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Posts Tagged ‘toddler’

My twins got a floor puzzle that I love! It is the Infantino Counting & Shapes Floor Puzzle. I have used it to teach their numbers 1-10, colors, and shapes. Here is a video of the girls playing a short activity to find shapes and numbers on the puzzle. I like to call out a number, a shape, or a color and the girls have to put their small plastic animal on that part of the puzzle. We also build the puzzle together, which helps with their spacial relationships and fine motor skills. Also while we building the puzzle, we discuss the shapes and colors of the shapes. We also make sure we put the numbers in order (but this is a skill the girls are still trying to acquire). I would say this puzzle is a great learning tool for any toddler or preschooler trying to learn their shapes, colors, and numbers.

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I thought it might be helpful to share what I have been putting on the girls’ blanket for blanket time. The girls are able to stay on the blanket for 30 minutes. I typically do blanket time in the afternoon after they wake up nurse and have a snack. They are nice and rested and ready to play on their blankets without too much fussing. These toys seem to really hold their attention. What I have found to be good blanket time toys are toys that are easy to stack, open and shut, and small objects they can put inside various containers. I also have a few electronic toys that I throw into the rotation.

On a typical blanket I usually put: 1 nesting cup toy, 1 electronic toy, books, and some other toy. There are days when all I put on their blanket is the sensory tub and give them some cups and containers to place things from the sensory tub inside. These toys always work very good for independent playtime.

List of Toys I use for Blanket Time Rotation
Play food

Nesting Cups (Iplay Nesting Cups, Munckin Caterpiller Nesting Cups, and Green Sprout Stacking Cups)
Stacking Rings (Fisher-Price Star Stacker, Melissa & Doug Wooden Stacker, Rattling Stacker)
Shape sorter (Fisher Price Shape Sorter, Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorter)
Small plastic animals (Farm Animals, Zoo Animals, Dinasour Animals)
Laugh & Learn Tea Cup Set
Leap Frog Birthday Cake
Alligator Piano
Old Plastic Containers (large yogurt containers, butter containers)
Large Pom-poms & Shoe box with wholes cut out in the lid to place pom-poms in and out
Clothes pins & Formula container with a whole in the top to place clothes pins through
Sensory Tub
V-Tech Helicopter
V-Tech Laptop
Leap Frog Picnic Basket
Shoe Box with Laminated Photos of Family Members
Touch & Feel Books (DK Touch & Feel, That’s Not My…. Books)
Touch & Feel Flash Cards
Shoe Box with Textured Cards (Glued different fabrics to thick laminated card stock)
Yogurt Container with milk tops to push through a slot in the lid
6 plastic bowls from the dollar tree (They use these to stack and put things inside)
Board Books

For more information about Blanket Time, please see my post entitled “Blanket Time

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If you are anticipating a newborn, I bet you are wondering how you can possibly juggle the needs are two different children. Here is my suggestions:

1. Write your current child’s schedule on paper. Then think about how you can incorporate the needs of your newborn into your older child’s schedule.
2. Write out two schedules: One schedule that is a 3 hour schedule and one that is a 2.5 hour schedule. The 3 hour schedule is the goal and the one you hope to maintain, but you might need to feed more frequently in the beginning and also you might have a few growth spurts where you will need to feed more often. It is helpful to have a game plan for either situation.

Here are the schedules that I kept. I hope you find them helpful.

1-4 week old & 19 Month Old
(3 Hour Schedule)

7:00 Nurse, Followed by one-on-one time with Molly
7:45-10:00 Nap
8:00 Wake Up & Free Play
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Outside Play

10:00 Nurse, Followed by one-on-one time with Anna
10:00- 11:00 IPT
10:45-1:00 Nap
11:00 Structured Learning/ Play
11:30 Free Play
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Read Stories, Potty, Get Ready for Nap

1:00 Nurse, Followed by laying on the floor with Both Girls
1:00-4:00 Nap
1:45-4:00 Nap

4:00 Nurse, Followed by hanging out in bouncers
4:00 Snack & DVD in gameroom on blanket (Modified blanket time)
4:45-7:00 Nap
5:00 One-on-One time with Mommy
5:30 Outside Play/ Play with Daddy if he gets home on time
6:00 Dinner
6:30 Free Play

7:00 Nurse
7:00 Play with Daddy
7:30 Family Play
8:00 Bedtime
8:00 Bedtime Routine
8:30 Bedtime

8:30-10:00 Adult Time with No Kids
10:00 Nurse, Right Back To Bed (treat like a dreamfeed)

This is my 2.5 hour schedule that I used when the girls were about 6 weeks old. I did this for schedule for about 3 weeks when they hit a HUGE growth spurt. I also went back to this schedule a few times during other growth spurt seasons.

Twins: 6-9 weeks old, Cooper: 30 Months Old
(2.5 Hour Schedule)

7:00 Nurse & one-on-one time with Molly
7:50- 9:30 Nap
8:00 Wake & Free Play
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Outside Play

9:30 Nurse & one-on-one time with Anna
9:30-10:30 IPT
10:20- 12:00 Nap
10:30 Structured Learning/ Play
11:00 Free Play

12:00 Nurse (I nursed in the room right next to the kitchen so I could see Cooper) & Hang out in bouncers in kitchen
12:00 Lunch & DVD
12:50- 2:30 Nap
12:50 Get Ready for nap (sort version)
1:00-4:00 Nap

2:30 Nurse & hang out on floor with both girls
3:20- 5:00 Nap
4:00 Snack & One-on-One time with Mommy

5:00 Nurse
5:00 Blanket Time in Game room with DVD (modified blanket time)
5:30 Sibling Play with Mommy in Gameroom
5:50- 7:00 Nap
5:30 Outside Play/ Play with Daddy if he gets home on time
6:00 Dinner
6:30 Free Play

7:00 Nurse
7:00 Play with Daddy
7:30 Family Play
8:00 Bedtime
8:00 Bedtime Routine
8:30 Bedtime

8:30-10:00 Adult Time with No Kids
10:00 Nurse, Right Back To Bed (treat like a dreamfeed)

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My son will be 2 in a month. There have been several periods during this year span from 12-24 months where he has been difficult, fussy, and clingy. I would say these are wonder weeks, but the book stops at 13 months. In the back of the book, it does mention that children will still continue to have wonder weeks though out their childhood.  It lists that toddlers will hit a wonder week at 64 weeks (~15-16 months) and again at 75 weeks (~18 months).  I also think that toddlers hit an other wonder week around 22-24 months. I am going to discuss what was going on with my son during these developmental stages and I hope it will help you to figure out your own child’s developmental changes and needs.

Wonder Week 64 (~15-16 Months)
During this wonder week, my son was only saying a few words (5 words at most). His receptive language skills were decent, but we still have difficulties trying to communicate certain things to my son. He got easily frustrated because he did not know how to tell us what he wanted or he did not understand what we were saying or asking of him. His sleep prior to this wonder week was great. He slept from 8pm-7am and a 3 hour nap during the day. During this wonder week, my son started to wake a few times in the night and cry, wake up earlier in the morning around 6-6:30am, and his naps were disrupted by waking mid nap and crying or taking a shorter nap. He seemed to whine a lot more and just want me to play with him non-stop. His independent play was just not as good.
After the the wonder week was over, things improved. His sleep went back to 11 hours at night and 3 hour naps. He was not waking up randomly and crying anymore. His receptive and expressive language improved. He was able to follow several step command such as, pick up the cars, put the cars in the box, and then put the box away. He was saying more words and that made his ability to communicate his needs easier for him. He went back to contently playing with his toys solo and independently. He also had less tantrums.

Wonder Week 75 (~18 Months)
During this wonder week, he was horrible!!! During 17-18 months we was a wreck. His sleep went back to being terrible with multiple wake ups in the middle of the night and shorter naps. He was SOOO clingy and fussy. I could hardly get anything done because he just fussed and followed me all over the house. Again his independent play was terrible and he would cry for a great part of his independent play time. He still was not talking a whole lot at this point. He had about 1o words he could say, but that was about it. He also started to eat terribly and became very picky about what he would and would not eat. I was expecting my twins around this time too, so to be fair, I am sure that he sensed that something was about to change.
After this wonder week, Cooper’s language totally took off. He started to repeat everything we said. His vocabulary went from 10 words to who knows how many. It seemed he was saying a new word every day. He understood us even better and for the first time he was able to respond to simple yes and no questions verbally. This made our life so much easier and helped to cut down on the frustration Cooper was experiencing from not being able to communicate effectively to us. His fine motor skills also improve and was able to color easier with markers and crayons. He started to eat better as well. He was so pleasant to be around. He would play independently without complaint as well.

Wonder Week 22-24 Months
During this wonder week, again Cooper had the typical wonder week symptoms. Poor eating, poor sleep (but not as bad in past wonder weeks), poor independent play. But the most difficult symptom was tantrums. His mood would flip flop in an instant. He would go from happy to totally upset and crying. He had a hard time if he did not get his way right away. He also go frustrated when he was playing and something did not work out the way he wanted it to. He spent a lot of time in time out during this time period for tantrums or not listening to me.
After this wonder week, Cooper is back to being pleasant and easy to be around. He does not throw the same amount of tantrums.  He is eating better, sleeping better, and playing better independently. The most noticable change his is language. He can now say simple phrases and sentences such as, “babies cry”, “brush my teeth”, “mama sit”, “help please”, “CooCoo (Cooper) downstairs”. This has changed the way he can communicate to my husband and I, thus, has changed his frustration level. Update: About a month after his 2nd birthday his language increase ten fold! He is talking in sentences, asking question, and is very verbal.

At every stage of these wonder weeks, something happened to my son’s language. I really think that his frustration, clingy nature was due to his frustration with language and communication. Once he was able to communicate better, things went back to a more simple and peaceful time for Cooper.

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Here is what I did to give myself some sanity:

As far as nursing goes- I tired to makes sure that Cooper was occupied while I was nursing, especially because I am tandem nursing and it is really hard to watch him and nurse at the same time. The hardest time for me to nurse was the 4pm nursing because he was around. I made sure to have a snack, milk, and his favorite things on his blanket. Even if he was watching a DVD, I made sure he stayed on his mat/ blanket.
7am nursing, Cooper still in bed
10am nursing, Cooper in Independent Play Time
1pm nursing, Cooper was just put down for his nap
4pm nursing, Cooper has blanket time or DVD
6pm nursing, Cooper is with Daddy
8pm nursing, Cooper is getting his bath or getting ready for bed

As far as getting them down for naps- This was hard for me. It still continues to be a challenge, but it is getting better. The girls wake time at that time was about 40 minutes. After I was done nursing them, I would swaddle them and place them in their swings/ bouncers. I would watch them until their eyes got heavy and start to shut. I would them pick them up and place them in their cribs. I found that if I swaddled them after they started to get sleepy at that age, that they would wake up and fight going to sleep. Plus, I had Cooper running around begging for my attention. It was hard to bring them into to their rooms and spend time shush/ patting them when Cooper was following me or whining and waking them up. So the swing and bounce were my friend for a few weeks. I did not have to turn the vibrate on or the swing on all the time. It was just being swaddled and cradled in their swings/ bouncers that helped. I did buy a great bouncer seat that I swear by. It really helps my girls to relax and get ready to sleep. www.target.com/Bright-Starts-InGenu… Luckily Cooper was somewhat occupied while I was putting the girls down for their naps due to their short awake time. Here is what I did with Cooper while trying to get the girls down for their naps:
7:40 Cooper Still in Crib (he stays in crib from 7-8am)
10:40 Cooper still in Independent Play Time
1:40 Cooper still napping
4:40 I put Cooper in our game room that has a gate so that he cannot leave the room and follow me. I made sure he had on a DVD for the 5-10 minutes that I was gone. (Cooper’s TV hours was between 4-5 which is when I had to nurse and put my girls down for their nap while Cooper was awake, not occupied, and with me).
6:40 The girls napped in bouncers/ swings if they slept at all. So I did not worry about Cooper at that given nap time
8:40 Cooper was in bed for the night and it was the girls bedtime. My husband helped me put them to bed at this time.

Now that the girls are 9 weeks old, I don’t put them in their swings and bouncers that often anymore before their naps to get them drowsy. It seems that they have just figured out how to go to sleep on their own. I watch for their sleepy cues. As soon as I see them, I swaddle them, and lay them in their cribs. But from the time they got home from the hospital until they were 7/8 weeks old, they always were allowed to get drowsy in their swings/ bouncers (whether they were on or off). But just remember, I swaddled them first, then put them in their swings/ bouncers. If I swaddled them after they got drowsy, they would fully wake up and then I would have a hard time getting them down for their naps.


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I was very intrigued with the thought of being done with diapers early than the norm. I cannot stand to clean a poppy diaper. A close friend of mine had lent me a book on Infant Potty Training when I was pregnant with my first child. I read the book and thought, there is no way that I am going to do that because that just seems like to much work. So for the first 5 months of my son’s life, we did the normal diaper changes. But around 5 months of age, I started to see a pattern to my son’s pooping pattern. I would breastfeed him and he would always poop right after he was done feeding. Some one had given me a potty seat that fits on top of a regular toilet seat so I thought, what the heck, I will just give infant potty training a try.

Step One: Develop a signal word and show sign while child is peeing or pooping

I decided to just work on poop, since I hated changing poopy diapers the most. After my son would finish breastfeeding, I would say the word potty and sign potty in sign language as he was pooping. This way he started to associate these two cues (the word “potty” and the sign language for potty). I did this for about a month.

Step Two: Put your child on the potty when he starts to pee or poop (while using your cue word and sign language)

The day my son turned 6 months old, I decided I would finally give infant potty training a real try. After I was done breastfeeding my son, I took his diaper off, placed him on the potty seat, and said potty and signed potty at the same time. Apparently all my hard work for the past month had paid off because my son pooped and the potty! I could not believe it. From that point on, he has always pooped on the potty. He poops on the potty about 95% of the time. He still has an accident every now and again, but it mostly my fault for ignoring his need to go. I still take him to the potty after he eats. He does not always need to poop, but it has become a ritual we do. If my son does not need to go, he will say, “all done”, and at which point I know that it is time to take him off the potty.

Step Three: Your child communicates to you the need to use the bathroom through sign language or words.

The ultimate goal is that you child would tell you that he needs to use the bathroom without you having to take him to the bathroom at set times. Even though I have been signing potty to my son since he was 5 months old, he does not consistently tell me in sign language that he needs to go, which is why I still put him on the potty after each meal. He is now 17 months old, and he is telling me he needs to go more frequently, but not consistently.

What I wish I had done

What I wish I had done was also work on getting my son to pee in the potty early on. I decided to only tackle pooping in the potty. I have attempted to teach him to pee in the potty, but I believe that I missed that magical window where it is easier to train peeing in the potty. My son will pee on the potty about 50% of the time I put him on the potty, but I believe he does not have any control over his bladder muscle yet because I never helped him to develop it. He is also not aware that he is urinating half the time (at least that is what I think). I have decided to take pee training with “bottomless toilet training” or a “bare bottom week”. Essentially, during bare bottom week, you allow your child to run around without a diaper on. Every time he or she starts to pee, you whisk them to the toilet to finish peeing. You reward them for peeing on the potty with some kind of a prize (m&ms, candy, juice, etc.).  I plan on doing this once the weather warms up so my son will not be cold running around half in the nude.

My Closing Thoughts

I am so glad that I decided to poop train my son. I think it will make when I finally tackle pee training even easier. My hope is to have my son completely potty trained before my twins are born at the end of April. Let’s just hope the weather warms up in time for me to start my “bare bottom week.” If I am successful, my son will be 19 months old and completely potty trained. Let’s hope it works! I would be one happy mama to have my toddler out of diapers before I start diapering two newborns again!

Resource Links

Elimination Communication websties
http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/
http://www.parttimediaperfree.com/

Elimination Communication Books
The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative
Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living

Bare Bottom Potty Training websites
http://www.nickjr.com/preschool/potty-training/advice/potty_training_bare_ap.html
http://www.parentingscience.com/potty-training-techniques.html

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Eating with a spoon requires fine motor skill development, as well as hand eye coordination.  My personal experience has been that my son was ready to try using a spoon around the age of 15 months old. Prior to 15 months, I worked on a lot of fine motor skills with him- such as holding a paint brush, writing with chalk, drawing with crayons, stacking rings, and putting buttons through a small hole. Many of these skills also require good hand eye coordination. Once I notice that he was able to many of these tasks with more ease, I began the process of introducing the spoon.

I should add, that I have allowed my son to play with a spoon during meal times since he was much younger- maybe around 9 months old. I would lay a plastic feeding spoon on his high chair and let him chew on it and play with it. I also made sure that I ate with a spoon in front of my son and occasionally showed him how to hold the spoon and bring it to his mouth. So by the time he was 15 months old, he understood the concept of what a spoon was and its function.

Start by giving your baby a small bowl/ cup of tick food. The thick consistence will keep the food from running of the spoon. Here are some good first foods to use to introduce self spoon-feeding:

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Mashed Butternut Squash
  • Yogurt mixed with baby cereal or baby oatmeal to make it thicker

The mechanics of self spoon feeding a kind of rough at first. You may find your little one just poking the spoon into the food and then bring it to his or her mouth. That is a good first step. You will have to show your child how to “dig” into the food and lift it up so that more food collects on the spoon. Model how this is done by guiding his or hand and allow your child to bring the spoon to their mouth. This is a hard skill to develop, so be patient. Self feeding with a spoon also takes a longer time to do, so if you are in a rush to go somewhere do not allow your child to self feed during that meal or you will never get out of the house on time. I usually save self spoon feeding for dinner since I usually am not heading out anywhere anytime soon, he will get a bath after dinner, and I don’t feel like I have to rush him.

Make sure you are prepare for there to be a mess. If the weather is warm, you can take you child’s shirt off. If you want to use a bib, make sure it is wide and covers a lot of surface area. I have found some really good toddler bibs at walmart that pull over the toddler’s head. They seem to help keep messes to a minimum (sort of, haha). Also I know that bumkin makes a bib that actually has long selves if you care to try that out too. I also keep a wet washcloth handy to wipe my son’s mouth, hands, and face when he is done eating. He is usually caked in food by the time he is done.

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