baby signing

Second Child Syndrome

I am having serious mommy guilt lately! I look at my son and I realize I am inflicting the second child syndrome on him and I fully realize that I (and my husband) are the cause of this. What is this ‘second child syndrome’ I talk about?! It’s the empty photo album, half written baby journal, video lacking syndrome… this is a problem that I’d say 90% (if not more) of second children face. My husband and I are definitely guilty of this. Two things happened recently that really brought this issue to light. The first one was when my daughter found her baby book and then wanted to see her brothers’. She had a beautiful, full photo album. My son, well… he had photos on my computer *blush*. I can’t believe that I had to sit down and turn on my computer just to pull up some pictures. That is wrong! The second episode that happened that slapped me in the face was a few emails I received from people who had seen my daughter grow up on You Tube asking about my son’s signing progress. Then I realized that I had taken so many videos of my daughter and her signing skills but not many of my son. He is a great little signer and I should have the camera on him as much as I did my first child. Life is just busy. It’s not that we don’t love our second child as much or are as equally fascinated with this little kiddo… no. That’s not the issue. The issue is time! Balancing family life is hard. We all do it but we also all know our second child doesn’t have as many pictures as our first.

This post is for my second child. My beautiful baby boy who is just as good a little signer as my daughter was at his age. Here is my little munchkin signing!
If you have any signing questions don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to answer your questions!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VWsntNo80k&w=480&h=390]

Laura Berg
Founder & President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’
www.mysmarthands.com

The MOM TRIBE

For Heather

The one major thing I’ve felt since becoming a mom is that we MOMS are a tight knit group of people. Growing up sometimes women can be unkind to one another, I’m not sure why this is and it’s sad. But I found when you become a mom you then join this amazingly supportive group like you are part of a large tribe of people who understand you. At PTPA I’ve found amazing friendships both through the bloggers and the readers of our blogs. People who take the time to read what we have to say and post comments to share their thoughts is wonderful.

Recently a member of my MOM TRIBE lost her beautiful little boy, Zack. My heart breaks for her both as a friend and as a mom. I feel like I can’t do enough for her at this time of need. Yesterday I went to the celebration of Zack’s life. Sitting there listening to all of the people talk about Zackie was very heart warming. Heather and her family were clearly blessed to have such an amazing little boy be part of their lives for the three and a half short years. And Zack was a lucky little boy to be part of a family who clearly loves him so much.

When I lost my mother my daughter had a very hard time understanding why grandma wasn’t here with us anymore. It was difficult explaining to a three year old what death is and what it means. We thought that she understood what it was until one day about six months later she said to us, “I’m done with grandma being dead, when is she coming back already!” She clearly didn’t get it. My heart broke for her all over again. For kids it can be hard to understand what it really means and as parents it’s hard to explain it in terms that they understand. During this difficult time in our family I found a wonderful story that helped my daughter to understand. I wanted to share it will all of you readers and to you, Heather, in the hopes that this can bring some comfort to your boys during this hard time.

Waterbugs and Dragonflies
by Doris Stickney

Waterbugs and Dragonflies : Explaining Death to Young Children”
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?” Up, up, up it slowly went….Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return…“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another. “Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second… “Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third.No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. “I have an idea”. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”“We promise”, they said solemnly.One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings…The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.

The dragonfly remembered the promise: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.” Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water…

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least, I tried. But I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me, and where I went.”

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air…….

Please take a moment to read Heather’s blog here: http://tjzmommy.blogspot.com/

Thank you for reading and taking the time to be a part of my MOM TRIBE

Much love and warmth,
Laura

Learn Your ASL ABCs!

My daughter, Fireese, loved learning the ASL ABCs at a very early age. She could identify the sign language letters before she could the written ones. This made it much easier for her to learn to identify the written ones because I could prompt her by showing her the ASL letter. I found that this was a great (quiet) game to play with her when we were at restaurants and other places where I needed to keep her attention. We would first play the letter guessing game. I would hold up a letter and she would guess what it was and then she would and I would guess. When she got a bit older we would then put three letters together and she would sound them out to spell a word. The great part about this game is you always have it with you because all you need is your hands to play.

Try teaching your child the ASL ABCs. You can learn along with Fireese and me.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTZ4GpSTLkM&w=480&h=390]

Laura Berg
Founder & President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’

Sign me some “EAT”

It’s funny how you sometimes come across things in life that you are so excited to discover exist. You would have no idea to necessarily search for it because you never thought such a great idea would exist. I always loved this idea: “There are things you know you don’t know”… I know that I don’t know all of the elements on the periodic table but I know they exist. Then “There are things you don’t know that you don’t know” (hehe, did you have to read that sentence twice?)

I recently came across this amazing Bib that has been awarded the PTPA seal of approval. I was not surprised to see that at all because it is such an ingenious invention! If you have a baby then you MUST check out Bibagogo. This bib comes with a hidden pocket with a spoon and two facecloths. How convenient is that?!? I was never one to carry a diaper bag. The less I had to carry around the happier I was.

This week’s ‘sign of the week’ is EAT in honor of this amazing new product I’m excited to have discovered.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4LtjQ3gUO0&w=480&h=390]

Laura Berg
Founder & President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’

3 Million and Counting!

When my daughter was twelve months she was a signing machine. She knew over 30 signs and was picking more and more up everyday. We often ran into people who were always amazed to see this little baby signing. Most of them had heard of baby signing but few had actually seen it in real life. After running into countless people who had the same reaction I decided to post a video of my daughter on You Tube. I wanted to show other people what babies are capable of when given the right tools. I never imagined what a positive effect this video would have on so many people. I have had parents, grandparents, speech pathologists, doctors, teachers and professors email me about baby signing. This video is shown in many child development classes across North America. I have had students email me telling me they’ve seen this video in their classes. I love the fact that You Tube exists and that I could share my child’s signing development with so many. And today this video has hit 3 million views! I wanted to share this with you all, the readers of the PTPA blog as you are the best and most support. When my daughter was twelve months she was a signing machine. She knew over 30 signs and was picking more and more up everyday. We often ran into people who were always amazed to see this little baby signing. Most of them had heard of baby signing but few had actually seen it in real life. After running into countless people who had the same reaction I decided to post a video of my daughter on You Tube. I wanted to show other people what babies are capable of when given the right tools. I never imagined what a positive effect this video would have on so many people. I have had parents, grandparents, speech pathologists, doctors, teachers and professors email me about baby signing. This video is shown in many child development classes across North America. I have had students email me telling me they’ve seen this video in their classes. I love the fact that You Tube exists and that I could share my child’s signing development with so many. And today this video has hit 3 million views! I wanted to share this with you all, the readers of the PTPA blog as you are the best and most supportive readers and I know you will share in my excitement of this milestone! I can’t wait to post again when it’s reached 4 million!

The American Pediatric Society just came out with a formal stance that they support the use of baby signing. It is not a fad, it is here to stay and it is a very valid form of communication that is very easy for parents to use! If you can teach your child to wave bye-bye then you can teach them how to sign!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gSZfW4gVhI&w=480&h=390] Laura Berg
Founder & President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’
www.mysmarthands.com
@MySmartHands on Twitter

Get Up And DANCE!!

If your kids are anything like mine then they love to dance. I absolutely love the way toddlers dance! My son, now 17 months, loves to boogie to the music, he is always asking for the CD player to be turned on so he and his sister can dance. We taught him the sign ‘dance’ as soon as he started showing interest. He will now always make the sign whenever he wants us to turn on the music. The cutest thing happened with my son at a friends house. We were in her living room and my son kept pointing at her cabinet and wanting me to get something for him. I kept grabbing him books and I’d get a firm ‘NO’ each time. I then said to him, show me the sign for what you want, and he signed ‘dance’. I looked harder at the cabinet and saw behind tinted glass my friend’s CD player! I didn’t see it at first because the glass is a little dark. I’m surprised my son was able to see it. Thankfully we taught him the sign for what he loves to do so he could easily tell us what he wanted!

This is why I’ve picked the sign DANCE to be this week’s ‘sign of the week’

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL7rWUFG_4c&w=480&h=385]

So why don’t you go throw on some music and boogie with your baby. As you are dancing be sure to make the sign for ‘dance’ and say the word as you are doing it.

Do you have any fun signing stories that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comment section! I’m looking forward to reading them.

If you are in Canada and are a fan of CBCs Dragon’s Den then be sure to tune in this Wednesday, Jan. 19th to see me pitch My Smart Hands to the Dragons!

Laura Berg
Founder, My Smart Hands
www.mysmarthands.com
@MySmartHands on Twitter

Consistency IS the Key!

When signing with your baby the most important thing is to be consistent. I’ve had parents say to me, “I’ve been signing with my baby for months and have had no response.” I ask how often they are signing and they tell me, “I try to sign a bunch of things throughout the day… if I can remember.” Aha! That’s the problem, no consistency in their signing routine! How is your baby going to connect the sign to the word if they aren’t always used together? It will take your baby much longer to ‘get it’ if you aren’t consistent. I always tell parents to pick two-five signs that you are going to do EVERY TIME you say the word. It’s not for the baby’s sake, it’s for the parents. It is easy to remember to do two signs until you get in the habit of signing and your baby signs back. Once your baby signs back to you it will be easier to remember to show him signs because he will want to know them. It’s getting to the first sign that is the hardest for parents. Once your baby ‘gets’ that his or her sign means something and elicits a response then he will tend to pick new signs up faster.

So how do you begin? As I said in my previous post I always suggest starting with MILK this is the sign that is easiest to teach because it is such a big part of a baby’s life in the beginning. Make sure that every time you offer a feed that you sign ‘MILK’, say to your baby, “Do you want MILK?” really emphasizing the word MILK in the sentence. Then when your baby is drinking you can sign MILK and say to her, “you are having MILK” again emphasizing the word being signed. Also, you can take her hand and gently open and close it to show her how it feels to make the sign. When you do that, say in an excited voice, “yes, that’s MILK”.

So, what is the word for today?! CONSISTENCY! Be consistent when signing and you will have better results!

Feel free to post questions in the comment section, I’m happy to address readers questions in my blog posts.

By, Laura Berg
Founder,
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’
www.mysmarthands.com
www.twitter.com/MySmartHands

Yummy with a capital Y!

Tonight was girls cooking night in my house and my daughter decided we should make ‘Cauliflower Pie’ for dinner. This is a yummy dish that my mom used to make! Then she says to me, “Mom, we should teach Hartford (her little brother) the sign for ‘cauliflower’… how do you sign cauliflower??” I told her that it was fingerspelled but we could just say, “cauliflower starts with ‘c’ and show him the sign for the letter c” She thought that was a way better idea than teaching him how to fingerspell c-a-u-l-i-f-l-o-w-e-r 🙂

So for this post, I am going to show you the sign for the letter ‘c’

I am also going to share my YUMMY cauliflower recipe with you!

“Cauliflower Pie”

1/3 cups butter
4 cups bread crumbs
1 small cauliflower
1 small onion
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese (I use mild cheddar but it’s really your choice of taste)

1. Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add breadcrumbs and stir until golden brown. **I normally use 1/2 cup as I like my crust more firm. Use 3/4 for the pie and save some for the top. **I usually make two smaller pies and freeze one.

2. cook cauliflower and onion until tender. Mash to make 2 cups

3. Smoothly combine eggs, flour and salt; gradually stir in milk.

4. Add cheese and cauliflower to milk mixture. Mix together

5. Bake in preheated 350 over for 35-40 min or until set and light brown.

**You could also add brocoli or carrots or meat or anything you like. This is a huge hit with kids.

I hope you enjoy as much as my family does!!

Laura
Founder and President
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’

Is Your Baby Old Enough??

A common question I get is “When should I start signing with my baby?” The experts once said that six months was the ideal time to start signing with babies. However, after years of research we have now found that you can start signing as soon as they are born. It was once thought that babies wouldn’t sign before the age of six months so that was a perfect time to start. What we are now seeing is that babies are able to recognize signs before the age of six months and some will actually start signing at the six month mark. See this video of my son signing ‘milk’ at six months: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w1DeWxKGTw
I started signing with both my children when they were 4 months because with both children I was in a newborn haze for the first 4 months and did nothing but watch ‘baby TV’ as we called it. My son started signing back at six months, my daughter at nine and a half. At eleven moths both of them had a signing explosion.

What MY answer to this question is, “It depends on your personality.” And what I mean by that is this, if you are the type of person that needs ‘instant gratification’ then I would wait until your baby was between six-nine months to start signing. If you know that you would give up if your child didn’t sign back within a few weeks then I’d wait a while. This is the number two mistake parents make when signing with their babies, they give up too soon! The number one mistake is being consistent. Check my next blog post where I’ll talk about how to sign and being consistent.

On the other hand, if you are the type of person who really wants to sign and will be committed to doing it until your baby signs back then start whenever you are out of that newborn haze! There is no time too soon or too late. If you have a 17 month old baby who isn’t talking much then introduce signs, it’s not too late! Children love sign language, even older children. If you have an older child you can sign the alphabet with him or her. It’s a fun way to introduce a new language!

The perfect sign to start with is ‘milk’ all babies have some form of milk whether it be formula or nursing. Here is the sign ‘milk’ to help you get started:
http://www.babysignlanguagedictionary-mysmarthands.com/milk_-_ASL_sign_for_milk.html

By: Laura Berg
My Smart Hands, ‘educating young minds’
http://www.mysmarthands.com
http://www.twitter.com/MySmartHands