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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

6-12 months

Read! Nap! Cook! How to do it all with twins

Monday, October 10th, 2011 2:46 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Brooke and Mackenzie occupied with their favorite book with removeable pieces

45 minutes…60 minutes…75 minutes…I am watching the clock to see how long Brooke and Mackenzie can occupy themselves without needing anything from me. I am cooking, cleaning, checking email and don’t even look at them unless they call out to me. If one of them babbles something that is clearly directed at me, I look at her, repeat what she said, then add, “Okay, mommy is cooking,” and go back to cooking. They then go back to doing what they’re doing.

At 9 months old, Brooke and Mackenzie can play up to 1.5 hours by themselves. If they crawl to me, I will pick them up and talk to them/play with them for 5 minutes, then put them back on the floor. If they call to me, I will respond by saying something to them. If they cry, I will pick them up, of course. I am on alert for danger, but I never interrupt them unless it’s necessary.  It’s hard, but I have to stop myself from even looking at them because my stare distracts them and pulls their attention to me. They are completely happy playing by themselves.

From very early on, when they were less than 2 months old, I would allow them to do tummy time on their floor mat without interrupting them. Unless they cried or needed to be fed/changed, I allowed them to “play” by themselves. As they got older, I would give them a toy or hang one above them (see mobile), and do my own thing (cook, clean, read, etc.) while they played. When Brooke was 4 months old, she could play with a toy for 20 minutes by herself. And if I switched out the toy, she could play by herself for at least another 20 minutes. The time stretched as they got older.

I cannot stress how important it is NOT to interrupt a baby when he is exploring a toy, doing tummy time, looking at himself in the mirror, crawling around, just cooing to himself, etc. During that time, do not touch or interact with him.  Do not even look at him. Your look is distracting.  Model for your baby what it means to do your own thing. He needs that time to play and explore by himself, which builds concentration, motor skills and teaches him to occupy himself.  Start this trend when they’re newborn and soon enough, you’ll be reading books, cooking extensive meals and taking much-needed naps…all while they play.

Read more here.

Simple, delicious recipe for baby’s first real meal

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 3:04 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Your baby’s first real meal is a big achievement and a big stepping stone. Prepare something that is homemade and delicious for the big day. This is a great recipe I learned in my Montessori training. My children still love it at 10 months!

STEP 1. What you’ll need

1. Organic rice cereal – I like this brand, Lundberg, the best. I’ve tried Bob’s Red Mill, Arrowhead Mill, but they were too coarse. Lundberg did a great job at creating a very silk smooth texture with this product that is perfect for babies.

2. Real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – not a cheap substitute, it really makes a difference

3. A small organic tomato

STEP 2. You can use the proportion stated on the box or do what I do: Use 1/4 cup rice cereal and 1 1/2 cups water (or any 1:6 proportion). I like to use more water because I find when you cook the rice longer, the rice is creamier and silkier. In short, it tastes better. But that’s just my personal preference!

STEP 3. Cut the tomato in half. Separate out the seed, skin and the flesh. Throw away the skin and seed (the seed makes the whole thing taste bitter – that’s a secret I learned during my Montessori training!)

STEP 4. Finely chop the flesh of the tomato.

STEP 5. Pour the finished rice cereal into a bowl.

STEP 6. Combine the chopped tomatoes and shaved parmesan cheese with the rice cereal

STEP 7. STIR!

STEP 8. Add 3 drops of organic olive oil to add some healthy fat to your baby’s diet.

TASTE IT! Does it taste good to you? It should be bland but TASTY.

STEP 9. My kids love to eat this. We’re already at the bottom of the bowl and Mackenzie is still eating eagerly!

Box with Tray and Ball

Saturday, September 17th, 2011 5:59 pm | By Stephanie Woo

This toy consists of a cube mounted in a tray with a hole on the top. When a wooden ball or waffle ball is placed in the hole, it rolls down the ramp and empties into the tray.

This is an excellent toy for helping 8-9 month old learn the concept of Object Permanence, which means ‘an object exists even if I can’t see it.’ As the ball disappears into the hole, it takes a few seconds to reappear as it rolls down the ramp. The babies are fascinated when the ball reappears!

Babies at this age also start to understand that not just objects, but people (Mommy and Daddy) still exist even if I can’t see them. Peekaboo games are used to teach this concept. They love the game and anticipate the adult being there when the cover is removed. At this time, they are moving around a lot in their environment. They will crawl away from Mom and then come back. It’s useful at this time to cue the child and let him know where you are: “I’m in the bathroom, you can come find me. I’m going to the kitchen to make a cup of tea!”