Will & i

Category: Learn

Sign Language

daddy sign

I’ve been casually using a few signs here and there, but I think it’s time to step it up a notch. My increased interest in sign language is due to a new development that sounds something like this, “eh, eh, eh, eh”. I believe these sounds translate to “I want, I want, give me, give me”. At 13 months of age, we are a little late in the game, but sign language seems to be the best solution. Either that, or we wait it out until he can talk?

If you are looking for some information on the basics of teaching sign language to your little one, check out Baby Sign Language. Here are some tips that I found most helpful from the website:

1. Keep it fun by using a playful tone and incorporate emotion.

2. Choose signs that interest baby: mom, dad, eat, milk, more and dog.

3. Turn off distractions and sign in the center of their field of vision.

4. Start signing between 6-9 months.

5. Perform the sign before, during and after the event.

6. Incorporate signs into daily routines

7. When your baby initiates a sign, sign back and say the word out-loud

8. Use flash cards, books and props to aid with signing.

9. Start with 5 signs

10. Spend 5 minutes a day signing

These are the 5 signs that I would like to work on with Will…


To do the sign for more, flatten out your hands then bring your thumbs under to make an O shape. Then, bring your hands together and separate them repeatedly.

More sign


For all-done, you start with palms facing in, then turn the hands so that they are facing out.All done


Make the sign for eat by taking you strong hand, with the tip of your thumb touching the tips of your fingers and tapping it on your mouth. The same sign is used for food.

Eat sign


To sign please, take you hand with fingers extended and all together, and thumb extended and sticking out. Take the hand with palm facing in and rub it in a circle on your chest.

please sign

And if I get really, REALLY motivated, these signs too (not going to happen): 


To make the milk sign, take both hands, make them into a fist, relax, and repeat.

Milk sign


To sign mommy extend and spread your fingers apart. With your pinkie facing forward tap your thumb on your chin.

mommy sign


To sign daddy, extend and spread out your five fingers on your strong hand. Tap your hand on your forehead.



Sign dog by patting your outstretched hand with fingers together on the side of your hip. Just as if you were calling the dog.

dog sign


To sign again, flatten out your leading hand. Bend your second hand at a right angle, then tap it against the middle of the palm of your first hand.

Again sign

Did you teach your child sign language? If so, did it work? Was it worth it?

Charts and More Charts Continued…

Each stage of  child development seems to bring a whole new series of questions and concerns. Is my child eating right, drinking right, growing right, talking right, playing right…? I know I should ask my doctor these questions first, but instead, who do I turn to? Friends, family, books, and good old trusty Google. Check out my latest questions and answers now that Will is officially a toddler.

p.s. click here to answer many of your baby questions.

(click pictures to enlarge)

How much should my toddler be eating?

Daily toddler needs


What kinds of food should I feed my toddler?

toddler food ideas

 How much cows milk should my child be drinking per day?  

My doctor says 24 ounces, but I’ve been giving Will 18 ounces a day. This chart says 16 oz. per day, so depending on the child I would aim for 16-24 ounces a day.  How much cows milk do you give your toddler?

milk chart


How many ounces of water should my toddler drink per day? 

water consumption chart


When can I turn the car seat to forward-facing?

The website states, Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It’s the best way to keep him or her safe. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness” 

Car seat regulations


How much should my toddler be sleeping?

sleep chart for toddlers


What sounds should my toddler be able to make?

Speech sound development

What are the developmental milestones for toddlers?

milestones chart

When do toddlers get their molars?

teeth chart


What signs can I start working on with my toddler to help him communicate?

sign language for babies


When is time to start thinking about potty-training? 

potty training chart 2


What immunizations will my child have in his upcoming appointments? 

immunization chart


Fun Firsts: 11 Months

Will walking with lion

Will is officially walking, and he is so proud of himself! I thought crawling was a great form of self-entertainmnet, but this has been a riot for him. He spends most of his days walking around in circles carrying various objects like his lion, a block, a sippy cup, or tupperware, and he really gets a kick out of it.

When we are in a contained space, this is wonderful, but it’s a whole new ballgame when we are out in public. Being held or riding in the shopping cart isn’t as fun as it used to be, because in Will’s mind, walking in the opposite direction of mommy is so much better. Will has a new determined independence, and all he wants to do is explore. Welcome to the toddler stage!

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Dropping the Bottle AND Formula

milk junkie sippy cup

It’s a double whammy to say the least. Just like the shots at the doctor’s office, they never see it coming. One day your kid is enjoying their bottle full of beloved formula, and overnight it’s replaced by a sippy cup full of milk. I’d be upset too!

To say Will is obsessed with his bottle would be an understatement. As soon as he spots it, his eyes narrow in on the target, his bottom lip begins to quiver, his arms and legs start wagging, and little grunts of desperation are repeated over and over until he has that lifeline in his hand. You would think the kid hadn’t eaten for days, when in reality he just took down a plate of ravioli. He loves his bottle, and I love how it comforts him.

So, what’s the rush? I know many people who push it past 3, and even Suri Cruise was sucking on a bottle until she was 4. What is the harm in continuing the bottle after the age of 1? Well, ABC news reported that children who continue the bottle after 1 are at a higher risk for “a number of illness including speech problems, tooth erosion and deformation, and, not surprisingly, trouble letting the bottle go”.

suri cruise drinking a bottle until she was 4

First time, worried mother here, who really doesn’t want her son to experience any of the above side effects, but how do I drop his favorite thing in the whole wide world?

Parents.com lists a couple of steps you can take when transitioning from a bottle of formula to a sippy cup of milk: 

1) Let your child pick out their favorite sippy cup at the store.

2) Offer formula in a sippy cup when he or she is most hungry, usually in the morning. 

3) Offer milk in a sippy cup with daytime meals. 

4) Each day, slowly substitute one bottle with a sippy cup of milk.

5) If you continue to offer a bottle of milk before bed, make sure to brush babies teeth afterwards to prevent decay. This is usually the last bottle to go. 

6) Model drinking milk out of cup, speak positively and without pressure. This process could take weeks or even months. 

Will’s 1st birthday was this Monday, so here goes nothing…Goodbye bottle AND formula, Hello sippy cup, and milk.

What techniques or strategies did you use when transitioning your little one from a bottle of formula to a sippy cup of milk?

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How Much is Too Much TV?

old fashioned picture of kids watching tv

This long winter made me introduce something I really, really wanted to hold off on until Will was a little older, and now that I’ve started it’s been hard to stop. TV is addicting. Not for Will, for me! It gives me 5-10 glorious minutes of complete, and utter silence, but I’ve started to feel guilty. That same guilt I feel about internet use during Will’s waking periods, has transferred over to Disney Junior.

So…I started doing some research, and I read this, this and this. After all of this reading, I started to feel even worse about my parenting. In fact, I initially erased this post, because I didn’t want to admit that I was doing something that could potential harm my child. I can blame ignorance, but let’s not kid ourselves. The truth is that TV is like eating an ice cream sundae, I know I shouldn’t do it, but it feels so good at the time.

I told myself that if I set perimeters on television watching, then it would be ok. “I’ll let Will watch 5 minutes right before his first nap, because that’s when he gets fussy, and I’ll let him watch another 5 minutes during the witching hour, because that’s when he gets fussy (anyone see a theme here?). And if he gets sick, five minutes might be extended to ten minutes. 10-20 minutes a day is not bad, right? The experts say, “WRONG”.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy in 2011 stating that even TV as background noise can inhabit a child’s ability to learn, and a parent’s willingness to engage the child in learning. The AAP also believes that TV can lead to poor sleep habits, and language development delays once they begin school.

Kids outside watching cartoons

Alright, now that I “know” all of the negative side-effects of TV, will I let my child watch TV again? Of course(!),  but I am going to try to follow the rules from now on. No more TV until he turns 2 years old, as recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics. He’s the first child, so I can try to do what I’m supposed to, but don’t hold me to this for the 2nd one!

By the way, I emailed this excerpt from David Hill’s article to my husband not because I expect him to stop watching Squawk Box in the morning, but knowledge is power and…I like to bother him at work 😉

“Just having the TV on in the background, even if “no one is watching it,” is enough to delay language development. Normally a parent speaks about 940 words per hour when a toddler is around. With the television on, that number falls by 770! Fewer words means less learning”. 

mother father tv cartoon

When did you introduce TV to your child? What’s your policy on television in your home?

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New Year’s Resolution

new years resolution cartoonJust pretend that it’s New Year’s Day, because that’s when I intended to publish this post. My blogging has been a little sporadic lately, and it’s been driving me CRAZY. I’ve been unsuccessfully attempting to blog from my cell phone and Panera, because we have yet to set up internet and cable in our new home. We’ll get there…slowly but surely.

This lack of internet has shed even more light into my obsession overuse of technology. It seems to be the obvious choice for a New Year’s Resolution.

The Stir posted an excellent acronym to use when setting a New Year’s goal:

SMART goals

Check out my New Year’s Resolution using the S.M.A.R.T formula:

Limit internet use to Will’s nap times and bedtime, which is one hour in the morning, one hour in the afternoon and anytime after 6:30 p.m (SPECIFIC AND MEASURABLE) 

This will encourage me to spend more time with Will during his waking hours, but still gives me plenty of opportunities to go online, while he sleeps (ATTAINABLE AND REALISTIC). I would like to do this until Will moves down to one nap a day (TIME-BASED)

Just so there is no cheating, my brother, Jason, created an Internet Time Log on Excel that I will use to track my progress. I simply enter the time spent online into the designated time slot and if I’m online during times that Will is not asleep it turns red, because I’ve been naughty. At the bottom it tallies the total time spent online for that day.

Click: JulieTechTimeLog-1 to see how I already cheated yesterday…0ops! Things are getting serious on Monday.

Stay tuned to see how well I stick to my New Year’s goal!

What is your New Year’s Resolution? Is your resolution specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based?

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Christmas Cards

Anyone else experiencing Christmas card procrastination? I have a million pictures of Will, and a few pictures of us as a family, but I can’t pull the trigger. I would like to do a family picture, but as usual, I don’t like the way I look in the options we have. Also, Will is changing so much and we want a current picture.

Billy says, “you need to get over it, and just choose one”. And I agree, but I think I’d rather just delay it a little longer and do what most procrastinators do, A New Years Card!

And to put more pressure on myself…how cute are these Christmas cards?

christmas card natural pose

christmas card carrying tree

baby christmas card as a reindeer

couples christmas card

christmas card on the beach

Christmas card with fall colors

chritmas card of kids reading in bed

Christmas card in a barn

And these made me look twice…these people are CRAZY!

Christmas card gymnastics

Christmas card chaos

christmas card people with guns

Christmas card with child taped to the wall

And these are just plain funny…

Christmas card with babies crying

Christmas card with baby look up the chimney

christmas card with babies in mini car

christmas card showing two time periods

What’s your motto on holiday cards? Funny, serious, creative, crazy…? Professional photograph or home-grown? With or without parents?

Charts and More Charts

Reading a baby book is not the most thrilling thing. The author usually spends a whole chapter explaining his philosophy on child rearing, then another providing scientific evidence to back his belief, and another listing numerous examples of families who have benefited from his method. Jeez. JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO, AND MAKE IT EASY!

That is the purpose of this blog post. To answer all of the questions I’m constantly asking myself, my family, my friends, and my doctor. I hope you find these charts helpful! (Click on each chart to enlarge)

P.S Every child is different. Some of these charts may not apply to your baby or your parenting style. For me, the napping chart says Will should be at 2 naps a day, but he likes his naps (just like his daddy!).

How much should my child be sleeping? 

sleep chart

How many naps should my child take a day? 



How many feedings should I do per day and how often? 

milk feedings


How much formula or breast milk should I feed my baby? 

amount per feeding

What solid foods are age appropriate? 

feeding chart


How much Tylenol can my baby take when he is sick or teething? 

What vaccinations does my child need, and when will he receive them? 


What should my child be able to do by this age? 


Bubble Boogers


Add bubble boogers to the I Never Knew this Existed list. Picture this: a clear, bubble gum like bubble that is blown from your baby’s nose, and doesn’t pop until you grab it with a Boogie Wipe. If you’ve never used a Boogie Wipe before you are probably thinking, “I can’t believe they make specific wipes for boogers. What a gimmick”. Trust me, I too thought they were pointless, but Will’s little nose was getting so chapped, so I caved and bought them.

It’s funny, because last week I was patting myself on the back. Will hadn’t gotten sick, and I was attributing that to my own parenting. HA. I guess he was due for a cold, because Friday morning he woke up with very rosy cheeks (Billy said he looked like Santa Clause), a runny nose, and a slight fever.

Lucky for me, my mom decided to visit last-minute. As soon as she arrived, I was complaining, “This is horrible. How do people do this?”

She laughed, “This is nothing, Julie. You better get used to it. Babies get sick at least 6 times a year”.

To make matters worse, Billy decided to get a cold last weekend too. “Now, you can sympathize with Will,” I told him. Basically, there is no escaping it, I’ll be next, and we probably sent my mom home with a cold.

sick baby 2

By the afternoon, my mom and I were out of ideas, so I called my doctor’s office and asked what we can do to help Will. The nurse responded, “nothing really”. I think my silent reaction showed her I wasn’t satisfied with her response. She finally went on to share her “vital knowledge”: push the liquids, elevate his mattress on one side, dress him lightly, use saline drops rather than the bulb, and give him Tylenol every 4-6 hours. She did tell me something helpful, “your baby should still be eating the same amount, but it may be in smaller amounts throughout the day”.

Here is some other good “sick baby” tips I got from friends:

1) Vicks BabyRub & Steam baths (Thanks, Ashley!)

2) Sleep training goes out the window when you have a sick baby. You just have to spoil and comfort them. (Very true, Gina)

3) Chicken broth – (Good idea, Koehler, especially because Will is eating solids now)

4)Aquaphor or Vaseline for chapped noses, cheeks, and chins (Thanks, Mom : )

How do you comfort your little one when he or she is sick? What cold remedies have you discovered as a mother?


stay-at-home-mom cartoon

One day, my brother-in-law asked me, “So, what do you do all day?”

“What do you mean? I take care of Will,” I responded.

If you’ve never stayed home to raise a child, it’s hard to imagine what a mom’s job entails, but I promise we don’t sit in front of the TV all day eating cookies. On the other hand, transitioning from the working world to a stay-at-home mom can be quite a shock. These are some things I’ve learned about how to get out of your PJs and start your day.

1. Set a daily goal. Whether it’s to run an errand, workout, go on a walk, or attend a baby class, you must make yourself get out of the house at least once a day or else the walls with slowly start to close in on you.

2. Don’t be shy. Attending mommy classes can feel like dating. “What’s your name, where are you from, can I get your number, can we hang out soon?” Just remember, everyone is in the same boat.

3. Find a hobby. For me, it’s been blogging, but I know many moms who make jewelry, knit, bake, exercise, read, and so on. Taking care of a baby is challenging, don’t get me wrong, but I really missed the problem-solving and creative aspect that came along with teaching. A hobby is just what I needed : )

4. Don’t watch the clock. You are going to be very tempted to call your husband and ask, “When are you coming home from work?” DON’T DO IT. I find that if you don’t ask, they come home earlier. Right when you are at your breaking point: go on a walk, visit a mommy friend,  hit the park, or run another errand.

5. Save your money. With the constant runs to BuyBuyBaby, Target, and Jewel, you may start to feel like your job is to spend money. My favorite free activities have become the park, mommy groups, going on walks with a friend, and first time trials at baby classes.