Tag Archives: books

Dr. Seuss Reinforces Respect

I have always loved reading.  I still have copies of my favourite childhood books and enjoy nothing more than being immersed in a great story, the characters becoming friends as you turn the page and lose yourself in another world.

Reading with my kids was something I started to look forward to as soon as I knew we were expecting.

Jackson and I used to have book time where we would lie on his bedroom floor reading, signing and looking at the pictures. Unfortunately,  Lily and I didn’t have quite the same quality of one-on-one reading time because, well, she had a two-year old brother.

I remember looking forward to Lily growing into her big-girl bed, thinking that I would finally have my special book time with her.  I had dreams of us reading together, laughing and cuddling until her heavy eyes would finally give in to sleep.  But, dreams are made to be broken and my little girl, who went to sleep without a peep in her crib, became the Beast of the Big Bed.  The time we could have spent reading and solidifying our mother-daughter bond was spent in a stand-off of gnashing teeth and primeval grunting until one of us fell into a heap of sweating desperation.  Ok, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad but it wasn’t the rainbows I’d hoped for.

It’s been a couple of years since our nighttime battles and I now have the story-time I’d dreamed of — most nights, anyway.

Last night I was reading Sneetches by Dr. Seuss to Lily and was shocked when Jackson asked me to read it to him as well.  Usually Jackson and I will sit together to quietly read our own books so I jumped at the chance to go back in time before anything other than a chapter book was too ‘baby’.

At the end of the story I looked at Jack and told him that Sneetches was one of my favourite Dr. Seuss books, “I think it’s a really important one too, especially right now.”  Without a second thought he replied, “Yeah, it doesn’t matter if we’re different from someone else, we should always show respect.  So what if one Sneetch has a star on their belly, right?  You should respect everyone.”

With that, I thanked Dr. Seuss for giving us stories like A Wocket In My Pocket to just have fun and be silly with while also offering books like The Sneetches and Horton Hears a Who that are still fun, but, should we decide to, can be used as a springboard for much bigger conversations.

It makes me happy to picture my kids, years down the road, looking at their own bookshelves, seeing The Sneetches sitting there with its spine torn and ragged from years of reading.

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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.

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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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Someone should have warned me…

Eager to get Jack interested in chapter books, I have  been reading him Charolotte’s Web  Although I’ve  never read the book myself I thought I knew generally what the story was about:  a sweet little pig named Wilbur,  his adventures with his barnyard friends and a little girl named Fern.   I was elated when Jack fell in love with the story after only a chapter or two and began  asking for it before bed.  

Tonight we had the good fortune of turning on the television just in time to see that Charlotte’s Web was just starting.  My daughter, sick, was  in my lap and my son  was at the end of the couch grinning from ear to ear revelling in his good fortune.  Julia Roberts’ voice rang out from the speakers, the voice of Charlotte, while the animals provided witty banter that kept all of us smiling. 

Lily at one point hoisted herself up when she saw the horse and said ‘me no ride horse.  No ride cow either’.  I was so impressed with her words that I wrote them down for our next speech appointment and fell in love with Wilbur and his friends for motivating my wee girl to talk.  I signed ‘sheep’ for Lily as she excitedly pointed them out, her favorite animal-of-the-moment from her current bedtime storybook.  We signed friend, spider, pig, dirty and a few others.  As Lily laid there, lethargic, her little hands were still able to tell me what she was looking at.  I loved the movie – chuckling out loud when the crows screeched ‘abort! abort!’ as the scarecrow turned to face them.  

Jackson fell off to sleep about halfway through the movie and Lily meandered in and out of a fever induced slumber.  I  continued to watch enjoying the movie and not wanting to disturb either of them until they were in a deep enough sleep to be moved without waking them. 

Then everything changed.  I stared at the screen in disbelief.  Dying?  Charlotte was dying?  How could someone not have filled me in on this tiny little detail?  My daughter, apparently wakened by the change in my breathing as I tried to stifle my tears, turned to me and  before falling back asleep said ‘mommy’ and signed ‘cry’.   

As I watched little Wilbur put the  spider pod in his mouth to take back to the barn I swore there and then that I would never kill another spider.  A complete  lie but I know I’ll feel horrible now every time I do it.

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A breakthrough week

Books are a huge part of my life and our family.  I have always loved reading and some of my favourite memories are of lazy summer days with a good book in hand.  I have turned my husband into an avid reader and I have a small addiction to children’s books and building my kids library (just ask Scholastic).  I absolutely adore seeing the love of books in both Jack and Lily. 

 

For my first Mother’s Day my husband gave me the book I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church.  It quickly became a favourite. 

 

Lily has always been very interactive with this book, enjoying the pictures and giggling for much of the story.  She often asks for it at bedtime but she becomes so animated that I tend to save it for daytime reading.  However, tonight she coupled the please sign with her very best pouty eyes and I couldn’t resist.  Her excitement over getting to read one of her favourite stories only intensified as my enthusiasm and congratulatory tweeks and cheers became more exaggerated with every page. 

 

The signs Lily usually uses while reading this story are bath, happy, sad and cry.  Tonight, she added the sign for ‘silly’ and  imitated giggles, crying, talking and running.  With imitation being one of Lily’s biggest roadblocks to the spoken word it was overwhelming to watch.   And she didn’t stop there.  My sweet girl coupled the sign and word for ‘happy’, ‘mad’ and her grand finale was saying (almost perfectly) ‘bubble’. 

 

With her very recent verbal explosion, she now has about 34 words and 57 signs.  Granted, many of her “words” are just attempts and if she wasn’t coupling it with the sign we would probably pass it off as babble, however,  she’s trying and I couldn’t ask for any more than that.

 

Laying with Lily tonight, looking at her sweet little cherubic face with her hand wrapped around my finger, I was reminded that every child is true perfection.  Sure, we warp them over the years but children radiate all that is good and beautiful.  

 

(Note:  To see more books that we’re reading you can check out our Facebook page. We’ve only just started the list but will continue to update and add more information.  We would LOVE to hear what you’re reading! http://www.facebook.com/pages/mocobabies/18818570381)

 

 

 

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