Monday, March 24, 2014

The Frozen Phenomenon and Being a Girl Mom

I've been hearing about Frozen for months from my friends who have kids and from the students I work with.  Apparently it's a huge deal,  but I don't exactly fit the demographic of people who watch that type of movie (Ha!  Who am I kidding?  Half of our blu-ray collection are Disney movies).  Anyway, I wasn't in a rush to see the movie.

Then last Wednesday, Scarlett was napping and I clicked on a video someone had posted on Facebook.  It was a man singing a cover of the song "Let it Go" (from Frozen) in a bunch of different Disney voices.  I was getting a kick out of it when I heard Scarlett stirring in her crib.  So I paused the video, went to scoop her up out of her crib, and then let her watch the rest of the video with me.  I usually don't like her to watch anything on a screen, but made an exception for a short, cute video.

She seemed to be really into it, so after that video was over, I clicked on another one -- the version of the song from the movie.  She was absolutely mesmerized. 

Throughout the day, I would play the song and we would dance around, and she seemed to be having the time of her life.  There was just something about that song. 

By the time Saturday rolled around, we had listened to the song approximately 850 times.  So I decided I might as well purchase the blu-ray, since it will probably be one of Scarlett's future favorites.  And let's be honest, probably mine too.  So during naptime on Saturday, I took part in this wonderfulness while Scarlett snoozed:

And oh my goodness, it was so cute!  I loved it, and I'm almost 30 years old.  I know Scarlett is going to love it even more when she's old enough to really watch it. 

And now when Scarlett gets fussy, I see her looking at the TV, just waiting for me to  play her favorite song.  And I willingly oblige.  Her eyes get big and she gasps and dances and even tries to sing along.  And I kind of see into our future for a minute.  I see all things princesses, pink, dancing, sing-alongs, girly movies, and all the fun things about being a little girl.  And sometimes I'm so overwhelmed with happiness that God has blessed me with a baby girl that I almost cry.  You can tell me I'm perpetuating gender norms all you want, but I happen to love being a woman, and I'm glad my daughter gets to experience all of those fun, girly things too.  

I will also teach her to be tough and independent and to stand up for herself.  But that's the beauty of being a girl:  she can be all of those things, and still be a beautiful, feminine, princess at the same time.  

I know I would have loved a little boy so much, and I hope I have one someday.  But I feel so blessed that God picked me to be a girl mom, too. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lit Picks: The Napping House (+ Freebie!)

I am checking in for 1 measly post this week to share one of my very favorite books to use in therapy: The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood.

 This book is amazing.  The illustrations are beautiful, it is a predictable text, there is rich vocabulary, and children think it's hilarious!  I did some activities with this book in therapy a couple of weeks ago, and there were some serious belly laughs coming from the speech room as the students saw what happened to all the crazy people and animals sleeping in the napping house! 

How to use it: 
  • Predictable text:  Once you have read a few pages, you can leave off words, and children can fill them in for you.  You can also have students predict what's going to happen next.
  • Rich Vocabulary: there are many synonyms for "sleep" in the book.  Have children make a list of all the words they can find that mean "sleep."
  • Prepositions: Have students answer "where?" questions on each page, using prepositions.  For example, ask them, "Where is the mouse on this page?"  Instead of just having the child point, have them tell you, "ON the mirror."
  • Story recall:  Have children draw a picture of everyone on the bed in the napping house, and then have them tell you what happened after they were all asleep.
  • Sequencing:  Use pictures to have students retell the story in the correct sequence.  I actually just opened my own Teachers Pay Teachers store, and I uploaded free sequencing pictures HERE, so hop on over there and download them!  Your children will love it.  The download also includes a page where students can write all the synonyms for "sleep" from the story.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

8 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett,

You are 8 months old today!  2/3 of a year old!

I say this every month, but you are at such a fun age!  You are learning so many new things each day.  You are getting to the point where you notice that you get attention when you do certain things, so you do them over and over to make everyone laugh.  I guess you're a little ham!

For example, you have recently learned how to "dance."  Whenever you hear music, you bob your head and rock back and forth.  It's to the point now where we just say, "Scarlett, dance!"  and you do it.  You've done it a million times, but it makes everyone laugh every time!

You seem to understand what a few other words mean, too.  You know who to look at when we say "Mommy,"  "Daddy," or "Ellie."  And you look at us when we say your name, too.  When we say "Hi,"  you wave your hand.  And you try to clap your hands when we tell you to clap.

You babble constantly, too.  Lately you've been saying, "mamamama," "dadadada," "nanananana" (which kind of sounds like "no" and you mostly do it when you're whining), "babababa" and a few other sounds.  You like to kind of whisper your "s" and "sh" sounds too, which always cracks us up.  We're not sure what you're trying to say, but it seems like you're telling us a secret!

You've also recently started to give "kisses."  basically, you just open your mouth wide and press it into our faces.  You do it rarely and only when you're in the right mood, but it basically makes our day when you do it!

 You aren't super interested in crawling, but you recently learned to get up on your knees when you're on your stomach and crawl backwards.  You also roll over more often now, with a little support and encouragement.

You are such a curious baby!  You want to know what's going on all the time.  If we are in a new place or a busy situation, you refuse to nap.  And when I am trying to feed you at home, Daddy and the cats have to be completely still, because if anyone moves, you lose all interest in the bottle and want to know what's going on!  I joke and say you're just nosy.

Speaking of eating, you seem much more interested in solids than your bottle lately.  You have yet to try a food that you don't like, but squash and sweet potatoes are definitely your favorites! I guess you take after Mommy, because Daddy hates those foods!  You are such a good little eater, even though you still weigh a little under 14 lbs!

This month your favorite toys are your sock monkey, your little Alice in Wonderland toys, your plastic farm animals, and your little ball that makes a rattling noise.  Anything we let you get your hands on that is not a toy, is also your favorite toy (e.g. cups, spoons, lids, an old remote control with the batteries removed, etc).  You love to look at books, listen to music, play peek-a-boo, and dance.

This month was one of the snowiest I can remember!  Mommy had lots of snow days, which were all spent with you!  I loved every minute.  We also did some fun things like visit Aunt Julie for a day trip in Columbus, celebrate Great Grandma's 90th birthday, play in the snow, and had a girl's weekend with Mommy while Daddy was in Houston.  This month, Daddy also had surgery on his knee.  The same week, Mommy was sick, and you got sick for the first time!  It was no fun, but we all got through it.  

These months keep flying by!  As always, we wish we could somehow make time slow down!

Here's what you looked like this month:

We love you so much!
Mommy and Daddy

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lit Picks - Dr. Seuss

 Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!  Technically, it was yesterday.  But I thought today would be a good day to talk about some of his wonderful books!

HERE is a website that lists every single Dr. Seuss book.  I could probably write a blog post about every one of them, but I picked just 2 to talk about today:

 The Foot Book:

 I love this book!  It teaches the concept of opposites using feet:

How to use it with babies and toddlers:  This book, along with every other Dr. Seuss book, is good because of the rhyming.  It is good for babies and toddlers to hear rhyming and rhythm as they acquire langauge.  When I read this book to Scarlett, she rocks back and forth almost like I'm singing to her.  It's also good for print awareness, which is an important early literacy skill.  Since there are few words on a page, it is easy to point to each word as you read, and show the 1:1 word: text ratio.  Pointing to the words shows that we read left-to-right.  And if you read often (any book, not just this one), it teaches where we begin books (the front) and end books (the back), and which way we turn the pages.  I like this book for print awareness because it's so simple, there are only a few words on a page, and the text is embedded in the pictures.  I also like this book for counting.  When I read it to Scarlett, we count all the feet on each page.

For older children: synonyms and antonyms are another important language skill, and this is the perfect book to use to introduce antonyms (opposites).  You could read through the book once and then try to have the child fill in the opposites on a second reading.  You could also have them make up their own opposite using feet in addition to the ones in the book.


Another one of my favorite books to read to Scarlett is Dr. Seuss's ABC

Again, it rhymes and there is rhythm.  The text is big and colorful, so it's good, again, for print awareness.  And it promotes letter-sound recognition.

How to use it:  For babies and toddlers, it would be good to read this book a lot to get them familiar with what letters look and sound like.  I like how the book shows both the capital and lower-case versions of each letter.The inside cover (front and back) has the entire alphabet printed on it, so after I read it to Scarlett, I sing her the ABC song while I point to all the letters.

For older children, You could have them try to write each letter as you read the book to them.  You could also have them tell you more words that begin with each letter.

Dr. Seuss books are just all-around amazing for teaching all kinds of wonderful literacy skills.  A quick Pinterest Search of "Dr. Seuss Activities" leads to pages upon pages of pins and boards with ideas for literacy activities, crafts, costumes, snacks, etc.  I plan to use these books and activities a lot with Scarlett and in speech therapy if I get a job in the schools.

 HERE are  my lit picks for vocabulary development.