Friday, May 27, 2011

App for Newborn

I tried 4 baby apps and all were good, but my favorite is Baby Connect($5). It allows you to track (nursing, bottle, pumping and solids), sleep, diapers, medicine (incl. Vitamins), even drop off/pick up. It can be synced with other iPhone, iPads, etc. And it consolidates the info into graphs, which can be emailed.

The other 3 apps are ibaby feed(.99), baby activity($5) and baby tracker: nursing($5). Baby activity is more comprehensive than the baby tracker: nursing and ibaby feed. The latter 2 only track feeding, but if that's why you are looking for ibaby feed is great. It has a great graph and stat feature.

Baby activity us good - you can track sleep, diapers, feedings and mood. But doesn't have the added features that baby connect has and they are the same price.

Now I can track everything as I did the first time - obsessively. But it's much more convenient! The downside is that my phone is always around. I sometimes feel reliant on it even though I don't need it. Aaah, technology.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Welcome James: But How is Henry Dealing?

Our second son was born a few weeks ago and as you can see from the photo, Henry couldn't be more thrilled.  He genuinely adores his baby brother and can't give him enough kisses and hugs.  When James cries, Henry gently pats him on the back and head and says, "Are you OK?  It's OK."  It is a true relief for us to see how well Henry is doing with our newest family member.   Hopefully things will continue to go smoothly.  I'm still waiting for pangs of jealousy to surface, but Henry doesn't seem jealous when I'm nursing.  The only clingy moments were at the beginning of my mom's visit (before James was born) - Henry would cry when it was time for her to take him to his classes.  But after a few weeks and lots of bribes - he now happily goes with her to class.  I'll be sad when she leaves.  She has been a great help during this time of transition.   

We were so concerned about how Henry would handle the transition:  Mommy and Daddy disappear for a few days; his world as he knows it is over; etc.  While we were at the hospital, my mom stayed with Henry at our home.  One night he asked to "call Mommy and Daddy."  He was happy to talk to us - not sad or depressed.  My mom put him to bed and left the phone on the dresser.  She found Henry in the morning sleeping with the phone.  We later realized he had dialed my sister at 3am via the programmed phone book.   Luckily, Henry had lots of cousins to distract him while we were gone.  And although my mom said he was a little quiet and sad while we were away, he was generally happy. 

My sister-in-law gave us the most comforting advice.  She said, "Things will be different.  But just remember you are giving Henry the best gift in the entire world:  a sibling."  And now that we see how precious they are together - even while James is just a little sausage - we know it's true.   

I'm outnumbered 3:1 and loving it. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

How and When Babies Learn Language

Patricia Kuhl's study on how and when babies learn language is fascinating.  Children are like sponges when it comes to language until they are 7 years old, and after that age our ability to acquire new languages plummets lower and lower.  This 10 minute video is worth the watch - it says 13 minutes, but the last 3 minutes are ads.  In my opinion, the most interesting part of the study showed that American babies exposed to Mandarin for 12 sessions were just as good at recognizing Mandarin as Taiwanese babies - BUT the Mandarin exposure had to be through a human being.  American babies exposed to Mandarin via television or audio learned nothing.  I believe that Henry has learned words via a Chinese DVD, but I suppose he's benefited from me speaking Mandarin to him and a Mandarin class we go to once a week.  His pronunciation is very natural compared to his classmates who don't hear Mandarin at home.  

A few weeks ago, Henry and I started a mom and tot class at Language Stars for Mandarin and he loves it.  He thrives in the small class setting, plus I get to practice my Mandarin too!  The class is conducted entirely in Mandarin.  We sing songs, use props, walk around, and even have snack time (Henry's favorite part of class).  I highly recommend Language Stars if it's in your budget and if you're willing and able to reinforce the language at home.  Henry has picked up Mandarin amazingly quickly.  Language Stars is a Chicago based company that has expanded to the Washington D.C. and New York City areas.  In the Chicago area, they offer multiple languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, German, French and Italian.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Books of the Week: "See How They Go!"

These are great paperback books that have a lot of bang for their buck.  There is a sheet of stickers included, and the pictures really catch Henry's attention.  Unfortunately, like many series books these days, they advertise the other books in the series on the back.  This tactic is extremely effective on toddlers who want everything they see!  So beware, if your toddler likes one of these books, he will likely want to see the other ones, and libraries don't usually carry these.  Luckily they are pretty affordable!

See How They Go: TrainSee How They Go: Train
See How They Go: DiggersSee How They Go: Diggers
See How They Go: Fire TruckSee How They Go: Fire Truck
See How They Go: CarsSee How They Go: Cars
See How They Go: AirplaneSee How They Go: Airplane
See How They Go: Emergency VehiclesSee How They Go: Emergency Vehicles
See How They Go: TrucksSee How They Go: Trucks
See How They Go: TractorSee How They Go: Tractor
See How They Go: MotorcycleSee How They Go: Motorcycle
See How They Go: BusSee How They Go: Bus
See How They Go: BusSee How They Go: Bus
See How They Go: MotorcycleSee How They Go: Motorcycle

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Art Projects

A great activity we do almost every day is an art project.  The stamps Henry uses in the video are from the dollar bin at Target, and we've collected stickers as gifts, hand-me-downs and spontaneous purchases.  He also loves finger paints, using paint brushes, markers, etc.  I preserve the good ones in contact paper so that Henry can admire them later.  He loves to say, "I made this."  We also use contact paper with magazine cut outs, which avoids the need for glue and/or tape.  I tape the sticky side up on the table so he can place magazine and catalogue cutouts wherever he chooses, and when he's done, I put another piece of contact paper on top.  Then I cut around the edges.  You can tell from the video that he takes his art very seriously.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

All Purpose Mat

I love this particular splat mat from Land of Nod.  It's cushioned, super durable and easy to clean.  We use it for arts and crafts and I put it on the table when I know Henry is going to have a particularly messy meal.  My sister uses hers (a larger size that they don't currently sell) to protect her table on an every day basis.  Most splat mats are fine, but I think the cushion sets this one apart - I don't have to worry about Henry randomly sticking his fork into the wood table or the sharp side of a paint brush.

I'm also a fan of the sugar booger splat mats, although they are not cushioned and aren't as durable - our first one cracked after heavy use.  They do come in many different fun patterns.
SugarBooger ABC Jumbo Splat MatSugarBooger ABC Jumbo Splat Mat

Monday, March 14, 2011

Airplane/Travel Entertainment Tools

Kidz Gear Wired Headphones For KidsKidz Gear Wired Headphones For Kids
These headphones fit Henry's head perfectly and adjust as his noggin grows.  Chris' sound eliminators were too heavy for him.
Kidz Gear Stereo Headphone Splitter Adapter CableKidz Gear Stereo Headphone Splitter Adapter Cable
Great when you have 2 kids watching 1 portable device.

EZY Dose Jumbo Weekly Pill Reminder, 2XL - 1 eaEZY Dose Jumbo Weekly Pill Reminder, 2XL - 1 ea
I bought one of these at our local drugstore - you can get them for 99c, and I put goldfish, raisins, and other small snacks in each compartment.  Henry spent lots of time opening and closing the tops and eating the snacks.  Now that we're home, I'm using them for his and my vitamins.  Now I never forget to take my prenatals!