Monday, November 24, 2014

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
The two week fruit program!

November 16-23, 2014

Age: 8 weeks old
Curriculum: early learning / infant stimulation program outlined in How Smart is Your Baby by Glenn Doman.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Our learning activities

Last week was a bit of a pitiful week for our early learning program, but this week was a great deal more productive and fun.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Fruits we used for first week

We are now doing the activities for stage 3, "intermediate phase", which is the
ten-daytwo-week fruit program (I changed it to two weeks because what kind of random number is a week and three days?)

The fruits we used for our first week were:
  • grapes
  • apple
  • banana
  • kiwi
  • pear
  • mandarin
  • persimmon
8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
How to do the fruit program

Basically, the point of the "fruit program" is to stimulate all five of your baby's senses (all the pathways to the brain) and to introduce the concept of many ways to represent and experience one object.

For example, the concept "pear" and how it is a sound (a spoken word), an actual object that can be felt and tasted and smelled, a two-dimensional picture, and also a written word.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Our whole family tried a new fruit, and discovered that we liked it!

It was a really fun week for us! It was so fun to see her reaction to the smells and tastes especially. She really enjoyed tasting the fruit, even though it was only a teeny, tiny, minuscule amount (I just touched a piece of cut fruit to the tip of her tongue for about 3-5 seconds).

She quickly got to the point where she would anticipate me giving her a taste of the fruit and would start sticking her tongue in and out. It was so cute.

It was a little difficult to get her to look at the picture and the word, because she was more interested in looking at my face! So I had to hide behind the picture or hold the picture off to the side in order for her to be interested in looking at it.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Looking at stage 3 (initial phase) visual stimulation cards

She looked at her stage 3 visual stimulation cards a bit from last week.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Story time with big brothers

We've been doing story time a little bit more often this week. I'll admit I've been somewhat slacking in this department with her.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Holding her head up high

She's been holding her head up really high lately. Pretty much at a perfect 90 degree angle.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Waking up and looking around

When she wakes up in the morning she loves to look around. She really, really enjoys and prefers to be on her stomach.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Playing with Mommy

She's also been doing this thing where when you hold her up in the air she will completely straighten her body to where it is parallel to the ground. The top picture doesn't show it very well because her legs are a bit more relaxed in the above picture than when she does this.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Moving in her sleep

One interesting thing I've noticed lately is how much she moves in her sleep. She is a tummy sleeper and will often move quite a bit as she sleeps. She will turn her head side to side, shift her legs and arms, arch her back, and more while she is sleeping and it results in her moving sometimes several feet as she sleeps.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Napping (and moving) in her track

Here is another example. The above picture was from a short nap in her crawling track. As you can see, her head started out by the trumpet and ended up down by the sea turtle.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
She scooted all the way to the end of the track this week

And, milestone alert! She scooted all the way to the end of the track this week. Yay!

This was really a giant leap for her, as previously the longest she ever really scooted was maybe about two feet before she would grow tired of being in the track.

Now all of the sudden she is scooting the entire six-foot long track in about three minutes, and she would probably scoot more if the track were longer!

Just when I was wondering when she would achieve this milestone (her brother was scooting the length of the track around seven weeks), she decided to do it so suddenly and with such rapid speed and efficiency. I love it when babies surprise us like this!

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Sitting up

Another thing I noticed lately is that she is starting to sit up pretty much on her own, if she is on the right surface. Like in the above picture, when she is sitting between my legs she will sit unsupported for quite a long time.

My legs create a sort of indention in the mattress so it helps her not lean over too far.

8 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Two months old

Baby girl turned two months old at the end of this week!

Resources Used:

Free Infant Stimulation Kit for Glenn Doman "How Smart is Your Baby" Program

Monday, November 17, 2014

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria with a daily set of stage 3 visual stimulation cards

November 9-15, 2014

Age: 7 weeks old
Activities: early learning / infant stimulation program outlined in How Smart is Your Baby by Glenn Doman.

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Our activities for the week... Sort of

I'm just going to throw this out there that this week was not that great of a week for our early learning program.

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
At the Right Whale Festival, at the Castillo De San Marcos National Monument, & at a museum.

We were gone from very early Tuesday morning to late Wednesday night (went on some field trips and stayed overnight at a friend's house) and it really sort of threw off our whole week. We were out and about all day Saturday and Sunday as well.

We did still do a few of the activities here and there throughout the week. An odd balance session. Reciting our poem. Listening to the classical music piece. Gentle lifting with the grasp reflex. I showed her her visual stimulation cards a couple times, even though she wasn't that interested (I think she is a little too advanced for them).

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria in her crawling track

Aria had a few minutes in her track this week. She also naturally had a lot of tummy time, as she loves being on her tummy.

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Standing on big brother

She continues to love standing up (supported, of course).

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
She loves to stand up!

Such a big girl!

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Talking to Mommy

We of course had lots of conversations. No matter how busy we are, I can't resist that sweet face, those infectious smiles, and those beckoning coo's and ahh's and oh's.

She is such a talker and such a smiler. We love our daily conversations!

7 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Sucking her thumb

She also started sucking her thumb this week. I think it's so adorable!

6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program

Resources used this week:

Free Infant Stimulation Kit for Glenn Doman "How Smart is Your Baby" Program

Monday, November 10, 2014

6 Weeks Old: Our Early Learning Activities This Week

6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria looking at her stage 3 visual stimulation cards

November 2-8, 2014

Age: 6 weeks old
Curriculum: early learning / infant stimulation program outlined in How Smart is Your Baby by Glenn Doman.

Development: What her developmental profile currently looks like:

6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program

Activities used to further develop and strengthen each area of development (based on How Smart is Your Baby):

6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Number icons tell which stage each activity is for

Summary of our week:

6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Big brother (age 9) showing Aria the number "three" quantity card

We officially started a full-blown stage 3 sensory program this week.

For visual development that meant six of these fun new flash cards each day to look at:

6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria with day 1's visual flash cards

Each day includes two quantity (number) cards (the white dots on black backgrounds), two facial expression cards, and two outline cards with bold, colorful details (shapes, objects, animals, etc)

6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria really enjoyed her visual stimulation cards when they were flashed somewhat quickly (about 1.5 - 2 seconds per card)

Now, last week I did introduce Aria to a few of these cards, and she did seem to enjoy them. However, she would only look at the card for a few seconds, then grow tired of it and turn her head away.

This week, instead of just showing her a card or two to see what she thought, I showed her the entire group of six cards per day (they changed daily) in somewhat quick succession.

When I do this she really enjoys it! Her face lights up, she moves her hands around, and is fascinated at the cards while I go through the deck two or three times.


6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Finding the light on the wall in a dark room

We also did the spotting a light flashlight game a few nights (I shine a penlight on various locations throughout the room and she locates where I shine it).

 She continues to enjoy her checkerboard patterns on the ceiling, walls, and in her crawling track.

  6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Recognizing the sound of the running water and calming down because she knows what comes next, a sign that she has developed an "appreciation of meaningful sound" (that is, knowing what a sound means)

This week we started the "sound of the day" activities. Basically, I play a sound effect on my phone and tell her what sound it is she's hearing. For our first week we did "kitchen sounds" which was composed of:
  • metal pot
  • glass cup
  • water running
  • knife chopping
  • food sizzling
  • teapot whistling
  • scissors cutting
All obtained from freesound.org. Our classical music piece this week was Die Walk├╝re (The Valkyrie) Act 3: Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner, which I played during naps and through the night.

  6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Sensory activity

We started the stage 3 sensory activities this week, which involved very light tickling (with either my finger tips or a baby brush) and also massaging. I name her body parts while I touch them. She seemed to enjoy this activity a lot, unlike her older brother who hated massages! I try to do this at each diaper change.

  6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
She loves to talk

 Our language program has been so much fun lately! Mainly because she is talking back so much. I love listening to all of her little coo's. Her favorite sound to say is "hi", which is just heart-melting. "Ooh", "ahh", "oh", and "hey" are also frequent sounds she makes.

  6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
In her crawling track

Aria got a lot of time in her track this week in short bursts. She continues to have the problem of getting wedged up against the wall and then getting frustrated, like this:
  6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
"Stuck" up against the side

One thing I changed this week was that I moved her crawling track next to the bed instead of on it:
 6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Her crawling track is now next to the bed instead of on it

Originally I thought the crawling track was too long to fit on the floor next to our bed, but it actually does fit if one end is up on the "seat" area that sticks out from the nightstand. On the opposite end, the track is resting on a sturdy plastic file box. This is really a perfect arrangement now because:
  • Our feet no longer hang off the bed when we sleep (her track was previously at the head of the bed)
  • The track is actually at a very slight incline now, and we can make the incline steeper if we choose, making it easier for her to crawl
6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria having tummy time on the couch

This week I also intentionally offered her some tummy time on a pliable, non-enclosed space (our couch) to give her the opportunity to move around without the help of the sides of the track. It was actually funny because when I first laid her down, she just looked around and didn't really try to crawl at all. To the contrary, the second I put her in her crawling track she starts pushing and kicking with her little toes to try and move. It was like she knows that her track is for moving. She did however eventually start attempting to move, but ended up more "rotating" than getting any forward motion.

  6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Enjoying tummy time

She was happy though!

6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Movement in sleep

I've also noticed that she has been moving a lot more in her sleep. Doman says that babies move the most in their sleep, but I thought it was strange because even when my other babies occasionally slept on their stomach, they didn't seem to move at all. However, Aria seems to get a lot of movement in her sleep lately. I don't really notice it while it is happening (I am usually sitting right next to her while she naps), but it just seems like she falls asleep one way and wakes up another!

 6 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria using the grasp reflex to hang from my thumbs

Strong baby! Aria hangs from my thumbs for a second or two using her grasp reflex. She only enjoys this in very short bursts. If I try to do it twice she whines.



 Resources used this week:

 

Free Infant Stimulation Kit for Glenn Doman "How Smart is Your Baby" Program

Monday, November 3, 2014

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Happy baby

October 27 - November 1, 2014
Age: 5 weeks old
Curriculum: early learning / infant stimulation program outlined in How Smart is Your Baby by Glenn Doman.

Stages she is currently in: Stage III visual (seeing),
Stage II-III auditory (hearing development),
Stage II-III tactile (feeling sensation),
Stage I-II mobility (gross motor movement),
Stage II-III language (speech development),
Stage I-II manual (use of hands).

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Our activities this week

Above are the activities we did for this week. The little numbers next to the activity tell you what stage or stages the activities coincide with in How Smart is Your Baby.

As you can see, for mobility development she is in stages I-II. The mobility exercises for those two stages are virtually the same.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Looking around in her crawling track

The first is time in her crawling track. She continues to usually enjoy time in her track and most days this week she spent anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes in her track, about 3 to 7 times a day.

There is no real rhyme or reason for that frequency and time length, by the way, that is just my best estimate of what we actually got around to. Ideally a baby will get to spend as much time as enjoyably possible in their track each day.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria with her head and arm on the side of the track, "stuck"

Many sessions she gets quite a bit of movement, crawling over a foot. Some sessions she mostly relaxes and doesn't move much at all.

She has spent a lot of time looking around in her track (see first picture) and she also tends to get "stuck" on the side of her track quite often, when her head and arm get wedged into the side and it is difficult for her to move. She understandably gets quite frustrated when this happens.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
She prefers to be on her stomach rather than on her back

One funny thing that I realized about her is that she actually prefers to be on her stomach over being on her back.

For most babies, both of my older boys included, tummy time is somewhat of a struggle and they don't like to be on their stomaches for too long.

With Aria, however, I will sometimes lie her down on her back and she will start fussing, and flipping her over to her stomach will actually make her stop!

Balance: 

She continues to enjoy her balance activities, and they usually relax her, as long as she's not too tired.
I don't have any pictures of them this week. I did finish shooting a how-to video of her balance activities though, and now I just have to compile them together and upload them.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Milestone: she can support her own body weight with her grasp reflex now

Manual (Use of Hands)

She reached a new milestone in her use of hands development this week and can support her own body weight. Hooray!

Since birth I have been stimulating the grasp reflex, with the slightest amount of lifting worked in to get progressively higher.

For instance, when she was a few days old I would get her to grasp my thumbs and then lift her to where her head was maybe a half inch off of the bed.

Over the weeks we got progressively higher, to where she was eventually being lifted to a sitting position, then to a standing position, now she is to the point where her grasp reflex is strong enough that she can be lifted off of the bed for a few seconds.

She enjoys this as long as I keep it brief. If I hold her like this for more than a about 2 seconds she will start crying. So I always keep it very brief so she will continue to enjoy it.

As you can see from the activity list above we still do your basic grasp reflex stimulation from stage I, usually while she is nursing I will play with her hands and she will hold onto mine.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
How to test the vital release

Another thing we did this week for her manual (use of hands) activities was to test her vital release.

I did not list this as an activity because we only did it a few times, although I may list it for next week because she was not entirely consistent in her response so I may do the stimulations to help her develop this ability to a more consistent point.

The vital release is, essentially, the ability to let go. When babies are born, as we all know, they have a grasp reflex. They reflexively grasp onto anything place in their hand.

However, they do not actually have the ability to release the grasp, even if the thing that they are grasping is causing them pain or discomfort.

Eventually, though, they will develop the vital (aka lifesaving) release, which is the ability to release their grasp if whatever is in their hand is uncomfortable or painful. This is the prerequisite to being able to voluntarily open and close their hand and pick things up with their hands.

So to test her vital release, I did as instructed in the picture above. Basically, I put my thumb in her hand and allowed her to firmly grasp it. Then, I ever so carefully squeezed a fold of her skin from underneath my thumb.

I squeezed it enough to bring about discomfort, but obviously I am not trying to hurt my baby so I was not squeezing it to the point of pain. If the baby has developed the vital release, she will let go when you are making her uncomfortable. You might make the baby get a grouchy look or cringe, but ideally not cry.

If she hasn't developed the vital release yet she may start crying but still not let go.

Aria did have the vital release, but it is not yet very consistent. I would sometimes have to squeeze a couple of times before I got a response. A couple of times she started stirring as if she felt something but did not let go. So I think I will strengthen this brain pathway more next week.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Damien (age 3) having a conversation with Aria. He loves repeating her poem for her, too.

Language Development:

Now that Aria is very, very consistently smiling at us, it makes our conversation sessions so much more fun.

For language development we have lots of back and forth conversations. That is, not just talking to baby but talking with her: responding to her when she talks to us (all sounds are language), asking questions (and actually waiting for a response), and so on.

We also have been doing our poem: "Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you."

Theoretically I am supposed to repeat this poem 5x a day for the first week, then the next week I repeat it but "drop" (don't say) the last word of the poem (in this case, "you") and encourage the baby to say that word "you" (of course, she doesn't have to make that exact sound, any sound will do).

But I haven't been that consistent, more like just repeating the poem randomly when I think about it. But hopefully next week...

She has been "talking" a lot lately, definitely has developed or is developing stage III language development, "the creation of meaningful sounds".

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria looking at a stage III flash card

Visual Development

This week was kind of a funny week for visual development. She is technically in stage III, but we haven't really started a full stage III visual program yet, due to the fact that I had this set date of starting stage III when she was 6 weeks old and I didn't really want to divert from that schedule.
Sort of silly, yes, but when I had the entire first year mapped out, it would kind of throw it off. So I waited.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria checking out a stage III flash card of a triangle

I  did go ahead and introduce her to a few stage III flash cards, though, and she seemed to enjoy them.
We also continued to do stage I flashlight stimulations, and the stage II "spotting a light" in the dark flashlight game.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria, in her Moby Wrap, checking out my face at a fall festival

We also went to two different fall festivals this week, as well as trick or treating, and she enjoyed looking at all of the lights at both activities. It was a great opportunity for her to use her vision.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria listening to classical music while napping on the boppy

Auditory Program

Our auditory program involved the language program (described above), as well as listening to classical music (this week's piece was Adagio for Strings, Op. 11a).

You may have noticed that we skipped over stage II auditory activities, and I will describe our reasoning for that in another post.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Little pumpkin

Tactile Program

We also skipped the stage II tactile program, but are continuing to do the stage I activity of stimulating the babinski reflex.

If I would have thought of it before now, I should have just gone onto the stage III tactile program (tickling and massage), but I didn't. Oh well, will start that next week.

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Happy Halloween!

This is what her developmental profile currently looks like:

5 Weeks Old Early Learning Program

Resources used this week:

Free Infant Stimulation Kit for Glenn Doman "How Smart is Your Baby" Program