Tag Archives: Baby Signing

New Adventures…

I’ve been working on a blog post for ages about our green efforts and how my definition of progress opposes the generally accepted business definition. Today, though, I am writing something entirely different.

Although I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, I’ve been too stubborn   to put voice to it. And, my decision has been made even more difficult recently because the new flash cards have been extremely well-received with sales outpacing the old tins in the few stores where they’ve been available.  Nonetheless, I’ve decided to end my adventures with mocobabies.

It’s been almost eight years of amazing success building and growing my business.  I have learned a lot, met amazing people, celebrated successes and improved after each mistake.

I’ve reveled in the sense of accomplishment that comes from the strain of much hard work and, also, grumbled about the long hours.

I’ve cherished the gift of time and flexibility that having my own business has given me with my children, while also stressing about never having enough time to get everything done.

I’ve enjoyed tremendous support from family and friends while also working to not internalize negativity from those that have a different idea of success and assumed I just played on the computer all day.

But, that is the brilliance of it – of anything in life, really – the trials and grumbles are what make you appreciate the successes, both big and small.

I will always keep close the feeling of pride when the order finally came in from what would be my biggest retailer, a store I had been coveting for months; the emails and phone calls from customers telling me how much they loved my products; growing to the point where I could no longer manufacture the flash cards myself; meeting some of the most amazing, helpful and supportive people, and, most importantly, being able to share day-to-day moments with my kids that a 9-5 job wouldn’t have allowed me to be a part of.

But, it’s time to say goodbye. My heart just isn’t in it anymore. I have had so many plans for mocobabies but, for lots of reasons, they have remained just ideas. It’s been these ideas though, along with my stubbornness and sentimentality, that have kept mocobabies going but since making the decision to close I feel like a weight has lifted.

I can’t thank everyone who has supported me enough. I have an amazing family (parents who helped me cut and corner thousands of laminated flash cards), supportive friends, and THE most amazing customers.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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Filed under Business, Learning, Life, motherhood

The Reluctant New Year’s Post

The first post of a new year – it’s a lot of pressure.  I wasn’t going to recognize the ringing in of 2012 at all since many people have done it so well already but none of the posts felt natural without mentioning it.  So, here it is:

It’s a new year and, it’s going to be a good one.

I picked up our local paper the other day and was shocked at the doom and gloom contained within it.  For a few moments, I’ll be honest, my stomach lurched as all of the potentially disastrous scenarios played themselves out in my mind, but, with a shake of my head and a folding of the paper I tried to put them out of my head.

I won’t bore you with a resolutions list (I don’t have one), but, here’s what I want 2012 to look like for me.  I am going to remember and share the kindness and beauty that is still present in everyday life, even if it’s missing from much of our media.  I might share videos like this (nature is amazing) or this (seriously I tear every time – it’s ridiculous) or perhaps this (I love this series ‘move’, ‘eat’ and ‘learn’. They make me smile every time).  I will remember that for every person who nearly knocked over one of my children while we were out this holiday season, there were five others who were kind and had nothing but smiles to share.  These are some of the things I will focus on in 2012.

I don’t know what’s in store for this year.  I’m going to do things a lot differently with mocobabies – I don’t know what it will all be or how it will turn out, but, that’s the fun of it.  It’s going to be a year of trying new things –  not just thinking about them.

Ups and downs are an inevitable part of life, but the doom and gloom doesn’t have to be.  I’m going to do better, try harder and live happier – it’s going to be a good year.

To start it off, here is a colouring page for the letter A that I will post on Facebook and twitter – print it, colour it and have fun making the airplane sign and noises!

Do you make resolutions?  Do you revisit the list at the end of the year?

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Filed under Life

It’s all about fun

One of the first things we did when Lily began therapy almost two years ago was go right back to basics.  We filled her world with animal and silly sounds in an effort to encourage her to mimic or make a sound in return.  I pulled out every book we had that had animals in it, used our flash cards and searched for new books and games that would help us on our journey.  Truthfully, it was great for my already well-developed book obsession.

Lily has progressed beautifully through her therapy and can now make a whole farmload of animal sounds, yet I still find myself getting excited whenever I come across a book that would have helped her through the beginning months of therapy.  More excited still when the book also lends itself to baby sign language.

This morning, while working at a beautiful local baby store, I came across a book by DK Publishing, Inc., called Animal Talk.  It’s a large board book with lift up flaps for baby and it provides opportunities for being silly and making lots of noise.  It also compliments your adventures with baby sign language showing animals that are  included in the mocobabies’ flash card set (substituting ‘bird’ for parrot).

Our flash cards are a fun aid, helping you play and sign with baby but don’t forget to use your voice!  The wonderful thing about baby sign language is that you’re building their verbal vocabulary while giving them the opportunity to communicate back before they’re developmentally able to speak.

Looking at and reading books to baby is a great way to integrate sign and verbal language.

We didn’t create the flash cards, or any of our products, with the intent of making your baby smarter or to be used as a testing / memorization tool to prove how much your baby knows.  We designed them with fun in mind.  We manufactured them so you could play with and start a conversation with baby.

Use the animal cards to make animal sounds, say the word, sign the word, name them, make up stories about their wild adventures (I heard that Martha Pig recently slipped while dancing to her favourite song and fell into a huge mud puddle.  She wasn’t hurt but was more than a little embarrassed) and, most importantly, have fun.

Pull out a book like Animal Talk and play matching the cards to the animal on the page.

Fill their world with giggles, encouragement, verbal language and sign.  Having fun is the best way for baby to learn.

***

If you’re local to the Owen Sound, ON area, drop by Sweetpea Wholesome Baby where both our flash cards and Animal Talk are available.

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Filed under Books we're signing to, My Favourite Things

Thumbs up!

Lily has been dropping a lot of signs lately  but one that she is still working really hard on is ‘I love you’.   She will throw her hand up in the air and with an expression of pure confusion look at her hand as if in total disbelief that her fingers aren’t in the position she’s urging them to go.  With the utmost concentration she tries to will  her fingers into formation but quickly resorts to using her other hand to push her pinky up while  keeping those pesky middle fingers down.   Tonight, after just a brief moment of concentration, she gave up.   She looked from her hand to me and made the next best sign.  With a big smile she flashed me the best thumbs up I’ve ever seen.

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Filed under Baby Signing

Cows in the house

There has been a flutter of activity in our house lately.  Literally.  We’ve got birds.  They make their way in and (usually when my husband isn’t home) we hear the familiar (yet always startling) flutter of wings frantically trying to fly their way through a window. 

Lily used to love birds.  Now when she hears a bird chirping she looks up with  pleading eyes and says ‘no bird house’.   Often before she lulls off to sleep she’ll open her eyes one last time and say ‘no’ while signing ‘bird’ as one last reassurance that she can drift into dreamland worry-free. 

When her bird  anxiety hits Lily leans in and emphatically says  ‘no bird house’.  To try and lighten the mood I have started following up with ‘but are there elephants in the basement?’  ‘I think I hear a cow watching TV!’  Lily  smiles and in her exaggerated manner say ‘nooooo’ while keeping a keen eye on me to determine whether I’m just incredibly silly or she should be fleeing. 

Her playfulness is   such a great indicator of how far she has come  since we began her speech therapy.  It has also made me realize, as her often-muddled words come a mile a minute, how important context has become.  The other day she said something with a look  of both mischief and fear.  I picked her up and the guessing game began.   I finally asked if there was a sign that she had that would help mommy understand.  She replied ‘yes’ with a smile and her trademark twinkle.  No sign followed.  I continued guessing and finally on my third sign request she signed ‘cow’.  I laughed and said ‘No, Lily there’s no cow in the house!’ and with a giggle she followed up with ‘no bird house’. 

Lily almost always signs bird as she says it.  Although I will be proud, I will also be incredibly sad when the day comes that she says it without signing it as well.  Like the disappearance of little toddler feet, it will be a small sign that my baby girl is growing up.

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Filed under Baby Signing

Manners, please.

I ran into incredibly  lovely people this morning – and I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible.  There are many things that irritate me but perhaps none more than rudeness, particularly when the individual is modelling the behaviour in front of their children. 

People nowadays are  in such a rush, overwhelmed and busy that common courtesy often seems to be a thing of the past.  A woman this morning treated us, probably unknowingly, like we were completely invisible.   In my oh-so-Canadian way I found myself moving Jack out of her path as she nearly knocked him over and uttering  ‘Oh, sorry!’.   I   kicked myself for my auto-apology because  she didn’t acknowledge what she’d done  nor that we even existed.  Moments later I held the door open for her and she brushed by us without even glancing in our direction let alone saying thank you.  A little while later, when picking up some milk before heading to work, I was walking out of an isle as another  mom,  with baby in cart, was turning to get in.  I again said ‘sorry’ and moved aside letting her go by.  I stood there with the most ridiculous smile plastered on my face as I waited for her to acknowledge me with something other than a scowl as she very deliberately looked me up and down with utter disdain. 

I am far  from perfect  and my  children often times forget their manners.  I try to use situations like this morning to teach Jack and Lily how important it is to remember your please and thank you’s; that we are no more or less important than anyone else and that the smallest actions, or lack thereof, can have an impact on another person.   This morning after run-in number 1 I asked Jack what he would have done differently and he, much to my pleasure, replied “I would have said thank you!  She was very very rude mom’.  It’s sad the enormous pride I felt in that moment – it’s the little things that make me happy. 

So it is here that I have posted the signs for please and thank you!   Jack and Lily loved singing ‘please’ and through sign my kids have been using their manners since about 12 months old.  ‘Please’ was their favourite, most likely because they quickly saw that we all thought it was adorable and would usually give them whatever  they were asking for.   A byproduct of signing with baby that I have loved is that it provides a mechanism for sending  silent messages across a room to your children (as well as your significant other!).  There have been many times when I have looked at Jackson or Lily and subtly made the ‘thank you’ or ‘please’ sign as a reminder that they need to use their manners.  There have been times as well when I have seen them doing something special  or something that I’ve asked and  have signed ‘thank you’ from a distance.  They usually light up knowing their good behaviour has been acknowledged. 

This morning was one of those mornings that had me completely preoccupied wondering what kind of world my kids are growing up in.  Fortunately, as I  flipped on the television for background noise I heard “Boom De Ya Da”.  I stopped, watched and remembered, as The Discovery Channel commercial exclaims, that  “The World Is Just Awesome”.    I remembered to never judge because you never know what is happening in another person’s life.  And I remembered to be thankful for my self control that I didn’t push the door closed on her foot or use my rather extensive foul vocabulary  in front of my children.

Click on the following links and you can download the signs for Please and Thank You!  You can print them out and put them up, much like our Little Helper stickers, as a reminder of the signs!
http://www.moco.ca/download-please.html
http://www.moco.ca/download-thank-you.html
 

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Filed under Baby Signing, Rants

Two new signers?

On March 28th, Tim Allen and his wife welcomed to the world their beautiful daughter Elizabeth Allen.  Maxine Bahns (The Mentalist) welcomed daughter Madison Rose on March 8th.  I love any and all news about babies and I’m excited to think that just maybe both families will try their mocobabies flash cards and share in the awe-inspiring signing moments that we have enjoyed with our children. 

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Filed under Baby Signing