Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Tag: baby books (page 1 of 2)

X is for Xylophone

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? Well, some of us do… one of my favourite Mommy Bloggers BeingMammaBear has made it her mission to play her lovely daughter MissS meaningful songs on the Xylophone and I make it a point to listen to all her Instagram stories of her playing the Xylo. So i hunt those headphones, plug them in and listen to her soulfully tippytapping nursery rhymes on the Xylophone.

I could play only one song on the Xylophone, up until now that is. But nonetheless here is the one song that I ever learnt to play when I was a wee lass and one that I have kept close to my heart till now.  Its “Are you Sleeping, Brother John?” or “Freres Jacques, Dormez vous?”

So I am a total tone deaf person. My husband is a guitar player (not his day job) but I have imbibed zero music sense. I am however great at memorizing numbers .. I know phone numbers of my friends from school and all the car number plates in the apartment complex I lived in when I was 12. Sounds like some Beautiful Mind kind of shizz doesn’t it? No, it just means I am an introvert who was happier doing numbers than running amok with friends. So what I did was write down numbers on the Xylophone keys from 1 onwards and then did some research online (google baba ki jai ho) and some quick trial and error to figure these songs out.

Number the keys 1 to 8 and then try these

Are you Sleeping

Are you Sleeping, Are you Sleeping?
1 2 3 1, 1 2 3 1
Brother John, Brother John 
3 4 5, 3 4 5
Morning Bells are ringing, Morning bells are ringing 
5 6 5 4 3 1, 5 6 5 4 3 1
Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong
5 1 1 , 5 1 1, 5 1 1

Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star

Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star
1 1 5 5 6 6 5
How I wonder what you are?
4 4 3 3 2 2 1
Up above the world so high
5 5 4 4 3 3 2
Like a diamond in the sky
5 5 4 4 3 3 2
Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star
1 1 5 5 6 6 5
How I wonder what you are?
4 4 3 3 2 2 1

Row Row Row your boat

Row row row your boat
1 1 1 2 3
Gently Down the stream
3 2 3 4 5
Merrily merrily merrily merrily Life is but a dream
8 8 8 5 5 5 3 3 3 1 1 1 5 4 3 2 1

So easy no? Try a few songs and tell me how it went?

If you do read and understand music you can use this key. But I am sure you already knew that. 🙂

(Source: http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/fun-music-theory-do-re-mi/ )

 

W is for “Who Says Woof?”

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.

W is for Who Says Woof

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.

    Who 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 knew all these by 10 months. 🙂 <3

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.

The new additions

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 could work very well as a bedtime story.

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. 🙂

 

N is for Natural Parenting

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

Wooden blocks FTW

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

M is for Multilingual homes

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.

H is for Hungry Caterpillar: our favourite book

I have been waiting for the letter H.

H is for (the) Hungry Caterpillar – our favourite book by Eric Carle. This is a very popular book and most babies begin their book love journey from this one. We have had our copy since #babyT was a month old. And have been reading to him since then.

Everywhere we go, the book goes with us

Not just in our home, but the Hungry Caterpillar is a very popular book across the world and it is even used as a reading book in preschoolers in the some countries. I came across this when I browsed google to see if any blog posts existed on this topic. 😛
So why am I writing a whole blog post about a  children’s book, which has been much loved and sadly, hated by some quarters? Because this book is so versatile.. it has grown with us. Like any good book, its relevance only comes forth with time and experience/ stage of life. Right from the time #babyT was a month old to today at 15 months, we have found something new to marvel upon and learn.  Continue reading

F is for Fine Motor skills

Fine motor skills involve the small muscles like that in the hand, fingers, thumb and which contribute to the child learning important skills ahead in life like eating, buttoning, zipping up clothes and then down the line writing, creating with hands etc. The word fine motor skills gets tossed about a lot in normal conversations these days, but I don’t remember really seeing my parents or the earlier generation bothering about whether their babies and toddler spent sufficient time inculcating these skills. But what I have seen and heard is pics and stories of how children would play around the house and garden, picking leaves, sticks and bugs and beetles and even pots, pans and play in the kitchen with grains and vegetables while mommy cooked and went about her daily activities.

Taking inspiration from this, we spent a day letting babyT try and get his hands dirty while he got busy with some fine motor skills activities. The fact that i have come to stay at mom’s place and forgotten to carry his toys and that i badly needed peace for more than 10 minutes, may or may not have had anything to do with it. 🙂  Continue reading

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