5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe in Their Car Seats. Learn From My Mistakes.

Sitting forward facing, and was injured in a
minor car accident. (Whiplash) 

When Z was 18 months old, he hit 20lbs and was getting too big for his rear facing bucket car seat. So I thought, well the rules are if a child is 1 years old or older, can walk, and is over 20lbs its ok to change them to a forward facing car seat. Z met all these requirements so I thought we were good to switch him. Besides Wes was 13 months when I switched him(He was a big boy). Z got 5 more months rear facing, he must be ready.

4 months later we were in a car accident. An emergency vehicle was passing and I had slowed down with traffic to allow them to pass. Once they were passed I began accelerating to the speed limit, when out of nowheres, a woman went from the left turning lane, right into my lane. It was physically impossible for me to stop in time and I nailed her passenger side door. As we slammed into her I saw a 10 year olds eyes staring at me from the van’s passenger seat. As soon as I knew everyone in our car was ok. I backed the car up a bit so I could open my door. I ran to the car and the child in the front seat was ok, and the woman was finishing her conversation on her cellphone!! Talking on the phone while driving is illegal in Manitoba, so to finish your conversation after you caused an accident is unacceptable. So I grabbed my phone and started taking photos. 

In the end everyone was ok, and she accepted responsibility. Luckily I wasn’t going the speed limit as we had just slowed down for the emergency vehicle. Because if I had been doing 80km, a lot more damage would have been done. 


I hit the door during impact and got a pretty mean whiplash. Also because Z was forward facing, he sadly also suffered from whiplash. It wasn’t until a few months later that I realized, if Z had been rear facing, he would not have likely gotten whiplash. 

Needless to say he got turned around that night. 

How can you keep your child as safe as possible in the car?

1) Buy a car seat that allows for your child to stay rear facing as long as possible. Don’t change to the next stage until your child reaches the maximum height or weight.
Picture from
 http://www.besafe.com/en/i-size/rear-facing-car-seats-are-safer

Oh but they look so squished rear facing. My child’s legs are too long. They don’t like being rear facing. Well this is what I have to say to you. Have you ever seen the positions a child will get into while playing? Trust me they are not squashed. Would you rather your child have a broken leg or a broken neck? Also if they didn’t having a bath would you not give them one?



2) Make sure your child’s chest clip is where it should be, at the chest, not on the stomach. 
Photo from http://csftl.org/a-chest-clip-goes-on-the-chest/

According to Car Seats For the Littles website, if the strap is too low they risk being ejected from their car seat, and its too high they risk neck injury. 


3) Make sure your child’s car seat straps are tight enough.

Do the pinch test. If you can pinch the strap, its not tight enough. You want to make sure to have the right fit, otherwise your child could wiggle their way out of the straps when you are not looking, not be held in tight during an accident and be thrown around in their seat, or worse case be ejected from the seat.  



4) Make sure your child’s car seat is strapped tight enough to the seat, and it is in the proper spot. 

Make sure you cannot move your child’s car seat more than 1 inch front to back, and side to side. While learning how to properly install car seats in my own vehicle, I found this Youtube video very helpful. 

5) Puffy snowsuits are a big no-no.

This one was news to me! Puffy snow are dangerous to wear in a car seat. This was hard to swallow for me, someone who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Heck our city’s nickname is Winterpeg for crying out loud. 

Basically what happens is a bulky coat, will cause the straps to fit the child too loosely, making them less effective. 

You can read HERE, to see if your child’s jacket is too big, and what you can do if it is. 

Please ignore the fact that my son is forward facing in this photo, However you can see that he is wearing a two piece fleece suit over his clothes. I always prewarm the car and cover him with a blanket once he’s strapped in. But 9 times out of 10, he doesn’t need the blanket and bunches it up to cuddle with.We also alway bring along his warmer puffy jacket in case we hit a ditch or the car breaks down.

Disclaimer: I am not a car seat tech, or car seat specialist of any sort. I am just a mom of two, sharing with you my discoveries through my own research online and while talking with insurance approved car seat specialist. If in doubt contact your local automobile insurance company and ask them where you can contact a car seat specialist in your area. Many times local fire stations also have trained car seat techs. 

What does a parent do while they are wait for ABA services?

What does a parent do while they are wait for ABA services?

Here in our part of Canada ABA services are covered by Manitoba Health. While this is awesome because most US residents have to pay thousands, if not hundreds of thousands a year.

This is a wonderful blessing! However, the only downside is the long, long waiting list. Right now people are looking at 18 months to 2 years. IF you child does not age off the list at 5 years old. This is very stressful for parents, and it wasn’t always that way. Back in August of 2008, I signed up then 3 year old boy up for the program and his first visit with his ABA Senior tutor happened in January of 2009. 5 months. That was it! Totally doable for anxious parents. However this time around I signed my youngest up for services in February 2014, and we will be LUCKY to have our first visit in September 2015. 19 months. More likely January 2016, 23 months. Terrifying for an anxious parent. 

Sad part is ABA is most effective if started EARLY. Hence the title, Early Intervention. So parents CANNOT wait for services. Since the government doesn’t seem to understand the seriousness of this, parents have to step up. This can be so scary for parents who have not been through this before. So I decided I HAVE to blog what we do in our home. Now while this might not apply to your situation, I’m hoping the resources I mention might have things that can help you. 
The BIG Book of ABA Programs :I call this book the ABA bible. It has a program written for each step of the ABBLS-R.
“The BIG Book Of ABA Programs After the ABLLS®-R has been completed, educators and parents are often left wondering how to transform the results into empirical IEP goals and quality ABA training programs. With the BIG Book of ABA Programs those concerns are a thing of the past. Each detailed program can be used with dozens of different children. Each program contains specific instructions for data recording and implementation for baseline and ABA teaching. Each program is customizable for different children and their unique settings, teachers, reinforcers, and steps pertaining to each program. Benefits Why pay a behavior analyst to write your programs? Why spend hours writing your own? The BIG Book of ABA Programs contains more than 500 precisely written, photocopyable, ABA program protocols for every teachable step in the ABLLS®-R. Each of the more than 500 photocopyable teaching programs contains: A well-written IEP and program objective A complete baseline implementation”

This book will help you get ideas of things you can do now to help your child while you wait for ABA services to start. 

I highly suggest buying an 

Assessment Kit for ABLLS®-R, with Manual from Different Roads. 

 
I know it looks pricey. I will admit to ship it to me, but the end my bill was just shy of $1300. But that being said, during your child’s three years in the Preschool Program, and three years School Age, this investment will be worth it. 

I wish I had know about it when Wes went through the program. 

I dreaded every clinic meeting because I knew I would be given a list of items, pictures, etc to find. And that program could not be started until I did so. So I spent thousands of dollars on dollar store items, ink for my printer, photo printing, things from the teachers store. Not to mention hours of time on the computer finding said pictures, and gas driving from store to store. I can’t image how much easier it would have been to say, “Lets the bins and see what we have.” Then been able to start the program that day! Instead of waiting till the next time the Senior tutor or Consultant came. 

I was talking to another ABA mom a few days ago. When I told her about this kit that I had bought for Z, she told me she wished she had know there was something like this available for parents, she would have likely made the investment too.

And lets say this is not an option for you to purchase outright, right this second. I highly suggest figuring out how many months you have on the waitlist, subtracting a few months in case you get in early, and figuring out how much money you have to put away each month to buy this kit. But if you can swing getting it ASAP, you will have more tools in your pocket to start working with your child NOW.

You might be thinking, there is no way I can run a 35 hour program on my own. I don’t have the money for that kit. I work full time. Remember, every moment you work with your child it will pay off. Making time during meal times, before bed, in the car to daycare, every moment counts. So don’t give up because you can’t put in 35 hours a week. Yes 35 hours is the best. But 5 hours is better the zero hours.   

Activity Ideas:
– Verbally label everything.
– Do house tours labeling what each item is. 
– Make large clear written labels for things around the home. 
– Count everything. 
– Practice dressing skills. 
– Playing with Shape Sorters. 
– Puzzles

Flipping through The Big Book of ABA Programs will give you ideas on what skills your child might need to work on. 

Another thing worth suggesting is to start following through with everything. This is one of the hardest things for me to adjust to when my oldest was in ABA. Sometimes after a hard busy day, its just easier to give in. If you start following through with everything now, this is one last adjustment you and your child will have to make. 

Waiting for services is so frustrating. Trust me, I know, I’m there. But don’t let your child rot waiting for services. Everything little thing you can do with them now, is one less thing your ABA term will have to do. Leaving them able to focus on the really tough stuff.

Also check out BrillKids programs. They are such a power tool as well. They work on labeling and reading at the same time.

Good Luck on your journey!

What resources did you find helpful while you waited for services?

Local News. My story about pacifier safety and the Mommy Wars

Well last night I was on the evening news. No I didn’t break the law or anything like that. I was telling my story I shared on Facebook that went viral. 


It was the beginning of August. My family and I were at our local Superstore doing our Sunday grocery and it had taken a bit longer than usual. We heard over the loud speaker that the store would be closing in 15mins, so we hurried to the tills to pay for our items. While we stood in line I realized we would not have time to stop for soothers before the other stores closed for the night. Here in Winnipeg most stores close at 6pm on Sundays. So I left hubby and the kids in line and I ran to the baby sections to grab some soothers. The only orthodontic tip soothers they had available that night were the PC brand. So I grabbed a pack and ran back to the till.

That night I got back home and washed them according to the package and of course inspected them for defects. Z used them that night and the next day would a hitch.

The problem happened the next day at nap time. As usual I get all my daycare kids ready for nap. I had changed and pottied Z first so I put him in his playpen with the soother and blankie. I had quickly checked it like I do everytime I give it to him and it was intact. Then I took the other children to their beds for nap. 

When I came back upstairs to grab Z to do our usual little lessons and story before nap, I found him struggling. I looked down on the floor and there was the base of the soother, but no nipple. Luckily I was able to get it out of his throat by flipping him over and giving 2 strong smacks to his back. When I took him to his room I went and looked at the soother he had used the night before and it was separating from the base as well.  

When my hubby got home I took my son and the pacifier to the store I purchased it, since it was a store brand. The manager on duty was shocked and was just as angry as I was. He suggested I call the number on the package and he would have the store manager call me when he got in the next afternoon. 

The head office contacted me first. They made arrangements to pick up the soothers via Purolator to send to the manufacturer for testing. Shortly after I spoke to them, the store manager called me back. He was glad I was being taken care of by head office, and that was who he planned to contact.

Weeks later I got a phone call from the company. They said it was because my son bit it off and no fault of the product. They were going to send me a $25 gift card to cover my refund and whatever was extra was in good fate. I tried to explain that my son had never done this to a soother before and not since. I didn’t believe he bit it off. ESPECIALLY in all of 5 mins. This was a new soother, not one that was months old. I asked to speak to higher ups, but was told that they would tell me the exact same thing. So I told the woman that I would have no choice but to go to the media. We ended our conversation. 

So I went to my computer and turned to social media. Luckily I had taken photos of the soothers before I sent them to the company. I wrote what happened and how I was treated by the company. Honestly I am not out for money. I didn’t even care if I was refunded for the soothers. I just didn’t want another child and parent going through what I had. But the fact they just felt $25 was a good enough bandaid for the situation was a slap in the face. What that what my child’s life worth them.

The what ifs haunt me. 

-What if I just put him to bed and not in the playpen to wait for me to be read to read stories and do lessons? 

– What if I froze and he choked to death?

-What if this happens to another mother who is not trained in First Aid CPR?

So I turned to social media on the Friday and made my post. I posted it to my wall, and 2 local groups and asked them to spread the word. I also posted it on the Loblaws website. I don’t think I fully understood the power of social media. I saw it was getting shared and I was satisfied. If I could warn a few moms about this that is all I wanted. 

 On Monday I was getting ready to take my son and daycare kids for a walk when my hubby called. “Did you give my work number to a reporter from CTV names Beth?” I told him of course I didn’t. Then my Facebook messenger went off. It was a woman from my Daycare Providers group on Facebook. She had received this message to her Kijiji ad.

Hi, I am contacting you from CTV News in Winnipeg. I am looking for a woman in Transcona who has a home daycare called Monique Dupuis. She had a big problem with pacifier she purchased recently. Hoping you can reach our to me as soon as possible if you know this woman or how to reach her. My phone number is(phone number). Thank you! Beth Macdonell | Producer & Reporter CTV Winnipeg |

I went into my Other folder on Facebook and found her message. I messaged her back and told her my hubby and I would be happy to talk to her that night and give her his cellphone number. Honestly my hubby is a better speaker then I am. Heck thats what he does for a living! But she wanted the interview with me and asap. Hubby and I decided that I would do it alone once all my daycare kids were down for a nap. 

Before the interview I checked to see how many people had shared my picture. I honestly thought it was shared maybe 200 times. I was shocked to see if was at 6,000+.

After the interview was over I noticed I had missed a call from the company. But my phone was acting weird and it appeared they had not left a message. When I called the number back I needed to have an extension, so I figured they would call back. 

That night 30mins before the 6pm news, Beth called me and said they needed to polish the story and it would not air that night. I was a surprise because a girlfriend had told me she had seen me on the preview for the evening news before Dr.Phil.  

That night while I was waiting for Wes to finish piano lessons, I noticed a missed voicemail. It was a rep from the company I called them back and left a message, but obviously at 7pm no one was in the office.

The next morning a rep called me. We spoke on the phone for 20mins or so. She went on to apologize for the incident, and if I felt attacked by the last rep to contact me. They do not blame the baby. They were speaking with quality assurance teams as well as the manufacturer to see what had happened and what to do to prevent it. They told me that soothers were very regulated and they had to pass 10lbs of pressure to break it. When I asked her then how my 23lbs child could produce such pressure she had no answer for me. Apparently I was the only person to report this issue, and so they feel the product as of now is safe. I told her if it happens once its too much. I was able to get her to pass my information onto the vender to contact me. Whether they do or not is another story. She also told me she was passing on the additional details that I provided to her that were not in the original report to share with the quality assurance team. At this point I felt I have done about all I could. I informed her I had already spoken to the media. But now even though I’m not 100% happy with the results of the conversation, I feel a bit more like they are taking a few more steps and I don’t feel like they are blaming the victim, my son. She told me she still wanted to send me the gift card for the refund and she was going to send me a gift basket full of their line of clothes for all three of my children. Not to sweep it under the rug, or minimize what had happened. But as an apology gesture from their family to ours. 

That night the interviewed aired. I was surprised when hubby yelled out, “Turn on channel 5!” His coworker had seen the preview for the story. My phone started going off. “Is that you on TV?”

Overall I’m really happy how the interview turned out. But it was only 3mins long so how could they get the whole story. I guess that is why I am writing this. I feel a bit slapped in the face that the company still seems to stand by that it was Z’s fault. But the word is out. The doctor said that parents should use one piece pacifiers. Basically saying indirectly, don’t buy this brand. As of right now the post I shared on facebook has been shared 12,497 times, meaning AT LEAST that many people have read my warnings. Plus my story was played on the 6pm, 8am and 12pm news feeds. My story is out and I feel I can back off knowing I did what I could do to get the word out. Life goes on.  

 You can watch the interview HERE.

Pacifier Safety Tips:

Check your child’s soother/pacifier every time you give it to them for holes, rips or signs of wear.

Change soothers/pacifiers every 2-3 months.

Never tie a soother or pacifier around your child’s neck

Finally use a ONE piece soother. They are less likely to break off like my son’s did.

 Since the incident, I found some nice solid one piece pacifiers that I trust for on son. In the past when he was a newborn we used Avent Soothies or Gumdrop soothers. Thing is once he was a few months old I switched to and orthodontic tip soother and I wanted to stick with that. Then I found the Munchkin Latch soother. However it just seemed too thin for my liking. I’m sure there is nothing wrong with it, but after our experience I wanted something I could feel 100% confident in. Then I found the Born Free Bliss one piece pacifier. Now this is a heavy duty soother with the right tip!

I made one mistake throughout is whole process, I went and read the comments on Facebook and on CTV’s website. Oh yes, everyone has an opinion and it seems to be to blame the victim. I was reminded of all the Mommy Wars talk. It seemed several of the commenters thought Z is too old for a soother. Oh my image if I told them he still nurses 1-3 times a day and I still babywear him.

Each child is very different. My oldest came off the soother the day his 2 year molars came in at 25 months old. He needed it to keep is fingers out, otherwise he’d stick them so far back he would make himself vomit. 

Z is 28 months old. But he is still very oral. As a former pediatrician dental assistant I see a slight over bite from it, and so does his dentist, but overall it hasn’t altered the development of his palate. His occupational therapist agreed with us that it was a good block to keep other things out of his mouth. And the 2 speech therapist we have seen don’t feel it is affecting his speech as he has a HUGE vocabulary and clear speech for his age. 

There were no age limits on the package of soothers or I can assure you I would have followed the guidelines. However for all these people to immediately attack my family with their ideas that all children should be off soothers “when they can put them in an out themselves”, “1 year old”, “as soon as they cut teeth”, and so on shame on you. Each child is different, and each circumstance is different. When I read about babies who have chemical burns from diapers or wipes, I don’t troll and say, “Oh well they should be in cloth diapers and that would have never happened.”

I know when I was pregnant with my oldest, I had very clear ideas how I was going to raise my child. Out of diapers by 18 months, no soothers EVER, I was going to breastfeed till 1. Then he was born and shit got real. My son was potty trained a month after he turned three because he has severe digestive issues. The day we got home from the hospital he started sucking his thumb, thumb habits were harder to break then soother habits so I sent his father out to buy some soothers. I breastfeed for 3 weeks before PPD took over and I could not handle it anymore. 


At the end of the day. Please learn from my story. If your little one doesn’t need the soother all the power to you. If they do, please find a solid one piece soother and inspect it every time you give it to your child. Also brush up on your First Aid/CPR, you never know when you will have to use it. 

NAET Allergy treatment… Does it really work??

As some my long term readers might already know, Wesley has been gluten and dairy free for as long as I can remember. Well actually we eliminated dairy from his diet when he was 15 months after a series of allergy test at the allergist. Then on suggestion of his naturopathic doctor, at the age of 2.5 years old we removed gluten.

Well once you get use to reading ingredients, figuring out secret industry names for gluten and dairy, it’s completely do able. Especially if they are removed before your child really knows what they are missing. 

The problem comes when they are older. Birthday parties become a nightmare, playdate, family gathering. Will meaning family member or friend try and get something your child can have, only to find out that they don’t know the secret code that the industries use to hide these items in our food. Now you have to tell them, even after all their efforts your child can still not eat it. 

Next thing you know, no one is inviting you over for meals anymore. Your child is not getting invited for sleepovers or birthday parties because the parents are worried they will feed your child something they shouldn’t. I had one family member confess to me she was worried she was going to kill him by accidentally feeding him the wrong thing. No one wants to be the parent to have to call an ambulance to pick up someone else’s child right?

7+ years later, I stumbled upon somethings very interesting while I was reading a book called Naturally Better: Dramatically Improve Your Child’s Life Naturally. I was introduced to something called NAET, aka NAMBUDRIPAD’S ALLERGY ELIMINATION TECHNIQUES.

Instantly I was on google learning as much as I could about this technique. Oddly enough, it seemed to have way more positive reviews than negative. Could it be true?

I started chatting about what I had discovered with my youngest son’s cranio sacral therapist. She told me one of the woman in my Facebook Attachment Parenting group had done NAET with her child and it worked. So I decided to contacted that woman via Facebook. I chatted with her for a little bit and everything she said seemed promising. Her son could not have any dairy or citrus, otherwise he’s get terrible blistering diaper rashes. After a few treatments with this woman he could eat both triggers and had no reaction. 

So I made a phone call. As soon as I started talking to her, I was instantly reassured, this sound like the real thing. So I scheduled both boys for treatment.

Att our first appointment we tested the basic 15 items. To my understanding, these items have to be cleared for the body to run properly and before any other specific treatment to trigger allergies can be treated effectively. This does not mean you have to have 15 treatments first before starting, each person is different. Z reacted to 8 of the 15 and Wes reacted 6 of the 15. 

In order to tell if your body reacts or doesn’t react the NAET practitioner did muscle testing on me while I held my son’s hand and he held a vile of the allergen. At first, I thought this was to much to believe, until my boys were holding a trigger for them and my arm turned to jello and I could not keep my arm up when the practitioner was pushing my arm.

You can read more about what NAET is and the process HERE.

Since starting our NAET sessions two and a half months ago, Wes was cleaned for his 6 of the Basic 15 he tested positive for. Then we started working on Gluten and Dairy. Gluten was a tough one. The first time we treated him for it, he had to avoid ANY contact with it for 25 hours after the treatment (which was fairly easy since he was gluten free already.) The following week we retested and he was not clear, so we would do a boost, and then we treated something else as well. Gluten took one treatment and 2 or 3 boost. Wes had tested positive for casein, whey, cheese, milk protein, basically anything dairy related. We treated him for casein and then did one boost and he cleared it. Best part was, we retested all the other dairy related items and he cleared them too. 

We are also working on treating Wes’s reactions to immunizations, heavy metals, etc. He seems more focused now and is loving the freedom of trying new foods. This evening at a family birthday party, it was the first time since his 1st birthday he could participate in birthday cake. He was so delighted and everyone there was so happy to see him allowed to live! Auntie Kathe even negotiated him a second piece. 

Wes enjoying his first chocolate bar


Can I Teach My Newborn, Infant or Toddler Basic Kindergarten Skills? YES YOU CAN!

Babies are smart! Newborns, Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers, learn faster and easier than you and I.

What can you do to help your little ones learn right from birth??

#1 Sing to them!

Yes I said sing to them. Sounds so simple, but it really is! But don’t feel you need to stick to the basic Row Row your Boat or Mary Had a Little Lamb. Of course use these fun songs and what ever song your Mom or Dad sung to you as a baby. But lets get creative! Sing the ABCs, count to 100, count backwards from 100, skip count by 2s, 5s, 10s, days of the week, months of the year, etc.

By doing this you are bonding with your child, comforting them, loving them and educating them. My now when Baby Z was an infant, he hated car rides. Our whole family would sing to him, “The A says ahhh, the A says Ahh. Every letter makes a sound, the A says Ahh!” and so forth throughout the whole alphabet. This helped calm him, but it also helped him learning the letter sounds (phonics) at a really early age.

#2 Label EVERYTHING

Little Reader, MemoFlix and Wink to Learn English helped expose Baby Z to so many words. But you don’t need to buy DVDs or computer programs to do this if you don’t want to. (Though it does help a lot.) Label your house and do little home tours pointing to all the words as you walk by with your baby.

When your out with your baby talk about what’s happening. “Oh look! Its starting to rain. Do you feel the drops on your head?’

#3 DVD and Computer programs
Technology is not bad. It can be used for the wrong reasons, yes. However I believe it can be a powerful tool to help educate our children. I know what the AAP’s stand is on screen time before 2. Thing is I’m not one to let to government tell me how to raise my children. Yes, I follow car seat safety rules to the tee, but we don’t vaccinate. I choice to educate myself, and make a decision for my family. Not blindly follow like sheep.
My personal experience is, if you choose high quality, educational materials, screen time can be very helpful in educating my children. It’s something you will have to look at for your family. I should also point out I am talking about real educational materials, like Your Baby Can Read, Little Reader, and Monki See just to name a few. 

#4 Tablets
If you have access to a iPad, take advantage of it! Baby Z learned so much from several apps. Even though many of them were WAY beyond his ability, we did them for him and had him watch. Input, input, input! When he got a bit older I took his hand and made his little hand operate the app. (with his cooperation of course.) Then eventually he was able to operate several of them without my help. This is an awesome way to teach your young child colors, shapes, numbers, letters, letter sounds, sight words, etc. 

Stay tune! I am compiling a list of AWESOME IOS apps for babies and toddlers.

#5 Carefully picked toys
  
If you step into the toy section at Walmart or dare to enter Toys R Us, you can easily see there are many, many options for toys for your young child. Not all toys are created equal. But there are certain brands that are usually a pretty safe bet like Leap Frog and Melissa & Doug. But the best places I have found GOOD quality toys are thrift stores and garage sales. With a little soap and water they are good as new and a fraction of the price.

Letter blocks, matching games, stacking cups, etc are all great toys for little hands. These toys are perfect for little hands to explore on their own when you are making dinner or need two seconds to eat the said dinner. Also they a great to play together with your child.

Watch for an entry about great education toys that we love!



#6 Flashcards


 This is where I might get some grief. Yes there is a place for flashcards in an infant, toddler and preschoolers life. My boys LOVE flashcards. But its because I do not drill them with the flashcards. I show them to Zakari the same way as I would show him a book.

A few books with looking into at the library or Amazon would be:
How to Teach Your Baby to Read (The Gentle Revolution Series)

How Smart Is Your Baby?: Develop and Nurture Your Newborn’s Full Potential (The Gentle Revolution Series)

These are good reads too, but I would focus on reading the first two listed. Then read these if you have time.

How to Teach Your Baby Math (The Gentle Revolution Series)


How to Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge (The Gentle Revolution Series)

Now it should be noted that Doman’s method is a lot of work. I did not follow Doman’s method to the tee. I did make many flashcards. I also used multimedia, little Little Reader, DVDs, etc. 

There is also no need to make the flashcards as large as Doman recommends. Yes bigger is better, but I found 8×11 works well too.  

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

You can teach your baby to read, count, know basic kindergarten knowledge in toddlerhood. I know this from experience! The best part is they love it! Children are little sponges, and the younger they are the easier they learn. Why not teach them to read when they are able to do so with less effort at one or two instead of waiting till they are 6 or 7 years old. 

Oh but I know what some are thinking. Monique just let them be babies. Tiger mom! Why rush them to grow up? Let them be kids! 

My reply to this is, why hold back our children? My two year old loves to read. He gets excited at the grocery store when he can read the words on the wall. He reads what’s in his fruit pouches first to see what flavour he is about to eat. I have by no means forced him to learn. I just enriched his environment. Carefully selected only highly educational programs to expose him to during screen time. Used car time, waiting rooms, potty time, and bedtime to expose him to good quality apps or books with large words.

What did this do? It helped my son who is now 27 months be able to:

  • read any 3 letter word he is presented
  • know all his colors
  • know all his shapes, including shapes like octagon, oval and 3D shapes like cylinder.  
  • know all his basic farm and zoo animals and their sounds
  • knows all his letters and letter sounds. Even is starting to figure out letters like c and g have two sounds.
  • know how to read more words then I’m able to keep track of. (we were in the hundreds not including 3 letter words a while back, my guess is we are now in the 1000s)
  • understands phonics and can sound out new words he has never seen
  • Counts to 20 by ones forwards and backwards(has gone higher but usually only goes to 20 because he loses interest
  • Counts to 100 by 10s and 5s
  • Counts to 30 by 2s
  • knows his days of the week and months of the year
  • and much much more
I’m not listing this to brag, nor do I think my son is special. He has just grown up in an enriched environment and was exposed to this stuff in a fun way. ALMOST ANY CHILD CAN LEARN THIS STUFF TOO! Even children with special needs.

When people asking me, “Why teach them to read?” I ask “Why not!” It opens a whole new world to them. 


A few weeks ago we were at Shoppers Drugmart, and I was wearing Baby Z on my back in an Ergo carrier. We were waiting in line when he noticed the words over the cooler and started pointing at it and yelling, “Water! Water! Water!” I walked up to pay for my items and gently said “Yes sweetie there is water in the cooler.” The older woman behind me said with her jaw dropped, “No! He’s not pointing at the water in the cooler, he is pointing at the word. I think he just read the word water. Can he read?” I just brushed it off that he knows a few words because I didn’t have time to have a conversation. But if I had time I might have gone into details if the woman was open to it. Who knows maybe she has grandchildren. 

The point of this story is, instead of Baby Z just being able to look into the items around the store and try and figure out what they are that way, we have given him another piece to the puzzle. The ability to read what the words are. 

Sound Beginning Review

Well here is the first review I have ever written with the help of Baby Z 🙂

We have all heard that baby’s can hear in the womb, and hear of mom’s that put headphones to their tummy’s and play classical music. Often at night Dad’s to be will talk to their partner’s tummy and be able to feel the kicks when the baby hears their voice. I know that Baby Z knows when his daddy is home because he will be quiet all day and as soon as hubby comes home and we are chatting, he will start kicking and moving like crazy.

 Well now mom’s don’t have to lay still and try and position headphones on their tummy’s. Nor do that have to worry about playing the music too loud. There is a great product available called Sound Beginnings.

There is a safe product that allows busy mom’s to simply load up their MP3 players full of music they would like their baby’s to listen to, put on the comfy soft fabric band with built-in high quality speakers and they can continue with there day. Or if they like that can use the splitter that comes with the band and plug in a set of their own headphones and listen to everything that baby is hearing.

Overview

Safe

Sound Beginnings’ ® high quality speakers are designed to keep the volume to a level that is safe for baby in the womb.

Comfortable

Sound Beginnings ® is comfortable enough to be worn all day and even on the go.

No batteries required

Just plug in any MP3 device/IPOD® and play.

No assembly/disassembly required

Sound Beginnings ® is machine washable on the gentle cycle using cold water. Just tuck the wire into the convenient front pocket, secure the Velcro® and wash on gentle using cold water. Air dry only. Do not machine dry. (See enclosed instructions)

Headphone splitter included

Allows mom to listen along with baby.

But what if dad is often out of town, or deployed and on the other side of the world. Why should these little ones not be able to hear their daddy’s voices in the womb. Now they can! Sound Beginnings offers a service called Sound Delivery.

“Sound Delivery offers parents, friends, and family a simple and unique way to bond with an unborn baby through the sound of loving voices. All you need are a telephone, a quiet place to record, and a love message to baby-to-be; it’s that easy.”

So now dad, can call from where ever he is in the world and record baby a message. He could read a story, sing a song, or just tell baby how much he loves him/her. Mom just uploads the MP3 file on to her MP3 player and plugs it into the Sound Beginnings belt.

Why stop at just dad, Grandpa parents, aunts and uncles can also leave your baby a message!

Now what do I think about Sound Beginnings?
I really love it! I spent a few month researching different sound delivery systems to use with my baby, and this one stood out to me.

What I like:
– I like that it is sleek and I can wear it under my hoodies and no one can tell. (Obviously if I wear it under neither a tight shirt you can see the bump of the MP3 player)
– I like that it’s very comfy. Actually it reminds me a lot of my belly belt that I have been wearing under my  regular clothes to cover my tummy.
– I love that I can put it on, and still run around after all my daycare kids and it doesn’t get in the way, and it stays in place!

I know that baby can hear it! I feel him moving around while the music is playing. I also know when he doesn’t like a particular song, he will send me hard kicks and I know its time to remove that song from the line up.

Now Sound Beginnings recommends to start using their product in the third trimester of pregnancy. However I have been using it starting around 21 weeks. Now I’m sure baby cannot hear the exact words or sounds, I know he is picking up the gentle vibrations. I know through other research the brain grows by use, and I believe that this product can be beneficial to babies in the middle of the second trimester. However this is my opinion only be sure to check with your doctor.

Also you don’t have to limit what you play to just music and messages from family. You can also expose your unborn baby to foreign foreign languages!

Here are a few related studies that the people at Sound Beginnings have posted on their Website.

“Fetuses may have memory, studies suggests”
“Memory Forms at 30 Weeks in the Womb”
“Research Shows Babies Recognize Music in the Womb”
“Study suggests babies get the beat at birth”

Right now I’m playing a mix of classical music, French and Spanish lullabies, and Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Cd. Every week or so I change the music keep some, delete others, and mix up the order.

Overall I think this is a great product for expecting mom’s. The options are endless and I’m so excited to see how this will benefit my son.

Thank-you to the people from Sound Beginnings for allowing me to review your great product!!!

Disclaimer: I received one Sound Beginnings System in exchange for my honest opinion. The views posted here are mine and results may vary.

Cloth Diapers//Decluttering Overload//Baby Stuff

So I made a decision. I’m going to use cloth diapers with Baby Z. I went shopping on Saturday with a friend of mine that is due in March. She showed me at Sears they are clearing out a lot of their baby stuff and had 8 packs of Kushies Basic fitted diapers on sale for $22. They are suppose to fit 10lbs to 22lbs.
So I bought 24 of these:
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I’m ordering 6 of these to go over those:
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Then I decided I need to start at the newborn stage so I don’t depend on disposables. But Newborn diapers are so expensive for such a short time, then I scored these Bummis covers for $5 each! So I bought 7 🙂
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I’m going to order some basic prefolds ebay, and then they can be used as liners and such when Baby Z is older.

Then for the older stage I’m going to order this set(since it only comes with 4 Thirsties covers I’m going to order two more from Kushies in the toddler size)
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I know there are fancier diapers I can order, but for $15-$25 a pop, I just can’t justify it. Prefolds are the workhorse diaper according to many blogs I have been reading, and with Snappins, there is no worrying about pins. Later on you can even just lay the prefolds in the wrap. I’m doing this to save money and to be frugal, the more money I can save the longer I can stay on maternity leave with minimal daycare children. Plus since I will have all these diapers in the next month or so, and assuming I stick to breastfeeding, Baby Z will be essentially free to care for till he is 6 months or so and we introduce solids.(Even then I got a Baby Bullet for Christmas, so those cost will be low too) Then in a few years if and when we decided to have another, diapers will not be an issue. Even if I just cloth diaper while at home, I will be able to save us a fortune.

Thinking back I think I have some large Thirsties prefolds and liners for older babies. I was going to cloth diaper Wesley just before I potty trained him, but then I just moved him to Kushies Training pants. I think I have about 7 pairs of these too:
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Also since we spend A LOT of our summer swimming in hubby’s auntie’s pool I’m going to order Kushies swimmers(2 smalls for the beginning of the summer and 2 mediums for the end)

Basically to break even I would have to cloth diaper for 5.5 months.
You will break even in 22.83 weeks or 5.26 months.
You will save $61.1 in 6 months.
You will save $389.16 in 10 months.
You will save $553.2 in 1 year.
You will save $1045.29 in 1 1/2 years.
Not to mention, once I know we are done having children, the fact I can resell these items if I take care of them is a major bonus. Nobody would ever buy my used disposables LOL.

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SO I’ve been MAJORLY purging the house. Saturday morning I put out in my front yard 28 boxes and garbage bags full of stuff to be picked up for donations. Two weeks before I put out 3 bags. Totaling 31 bags and boxes. I have to say, OMGoodness this is refreshing!! It feels so good seeing my house slowly becomes less cluttered. I mean we still have a lot of stuff, and a lot of it I don’t think we need. So I’m starting round 2 today.

I realized I’m a lot like my mom. I find a great deal and buy it. I mean who can turn down brand new, beautiful, fluffy, full size bath towels for $2. Well when your linen closet it bursting at the seams and your wondering why the people that designed your house would make it so small, there’s a problem. So I decided today I’m purging my precises bath towels. I’m keeping 10 towels, that is all. 2 per person, I’m including Zakari and my stepdaughter in this count. I could likely get it down to 6, but its nice to have a few extra for major spills.

Now my closet is another thing. I have about 15-20 pairs of jeans, 12ish pairs of dress pants, too many tops to count. I got rid of the faded color jeans, or jeans with holes, also I got rid of dress pants I don’t like. I’d really like to purge more, but I have assorted sizes and I’m not sure what I’m going to need from now till post pregnancy. I don’t want to get rid of them and then in a few months have to go out and buy some more. I also got rid of shirts that seemed to have shrunk up, since I have no interest in showing off my mid section.

I also spent some time reading about Simple Parenting last night. I realized how much damage I am doing to my children by buying them so many toys. Its not healthy! Their rooms are bursting at the seam and most do not get played with. I thought maybe for their birthdays (baby Z- May, Wesley- June, Chloe-July) we could get them one small gift each and one big joint gift, like this year I was thinking a sandbox. Something they can do together and encourages outdoor play, and creativity. Maybe at Christmas each a small gift(like a craft, movie, book) and a family present like season passes to the children’s museum/zoo. I need to get over the mentality that they need a million and one presents to open Christmas morning. Memories of being a family is so much more important.

I’m also going to start slowly giving away some of there least popular toys. Hopefully making room for the toys they really play with. So far I have only gotten rid of toys that they are too young for and toys that are broken or missing pieces.

I have to say, since I have been purposing to stay on top of dishes and laundry, and eliminating clutter, I’m happier. I feel happy looking at less clutter. The simple life is great! The idea of living with less, cloth diapering, and donating all the stuff were not using, is so freeing!

Even grocery shopping has become simpler. Instead of buying huge carts of stuff and wasting half of it, I go once or twice a week and buy some basics. Really I’d like to have a stock pile, but while I’m decluttering, that is not all that helpful.

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I also decided that I’m going to do some Container Vegetable Gardens this summer. Since Baby Z and I will be home, I may as well grow some basic product. I was thinking radishes, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans and strawberries.

I’m going to get some bins from the dollar store and drill some drainage wholes in the bottoms. Hopefully if all goes well we can have some fresh salads this summer. Oh and I can’t forget dill! Yummy mash potatoes and dill…..
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Oh some other great news!! My parents brought over my last box of baby stuff that I was storing in their basement, and there it was! My Cuddlewrap! I was so worried I lent it to a girl that I’m no longer friends with, and since Wesley was a baby they have gone from $50 I paid to $80 to purchase now. I was bummed that I might have to buy a new one, or find one used on ebay. What a relief.

I’m also pretty sure unless we receive it as a gift, or someone lends us one, we will not be using the bucket style carseat. When my car got banged up last year, autopac replaced Wesley’s 3 in one car seat(which was about to expire) with a brand new one. So I switched him to a booster since he was the right size and stored that one in the basement. So basically I just need the rest of my diaper stash, a pack or two of baby face clothes(for cloth wipes), a few newborn and 0-3 month outfits, stroller, new crib mattress, and maybe a swing. I’m not sure about that either. I would rather my baby get lots of tummy time. So I’m undecided about that one. The minimalist ideals would say no, but the old me thinks yes. I’d also love to get him a new crib set. But in all reality I just need the comforter. I have several fitted crib sheets, and I don’t use the bumper pads. So maybe I’ll do some shopping on ebay.
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Any how, off do my only load of laundry for the day and a few dishes.

MACHS Homeschool Conference 2011- Keynote Speaker Andrew Pudewa

Homeschool Conference 2011

What an amazing experience! This weekend I was able to attend our local Christian homeschooling group, MACHS, homeschooling conference. It was held for two days at Calvary Temple in Winnipeg.

I have to say this conference was AMAZING. Much to my excitement the keynote speaker was Andrew Pudewa, the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. While this was very impression, what really got our attending was the fact he was trained under both Suzuki and Doman. He actually worked with my hero Glenn Doman(author of the book “What To Do About Your Brain-injured Child“) at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential.

Another early learning mom, who happens to be a good friend of mine, and I had the opportunity to talk to him after lunch.

Ok ok… We may have formed an attack to corner the poor man to try and pick his brains. He was busy looking for his missing cufflink, so we took this opportunity that he was in one area to speak with him.  As brief as it was, he was able to tell us about some interesting things.

– According to him, the IAHP is not open to new research. They have the mentality, if they didn’t come up with it they are not interested in it. After hearing this, I also heard something similar from somewhere else. This is really sad to hear and I hope it is not true because there is still so much to learn about the human brain. By limiting their interest in other studies they will eventually become dated.

– We talked about EK flashcards. He went on to tell us how the connections are made. Basically if you never saw anything you wouldn’t think about anything. By showing EK bits you are providing your child the chance to think about something, there for making connections in the brain.

– He also told us about another person that he use to work with at the IAHP that left the institute and opened his own clinic the Family Hope Center. I’m under the impression the founder of the Family Hope Center was fed up the IAHP would not consider new research on Brain Injured children. Another thing that seemed to bother them was the fact that the people who are now in charge of the IAHP are Scientology and as a devout Christian he did not agree with the way it was run. So I spent some time on their website and decided to place a call. They were already closed for the day so I left a message. I’m interested to see what this place is about.

We then spent time listening to the keynote speaker sessions, wondered around the 3 exhibit halls and ate lunch. I managed to control my spending habits. I bought Wesley a new bow for his birthday, 2 workbooks and and parents guide. I loved there was so much about Suzuki music this time around. I’m not sure if they will be able to beat it next year.

Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links.

My weakness, and not so perfect homeschooling momma

I think when I read other blogs with families who homeschool or run Doman programs, I feel… not good enough I guess for a lack of a better word. I can’t sugar coat it, I get frustrated, I raise my voice, I hate myself for it, but at last I’m human. The way I have learned to handle it is when I feel my patience it we put everything away for the day. Problem with this is I always feel like we are not doing enough because of these little breaks.
I also feel guilty for keeping him home. Deep down I know this is the best for him. This way we get our ABA therapy, and our speech and OT don’t get cut. I can also protect him from other children shooting down his confidence at this fragile state where he is just learning to build it. However sometimes I worry that I am depriving him from a childhood.
These are my feelings during my weaker moments.
However when I think about it I know what I’m doing is right. I’m raising my child in an environment where he can focus on healing, brain development and developing a health self image. I know people whisper and talk. They question my decision to protect my son and homeschool him for at least the first few years. But in the end I am his mother, and I may not be perfect, but I think I am the most qualified to help him right now.

When Right Brain Education Meets Left.

Well I have full force started a right-brain education program for Wesley. We have always done a little right brain education here and there, but not as consistant as I should be. Now this is what we do:
– Little Reader
– Little Math (both Little Math curriculum and the 65 Day Shichida’s Math Program)

Wink To Learn Speak and Read English
Wink To Learn Speak and Read Japanese
Doman Advantage word cards
Now my son is traditionally too old for the math program, but we are noticing that these right brain programs, mixed with our fantastic new ABA tutors he is maturing so much when it comes to his speech and conversation skills. My mom almost feel out of her chair last night when Wesley ask my dad “Papa do you have a gameboy? We play two players?” My mom said it was the very first time she heard him ask a question that wasn’t asking for something he wanted to eat or do, he was asking if my dad owned something. Might seem small but this is HUGE for us.
We had our clinic meeting on Tuesday, and our team was shocked how many programs Wesley blasted through. Our consultant actually didn’t bring enough programs to replace the ones he completed.
We started him on some easy easy mazes( I found a Franklin work book full of mazes at the dollarstore), which he baseline mastered. Now I plan on going to Chapters and buying him some Kumon Maze books.
Now we do other programs that are not Right Brain as well, and they help him so much too. For example Headsprout, Singapore Math, Touch Math, Exploded the Code, ixl.com, and now we also started Click N’ Kids ClickN READ and ClickN SPELL.
Sometimes I wonder WHY so many programs. But then I realize there is a method to my maddness, this provides my son a variety, making it so he is learning using different programs and making it so he doesn’t get board with our programs. I do each a couple times I week(right brain programs are almost daily as they only take 15-20 mins of our day)
We also read 2-10 books a day. Right now I’m learning how to read to him and ask questions so he stays focus on the story. He tends to space out during story time. Now I’m not sure if he is still taking it in or not, Tweedlewink creators claim that children can learn from background sounds just as much as when they are paying attention. But I don’t know.
Last night Wesley and I started a crawling program. We chase each other crawling for 5 mins. It was a lot of fun. I know five mins doesn’t seem like much, but my goal is to work us up slowly. I’m also going to ask my father to build us a set of monkey bars in the basement. I need to get him moving on the physical part of the Doman program. I just pray I can keep motivated.
I hope this combination of programs with help develop my son’s brain to its full potiental. Sometimes he resists programs, and I know its suppose to be child lead, but once I insist he does something he usually enjoys it. And in those situations I keep our sessions short. Our window of healing his brain is closing and we must move forth.
Stay tuned for more reviews 🙂 Be sure to check out the Doman Advantage Review and Giveaway. Contest closes Nov 15th,2010