Archive for February, 2012

Can I Help You?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

I remember once when I was sick with a bad cold, a dear friend of mine stopped by with a care package. Inside were items that would help me feel more comfortable. She packed tissues, orange juice, cold medicine, oil of oregano, and a chocolate bar for me. (Hey, a girl needs her chocolate whether she’s sick or not.) It might as well have been a box of gold because I was so touched by her thoughtfulness.

Our lives seem to get busier and busier, and we could all use a hand sometimes. When someone sees a need that we have and fills it, it makes what you’re experiencing easier to tackle.

This especially rings true when you have a new baby. I’ve talked to moms who expressed how much their emotions and schedules change after giving birth, and what really helped them was having friends and family members offer a helping hand.

Of course, a new mom may not be ready for a ‘pop in’ visit. We would definitely do well to call first. It’s nice to ask, “Can I help you?”  But since it might be hard for a person to tell you what they need help with, why not be ready with some suggestions when you call?

Here are some ideas:

  • A home cooked meal – Most likely the first few weeks after giving birth, there will not be extra time or energy to make meals. A cute idea would be to mix all the ingredients together in a disposable oven-safe pan, and place the baking temp and time on a pretty card. Then no one needs to clean and return a baking dish.
  • Babysit – Mom may want a moment to run an errand or grab a bite with dad; your offer to watch the little one (as a gift) may be just what the doctor ordered.
  • Help mom get some sleep – Arrange a day when you can go over to the new mom’s home (so she can sleep in her own bed), and then watch the little one for a few hours. This is a plus for you too because this gives you an opportunity to spend time with the new addition!
  • Chores around the house – Doing a load of laundry, vacuuming, dusting, these are all things that any of us would love someone else to do for us. Can you imagine how grateful mom would be if you offered to take care of one or two of those tasks?
  • Grocery run – We all go to the grocery store anyway, how special will mom feel if you ask her what you can pick up for her while you’re there?

If you’re a mom who would like to express how someone really helped you, please post a comment. We will really enjoy it. Plus you’ll give other readers great ideas!

Give Me a Sign

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Signing the word 'Please'

An infant is entirely dependent on its parents or caregiver to provide all the necessities of life. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what a small baby wants before they’ve learned to speak.

My mom told me that she initially thought I would never speak, and then one day I said, “I want to go bye-bye.” I remember the look on her face when I spoke those words – pure shock. Unfortunately, the fact that I waited to speak didn’t impress her enough to let me go bye-bye.

More and more mommies are utilizing sign language as a means to communicate while their young one is too small to speak. I think this is a wonderful idea!  Moms and dads get really good at determining what their baby may need, but a small infant can’t assemble the words to let you know exactly what they want. What they can do is move their little hand and sign words, like “milk” and “please.”

Not only does teaching sign language help to communicate a baby’s needs, but it can give them an early start on their education. Your child may learn the alphabet way before they start preschool.

Just like reading helps to bond parents and children, sign language helps to connect parents in a similar way. It can be frustrating for a small child who can’t convey what they want or need. Sign language allows conversation to come through a child’s hands before it can come out from their vocal cords.

To learn any language, however, you want to obtain an official textbook and not just wing-it.  You can teach American Sign Language (ASL). This way you and your child can use your new language outside of your home. Plus, you’ll be able to easily make new friends who use sign language as their primary form of communication. I found one website called Signing Time where you can purchase videos and books for all age ranges including infants.

Are you already using sign language in your home? What words did you teach your baby and how old were they when they started to sign back? Please enlighten us and share your experience.