May 15, 2009

An Artsee p'Art'y

What do you expect FOUR friends to do, that too 'women' (two married with no kids, one with a baby, the other with a toddler) when they come together on a lazy afternoon. No, they dont gossip about the latest scandal in town, they dont bitch about their friends and colleagues, or talk about how frustrating it could get at times with kids, or how respective hubbies haven't been taking their responsibilities seriously or how the maid spends hours chatting to her boyfriend on her phone.

They grab pieces of paper and create what may be called 'Art'. That is how it was on 13th May when my friends came over for a different sort of party. It was an 'Artsee' Party. Some even came armed with their own tools and paper and invoked Goddess Saraswati before they began (atleast that's my interpretation). That's my talented friend Vedanti all set for the show. (I've skipped uploading your drawing as per your request, but i think it was done beautifully and is worth sharing.)
It was heartwarming to see our new & busy mommy also pitch in to let out her creative spirit. Three Cheers to Mommy Sneha for being such a sport. She drew like a pro, just picked up the pencil and started sketching and was done in no time, while all of us still unsure what to draw watched with our eyeballs popping out. Talking of eyeballs, the one with the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen, Mouli drew her most favourite subject, 'the eyes'. She is not only a talented singer, a successful dancer, but also an artist, a 'truly creative' person amongst us. I was amazed at her drawing of the eyes.

Her art which she termed 'unfinished' had such magnetic charm I could just sit and admire it for hours.

I also could not resist myself from picking up the pencils and letting my heart out. Although I completed this the morning after when my daughter left for school.

Do you know that the age group of this fun afternoon party started from age two.
Yes, that's my daughter sitting with all of us, pouring all her creative juices on paper, (doing more of scribbling than drawing). She wanted everyone's approval after she made a stroke on paper. So, she was becoming more of a nuisance than anything else. She soon lost interest like all two year olds (with very low attention span) and ran off to play with her blocks.
Everything else beside the flower on the picture below is her masterpiece. :D
She had drawn daddy for the 'nth' time on her doodle set too. I am soo jealous.
We would have also invited our youngest and cutest friend, six month old 'Aarav', Sneha's son to join his artee elders. Anyway, next time Aarav! He instead chose to give us a different talent show altogether. Isn't he simply adorable?
Thanks everyone for coming over and being such a sport for the memorable party! It was indeed fun.

May 9, 2009

Drawing before Mother's Day

Just a day before Mother's Day, Mummy chanced upon a drawing lying on DD's desk while she was sleeping in her room.
Isn't it cute? I love the smile on the face. Is that DD herself with her chubby cheeks and cheeky smile or is that Mummy trying to guage if her daughter has been up to some little mischief again (with eyebrows raised)! hehe..
Mummy is soo soo proud of her. I admire her drawing while my little one peacefully sleeps... I will ask her once she wakes up about the subject of her drawing.

May 2, 2009

My Shichida Testimonial

I’m writing this testimonial to share with others the remarkable progress of my daughter after she joined Shichida at 7 months. Shichida is a school for right brain development which was started by a Japanese person Makato Shichida many many years back. The techniques used has been found to be useful and successful not only in Japan but also in other countries like Singapore and Malaysia.

At 12 months, she knew how to blow, paste stickers, said ‘Happy’ while I was showing her the ‘Feelings’ flashcards. She could also say simple words like ball, fan etc.

At 18 months, she started speaking many words. She knew the phonics song, the different sounds of animals etc.

At 20 months, she started talking sentences, could match and sort shapes, colours, etc.

At 24 months, she could sing the ABCD song and many other nursery rhymes, had letter recognition from A-Z, knew number counting till 15-20, correctly. A friend of mine (another Shichida parent) showed her a bird flashcard and she immediately said ‘Sparrow’. I do many flashcards with her - one category being ‘birds’.

Now, at 25 months, she has good photomemory, ESP, linking memory, loves drawing and singing, can write few letters and knows her opposites : tall-short, heavy-light, and simple addition like : 1+1, 2+1.

Sensei has played a major role by being very supportive and encouraging and making the activities enjoyable leaving a mark of her charming personality. Also, she has inspired me to keep following the program regularly at home.

Thus, I have experienced how a good program like Shichida, positive interaction by a good teacher and regular home practice can help in overall child development. I would recommend Shichida Method to all parents...and no, Shichida hasn't paid me for writing this. :D I am just too pleased with Shichida.

See your baby talk

Here is my reply to a query expressed by one of my readers, a mum of a 16 month old on how to encourage her 16 month old to speak more and how to communicate with one's child. The faster your child learns to speak, the faster you will be able to understand the needs of your child and reduce the frustration and crying of your little toddler.
There are lots of views on using sign language for babies. It could be interesting to see how fast your baby picks up some of the signs to be able to communicate correctly with you.
There are quite a few things that you could do to increase your baby's vocabulary.

1) First and foremost, don't pressurize your baby to speak. Just let her be while giving her lots of input on all the things that you see. Just keep TALKING a lot to her in ADULT language. It can seem weird but they grasp words quickly.
2) Use lots of picture flashcards (pictures on one side and text on the other) and show her at very fast speed. Note that you would need a thumb holder (available at the stationary section in Popular or other book stores). Gradually, you can encourage her to say the word instead of letting it out.
3) Teach her how to blow if she doesnt know already. You can make an octopus with threads hanging as legs and ask her to blow it. You can make various interesting craft work and ask her to blow. Once she knows how to blow, you can ask her to blow a candle. Also, ask her to blow a whistle to see how much strength she has in her blow. She will be able to pronounce words like P, Kh, etc. that require air to be blown out of the mouth.
4) Listening is the first step to speaking. Babies love nursery rhymes. Rhymes, Finger rhymes, Action rhymes are tools that you can use. Start with simple rhymes like 'Johny Johny' or 'Are you sleeping'. Finger rhymes like 'Two little blackbirds sitting on a wall', Action rhymes like 'Eensy Winsy spider'. Something that is very easy to pick up.
5) Sing regularly to her. Children love music and will start humming and then saying the words in no time.

6) Some children dont speak much because all that they want to say is being understood beforehand. Sometimes, act as if you are just not getting it (without telling her in words that she needs to speak). But, dont do it too often.

7) Read picture books to her everyday and point out the pictures while spelling out the words clearly.
8) Follow her focus of attention. This is something I did a lot while dealing with my child. Instead of asking her to say words that you want her see, you can follow her eyesight and keep giving words to her that SHE is looking at. Say when she is looking at a ball under the sofa. Dont ask her to see a 'bird'. Focus on her object of attention. Tell her, "Yes, get the ball".

9) How to speak to your child: Speak short simple sentences of 3-4 words in a sentence. Break up all your conversation into short sentences. For example: "I am hungry. I need food". Say a bit loudly but slowly with lots of intonation in your voice.

10) Use lots of play sounds while you play with him/her. Children love it. Let her be surrounded by lots of 'Swishhhh', 'vroom vroom', 'Crashhh', 'Splashh', 'baa baa', 'moo moo', 'tick tock' and so on.

11) Use a lot of repetition. Look, there's the ball. Its a blue ball. Can u throw the ball? Give the ball to Daddy.

12) Repeat what she says or is meaning to say back to her in meaningful words without showing that you are correcting her.
13) DONT ask questions. Dont let her feel the discomfort of being asked to speak. Let it come naturally.
14) DON'T comment on the way she is expected to speak or say that she does not speak to all your friends. Children catch messages very fast.

15) Make sure its not too noisy when you are speaking to her. Anything that could distract her attention can be tuned off, like the television, phone etc.

Activities for a 16-20 month old: Make a game of naming the parts of her body. Teach her the sounds that animals make. She would also love activities like scribbling with colour pencils, banging drums, building a tower of cups, fitting, filling emptying etc.
You will find many more activites in my blog earlier posts in the category 'Children Activities'.
Your baby will talk eventually. So, do not stress or over pressurize him/her to talk. And in case you suspect that your child has a speech problem, schedule an appointment with a speech therapist as soon as possible if the above techniques dont work.