Why sign if he has a voice?

February 20, 2012

Yes, my baby can speak, well, he can say several words.  He is 18 months old and like any toddler his age, he clearly has a voice of his own.
I decided to teach him a few words in sign language before he could even say several words.

According to this article on “Parents” magazine, “Parents are beginning to realize that children’s proficiency in using their hands comes well before using the more intricate muscles of their tongue and vocal cords. And both parents and experts agree that signing with your baby can relieve his frustration at not being able to communicate with you (and your frustration at not being able to understand him).”

My baby boy was able to communicate with us effectively when he was close to turning 1. There were no cries, screams, tantrums nor was there food or sippy cups thrown on the floor when he learned to tell me he wanted more food, more water or even more kisses that tickled him or more singing of a song he found entertaining. It worked like magic.

We were so proud when he signed his first word “más” (more in Spanish), then he went on by learning how to say “listo” (all done), “gracias” (thank you) and “por favor” (please).

Some people who have seen him communicate with sign language ask me if I don’t care that he signs those words rather than saying them (now that he can say several words verbally). My answer is no.
Just as he learned how to communicate through signing, he will have to learn to communicate verbally with his teacher and friends in pre-school once he realizes that they don’t understand what he is saying.

Besides, I think it’s totally awesome to teach your child the “magic words” very early in life, and of course, how to communicate with you.

My husband and I have to keep on reinforcing that he continues to say “thank you” and “please”, for example, when he is able to say these words verbally. I’m glad to say that my boy has taken the first steps towards having good social skills.

Cool stuff.

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As women, we all have numerous complaints about our bodies. The number of complaints probably increase after giving birth to a baby. I loved my belly while I was pregnant, was amazed at how perfect the human body is, but constantly complain mentally and verbally about my post baby body.

Like the author of this article, I believe 100%  in girl power, self-esteem, internal beauty, you name it. But I also believe that the way you feel about yourself, including your looks, influence your self esteem and how you project yourself onto others. That this influences how you relate to people, make new friends, ace interviews and get jobs.

I cannot imagine how difficult it will be to not send mixed messages to my kids.

I do hope I will be able to communicate verbally and through example, that health includes mind, body and soul. That exercise is good for you and that it makes you happy and feel great about yourself. That being smart and having diverse interests as a girl is important in a society that links women almost always to looks and fashion. That fashion is very cool, that cooking is very cool and that debating is very cool too. I hope I’ll be able to teach my kids what my favorite new book I read to my son says: “Thank you for the skin I came in, it’s nice and tight, it fits exaclty right. Thank you for me.”(The title of the book is “Thank you for me”).

Being a parent is tough. Being a mother is tougher (I’m just slightly biased). I hear it’s tougher to raise girls than boys. Who knows…

I will definitely read and re-read this mother’s response, print it and bookmark it for when my nieces and unborn daughters tell me “I’m fat.”

Coolest stuff.

SIDS is something so scarry, so so so serious…If you’re expecting a baby (your 1st, 2nd, 3rd or more) you MUST read THIS.
BACK TO SLEEP stands for putting babies on their backs when put to sleep.

Better be safe than sorry.

Are you an involved parent?

November 21, 2011

If you have kids in school, you’ll be interested in the following article “How About Better Parents?” from the New York Times.
If your kids aren’t in school yet, you might want to start reading to them every day (book worms rock!).

If you are an “involved parent” read what the study found:

“The study found that getting parents involved with their children’s learning at home is a more powerful driver of achievement than parents attending P.T.A. and school board meetings, volunteering in classrooms, participating in fund-raising, and showing up at back-to-school nights.”

Are you a bystander?

November 10, 2011

Photo taken from the British Red Cross campaign "Don't be a bystander. Be someone. Learn first aid."

Have you ever been one?

The following article talks about the Penn State scandal and how Joe Paterno “didn’t act, wrongly”.

I’m guilty on one occasion for  being a bystander: we were in a study group at a friend’s apartment and we could hear the neighbor being violent with his wife, throwing pans and glass bottles at her. We could hear her screaming and yet, the five of us looked at each other without saying a word. It seemed as if we were frozen, no one knew what number to call. I still feel guilty about not being able to react and having had done nothing that day. All I can say is that it’s easy to say “I would’ve had reported it”, yet when you’re in the situation, the bystander effect is contagious.

On another occasion, I overheard a co-worker saying sexually harassing comments in public to some ladies. And it happened again, everyone around him was quiet and didn’t say a thing. I decided to talk to my boss about it and I was asked to literally say what the harasser had said (which was something very uncomfortable to do because there were words that would never come out of my mouth). He thanked me for “reporting” it. Unfortunately, as far as the other women and I are aware, no action was taken.

Is it possible that there are so many bystanders around us? Do you think not acting is wrong? It seems even worse when it’s a football coach committing sex crimes against boys, right?

What would you have done if you had been in any of these situations?

How have you taught your kids that no one should touch their private parts?

So this is a blog for mothers, mothers are women. Mothers have sons or daughters.

If you are a mother, of either a boy, girl or both, this is a must see documentary: Miss Representation.

It’s crazy to realize how media shapes our idea of everything pretty much – as well as of what women are, how they should behave and what they should look like.

I wonder if this is what stops young women to get promoted in jobs or if what is portrayed in the media is what men think of women. “You can’t be what you can’t see.” (I know this is a generalization, several exceptions exist.)

I have utmost respect for women leaders, they have gone so far. I definitely don’t think it’s a battle against men – unless of course a man thinks that the “downside” about having a woman as president  is “the PMS and the mood swings” – it’s just a necessity to bring both men and women’s opinions, views, votes, representation, and leadership to the table.

During my work experience, I’ve had the privilege of sitting on board of directors meetings (unfortunately not as a director, but as part of the team that reports to them) on two of my jobs. I was the only woman out of 6 men on the first one and for almost two years, I was the only woman  out of 11 men on the second one, until another woman got promoted and then we were two women out of 11 men. That is only 16% and 18% respectively of women seats surrounded by 83% of men seats on board meetings. This is only from my humble experience in a developing country, who has had a woman as vice-president by the way.

Now imagine the impact the lack of “representation” has on policy on women’s issues,  decisions in general, company’s policies on salaries, policies on flex-time, part-time, maternity and paternity leave, to name a few. Think of how our sons and daughters will grow up with a distorted view of women and what they will expect from their life partners when they choose one, if many companies’ and institutions’ decisions are made mostly by men.

Something is very wrong with these pictures, don’t you think? Let’s think of how we as women and mothers are role models to the kids who surround us.

I invite you to take the pledge when you click here. Women are indeed misrepresented.

Cool stuff.

Can a Parent do too Much?

October 26, 2011

Can a parent do too much to mess up their kids’ lives?
Is it good to “always” be there? To give up your life in order to “serve” your kids?
Why and how have parents failed to raise kids who have and have had “everything”, yet feel empty inside?

These are some of the questions that come up in this brilliant article by Lori Gottlieb How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” in Atlantic Magazine.

I’ve read this article several times, and recommend it to any parent who’s interested in raising a productive and happy human being with self-worth.

And here is an article from the New York Times that talks about something very similar from what you’ll read on the Atlantic Magazine article, its titled “What if the Secret to Success is Failure”.

Very cool stuff.