Monday, September 29, 2014

Motor Monday-Living room jungle gym

At some point I’ll have to rewind a bit and hit some key motor skills that I missed, but a couple weeks ago we did a fun and very easy activity with the babies that I wanted to share.  We were all a little bored and Michelle casually said, “Why don’t you make a baby obstacle course for them while I go do homework?”  What a great idea that was!  So I went to the basement to grab a couple of couch cushions and brought them upstairs and tossed them on the floor.  (The cushions don’t come off our couch or chair upstairs, but for most people this would be even easier because you could just drag the cushions right off the couch in the living room.)  Then I put all the babies on one side of the cushions and I just casually went over to the other side.  At first they all kind of just looked at me, but after a minute or so Avery decided to check it out and pretty easily crawled up and over the cushions.  Ellie and Isaiah were a little more hesitant but eventually came over and pushed themselves to standing using the cushions, but neither one quite figured out how to get their knee up to crawl over.
All of our babies are at a little bit different stages of gross motor development, particularly related to crawling and climbing so they all interacted with this activity a little differently, but I think it worked on some great skills for all three of them.  Here are some pictures of them playing on and around the cushions with some commentary on what they’re each doing from a motor perspective.

everyone checking it out, including Humphrey.
Avery is learning to turn around & back down, Isaiah is cruising side to side,
& Ellie is like "hey, can I just crawl around this thing?!"
Avery checking out the drop & Isaiah trying to figure out what to do next.
Exploring new situations like this is great for kid's motor planning, or figuring out
how to move their body.  He knows what he wants to do, but can't quite figure it out yet!
Avery says this is a piece of cake!
Great for working on core strength (shoulder, tummy, back, & hips)
Avery figuring out how to stand on the cushion to reach
something on the coffee table
Avery got the toy & is trying to figure out how to back down now that she has the toy,
Ellie is trying to figure out how to get her leg up on the cushion
Here's a great shot of Avery exploring the edge of the cushion.
She wants that toy & has to decide if she can reach it and if not,
whether her shoulders can support her weight going down forward.
Crawling on squishy, unstable surfaces and crawling off of them head first is a great shoulder and core strengthening activity!  If you don't feel like getting the couch cushions down you can also have your kiddos crawl over your legs or your body.  I often tell parents and siblings they get to be annoying and just stick their legs in their baby's way when they are crawling to a toy.

She experimented with a lot of different ways to get down
including going sideways
and stepping down
And after a couple weeks of practice everyone has gotten much better and this little video clip shows a variety of ways they get down off the cushions once they get up.

Oh, and fair warning, this activity is good for introducing climbing skills, which might then just take off and expand well beyond the cushion! (good news is that she is now really good about getting herself down safely too!)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our First Fall Festival

We took the babies out to a little central PA farm today for their little fall festival. They're still to little to appreciate most of it, (hayride, corn maze, etc) but they still had a good time. Here are some pics!
They liked seeing the animals, but got a little mad that we couldn't get closer!
Hangin out in the middle of the pumpkins was the best part by far!
Exploring pumpkins is a multisensory experience!
(For the record, she did not break the stem off of a pumpkin! She just found it.)
"Horses really eat this stuff Mom?! Do you want to try it?!"
Avery really liked the pumpkin muffins I made this week,
so I think she was probably disappointed with her taste test today!
Ellie making me proud!
Why of course you can just climb over that pumpkin to get closer to the bumpy one!

Pumpkin drum

"another picture?! really Mom?!"
Love this shot!
Cruising the pumpkins
Ellie with her little one tooth grin
how we roll
So many people ask how we get them all to look at the camera.
The answer is two fold...1) we do ridiculous things! &
2) we take ALOT of pictures! And still sometimes NO ONE looks at the camera!!

And sometimes we get really lucky,
 and get all three babies looking the same direction AND smiling!!

Look! Airplane!

Both of the girls have started to "point" at things, which is a fun new communicative gesture.  Right now it's more of a whole hand point though in the past few days  they are starting to isolate their index finger.  Anyway, the other day we did a dinner time trip to a fun park by the little State College airport and for the first time we got to point out airplanes that they could actually see.  We've tried a few times in the past when we could tell that they were hearing them, but the planes have been farther away and harder to see. (I think Isaiah saw them too, but he hasn't started pointing yet.)  A few times since then the girls have gestured up to the sky when we're outside so we've been talking about airplanes quite a bit lately. This new pointing thing is great to help us remember to label things we see around us to help build their vocabulary.  We have noticed that a lot of the vocabulary that we are confident they know consists of verbs (jump, sit, bang, etc) so this should help us work on the nouns. Michelle and I have been chatting a bit about our little man who continues to lag behind the girls in most things and decided to do an early intervention consult with both speech and occupational therapists that I work with to get their opinions on him and to see if there are other things we could be doing to help him catch up.  We had our first visit with the speech therapist this past week and she agreed that there are a few things we can work on with him.  So this week we are really working on having him imitate us back and forth.

Here are some cute pics from our trip to the airport park! This park is great because there is climbing equipment meant for little ones like this bridge and no mulch for them to eat. =)
Two babies on the bridge, one baby under the bridge!

sliding down

climbing up!

two babies crawling over the bridge
As I'm finishing those captions it almost feels like a Go Dog Go style book. =)  If I'd taken a picture of them all outside this odd climber thingy below then I could've continued with "three babies in, three babies out" but alas!
Avery is not amused!

"Okay, fine, I guess you're a teensy weensy bit funny"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dance dance

Is there anything cuter than babies dancing?! I mean really, it is just so cute and hilarious! All three babies are dancing now...well, they're bouncing up and down to music...and yes, sometimes it's to the music in their head. (Hey, don't judge, we all get songs stuck in our head, right?!)

Anyway, here are some cute videos of each of them dancing in their own way.
The first one is Avery dancing on the table to celebrate her big accomplishment of climbing up on the table for the first time! (More on that in another post soon!)

And here's Isaiah's super joyful food dance! This particular dance is celebrating a delicious bite of burrito, but really, he does his "happy food dance" probably once a day for all different foods. The boy likes to eat!

And we'll cap off the videos with Miss Ellie who has the most amazing baby dance move--the shoulder shimmy. Often the shoulder shimmy is combined with a dizzying head shake, but not in this video that I took while she was finishing off a bottle. Ellie is our best "dance on command" baby because if you say "Ellie  dance dance" she'll usually appease and bust out a move or two, music or no. In the last couple days if she's standing she's added a good little booty bounce to her repertoire. We will keep trying to get more videos of her dance moves so you can appreciate the full range of her style.  Here's Ellie drinking & dancing:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Motor Monday-Crawling

Hooray!! We finally have three crawlers!  This week Isaiah left his belly flop crawl behind and is crawling on all fours pretty consistently.  It has been so fascinating to watch the evolution of crawling in all three babies because each of them took a different developmental path.  Here's a quick breakdown for each of them.

1. army crawling (7mo)
2. rocks on all 4s (7.5mo)
3. crawls on all fours only in the grass (8-9mo)
4. crawls on all fours everywhere (just before 10mo)

1. rolls for mobility (7mo)
2. rocks in all fours (~8mo)
3. pushes backward on belly (only for about a week 8-9mo)
4. crawls on all fours (10.5mo)

1. pushes backward on his belly (7mo)
2. rocks on all 4s (7-8mo)
3. belly flop crawl--all 4s, launch forward onto belly, all 4s, repeat (just before 10mo)
4. crawls on all 4s (11.5mo)

The variation in styles and timeline is so interesting, particularly since they are all experiencing the same parenting, i.e. getting similar amount and type of practice, etc.  I am so so so happy that they are all crawling though!  I was practically convinced that at least one of them would make me crazy and not crawl, either scooting on their bum or just going straight to walking, but I was determined that they would all crawl. =)

So, why was I so obsessed with having them all learn to crawl?  Crawling is an important developmental milestone.  There are lots of great things about crawling, but here are a few keys:

1.) Crawling develops core strength.  Crawling on all fours requires babies to support their weight on their arms and legs. And not only does she have to get her belly up, she also has to be able to hold her belly up while lifting an arm and leg.  Have you ever been in an exercise class or at PT and had to do this exercise to strengthen your core?
  This is a great core exercise and in order to crawl babies need to be able to briefly support their weight on just one hand and knee while the opposite limbs move forward.  I think it was a lack of core strength that was holding Isaiah back on crawling for the longest time.

2.) Crawling develops bilateral coordination.  Bilateral coordination is being able to move both sides of the body in a controlled and coordinated manner, whether doing the same things or different things.  Crawling involves moving the right arm & left leg together and the left arm & right leg together so this crosses two midlines of the body, both right to left and top to bottom.  Bilateral coordination is important for sports (e.g. stepping with your left foot while you throw a baseball with your right arm) and lots of practical things in life like being able to hold a paper with your left hand while you cut it with your right.

3.) Crawling helps develop vision.  When babies learn to crawl they use their eyes in a new way.  They look into the distance using their distance vision, and then look down at their hands, using their near vision.  These transitions in vision helps develop smooth coordination of the eyes and is important later in life for things like copying from a board in school.

Crawling is also, typically, the first independent mobility that kids experience and independent mobility is important for cognitive development, particularly for developing visual-spatial skills like understanding where things are in relationship to each other.  Independent mobility also allows children to interact with their environment and their family members in new ways.

So what can you do to help your baby learn to crawl?  Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Incorporate lots of tummy time with motivating toys (or yourself) placed a little bit in front or to either side to encourage him to move in any direction

  • When your baby is sitting and playing with toys, place toys out a little farther to encourage her to move towards an all fours position to reach them or even just to get used to supporting weight on her arms.

  • Put your baby in all fours over your lower leg, a big towel roll, or a small ball to get them used to the position.

  • Once your baby is hanging out in all fours encourage her to reach for a toy so she has to support her weight on both legs and one arm.

  • Woohoo!  Now they can help get themselves from place to place! =)

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Reminiscing about Hawaii

    Things were so busy when we were in Hawaii and then even busier when we got home so I didn't get to post a ton of cute pics from the trip! So the other night I was flipping through pics before bed and found way too many super cute pics! So when I'm having a bad day I need to remember to just come back to this post because it is full of so much joy and laughter and love.
    Grandpa & Avery watching the waves together
    "Hey Avery, have you tried eating the sand yet?!"

    "mmm...well, that bite wasn't so great...maybe
    I should try another?!"

    "much better!"

    "ooh, best bite yet!"

    I had this vision of getting a cute front shot and then a cute butt shot of all three babies...
    Here's the closest I got!

    and then Avery was on the move!

    Ellie was the only one cooperating for the butt shot
    (because she loves the sand so much!)
    love this little crawling maniac!

    Mama & Isaiah swimming in the ocean!

    Avery taking a quick crawling break
    in a precarious spot!

    oops!  the wave gotcha!

    but she handled it like a champ

    sandy baby!

    "Mom!  Did you see that?!"
    fun times at the beach with Grandpa

    Lots of fun little moments at Grandma & Grandpa's house
    precious moment with Mama

    "watch out world!  I'm on the move!" 

    happy happy girl in her Hawaii shirt


    Man alive is this boy cute or what?!

    blue eyed beauty


    watching the bubbles

    so cute!
    goofin' around with Ellie!
    a rare moment of relaxation!
    a silly goose
    three babies in the shower!
    love this pic of a fun moment
    three generations of Therriens
    couldn't get a decent pic of all three so we had to do a collage!
    and random adventures...
    Mother daughter selfie!

    Mama son selfie!

    kahili ginger!  I made Michelle pull over to take a
    picture of this because it is my fav!

    hang loose everyone!
    another mother daughter selfie

    and of course we had a great afternoon date!  We need more of these!!!

    anniversary date selfie!

    ceiling of palms


    so many beautiful and unique orchids!
    a lovely antherium
    a cool little spot to sit & take in the view
    little green gecko on a heliconia