread crumbs. Bake at 350 until they are warm and crunchy.

You don't think this sounds yummy? Well, let's see what the baby thinks...


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Story Time

This post contains affiliate links.

One thing that I try to do every day with both babies is read books. This is a little more logical with Erik, who can understand what is being read and even point to things in the pictures, but it is just as important for Paisley to get story time too.
Reading does SO MANY things for little ones! By the time a child is one year of age, they are familiar with all the basic sounds (or phonemes) that make up the building blocks of the language spoken in their home. They understand a large amount of what is said around them, even though they can't say the words themselves. How do they learn all this? They listen to mom and dad and everyone else around them and soak it all up like little sponges. Reading is a prime opportunity for an infant to be introduced to all this stuff. Don't believe me? Check out these great articles about reading with infants at kidshealth.org and babycenter.com.
Some of the benefits of reading with infants are that you get to hold and cuddle your baby while they listen to the sound of your voice (GREAT bonding time!), they assimilate language (picking up phonemes, learning vocabulary, picking up on inflections, etc...), they strengthen their eyes as they look around the page, they learn about the world around them through pictures stories and rhymes, and  they get to learn to hold and handle a book as you help them feel and turn the pages. 
Babies this age will not yet understand what you are reading, so a captivating plot is the least of your worries right now. Here are some of the books we like and why we like them.

-Make sure the book you are reading has bright interesting pictures that are very simple. Too much stuff on one page is just an overload of stimulus and the baby can't process any of it. Keep the backgrounds simple with crisp clear pictures.
Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom
-While an infant may not be able to understand the words, they do appreciate rhyming and repetition. Look for things that have a sing song type rhythm and lots of rhyming.
Moo, Baa, La La La
-Other things to look for are books with added features like sounds or textures. Erik loves to pet the different animals in this book, and we're helping Paisley to learn how much fun it is too.
Touch and Feel Pets
Maybe one of the most important things to remember is that when baby says she's done, that's it you're done! Don't push reading now unless you want her to hate it later. Remember, she's not following the story line, so if she misses the last page, she'll never care.

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Erik's 1st Sensory Bin

I've wanted to make a sensory bin for Erik for a while now, but I've been waiting for him to be less interested in putting everything in his mouth. He does pretty good with that these days, and while I still have to keep a close eye on him, he will listen when I tell him not to eat something. 
So, don't know what a sensory bin is? Here you go:
 A sensory bin is a container filled with small objects that the child can manipulate and play in. You fill them with just about anything. Water, sand, beans, pasta, pom poms, rocks, water beads, regular beads, rice, etc... We used pinto beans and macaroni noodles (this time they were raw, but they don't have to be). Give the child a variety of containers to play with and just turn them loose. It's nice when your containers are made of different types of materials (glass, metal, plastic), so that when the child puts the beans in it will make different sounds.
We started by spreading a sheet on the floor so that clean up would be really easy, but if you have hard floors you could just sweep everything up afterwords. I filled up a cake pan with the beans and macaroni, gave Erik his different cups and containers, and turned him loose. He loved it! He hasn't really figured out how to scoop up the beans, but he enjoyed dropping them by the handful into the different containers.
 One of the containers I gave him was an empty plastic water bottle. He thought it was great to poke a few beans or noodles into the bottle and then give them a good shake. It made a great noise, and he thought it was awesome!
We've done this activity more than once now, and each time it's been a huge hit! This activity is great for fine motor development, sensory exploration, spatial relations as the child pours or scoops the materials from container to container, and could even be used as a classification exercise for an older child if you sorted the different materials into different containers. Most of all it's just lots of fun!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Peek-A-Boo!

We all know and love peek-a-boo, it's something almost every mom does with her babies. But, did you know it's not just for fun? Playing games like peek-a-boo helps your child develop an important cognitive skill, Object Permanence.
I've actually been putting off this post, trying to find a way to get a cute picture of Paisley and I playing Peek-a-Boo, but I'm just not smart enough to figure out how to make that work. So, you'll just have to take my word for it that we were playing Peek-a-Boo the day we took this one. 

What's object permanence? Well, when something disappears from your sight you know it hasn't ceased to exist, it's just hiding somewhere. You know this because you have a firm grasp of object permanence. When an object disappears from a baby's sight, in their mind it no longer exists. Poof! Just like that the toy you were playing with is gone forever. The baby won't try to find it, or wait for it to come back because to them it is now non-existent. No wonder infants hate to see mom or dad walk away from them, for all they know they'll never see them again.
So, you can see the benefits to helping an infant get a grasp on the idea that things don't just disappear into oblivion. Peek-a-boo, and other games like it, help to teach this concept to an infant. Now don't expect them to get it after the first round of hide and seek, children often don't fully understand this idea until they are 8-12 months old. That doesn't mean you shouldn't work on it though.
Want to know more about object permanence, or Peek-a-Boo? Check out this site, she also has a really cute Peek-a-Boo song that will help to hold a young infant's attention while you play. Paisley really loves it!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Foam "Stickers"

This post contains affiliate links.

I saw an idea online (which I now can't find anywhere) for making your own bath stickers out of foam sheets and decided I had to give it a try. 

Let's gather our supplies:
-Scissors

I was able to pick up a pack of foam sheets at Walmart for pretty cheap, and I just sat and cut out a few shapes as Erik was playing in the bath. These will stick to any hard surface, so you can do this activity in the bath, on the fridge, on a window, etc...
 He wasn't really sure what to do at first, but he thought it looked like fun. I only did a few colors to start with, but the package came with 4-5 different colors, so I can add to the collection whenever I feel like it. Erik isn't an expert yet at sticking the shapes onto the tub wall, but he's working on it. 
 We tried this activity again a few days later, except I gave Erik a tiny bit of water on a plastic plate and showed him how to dip the shapes in the water before sticking them to the refrigerator. I think he enjoyed splashing in the water more than anything, but he did stick some to the fridge. I had to put a stop to the activity though, when I realized that he was pushing most of them under the fridge. I guess we'll just stick to the bath tub.
This activity is a great one for practicing those fine motor skills. You could also use it to talk about different shapes, colors, or even sizes. I made sure I had big and little sizes of each shape, and multiple colors of each also so that we can work on vocabulary with these as we want to. As Erik gets older, we could cut out ABC's, numbers, or anything else that we are working on at the time. I love how adaptable and simple this activity is!

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Free Play Time

      One thing you will hear debated by parents, caregivers, school administrators, etc, is how important play time is to children. Schools have to decide how much time to devote to class time, and how much to spend on recess/play time. With so much focus on making good grades and ensuring that our kids have all the best learning opportunities, it's easy to see why schools are cutting play time shorter and shorter, and putting so much more emphasis on more traditional learning methods. So what's the big deal, we want our kids to be smart, right? We want them to do well in school, right?

      Play time IS a big deal, and here's an interesting article from NPR and another from babycenter that explain why. 

      I try to make sure that Erik and Paisley get some time to themselves every day to just spend how they want. Granted, Paisley is pretty restricted by what she's able to do right now, but even she can sit and play with her fingers and toes, practice making faces, and learn that she's able to function when not held or attended to by someone else. Erik loves to play on his own. He will voluntarily go down the hall to his bedroom to play by himself for pretty long stretches of time (long for a 13 month old anyways). He loves to sit and look at his books while I am doing other things around the house. He's even invented his own little games that he loves to play whenever he can. It's so fun to watch these two do their thing when they think no one is looking. 




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mobile Play

Paisley loves talking to/looking at/playing with just about anything she sees. I put her in her bed for nap times and she loves to talk to the animals on the mobile. The mobile in her bed is too high for her to touch, but that doesn't stop her from interacting with the animals on it. She waves and chatters and watches them move around, and more than once she has even talked herself to sleep.

So other than keeping her entertained for a few minutes here and there, how does a mobile (or something like it) help a baby to learn? If the mobile is like the one in Paisley's bed (too high to touch), a baby can still track the objects with her eyes to help develop good vision, and interact socially with them. If you have a play gym, with the toys dangling just low enough for the baby to bat at them and grab them then you reap all the benefits of the mobile, with the added benefits of fine motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, and tactile stimulation.

Don't have a mobile or crib/play gym? No problem! Just follow this link for a great DIY alternative!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pom Pom Playtime

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I bought a whole bag of pom poms for our pom pom stuffing toy, and decided to do something with the rest of them. I found this idea, and thought it looked like fun, so here we go. 
Let's gather our supplies:
-Muffin pan

We dumped out the whole bag of pom poms into a muffin tin, and I sorted them by color while saying the color names. Erik doesn't really understand the color part yet, but he's got to start somewhere. After that, I just sat back and let him do whatever he wanted with the pom poms (other than eating them). He carried handfuls of them around the living room, put them inside any opening he could find to poke them into, and just had a ball. They do end up all over the place, but it wasn't too hard to pick them back up. Erik even got involved and thought it was fun to put them back in their baggie. 
We've done this activity more than once now, and he still loves it. One time, when I needed him out from under foot while I was cooking, I gave him the pom poms and a few pots, bowls, cups, etc and let him "cook" too. He thought it was great. He was right by me without being in the way, and he got to be doing the same thing as me (or close enough for him anyway). One tip for making cleanup easier: if the room is already clean than it's much easier to find all the pom poms, unlike when there are toys and things for them to get mixed up with and hidden by. Also, these could potentially be a choking hazard so be smart and watch your little one closely. 

This was a great activity for Erik to practice his fine motor skills. He had to use a pincer grasp to pick up the smallest ones, and he will often hold one or two in his hand while picking up more with the same hand. That takes some coordination and practice! Eventually, as he gets a little older, the sorting part of this activity will play a bigger role. We can use this for learning colors or sizes. 


*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Girl Talk

Paisley and I were enjoying a few minutes of one on one time before she went down for her nap, and we had a great conversation going on. I'm not really sure what we were talking about, but Paisley was really getting into the discussion
Obviously we weren't actually using words to exchange thoughts or ideas, which is what you probably would think of as conversation. Miss P is way to little for that. But, we did spend several minutes talking back and forth to each other. Along with being cute and fun, this kind of thing is actually very good for a baby. According to "What to Expect the First Year" (and I'm not directly quoting here because I'm too lazy to go dig out my book) when you mimic the sounds a baby is making and turn it into a "conversation", you are helping the baby in several ways. First, you are showing the baby that what she has to say is important to you and you will listen to her when she wants to talk to you. This helps to build up her budding sense of self worth. Also, it shows the baby how a conversation goes. She says something, and then your respond and wait for her to say something again, and so on. While you may not be using a single real word, you are helping the infant to learn the proper protocol for interacting socially in the future.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Magic Kleenex Box

*This post contains affiliate links*

There are few things Erik loves more than pulling all the tissues out of the box, or all the wipes out of their container, or all the toilet paper off the roll, or all the garbage bags out of their box (I could go on with this list for a while!). So I started looking for a way to give him the same feeling without having to let him destroy my house.
I saw this idea and decided it would be perfect for Erik. 

Let's gather our supplies:
- Empty Kleenex box
-Scrap fabric
-Tape (I used packing tape)

I took the Kleenex box and cut a small slit in the bottom. Next, I took a pile of scraps of fabric and cut them into small pieces (strips, squares, triangles, whatever works for you) that I then tied together into one long strand. I threaded one end through the slit in the bottom of the box and taped it down with packing tape so it wasn't going anywhere, and viola! 
I stuffed all the fabric into the box, leaving just the end sticking out. Erik loves to sit and pull it all out and watch as the different colors and patterns of fabric go by. 
In addition to helping satisfy his need to undo everything in my house, this new toy also helps Erik build strength and precision in his fine motor skills. I would love to make another one of these using different types of fabrics so there would be variety of textures. That would really make it a super fun toy!

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Imitation

Today Paisley and I had enjoyed a few minutes of just sitting and hanging out while Erik was eating his  lunch. I was making faces trying to get her to smile at me, and noticed that when I stuck my tongue out, Paisley would start wiggling her tongue around. I kept making faces, and pretty soon she was sticking her tongue WAY out of her mouth every time I stuck mine out at her. 
As soon as I pulled out the camera, she got distracted and wouldn't stick her tongue out as far, but it was still pretty cute!
The human brain is hard-wired to imitate and conform with those around us. Ethan and I just watched a whole program on PBS about this a few weeks ago and it was really interesting. The instinct to imitate those around us is one of self-preservation and learning. By watching and imitating me, Paisley was becoming more aware of what her body can do, and fine tuning her muscle control. As she gets older, imitation should continue to be something she really enjoys and she should be able to mimic more and more complicated tasks. Things like clapping, waving, etc are just a few more steps down the road from sticking out her tongue.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Coloring!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we've been trying to get Erik to color without much success. He still likes to eat everything he touches, so I was hesitant to put him in his high-chair for our coloring attempts. Instead, I would tape a piece of paper to the tile floor and try to get him to color like that. We made sure that we had crayons that were big enough for him to hold easily. The smaller standard sized crayon require too much dexterity for a child of this age, so make sure you have longer chunkier ones that are easy to hold and maneuver. 
One afternoon Erik was standing next to the couch playing with things he was pulling out of Daddy's backpack. I watched him pick up a pencil and drag it across the couch as if he were coloring, and it hit me that the only thing stopping our coloring success was the angle we were trying to color at. To color on the floor made it harder to control the crayon, and the angle made it so he really couldn't see what was happening on the paper. So, we took a cookie sheet, taped our paper to the bottom, and put it on the couch with Erik standing next to it.
  I gave him the crayons and did one small line to show him what to do. His eyes instantly lit up, and he took off. He colored and pounded on the paper for several minutes, creating his first ever piece of art.