Monday, May 31, 2010

My baby's all grown up

This is my baby Abigail. She's a sweet, bright, cuddly girly-girl. Oh wait this picture is a bit old. This Thursday my sweet baby turns 12. Next week she graduates from the 6th grade and officially becomes a junior higher. Today we bought her graduation dress - in the junior section! No more little girl. I can hardly believe how time has flown by. She no longer wears pink. She prefers bright yellows and oranges. She no longer cuddles but does tolerate a kiss goodnight. She is definitely still bright. She reads at a very advanced level and has tested into algebra. She has her life planned out. She intends to go to fashion design school in New York and become a famous designer. Abigail is a typical first born independent spirit. She is logical and creative. She is a visual learner. She is a loyal friend. And she never ceases to amaze me. Delivering Abigail was a horrible experience with 24 hour labor, a failed epidural, a nurse I couldn't understand, and an emergency c-section. And every minute was worth it. Abigail is amazing and I am so proud of her. I love her with all my heart. Happy birthday baby.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What is Kindermusik?

Kindermusik is a community of families and educators passionately committed to bringing music to children's lives through developmentally appropriate curricula, CDs, books, instruments, and activities.

Kindermusik's philosophy is founded upon rigorous research and our fundamental beliefs:
A parent or loving caregiver is a child’s first and most important teacher.
All children are musical.
The home is the most important learning environment.
Music nurtures a child's cognitive, emotional, social, language, and physical development.
Children flourish in a child-centered environment where activities are developmentally appropriate. Educators value the learning process—not the performance—of music making.
Every child should experience the joy, fun, and learning that music brings to life.

With 30 years experience in developing early learning curricula and products, Kindermusik is the world’s most trusted name in music and movement classes for children newborn to seven. Kindermusik curricula are based upon the principles of early development applied to developmentally appropriate practice as defined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Plus, the Kindermusik philosophy is rooted in the work of early childhood development experts like Piaget, Montessori, and Greenspan. Our full curricula offer your child seven years of musical learning that involves every aspect of your child’s growth and development: language, motor skills, social skills, cognitive development, emotional growth, and musicality. Throughout the Kindermusik experience, a trusted and trained Educator will guide you and your child through every musical and developmental milestone and help you understand what is happening all along the way. Each semester, a new set of At Home Materials brings the experience out of the classroom and into your every day routines and rituals.

The above paragraphs are taken directly from the Kindermusik website. To find out more vist their website at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birth Order

Figuring out what makes your kid tick can be really useful in parenting. Did you know that your child's personality is heavily influenced by their birth-order??

First-borns are typically well organized, driven, motivated, reliable, critical and don't like surprises. When parenting a first-born remember that they like to know the rules. Always be very clear with what you expect from them. They are also very hard on themselves. When you teach them how to make the bed and it's still a bit wrinkly don't redo it or tell them they should have done it better. Odds are, they really did their best. Encourage them instead. First-borns also feel left out when you spend more time with younger children. Be certain to spend some one on one time with them.

Middle children are typically peace makers, loyal to friends, diplomatic, unspoiled, and secretive. When parenting a middle child remember that they may not instinctively tell you what's going on in their life. You will need to ask and watch to know what's going on. Make certain that your middle born isn't always stuck with hand-me-downs and really make certain they show up in the photo albums and scrapbooks as much as your first-born or new baby and make sure pictures of them are at least sometimes solo pics, not always with other siblings.

Last-borns are typically charming, attention seeking, affectionate, tenacious, and blame others. Last-borns get away with everything! Don't let this happen. Last-borns still need discipline and responsibility. They need their awards and projects displayed on the fridge as much as the older ones. Read to your last-born, involve them in mommy and me classes and even when life gets crazy with all the kids make certain your youngest is not neglected.

Only children are typically thorough, deliberate, high achiever, fearful, self motivated, and interact better with adults than other children. Parenting your only child is similar to parenting a first born. Make certain they understand that failure is allowed. Also be certain to set your only child up in playgroups or classes with children their own age.

There are, of course, many exceptions particularly when death, adoption, and parenting styles come into play. But knowing your child's current and potential traits can certainly help your parenting. In fact understanding your own birth order will probably help your parenting as well.
For more information on birth order read Dr Kevin Leman's book titled "The New Birth order Book".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - PEACE


Children of all ages love to move. Babies squirm and wiggle, they reach for loved ones. As they grow they learn to turn over, crawl, stand, bounce, walk, run, hop, skip, and dance. They move forward and backward, to the right and to the left. Children explore life through their movements. They learn what their body can do and what it can not do. They learn fast and slow, high and low.
It is wonderful what children learn on their own. It is even more wonderful what we can teach them. Here's where labels come in. When children move they need to know what it is they are doing. When my three year old was two he had to take an early childhood assessment test. One of the things they asked him to do was to walk backwards. Now I had seen him walk backwards hundreds of times but on this day he would not do it. The lady kept asking and he kept refusing. Then a light went off. He didn't understand the term. He knew how to walk backwards but I had never told him that was what he was doing so he could not do it on command. I neglected to label. I felt horrible at that moment but have since learned much more about the importance of applying labels to his movements. Labels enable children to associate words to things, actions, and concepts and to recall them later. Labels are crucial.

The most obvious labeling we do is teaching body parts. We teach our children to point to their nose, their eyes, their belly. Labeling movement is also important. When you move with your child, narrate the actions. "Let's reach up high. Let's reach way down low." "Let's hop to the left. Now let's step to the right."  Children will learn to identify the movements and the directions. Keep it interesting and build their brain connections by adding new and fun movements. Don't just walk and hop but skip, sway, slide, shake, march and gallop. As they learn add descriptive words and body parts. Instead of "let's reach up high" say "let's slowly reach our hands up high". Doing the movements in opposites will help them even better understand (see my post "Compare and Contrast"). If you are holding your little one while labeling be certain to label in their direction. If they are facing you and you are going forward remember that they are going backwards.  Moving and labeling with your little one can be a lot of fun and will make your child smarter. Take a few minutes each day to do some intentional movement and labeling but also do it casually throughout the entire day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!


Mama thank you for who I am
Thank you for all the things I'm not
Forgive me for the words unsaid
For the times
I forgot

Mama remember all my life
You showed me love,You sacrificed
Think of those young and early days
How I've changed
along the way

And I know you believed
And I know you had dreams
And I'm sorry it took all this time to see
That I am where I am because of your truth
I miss you, I miss you

Mama forgive the times you cried
Forgive me for not making right
All of the storms I may have caused
And I've been wrong
Dry your eyes

Mama I hope this makes you smile
I hope you're happy with my life
At peace with every choice I made
How I've changed
Along the way
And I know you believed in all of my dreams
And I owe it all to you, Mama

Mama by Il Divo

This is for all moms but especially for 4 special moms.
To my mom for every dress you made me in the middle of the night so I would have something cute to wear.
To my mother-in-law for raising an amazing son. Clearly you did something right.
To my step mother for not being evil, way to break tradition.
To my youngest child's first mom for the greatest gift I could ever have received. I hope you're looking down and seeing what an amazing boy he is.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Glory Baby

For many, because of infant death, miscarriages, and abortion, Mother's Day is a difficult time. This is dedicated to you.

Glory Baby, You slipped away
As fast as we could say baby, baby
You were growing, what happened Dear,
You disappeared on us baby, baby
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we're home with you
Until we're home with you

We miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there's a day
When we will hold you, we will hold you
And you'll kiss our tears away
When we're home to stay
We can't wait for the day
When we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘Til mom and dad can hold you
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little baby, it's hard to understand it
Cause we are hurting, we are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we're stronger people
Through the growing and in knowing
All things work together for our good
And God works his purposes
Just like he said he would
Just like he said he would

I can't imagine Heaven's lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it's all you'll ever know
All you'll ever know

"Glory Baby" by Watermark

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Talkers, Watcher, and Doers

Do you know your child's learning style? Did you realize your child, no matter how old, even has a preferred learning style? For that matter do you know YOUR learning style?? There are three basic categories of learning. Auditory- those who talk, Visual- those who watch, and Kinesthetic- those who do.

My oldest child is my 11 year old daughter Abigail. She loves to read. She loves to do word puzzles. She loves to do crafts, make things pretty, decorate, and color coordinate. She does best with written assignments and lists. She enjoys television. Abigail is a Watcher. Watchers, or visual learners, notice when you get a haircut, notice when something is different in the classroom, are good at faces but forget names, love picture books, graphs, and diagrams, and are better at chores when given a list. Watchers may struggle with oral instructions. Teaching your visual learner early on to write things down will help with them and index cards and sticky notes will be invaluable when it comes to homework. A fun game to play that a preschool Watcher will enjoy is looking at an object then having them close their eyes and describe it. This will help build your little visual learner's brain development, strengthening their core style of learning. Is your child a Watcher?

My middle child is my 9 year old son Josiah. He talks. Non stop. Literally. We call him our narrator because he is always talking. The other night he had a sore throat. He got out of bed and came to tell us that he couldn't talk. We kind of laughed because how ridiculous is it to complain that you can't speak when you're supposed to be sleeping?? But for him that's a serious issue. He talks himself to sleep. He talks in his sleep. I mean seriously he talks all the time. You guessed it, Josiah is my auditory learner, my Talker. A Talker can easily follow oral instructions, loves listening to music and stories read aloud. They can remember phone numbers by repeating them a few times. They often move their lips when reading silently or solving a problem. They love pretend play and show and tell, love music and drama but are bored with tv. They best learn to read phonetically. They may have very messy handwriting and become easily distracted by noise. They need a quiet place to do homework. Digital recorders will be key to help an auditory learner with homework. A preschool aged Talker will love singing and rhymes. This will not only be a great source of fun for the auditory learner but will continue to strengthen their personal learning style. Is your child a Talker?

My baby is three. His name is Alazar. He lives for running, jumping, sliding, swinging, climbing. He is my kinesthetic learner, my Doer. He loves blocks and trains. He loves throwing things and kicking things. He loves to touch things and notices immediately if they are cold or fuzzy or soft. He loves hugs and kisses and snuggles and gets ornery if he doesn't get them. He loves to watch tv but acts everything out. Shows with dancing like the Backyardigans are a favorite. Kinesthetic learners learn by experience, by trial and error. Doers will be good with fine and gross motor skills. They will excel in rhythmic movement. However, Doers have a hard time sitting still which makes school and homework a challenge. Manipulatives (counting buttons, sorting colored blocks, dividing sandwiches) will help out with homework. Also let them have playtime BEFORE homework. Getting the wiggles out will help with concentration. The preschool Doer HAS to get out and play. Playing and hugs will strengthen the kinesthetic learner's personal learning style. Is your child a Doer?

All three learning styles have pros and cons. None is better than the other. Each person has a blend of these, one being dominant. Figuring out your child's dominant learning style and working with it is essential to their success. So is your child a Watcher, a Talker, or a Doer?

To learn more about these learning styles read Cheri Fuller's book Watchers, Talkers, & Doers or attend a free Kindermusik preview class.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Mother's Touch

"Failure to thrive", three words mothers never want to hear. I remember hearing about orphanages in Romania, where babies were failing to thrive, wasting away to nothing because they were not being touched and held. I think that's what first made me aware of the importance of touch. These children were dying from lack of human contact. Heartbreaking.

Since then I've read studies of babies in NICU and how the ones massaged daily gained more weight then those who did not even though they were fed the same amount. I amazed at the wonders of human contact.

As a Kindermusik instructor we are trained on the importance of touch for making brain connections, for stimulating the nervous system, and for bonding. While none of the children I have had in class were dealing with failure to thrive, touch is still so important that each of the infant classes I teach includes a baby massage time. We gently massage baby's chest with a heart shape motion and "milk" the arms and legs. We make it fun by singing songs or chanting rhymes during this time. Moms and babies both enjoy this time. You can join a class to learn how we do it or try it yourself at home.

Touching and holding go hand and hand. I didn't realize before training as a Kindermusik instructor the importance of varying the way we hold babies. Holding babies in all different ways let them see life from different perspectives which stimulates brain growth by making more connections. try holding your baby in a different way today. Fly them high in the air, swoop them around, my favorite- the football hold, just try something new. Hold your baby, touch your baby, and be so thankful that you won't have to hear the words "failure to thrive".