Thursday, February 28, 2013

Watch Her Grow...

This Week's Focus: Language and Emotional Intelligence

  Interactions with Materials

  • As I've discussed previously, Q-ball loves to push her umbrella stroller.  She now pretty much never rides in it- just pushes it around our small neighborhood as I walk next to her.  As we don't have sidewalks, this provides an excellent learning opprotunity for walking safely in the road...and a really big opprotunity for Mama to strengthen her patient muscles.  
  • About two weeks ago, we gave Q-ball her dinner knife (part of a set of small silverware) for the first time.  She was very excited and quickly started to attempt to use it while carefully observing Mama and Daddy.  She now asks for a knife at most mealtimes.
  • We have a small boombox set up in Q-ball's area, and she loves asking for us to turn on the music so she can dance along.  I'm surprised it's taken so long, but she is now working to figure out the buttons for herself- hopefully she'll be able to start and stop the music on her own soon.

We attended the stock show again this year- look how much she's grown by comparing these pictures to those from last year!

Interactions with Others 
  • I think she is starting to try to initiate play with other children her age.  Of course, her social skills still need a bit of work.  At this point, she just runs up to other toddlers and then a short distance away and then toward them again, and repeat a few times.  A little like a dog trying to get your attention.  She hasn't had much success yet, but I'm sure she'll figure it out.
  • She does have some guts in social situation.  The other day at the park, while I was sitting a short distance away, an older boy (around 8 or 9) was trying to kick her off of the swing.  Q-ball stood up, but held on to the swing and just said, "no, no, no," while pointing him to the slides.  He continued to try until he saw me watching.  Why don't kids pick on people their own size?
Critical Thinking
  • Q-ball has loved stacking blocks and other shapes in the past, but this week she worked to expand her skills and stack plates and bowls during her snack time. 
Interactions with Life 
  • Potty-learning success continued.  We've had only one daytime accident all week- even while out and about.  And, Q-ball completely surprised me on Tuesday by sitting on the potty and even pooping!  More glorious potty details to come in an upcoming post dedicated to early potty learning.
We are linking up with Vibrant Wanderings!  Check out what the other kiddos are up to!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Watch Her Grow...

This Week's Focus: Language and Emotional Intelligence

  Interactions with Materials
  • Q-ball has continued to love music class. She is inspired to find drums and drumsticks everywhere.  At the park, she uses sticks to bang on different materials and listen to the different noises that surface makes.  I'm proud to have such an explorer!
  • Perhaps it's largely my lack of artistic ability that affects my presentation of the activities, but Q-ball has yet to express too much interest in art.  But, she has really started to like playing with stickers.  Daddy's Valentine consisted almost entirely of smiley face stickers.  And, she has taken it a set beyond and started to like temporary tattoos (I love the way she says the word!) Mama currently is sporting a temporary dog tattoo- she lead me to believe that we would get matching tattoos, but she later backed out. :(
  • Her great-grandparents gave her a rocking chair for and early birthday gift.  She has been very excited about using it!  She went with me to pick it out, and she also excited to re-tell the story of "buy rock-rock."

Interactions with Others 
  • The few separations that Q-ball has endured recently have led to some increased attachment.  She is not at all interested in leaving Mama and Daddy again to go to the nursery.  Any separation from Mama leads to tears and stress, even though all of these separations have been with Daddy.  But, after the stress passes, she has really started to love her Daddy dates!  (But, this does seem to mean that parental dreams of a date have been put on the back burner.)
Critical Thinking

  • As has been the case over the past few weeks and will no doubt continue to be the case, she learns new words every day.  I think what interests me is that she is excited to try new words she hears (light bulb was yesterday's), but doesn't try to use words that she uses every day for which she still uses signs or other sounds. For example, she hasn't tried to say any animal names and, instead, sticks to using the sounds they make.  Another common phrase around the house, "clean up", continues to be "di da!"
Interactions with Life 
  • Potty-learning finally hit it's "got it" day about two weeks ago, and we rarely have any accidents at home.  She won't go and sit on the potty herself, but she might ask me to read her a book, or she'll start holding herself or cross her legs.  So, we just move to the potty and success!  Poop and nighttime are still to be mastered, so we'll see how those go!
We are linking up with Vibrant Wanderings!  Check out what the other kiddos are up to!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Watch Her Grow...

So, a child that has decided to regularly forgo or shorten naps has hampered blog updates, but we did want to send an update today to say, "Happy Valentine's Day!" and share a current photo as it has been awhile.

We coordinated a toddler Valentine exchange, which was excitingly successful.  As you can see, however, Q-ball wore herself out...not enough to continue her nap at home, but enough to need ten 10 minutes of rest in the car...

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Importance of Routines for Toddlers

   I haven't seen or visited a parents' group, book, show, or website that did not stress the importance establishing routines with children.  These sources seem to list endless benefits of routines:
  • Encouraging self-control in toddlers
  • Preventing power struggles with parents and children
  • Easing transitions for children
  • Learning social skills and cultural norms
  • Developing language skills
  However, I haven't really seen many studies that back up the benefits of routines.  This is not to say that I question their importance or ability to help toddlers (and parents) survive everyday life.  As I have stated previously on this blog, often parents are more knowledgeable than researchers, and lab findings often just support what parents already know (with the exception of the connection between fevers and teething as explained in this post. I've always questioned these results as Q-ball has had a fever every time she was teething...)
  Still, for this Science Friday, I wanted to explore any findings that further validate the role of routines.  Surprisingly, I wasn't able to find very many hard numbers.  But, most of the studies seem to focus on the importance of bedtime routines. This makes sense considering that one of the studies stated that sleep problems are one of the most common concerns of parents- 20 to 30 percent of infants and toddlers have sleep difficulties.  
I can't even get a picture of this busy toddler without it blurring- how is she not sleepy?!?
   In a 2009 study published by Sleep, 405 mothers who identified having an infant or toddler with a sleep problem participated in 3-week study that measured the success of groups who established bedtime routines to control groups who established no routines.  Mothers who followed new routines were instructed to give their child a bath, a massage, and then conduct quiet activities like cuddling and singing.  These mothers also ensured lights were turned off or dimmed 30 minutes prior to bedtime.  
   The results very significantly showed improvements in the amount of time it took to put the child to sleep and in the number of nightly wakings.  As a bonus, the study also showed that maternal mood and child sleep problems are intimately linked.  As sleep improved, so did the mothers' quality of life- she was less tense and, of course, less tired.  
   As a parent with a 22-month old who still regularly wakes 4-7 times each night and regularly takes 40 minutes to fall asleep, I find any studies on sleep interesting. Although, I must give Q-ball credit, we have had some nights in the past month were she has slept for over 4 hours at a time! And, I can certainly relate to the connection between mothers' quality of life and sleep (just ask my husband!)  Here at Q-ball's household, we have a very established bedtime routine- brush teeth; potty; bathe; put on PJs; read book with Daddy; kick Daddy out of room; nurse; crawl onto (or next to) mattress; and direct Mama to rub back. All of this makes me wonder- what would my nights be like without a routine?!?!

n.a. (2012). Love, learning, and routines. Zero to three. Retrieved from
ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from­ /releases/2009/05/090501090916.htm 

Sussman, F. (2011). The power of using everyday routines to promote young children's language and social skills. Retrieved from
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