Friday, April 22, 2011

Tot School - 13 Months

Tot School

This week was our first week officially doing Tot School. We have been doing our own version for months now, but it was time to make it official. As a warning, this will be a long post since it is out first time doing Tot School. I want to be sure to explain exactly what the day-to-day looks like for those readers that might be curious. Future Tot School posts will not be this detailed.

For those that are not familiar with Tot School, please click on the picture above to find out more, but the main gist is playing with a purpose. I have found that Hannah has been roaming from toy to toy without much attention given to any one item. I felt that she wasn't getting all she could out of each experience. I also wanted to make myself more accountable for what we are doing during the day. The teacher in me needs direction and purpose in the activities we do on a daily basis. Since I am home full-time with Hannah, I feel that it is my job to expose her to as many things as possible. While we call it Tot "School", it is in no way a rigid teaching environment. We continued to play as usual, but I was more purposeful in structuring the activities and the environment.

So, what did we do this week? Keep reading to find out!

On Monday I introduced Hannah to Tot Trays. She had 3 trays with one activity on each. The tray is used as an organizational tool and as a clear boundary for when it is time to clean up. The only rule we had was that she could only play with one tray at a time and had to clean up one tray before moving on to the next.

We started with a puzzle. She had very little interest in the puzzle, but was fascinated by the tray! I figured she would be since they are new and shiny. As a side note, these were not the trays I had originally wanted, but while looking for plastic ones at hobby lobby, an employee told me about some trays they had in the back that had small chips in them. He said they would give them to me for 90% off, making them $1 each. I couldn't pass that up. So, yes they are hideous, but they are very sturdy and were very cheap! :)

After the puzzle, we moved on to plastic eggs and an egg carton (in our Easter theme). She loved this activity! This was the second time she had played with these, so I knew they were a hit already. These kept her busy for about 10 minutes. She was most interested in opening all the eggs and shaking the egg carton around.

The last tray was blocks. These were also a hit as she loved knocking over the towers I built and trying to build her own. Stacking is a skill we have been working on for quite some time, so to see her making progress is great!

The rest of the day was spent running errands and we made a trip to the library, where Hannah ran all around. We did squeeze in some table time (where Hannah sits in her high chair and does an activity on her own) while I made dinner. I had her practice drinking water out of a regular cup (that was messy) and then she played with a magnet tray (a cookie sheet with magnets on it) and the plastic eggs again.

On Tuesday I changed up two of her Tot Trays. I kept the plastic eggs and egg carton out since she loved them so much the day before. But the other two were changed to the ring stacker and containers with Pom Poms. The containers were a hit! She was determined to put the lids on herself, but would get very frustrated when she couldn't get them off. I used that opportunity to teach her the sign for "help". She doesn't sign it perfectly, but she has adapted her own version. :)

On Wednesday (our last day of Tot School for the week) I kept the same trays out for her, which she enjoyed. We also did blanket time for the first time. I have debated about wether or not I wanted to even invest the time and energy to teach her this. For those that don't know what blanket time is, it's a principal from the Babywise series. Essentially, you place your child on a blanket with a few toys and require them to stay on the blanket for a set amount of time. We started with 3 minutes and Hannah did pretty well. She tried to crawl off the blanket a few times, but each time I place her back on and told her to stay on the blanket. Thankfully she didn't throw a fit and was okay with it. I'm pretty sure it went so well because it was new and she wasn't really sure what was going on. I hope to continue blanket time and increase the time over the next few weeks.  We also did Table Time, with a shaving cream bag.  This turned out to be a flop, as all she wanted to do was eat the bag.  Live and learn! ;-)

Overall, our first week of Tot School was a success. It was short because we left for FL on Thursday afternoon. I don't think I will write a weekly update of our Tot School, just because I know I won't have the time, but I thought I would give an update if our first week and plan on updating every so often. But my main purpose in writing this post was to share the link above with other moms so you can get some great ideas for ways to play purposefully with your child!

Have fun!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

13 Months


I am a few days behind in writing this letter, but I have a good! I am busy chasing you around the house these days. Two weeks ago you decided to start walking and you haven't stopped yet. You went from taking a few steps here and there to full on walking overnight...literally! The drastic change is astounding! Just today you taught yourself how to stand up without holding on to anything, so now you are a real, full time walker! Wow! Your balance and agility amaze me. You can turn around without flinching or bend over and pick up a toy with no trouble at all. Nothing slows you down.

You are so much fun these days! You are a little person now and I honestly love this stage. If I could freeze you in time, I would. You aren't saying much at 13 months, just "dada" and "mama" still, but you make lots of sounds that have meanings, like the barking sound you make when you see a dog, "uh oh" when you drop something, "uhuhuh" when you want something, "doh dee doh dee" just to be cute, and a lot of other grunts and whines. But your best way to communicate is through sign language. You can sign several different words now: please, thank you, eat, milk, more, all done, duck, and bunny. I need to brush up on my signing skills so I can teach you more.

Here's what you are up to at 13 months:
- You are wearing mostly all 12 month clothing, but some 18 month stuff is starting to fit. I finally packed away all your 9 month stuff.
- You are still wearing size 4 diapers, but now you wear size 5 at night.
- You are a champion nighttime sleeper, sleeping 12 hours every night, without a peep. This makes me so happy! Your napping has even improved a little this month. You still take 2 naps, each about 1 hour long. While I know this is not great, I am happy with it.
- You help us get you dressed (when you want to), by putting your hands through the holes or lifting your legs into your pants. But your favorite part is putting on your shoes. You lift your foot in the air, with a big smile on your face. You love shoes! You are wearing a size 5 shoe now.
- You eat all kinds of foods now and love most everything, except veggies. The only veggies you really like are peas, potatoes, carrots, lima beans, corn, and broccoli (sort of). Your favorite foods are cheese, meat and all bread products! That apple didn't fall far. :)
- You are still nursing 2 times per day, morning and night. I keep thinking about dropping one or both of these, but I just don't think we are ready. The only reason I am thinking about dropping them is because it's what other people think we should do, not because we want to. So I think we will continue until you don't show an interest or I'm worn out. But right now I love those few minutes of snuggle time and so do you. Why would I take that away from you?
- You can roll a ball back and forth with me and you can even kick a ball as you walk around.
- You love to be outside. Now that the weather is so nice, we spend a lot of time in the back yard. You love riding around the neighborhood in your pink buggy.
- You have 3 teeth now. One of your top teeth just came in and you have at least 2 more right on the verge of breaking through. Your latest pastime is grinding your teeth together...not my favorite thing!

Next week we are starting Tot School (, which is basically just playing with a purpose. The teacher in me just has to be sure that I am exposing you to as much as I can and being purposeful with what we are doing everyday. I will be sure to post an update of how things go.

We are so proud of the little girl you are becoming and love you so much! You have completely turned our world upside down and we love it!

We love your little peanut!

Friday, April 8, 2011

iPad Mania and Other Randomness

How did we ever live without this thing? It has taken over my life. Haha Just kidding, but it definitely is addicting! Last night I had a horrible night sleep because I couldn't stop playing words with friends in my head. Has that happened to you or am I the only crazy one? Years ago when I played free cell all the time, the same thing would happen. When I close my eyes I see the letters and start making words...crazy right!

In other news, I apparently thought it would be a good idea to chop off the tip of my thumb this morning. Ouch! I was preparing a delicious beef stew for Hannah, while she was eating breakfast (obviously the beef stew was not for had to cook all day). I was doing great..chopping away and feeling all supermom like. Next thing I knew I was sawing through the tip of my thumb....nice visual, right? I didn't know what to do...wash my hands to get the raw meat out of the wound or apply pressure first? It started bleeding so much, that I chose to apply pressure and not worry about the thousands of bacteria breeding on my skin. That choice was also easier because it meant that I didn't have to look at the tapping wound. I immediately called Brian, just in case the cut was so bad that I passed out or something. I figured it was probably in Hannah's best interest for me to notify another adult of the siutuation. I am happy to report that I did not need to go to the emergency room, but I have been changing the bandaid every couple hours and it is gross! It really is amazing how incapacitating it is to not be able to use your thumb. I tried to take a picture of the nastiness, but it wouldnt show up in the picture, so you can thank the camera for sparing you.

Anyone have fun plans for the weekend? We have another weekend with nothing on the calendar, which makes me smile. I get to do my favorite thing...spend lots of time with my two loves.

I'll leave you with this video of Hannah walking!