Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Book Club

Since becoming a mom I have read a total of two books. I consider this an accomplishment. (Who has time to read????)  But they were so good that I think they are worth sharing.  The first book I read after Emmy was born was Brain Rules for Baby.  I find psychology and the way people work extremely fascinating, so this book played right into that.
Here are some take aways –
1-      Playing classical music in the womb does nothing for the brain of your baby. (Thank God!)
2-      Those Baby Einstein videos – nada as well.
3-      This falls under the “fascinating” category (and I am just going off my memory here…which is cloudy since it has been probably six months since I read this book), but basically babies who are left in orphanages and neglected will turn out to be well-adjusted children if they are loved and adopted by age 4 months. If they have been neglected until 8 months old or after, they will likely have emotional issues for the rest of their lives. (Again, paraphrasing.)
From the Brain Rules website here is what else you will learn in the book:
·          Where nature ends and nurture begins
·        Why men should do more household chores
·        What to do when emotions run hot
·        The importance of your child’s ability to relate to others
·        Smart and happy are inseparable in the brain
·        The best predictor of academic performance
·        The only parenting style proven to produce great kids
The book I am currently reading and just find myself in my car driving and thinking to myself – omg , this is soooo interesting is NurtureShock.
It is kind of like  Freakonomics  meets Malcolm Gladwell meets child psychology. I just love it. 
My biggest take away has been about tv and how it is not inherently bad for kids, but what they learn is. For example, the dialogue in a children’s show (and even books, I have found) is about an issue – name calling, not listening, arguing, etc. – then the last part of the show is a resolution. Children are now being exposed to issues they never even knew existed and only a small percentage of the show is based on fixing the problem. Kids are unable to process the conclusion and  now your child is aware of an issue they likely never would have known about if it weren’t for the show. The book also discusses siblings getting along and how to predict their future closeness.
Right now I am reading a chapter on why two children might speak at different rates and have completely different vocabularies by age 2. (Imagine this – it has everything to do with parent interaction when they speak.) It has chapters on how children learn to lie and more. 
If I only had time to read one of the two books recommended, I would start with this one. (There are some overlapping themes in both - like learning self-control to be successful in life.)
Let me know if you have read either book and what you think! Also, let me know if you have any other recommendations on “must read” children’s books! I am looking for my next one!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Emmy 10 months!!

It is so hard to believe that sweet baby girl turned 10 months old this past week. I think all the time about "this time last year" and what I was doing.  I especially think how I must have a huge tolerance for heat since it was averaging about 10-15 degrees warmer and I was several pounds heavier. Yowzers.


We can sum up this last month in one word – BUSY! Baby girl is one busy baby.  (New nickname alert – "busy baby!") Clearly I have been living in the dark because I had no idea babies were this busy.  She is into everything and I love watching her little mind explore and learn. We now have several dedicated kitchen drawers and cabinets for her because she loves to open and close drawers and doors. LOVES it. (You would think she didn't have toys!)


She is also very proficient at walking behind anything – her walker, a laundry basket, her little doll house, the ball popper, a little truck – if it moves, she is moving with it.  She also discovered stairs this month.  Loves those too. Luckily, our stairs are sort of hidden in our house and already gated, so we just get to "play" at our cousins' house.  On the upside, lots of stair climbing equals an awesome night of sleep for little girl!


Emmy had lots and lots of cousin time this month. My sister watched her and her two girls while I worked one day.  Emmy loves being around other kids and I am especially thankful my sister could watch her, but poor girl had her hands full! Luckily, Emmy still takes two long naps a day and slept for about 4 hours of the time my sister watched her, and when she woke up Allison's youngest went down for a nap, so she only had to watch two at any one time. However, I am pretty sure it was one exhausting day! Thank you, sister!


My mother-in-law also got to watch my nephews and Emmy for about 4 days this past month and Emmy just loves being with them as well. No one can make her laugh like her cousin Drew can. Emmy has started belly laughing and it is just absolutely my favorite sound in the whole world.  She thinks it is so, so funny if Drew throws anything in the air.  Mom and dad aren't nearly as funny. 


Emmy has also started saying mama! Finally! One day I was pretty certain she said it and then she kept repeating it over and over. Ha! Take that, dadadadad J.  She is doing a lot more babbling and I am pretty sure she repeated the word "cat" and "Bop" (what Tommy's dad goes by), but those words haven't had any repeat performances.


On the tooth front, Emmy has her four top teeth and two bottoms. I am pretty sure she is working on some more because the past few days baby girl has been a little fussy and grabbing at her mouth.


We have also established about an 8:30 bedtime and Emmy will sleep until about 7.  One day she slept all the way until 7:45 – had to send Tommy in to check on her!  She is pretty consistent with napping around 10 a.m., napping for around 2 hours and then waking up and having lunch and going down for another nap between 2-4 and napping another 2 hours.  We got an epically long nap the other day of three hours. Again, had to go check on her.  (Can you say helicopter parents???)


I am seriously afraid of our toddler years already. If Emmy doesn't get her way – full on tantrum – with tears, crying, back arch….the works. I keep telling her life is full of things not going exactly her way, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in yet :).  She is pretty good to listen when she is told "no." She just hates being taken away from an activity that she  may be interested in, but either isn't safe or we need to go somewhere.


Car seats and diaper changes are still on her "hate" list. 


Emmy has developed an interest in music! Every time any music comes on – from me singing to her, to her music on her walker, to a song on the radio – she is dancing. (Unfortunately this doesn't always translate to a happy, bouncing baby in her car seat. Le sigh.)  She loves for me to sing to her. Her favorites are I've Been Working on the Railroad, Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Old McDonald and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. New to our repertoire are The Wheels on the Bus and singing her name to the sound of B-I-N-G-O.  We started a music class this month and she was decently interested in it for a 10-month old. She was also into putting all the instruments in her mouth and exploring the room.


Going to church has gotten more interesting.  We have been getting up to go to 8:00 mass on Sunday mornings and we can usually work it to where she has her "second breakfast" during that time, but busy baby wants to get down and crawl and about halfway through church have to move to the cry room.  Sometimes this is actually more entertaining for Emmy since there are other kids and she will just sit and watch.


Her favorite toys are her little house, ball popper, tiny Elmo doll and any bucket, basket, drawer or cabinet she can get into.


Emmy has also gotten to where you can say "give love" and she will hug or kiss you. It is seriously absolutely adorable. She is so sweet to hug other kids without being asked! At music class she even hugged a random little girl. Ha! I love that she is so friendly and wants to show her affection. 


We love our sweet little girl so much and I especially love to hold her at night after she has fallen asleep and just cuddle her. Occasionally she will cuddle me right after she gets up in the morning, and those are the sweetest, but I will take any sweet love I can get! We just love our sweet girl so much!!


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