Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby talk

I witnessed Phoebe interacting with another baby for the first time at the Community Health Centre parenting workshop on Thursday.

We were having a talk about first aid by a lady who used to work for Queensland Ambulance. I'm glad I did a couple of first aid courses last year because this woman was exceptionally difficult to listen to. Not only did she have a lisp but she also had an annoying pitch of voice, a strong accent and a drawl with pauses in strange places. I found it very difficult to concentrate on what she was saying especially after a young mum called Kerry placed her baby girl, Zoe on the mat next to Phoebe. Zoe is a few weeks older than Phoebe, around 13 weeks old I think. Before long they were aware of each other and looking at one another. Then they started exchanging smiles and reaching out towards one another. They seemed absolutely fascinated. When one looked away from the other, her little friend would coo and gurgle in an attempt to get her attention drawn back to her. It was very cute.

Gymbaroo was a lot of fun on Wednesday. Phoebe and her two friends from my ante-natal class, Hugo and Julian were the youngest babies there. The class is directed at non-mobile babies so most of them are a few months older than Phoebe. When they start crawling they graduate to the mobile baby group. There were a lot of activities, which were kept short in order to maintain the babies' interest. I was concerned that it mightn't fit in with Phoebe's cycle but she did really well.

They have a lot of equipment you can use, mainly to promote body awareness but the bulk of the class is teacher-led with the babies lying on mats and mums kneeling next to them in a circle. They had tummy time, we sang songs and patted their little bodies in time to the music, we danced around in a circle singing and swinging the babies around and up and down, massaged them by rolling sticks up and down their bodies and waved various toys in front of them.

There is also a theme of a week to introduce them to the idea of symbols and get their eyes tracking from left to right in preparation for learning to read. We were given scrap books with a word written on one side (in this case, "red") which is flashed in front of the bub for one second (any longer than that and they break the word into pieces and stop seeing it as a cohesive whole); on the other side is a picture representing the word (i.e. a red square), which we hold up to the left of the baby's head and move it towards the right repeating the word. They suggest getting your partner to hold the baby's head whilst you do this to encourage their eyes rather than their head to move.

All of the activities are encouraged to be tried at home, so for example they suggest pointing out red things for the rest of the week then slowly introducing them to next week's theme (blue) and taking in a blue object to the class. I got a little over-excited and collected three blue toys for Phoebe's "treasure bag" as they call it. One really useful thing I learned was that during tummy time I should roll Phoebe from her back to her tummy, rather than picking her up, turning her over and putting her back down, and the same in reverse when she's had enough. This is so that she can get the idea of rolling from back to front and be able to do it herself.

We've had a few more "sleep-throughs" and most nights we have at least one 8 hour stretch now. Of course last night was the exception. We'd let her get a bit over-tired and had friends over for dinner so she ended up going to bed a bit earlier than usual. I decided to try another "dream feed" before I went to bed at 10pm but I admit I was sceptical as every time I've tried it in the past she's still woken up at the time I would expect her to without the extra feed, in this case 3am. Sure enough, she woke up for another feed at 3am and not only that but she woke again at 5am. I think I'll let the 8 hour sleeps get a bit more established before I try another dream feed.

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