Baby Sign Language

When I first started my job 7 years ago, I had a co-worker that was learning sign language. I’d always thought it would be neat to know sign language but never learned how. I then found out that she was learning in order to communicate with her 6 month old grandson. I found that very interesting and researched baby sign language.  One day she brought her grandson to work with her and showed us how he would sign “milk” for a bottle, “dirty” if he had a dirty diaper, and even “more” if he wanted more. She told me that it was so easy to communicate with him and that he didn’t cry much because he was able to tell his parents what he wanted. At that moment, I decided when I had children that I wanted to teach them sign language.

Fast forward 5 years to when I had my first child…I’d forgotten about the sign language until a friend of mine told me of a website called “BabySteals.com” (the same awesome site that introduced me to BabyLegs). One day I saw the “steal” was a DVD/CD set called Baby Signing Time and I immediately ordered it!  My daughter was about 13 months old and she was just beginning to talk and I could NOT wait to get her started on signing. Once we received the set I put the DVD in and my daughter was captivated by the children on the screen signing. My husband and I sat and watched as well. The host, Rachel, shows the sign, explains how to properly do it, and then sings a song while various children repeat the sign. My husband and I made sure to use signs when talking to our daughter to teach her. After about a month of watching the DVDs every night, our daughter showed us her first sign. We were walking out of the grocery store one rainy day and our daughter signed “rain”. We were so surprised and happy that we stopped right in the middle of the parking lot in the rain and praised her.

Rain Sign Language

It has been about a year since we started using sign language and our daughter knows about 75 or more signs and her communication is extremely advanced for her age. Our pediatrician was impressed with the way my daughter could sign and thought it was great that we were teaching her at such a young age. We have seen a decrease in temper tantrums even though she is only 2 years old because she can communicate with us better. We started later with her but plan on starting with our son when he is about 3 months old.

Have you used sign language with your baby? What type of results did you see?

About the Blogger:

My name is Stephanie. My husband and I have been married 3 years.  We have a two year old daughter and a little boy.

*Flashcard from BabySignLanguage.

The Differences Between Raising First and Second Children

I had always heard that parenting strategies differed between your first child and any subsequent children, but I never knew how true it was until our second came along! Our first child is now 8 and my parenting strategy with him can be summed up neatly into one word: overprotective. I washed his bottles/sippy cups separately from other dishes in the dishwasher and his clothing separately in the washing machine until he was well over a year old - with my daughter I only did that for the first few months. Whereas he wasn’t allowed to climb on to the sofa by himself or go anywhere near the stairs, my daughter is a little monkey who will climb anything and everything and loves spending hours at a time climbing up the stairs and sliding down on her bottom (with either Daddy or me right behind her of course, just in case!)

I think several factors contribute to these vast differences in the way we parent her compared to the way we parented him. The main one being the differences in their personalities. Our son was a shy, quiet child and was more interested in playing with shape sorters and puzzles than tumbling and climbing. He loved to sit and read books or just cuddle. Our daughter on the other hand is more rough-and-tumble and prefers a more hands-on approach to her exploration of the world around her.

Another factor that helps to explain the change between our parenting styles 8 years ago and now is our age. My husband and I were 19 and 20 when our son was born. At that young age, we were nervous and unprepared and therefore highly overprotective with him. Now that we’re older (and wiser), we are comfortable with giving our daughter a little more “breathing room” to grow and explore, while still keeping a watchful eye and arms ready to rescue her when she gets a little too adventurous!

Keep Calm and Parent On

Also, from our own experience and talking with friends who also have more than one child, the common theme seems to be that second children are more energetic and adventurous because they have an older sibling to try to keep up with. That definitely holds true in our house! So for those of you expecting or contemplating adding a second child (or more) to your family, my advice is to remember that you will more than likely have to change up your parenting style a bit and remain flexible, and not to worry if you find yourself doing things completely differently than with your first. It’s definitely an adjustment, but so worth it – change can be a great thing!

About the Blogger:

Hi! I’m Beth Ann and I live in Central PA. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and have an 8 year old son and an 18 month old daughter who both love BabyLegs. I’m a stay-at-home mom and also do part-time work from home as a legal transcriptionist. I enjoy working on my photography hobby, remodeling our house, going to sporting events, pretty much anything that involves spending time with my family!

*Image from Living Mi Vida Loca

 

The Joys of Staying Home!

BabyLegs Lucky Lady legwarmers

Lucky Lady Legwarmers

There are days when I question my sanity and my decision to be a stay at home mom. Let’s be honest, toddlers are no joke!

My daughter is almost 2 and I feel that this age is very fun because she is so curious! However, it is also an age where most children discover the art of screaming and throwing tantrums when you say ,”No you can’t have candy.” or something as simple as ”Wait a minute, I can only do so many things at once!” As I sit here writing this blog, I think about the future PTA meetings I’ll be attending and future ballet practices I’ll be driving her to and honestly, it makes me feel great that I will be able to do that!

But then reality hits me in the face – or was that mashed potatoes that my toddler threw because she decided it’s time to play with her food instead of eat it? This is the life of being home with a toddler. Messy hair, food all over your clothes and floors, toys all over the place, and your Tivo set to record every episode of Dora The Explorer or Blues Clues. I have to say, it’s challenging but I am all for it and I would definitely give it all up just to see a smile on her pretty face everyday.

Whether you decide to stay at home or return to work, being a parent is a challenge. How do you manage your life with kids?

 

Turning Off the TV

Many of us can relate to entertaining our children with the TV and computer more often than we’d like to admit. I know I sure can.

After sitting back and looking at my kids in a quiet moment, I realized that they were watching more TV than I felt comfortable with. I decided I needed to take action. I shut the TV off. I turned my cell phone off. I stopped putting away the dishes and I took my boys on a walk where we could hear the sounds of dogs barking, birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind and even tree frogs peeping. When we got home, we played in the house with nothing but our voices to fill the air.

Home Run

Home Run Warmers

“So where do I go from here?”,  I asked myself. I reluctantly declared “No more TV”. I decided it needed to be drastic, so we cut TV out of our lives during the daytime. While it seemed to be hard and almost painful for the kids to miss their favorite shows, it got much easier with time. We learned we liked this little experiment more than I ever dreamt.

Yes, I am busy. (I am also tired and pregnant.) And like most of you amazing ladies, I often struggle on how to get it all done. If I’m not at work, I’m doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning or doing other chores. The TV easily became my crutch. I hate to say it, but flicking on the TV was much easier for me than planning an activity, playing with the kids and then cleaning up the mess after playing. In the beginning, I had to continually remind myself not to turn on the TV. “Don’t do it . . . don’t do it!” Once I got through that, I realized I needed to change and get more involved. I had to stop being so busy just “doing”. I needed to shut off the TV, get off the computer and my cell phone and just play with my kids…instead of making them feel like there always needs to be noise, while they miss out on what’s going on under the fluff and babble on TV. I changed my mindset and decided they needed to be included more in our daily to-do list. Not only was this successful, but they loved helping out and I get the work done without my crutch!

I must admit that my kids are amazing at entertaining themselves, LOL! Honestly, I lost no time getting things done and my boys began to get bored with me and played on their own in much more healthy ways. They created their own world: an amazing world of imagination. I know kids do this all the time, but I never stopped to think about it. In the daze of our loud, seemingly always busy household, I had missed out on my sweet baby boys’ world: the deep and secret thoughts of their amazing, little minds, the beauty of their imagination and creativity.

The problem for us was when TV became the go to, using it when we really didn’t really “need” to. I can tell you, we do not miss it anymore. Do we keep the TV off all the time? No, I cannot say they never watch TV, but now I am so careful about the time they spend in front of the TV. It has become my personal mission to turn off our TV. I am trying to create more of these moments where my children hear nothing but their own thoughts, laughter and maybe a dog barking in the background.

Do you limit your children’s screen time? If so, has it been easy or difficult for you to cut or cut back on screen time from your family’s life?

“Itchy Spots” (or Eczema, as it is Called Elsewhere)

Four years ago, the extent of my knowledge regarding eczema was its existence as some kind of skin rash. Having worked with a person who had psoriasis, I somewhat (incorrectly) equated the two and felt bad for people who dealt with them but didn’t give them much thought myself. So, when my son had a circular patch of red, bumpy skin on his arm, I never considered eczema but thought it was ringworm. Daycare thought the same and the nurse at my son’s clinic confirmed the suspicion and said to use Lotrimin on the area. A few days of Lotrimin, however, brought about no change and my mother, a RN, was visiting, so I asked her opinion. She thought it looked like “contact eczema” and suggested we change laundry detergents.

This change seemed to do the trick at first, but it wasn’t long before what came to be called “itchy spots” in our house started popping up all over my son’s arms and legs and occasionally his back and stomach. All of these spots were circular in nature (similar to ringworm), not like the eczema photos I’d seen on posters in the doctor’s office, and daycare was concerned that this was some type of fungal infection and therefore contagious. So I did some research and saw a pediatrician and it turned out eczema appears in more than one form and the form my son had was Nummular Dermatitis or Nummular Eczema which is often misdiagnosed initially as ring-worm due to its circular appearance. So, no ringworm (phew), but still the unpleasant “itchy spots” remained. Typical eczema remedies – cortisone on the “itchy spots” when they were red and Aveeno when they were not, no use of soap (just Aveeno bath wash), free & clear laundry detergents, and no bubble bath became the routine at our house. Still, for a long time my son would go through periods where he had these horrible “itchy spots” that he would often pick at and worsen. The crease on the inside of his elbow was particularly bad and I had difficulty getting the eczema to clear from that area. Of course, this is also an easily accessible spot to itch, so I took to covering it with Band-aids to keep my son from picking at it.

ScratchingIn the meantime, I kept researching and came across a link between eczema and milk protein allergy. I spoke with the pediatrician about the possible connection between that two, but was told that it was unlikely and there was no proof of a connection (the same thing I was told about my son’s reflux and a possible milk allergy) and so, we just continued our “itchy spot” routine. It wasn’t until this year, as my son’s “itchy spots,” all-but disappeared and then were gone, that my daughter (who is eczema free) was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. When we saw the specialist regarding this, the conversation with him resulted in the following conclusions:

1. According to the specialist, it was surprising that my daughter did not have eczema given the obvious milk protein allergy.

2. Milk protein allergies are often the cause of night-waking (something my son has always struggled with).

3. My son likely had a milk protein allergy which caused or at least aggravated his reflux and eczema and was no longer struggling with it because he had outgrown the allergy (as most children do by the time they are six) or reduced his milk intake to a level where it was not affecting him.

Having one of those, “if I had only known then” moments, I wished I had just taken my son off dairy a few years ago to see what happened despite the pediatrician’s assurance that a milk allergy was not likely. It certainly would’ve been nice to ascertain a connection between the two four years ago, but hindsight is always 20/20. Still, I would be curious to know how many out there have found an obvious connection between their child’s eczema and a food or other allergy. I also encourage any of you dealing with eczema to explore the possibility of it being caused from a food allergy – and follow your instinct even if your doctor says there is little chance…see a specialist or try eliminating dairy. It might be worth it.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

About the Blogger:

Hi! My name is Shawna. I am a married mother to two adorable children and love being a mom. My children throw me unexpected surprises more often than I can count, but I wouldn’t change that for the world. Thanks for reading!