My 2 year old has an admirable book collection. His collection boasts the best books for 2 year olds. He has over 100 books, all carefully analysed, acquired and stored by his mummy dearest, of course. In the course of #RaisingaReader I have seen first hand, how books have opened his tiny eyes to our world, delighted him, given him comfort and calmness and so much more. While I do share a lot about our book collection on my Instagram page – MommyingBabyT , I realized my blog doesn’t have enough about our books. So starting with this month – November 2018, I plan to write a post about our favorite books of the month. Continue reading
Summer holidays are the time for meeting cousins and family spread across the miles. For children, meeting family, especially grandparents who live on the other side of the world is a joy incomparable to no other. Sadly these moments of joy also turn into heartbreak when its time to say goodbye to loved ones. I witness many such episodes of tearful goodbyes every summer or winter holidays. There is something about face to face conversations while being wrapped in the warm, comforting embrace of a grandparent. But if only it was possible to have that every day.
Julia Inserro and her family who live halfway across the globe from their own families have devised a unique way in which children can now communicate with their dear grandparents. And that is what her book, Nonni’s moon is all about. Continue reading
My life is a last minute affair. The entire #AtoZBloggingChallenge has been a last minute affair. I try and look for a word over days and hours and finally around 10 pm a flash of brilliance goes off in my brain (well according to me anyway.) and I have a word which I love and feel so excited to write about. Today’s word is such…
After poring over geeky lists of words beginning with X and getting some scary ideas for blog posts (Xeniatrophobia – the hatred for foreign Doctors. Innocent Dr (Mrs.) Singh from my childhood in the UK was going to get a mention.) I had almost relented my fate and went to clear up babyT’s play room for the night, when my eyes fell upon this Xylophone. (Fanfare went off in my head, really, you had to be me to know it.)
Every house that has a new baby has a Xylophone or two. And of course babies are meant to hit, whack, throw and poke the crap out of it.. they of course cannot play it, unless they are the late Mr. Brahms incarnate. Does your Xylophone really get the due that it is born to do?
When I started the #AtoZBloggingChallenge I knew what the letter W would stand for.. our favourite book by our favourite children’s author John Butler of course.
I buy most of babyT’s books preloved and my favourite store is Eat Play Read. I first chanced upon the book Who Says Woof? during an online book stocking here in September last year. I grabbed it because the cover page looked cute.
When the book arrived and I began reading it to babyT, he had just turned 9 months then, I was amazed how quickly he was picking up the sounds of the animals in them. His favourite was “Who says Baa?” He kept repeating Baa Baa Baa all day long. Once when we were out on the road, he saw a cow on the road (this is India. 🙂 and said Mooo I had hit the home-run, the book was teaching him something. He also loved looking at the pictures. And as with most babies I was made to read that book to him twenty five times in a day…
What I loved about this book?
- Has beautiful illustration by John Butler. He is an illustrator and author of children’s books, most of which are about animals and their little families.
- I like the fact that he keeps the design theme constant in all of his books. So the bears look the same in all the books. Its like a collection of related books. Very collectible.
- The words are few in this particular book. (There are other books for older children with longer sentences too.)
- It helps to build a guessing game with your baby… Who says Woof? Turn the page. A dog says Woof. & Who says Miaow? Turn the page. A cat says Miaow.
- It taught babyT all that he knows about animals and the sounds that they make. His favourite animal is now the Miaow Cat.
We then fell in love so much with the book and John Butler’s illustrations that we went on a mission to find more of his books. Some were bought from Eat Play Read and some from Amazon.
Our current favourite among these is Can you growl like a bear?
After all the cute little domestic and gentle animals from Who says Woof? this book talks about the ones that live in the jungles – bear, chimp, elephant, wolf and some more. BabyT loves imitating the noises that these animals and birds make in the book. “Can you roar like a leopard..?”
How gorgeous are the illustrations again? This particular page reminds me of a warm sunny day in summer spent wandering aimlessly in a park in London. <3
I don’t know how but this book somehow succeeds to make me yawn by the time we get to the last page. All the animals are going about their business, making the respective noises that they do and soon day turns to night, the wolf howls at the moon (babyT and I love to throw up our head and go Howwwwllll), the panda mommy and her little baby panda snuggle up for the night and soon…
This reminds me today is #TellaStoryDay and is celebrated in the USA and UK. I love how apt today’s title is to the event. On #TellaStoryDay people are encouraged to tell a story, not just read books, but share a personal story with your loved ones or on social media. And that is just what I am doing, telling you about my love affair with these baby books and how much they are loved and enjoyed in our home. 🙂
As is the case with every day of the #AtoZBloggingChallenge, I rack my brains all day, start panicking by evening and then suddenly a light bulb comes on somewhere in my brain and I find a topic for the day’s alphabet. But today was a moment I have been waiting to write about even before I started the #AtoZ Challenge and in fact the whole purpose behind my blog I think. Today’s topic was also fueled by this little boy, the reason for everything else right now. <3
After losing a small piece of my mind, over why #babyT was not yet stacking stuff (Yes, when you are a mom, such stuff is what nightmares are made of. I exaggerate of course.) I decided to take the plunge and buy him the very expensive Wooden Blocks by Melissa & Doug. We do have several types of blocks already, stacking rings, shape sorters, but i wasn’t seeing him enjoy them nor was he sharpening his fine motor skills. So the wooden blocks happened. And what do we have? I opened the packaging and placed the blocks in front of him and he stacked them. The boy stacked them. 5 in a line. He did!! I went into “hence proved” mode and for the n’th time accepted that natural parenting was the right way to bring up our child. Continue reading
One of the things I had not planned for during my pregnancy days was what language I would speak to the new baby that was to arrive. I was ready with everything else – diapers, clothes, blankets, toys, books, knowing that I will breastfeed him, adopt the no medication routine etc. But language was something that I did not think well and hard enough about.
Sure enough when babyT was here, speaking to him in my mother tongue – konkani came naturally to me. I myself did not speak konkani too much. English was the predominant language at my maternal home. However speaking to babyT in this language was something that just stemmed from my mothering I suppose. Daddy and his side of the family all spoke to babyT in Marathi and all the books we read were English. I did chance upon a lot of articles online and saw a few examples in our social circle, that children born in multilingual homes spoke later in life and their language was a mixed up hotch potch of all the languages. This did not really worry or stress me out, but I was concerned if we were actually all just confusing the poor baby.
To my surprise, this little tyke has been an early speaker. I think he said daddah around the 8th month and from then on he added a lot of new words slowly but surely to his vocabulary. In fact before he touched 16 months (he turned 16 mos today) he had begun to make 2 word sentences too. He was able to mostly understand what we would communicate in Marathi or Konkani long before his first birthday. He understands konkani completely for sure as I am around him 24/7. Marathi not so much, because the only permanent source of Marathi in babyT’s life, his daddah has to go work and earn the daily bread. Yet all my fears that babies in multilingual environments speak late were all shooed away quickly.
Some things that worked well for us I think –
- Konkani and Marathi are not too different from each other. This worked in our favour somewhere. You may have a far more culturally diverse household. Don’t be afraid to attempt to speak in all languages to the child.
- We spoke to him a LOT. I in Konkani, daddah in Marathi and books were read in English.
- We did not introduce him to any other languages – by way of nanny, TV or books. Songs in Hindi yes, but they were a one off.
- One person, one language – I only spoke in Konkani or English. Daddah only in Marathi. My parents only in Konkani and babyT’s paternal grandparents only in Marathi. We didn’t confuse him by the individuals speaking in a different language.
- We included a lot of songs and singing and rhymes in the 3 languages.
- I spoke in Konkani and then repeated it in English. I translated books from English into Konkani when reading. Added daily life examples wherever relevant – opened up dried seed pods to show the seeds within and spoke of elements from the story The Tiny Seed.
- Flash cards were introduced around 6 months age and I did not stick to the expected norm of marathon flashing, repeating or using the language as it was printed on the card. In our multi-lingual home we use words which are Marathi, Konkani and English. But we usually stick to only one word per object. Crows are Kailloh (Konkani), Apple is in English and Brinjals are vaangi (Marathi)
- We don’t give him the feeling that we are teaching him something and nor do we carry the cross that we had to teach him our language. All our communication was a natural element of our environment.
- There may come a time when babyT starts mixing the languages. But this really is a natural element of learning. Don’t we also speak by mixing Hindi – English and our local languages? The point is not to stress over it when it happens and not to pressure the child into falling back into line.
- Above all remember that every child is different. Every environment is unique, just as you the parent and caregiver are unique. Each child develops at their own pace. Don’t get into comparison mode. While milestones are important, it is important not to stress over them. Continue to provide inspiration, sense of wonder and give them lots of opportunities to speak. They will surprise you when their time to shine comes. 🙂 Where real concerns exist do discuss it with child’s pediatrician at their regular check ups.
Learning comes naturally to babies and children. In fact they are at their peak till the age of 5. Expose them to all types of languages, experiences and positive habits. You will do them a lot of good.