Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to diaper and bathe your crocodile baby

I love my baby. I truly, truly do. And I want to support him no matter what path in life he chooses to take. Unfortunately, he has currently decided that he wants to take the path of a crocodile (or maybe an alligator? I always forget which is which). Yes, my sweet angel baby has decided that any time I want to change or bathe him, he must grab on to the nearest object and put it into a death roll, crocodile/ alligator style. Gone are the days when we used to play games during our diaper changes. Gone are the nights of E staring peacefully up at me as he lounged in our little plastic tub. Those days and nights have been replaced by E's new thrash and roll routine.

This really irked me for quite some time. Again, I go back to the fact that I am a teacher that has rules and demands respect. I mean, hasn't a former student told this kid not to mess with me yet??? (Note to self- get our neighbor/ former student to talk to E as soon as he can comprehend English.) After too many crazy diaper changes and near death experiences in the bathtub, I decided I needed put the ingraining of the rules aside for now and get creative to solve this problem. I suspect that there are other little crocodile babies out there, so I thought I'd share what has worked for us. As always, if you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you, please let me know!

Crocodile diaper time
Diaper time is serious time in this house. Let's face it- the stakes are pretty high here. If you change your croco-baby on a changing table (the idea of which we have long since abandoned), you run the risk of your little critter hurling himself off the table. Additionally, if your baby decides to go into a full-on croc spin, there is huge potential for bodily fluids making getting all over your baby, your carpet,  and you, which is no fun for anyone.

So, what has worked for us? First, I dug out the good old Boppy. I never really used this thing for its intended purpose, but it has come in handy in many unexpected ways, so I don't feel bad about requesting it as a present. I place it so that it makes an upside-down U shape and recline Sir E so his head rests on the curved part. The sides act to gently sandwich his little body in there, making it a little harder for him to roll. At the very least, the shape slows him down a little and I'll take any help I can get! I also keep a few toys in our diaper bin for him to play with only during diaper changes. He loves making calls on his pretend cell phone as I clean up his cute little bum (probably to Grandma to complain about me).
"Hello, Grandma? Yeah, it's me, E. This lady doesn't know WHAT she's doing!"
Managing the baby croc in its natural habitat- the tub
Wow, as soon as we set E free in the big tub we ran into a mess of problems. He was concurrently learning to crawl and stand, and apparently the slippery, hard tub seemed like the perfect place to do it! What worked for us here was a LOT of persistence on my part. I was really firm about telling him not to stand in the tub and taking him out if he got too crazy. As a result, bathtime only lasted a few minutes for awhile, but it had to happen. What helped break the cycle of crawl-discipline-scream-tub ejection was putting E in the tub before it was filled so he could watch the water come out of the faucet. Our new tub also has a shiny part by the faucet, which plays right into his obsession with the baby in the mirror. "Watering" E with our hair rinsing bucket and surrounding him with lots of toys helped too. Oh, and having his toothbrush ready to bribe him with to avoid hysterics when bathtime is over. Who thought cleaning your baby could be so darn complicated? And why don't babies ever want to be clean, anyway? Ah, the mysteries of life.

So, that's what I've learned! Hopefully this helps someone. Later, gators :)!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Baby E's Favorite 9-12 Month Activities

Hey everyone! I've been meaning to share E's learning activities with you for awhile. In fact, it was my first intent in starting the blog. Guess I'm a bit slow over here... Oh well! Here are some of the best activities I've found for his current developmental stage (10 months, cruising, crawling, pulling to stand, trying to walk). Some of these we've already tried, and some just sound really cool. I'll be adding more details as we try each out. I'll also add more activities as I find them, so check back! Please share any fun activities you like to do with your babies!

Sensory bins 
Inspiration: Play, Create, Explore
Supports: Fine motor development, exploration, free play, independence, new sensory experiences, developing understanding of cause and effect and gravity, developing understanding of categories (mental leap 6 in Wonder Weeks)
Quick Description: Place items of different sizes, shapes and textures in a bin. Encourage your baby to explore the items. NOTE: This can get messy. Also, make sure to watch your little guy- some sensory bin items are not meant to be ingested! 

Cardboard box tunnels
Inspiration: The 50+ boxes in my garage from our recent move and Play, Create, Explore
Supports: Crawling, exploration, free play, independence, developing understanding of relationships (mental leap 5 in Wonder Weeks- distance between things)
Quick Description: Encourage baby to crawl through the box tunnel. As your baby gets more comfortable, tape a series of boxes together to increase the challenge and fun. 

Gravity drop box
Inspiration: Aforementioned garage full of boxes and Play at Home Mom
Supports: developing understanding of putting things together to get desired outcome (mental leap 7 in Wonder Weeks- sequences), fine motor skills 
Quick Description: Use a razor blade to cut holes in the top of an empty cardboard box. You can vary this depending on the age/ interests/ skill level of your child. Baby can drop objects through the holes and watch them fall. If your baby likes auditory stimulation, you can put something in the bottom of the box to make the drop a bit noisier. 

Themed bath
Inspiration: E's love of all things watery and Play, Create, Explore
Supports: depends on the theme
Quick Description: This site has lots of interesting ideas for things you could do to spice up bath time. I am afraid of/ too lazy to attempt most of them, but it could be fun for other people!

Come Find Me!
Inspiration: My desire for 5 seconds of independence
Supports: independence, decrease in separation anxiety, developing understanding of object permanence (ie: just because you can't see an object doesn't mean it doesn't exist anymore), language development, 
Quick Description: Tell your baby, "I'll be right back!" or whatever you generally say when you leave. Then walk slowly away and hide behind something (in the beginning you'll want to make your hiding place very obvious). At first E would start screaming the second I moved away from him, so I'd repeat, "Come find me!" while he crawled his screaming little self toward me. When he found my hiding spot, I'd say something like, "I'm back!" and we'd celebrate. In time, he became more comfortable with me leaving him and even occasionally let me pee alone. Score one for mama! 

Where's the ... ?
InspirationBloggin About Babies
Supports: developing understanding of object permanence (ie: just because you can't see an object doesn't mean it doesn't exist anymore), language development
Quick Description: Introduce your baby to an object (show and name it). Hide the object (under a blanket, behind something, etc). Ask baby, "Where's the...?" Clap when baby finds it (or do the happy dance. Take your pick). Reiterate the object's name as you point to it. 

Inspiration: Too many rowdy sleepovers in my best friend's basement
Supports: gross motor development, cruising/ walking, pulling to stand independence 
Quick Description: Place sturdy objects around the room. Encourage your baby to cruise from one to the other without dropping down to the floor. Challenge your baby to make attempts at first steps by placing items increasingly farther apart. FYI it's called Alligator! because my friends and I used to amuse ourselves during sleepovers by pretending the floor was full of alligators, naturally giving us no choice but to hurl our 12+ year old selves from one piece of furniture to the next. Ah, youth... 

Walker soccer
Inspiration: E and Sadie dog made this up themselves
Supports: cruising/ walking, having fun!
Quick Description: E and Sadie both love to play with balls, so we have quite a few laying around the house. Take turns "kicking" the ball back and forth with your baby as he plays in his walker. Tip: Watch your ankles! Babies are very aggressive drivers!

Walk the house
Inspiration: Bloggin About Babies
Supports: language development, new sensory experiences 
Quick Description: Walk around the house (and outside), naming objects you see. Allow baby to touch different textures, see how things work, etc. as you describe the object and its properties. 

Stand up, Sit down
Inspiration: Too many hours of sleep lost due to a baby who loves to pull up but can't sit down
Supports: independence, pulling to stand, sitting, gross motor development, language development
Quick Description: Say, "Stand up!" as you encourage your baby to pull to stand (around here, this is not necessary, as E spends every waking moment attempting to stand). Once he's up, show him an object that interests him (for us, it's anything that makes noise or can be eaten). Place the object on the floor and encourage baby to sit down to get it, saying "Sit down". Keep repeating and cross your fingers that your baby will remember this when he wakes up in the middle of the night!
Standing up rocks!