Will & i

Category: Motherhood

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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Fun Firsts: 10 Months

After two botched haircuts left Will looking like Lloyd Christmas and Janet Reno, we decided it was time to call in the pros…

1st attempt:

2nd attempt:

Lesson learned: Don’t let me near a pair of scissors!

Anyway, Billy’s long-time hair stylist was kind enough to offer us a free haircut for Will anytime. We couldn’t pass that up, so last week Will finally got a much-needed haircut.

Will’s mop of hair before…

getting ready for hair cut

picture of us looking in the mirror

will and bill

She was super fast, and Will was awesome. It was seriously such a fun 1st time experience, I don’t know why we waited this long!

babies 1st hair cut

Babies first hair cut

When did your little one get his or her first professional haircut?

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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It’s Your Turn

snoopy cartoon

“It’s your turn”. You are either saying it, thinking it or praying for it when your little one wakes you up at the crack of dawn. Every morning, it feels like I’m back in middle school, begging my mom, “just five more minutes, please“. Your bed takes on a whole new level of comfort, and you yearn for your warm covers the second you hear, “ba ba ba, da da da”.

5 more minutes snoopy cartoon

Billy and I go back and forth about how to split up the morning shift. We’ve tried alternating days, week vs weekend, ignoring the sounds in hopes that they will turn back into blissful sleep, but we keep sliding back into the same routine. I feed and change Will at 5:30 a.m (when is he going to outgrow this phase?!) and then put him back to sleep. I then crawl in bed, cross my fingers, and pray that he lays down and closes his eyes. Sometimes, he gives us the gift of falling back asleep until 7:30, but other times he cat-naps until 6:00 a.m. Either way, that second wake-up time has become Billy’s shift.

If you are a stay-at-home-mom, like me, many people would say, (and Billy might agree) that the husband shouldn’t take a morning shift because he has to go to work all day. My argument is that it is the only time of day when he can spend quality time with his son (It totally works 😉 ).

Who wakes up with your little one in the morning? How do you split up the morning shift if one parent works? How do you split up the morning shift if both parents work?

P.S. This is me every night at 8:30…

snoopy sleeping cartoon


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When Billy and I got married, all four of my grandparents were present, as well as Billy’s grandmother, Marmie. It was the last momentous event where all of my family was together and gathered in celebration. It was unforgettable.

Soon after, my Nana got sick, and sadly she died a year later. She would’ve loved having Will as her great-grandson, and she probably would’ve made him banana milkshakes everyday to fatten him up (that was her speciality 😉 ). Will was just what my family needed after losing Nana, and the excitement of his arrival kept my grandpa, Popi, smiling even after losing his wife of 65 years.

popi and Will

We recently lost Billy’s grandmother, Marmie, but we had a really special moment introducing Will to her before she passed. Will was her 27th GREAT grandchild. How amazing is that?!

marmie 2

Today, I’m lucky enough to still have 3 grandparents, which means Will is even luckier to have 3 great-grandparents! The time we all spend together is so important, although not frequent enough. Therefore, I really treasure those family gatherings when the great-grandparents are present.

grandma and Will 2

grandma and Will

Does your child have great-grandparents? How often does your little one see them? How do you make the time you have with them special?

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Super Bowl Highlights

This post has nothing to do with the actual game. To be completely honest, the only time I looked up at the TV was to check out the commercials and the half-time show. Whoops!

Anyway, I’ve always been the watery-eye type, and some of these commercials really did it for me. Here are my commercial picks to make you smile, warm your heart, or possibly make you shed a tear:

Budweiser Superbowl Commercial – “A Hero’s Welcome”

budweiser commercial 2014

Cheerios Game Day Ad – “Gracie”

Cheerio superbowl ad 2014

Budweiser Superbowl Commercial – “Puppy Love”

Budweiser superbowl ad 2014

Despite all of the sentimental commercials above, my all-time favorite had to have been the Bud Light commercial: “Ian Up for Whatever”

Bud Light Super Bowl Ad 2014

And of course the Bruno Mars half-time show with the children singing at the beginning and the soldiers tribute was awesome! I’m a sucker for kids and anything patriotic, so I loved this.

Bruno Mars halftime show 2014

This was our first Superbowl with child, and it was pretty funny. Billy was trying to focus on the game, while Will was banging on his light-up, song-playing walker. Billy must have asked me 3 times, “Is it bedtime, yet?”

How was your Super Bowl experience with your little ones? What were your favorite Super Bowl moments?

Creative Helmets

Even though Will is out of his helmet (Yipee!), I just had to share this fun article from the Today Show about decorating helmets. The Today Show invited parents to submit pictures of their babies looking adorable in their decorated helmets.

fixin my melon

Courtesy Christa Witmer Covert

These families used creative decorations as a way to put a positive twist on the whole helmet experience. In fact, some businesses are even making a profit out of accessorizing helmets, while other companies will donate their decorating services. Independent artists on Pinterest have even jumped on the helmet-decorating wagon.

Cute as a bug helmet

Just fixin' my flat helmet

chevron decorated helmet

under construction

Picking out Will’s helmet color and design was pretty easy. Unlike these parents, we wanted it plain and simple. The helmet becomes part of your child’s identity, and I didn’t want something that was going to distract even more from his little face.

Will in marina shirt

There is no denying the statistics, “About half of all 2-month-old babies screened in a study had flat spots on their heads”. That’s a lot of helmets, and a lot of $$$! With plagiocephaly on the rise, decorated helmets might become the next big thing for babies.

What’s your opinion on creative helmets? Decorate or not to decorate?

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Goodbye, Helmet

After five surprisingly quick months, Will is helmet-free! These are Will’s last pictures with his helmet right before we went to the doctor and found out the good news. He must have known it was coming because he was in a great mood!

Will's last helmet pic

Will smiling

And hanging out in the doctor’s lounge…

walking around the dr lounge

This was Will’s 3rd and final head scan. He was all smiles while we got him ready for the scan, but as soon as we laid him in the scanner, he panicked, screamed, and squirmed. The doctor had to retake the picture 5 times, and it took 4 people to hold him steady and distract him. In the past, this scan was never a problem, but now he knows too much.

Will right before the scan

Will getting ready for the scan

Here are the results from his last head-scan:

Final results 2

Final scan results

The red line is Will’s original head in August, and the blue line shows his new head shape today. Overall growth is 23 mm, which sounds very small, but in terms of head change is really good. Dr. Vicari said that Will’s head will continue to round out even without the helmet.

Below are some before and after pictures:

Billy and I are very happy to be able to cuddle up close with our little guy again. The helmet was so much better than I thought it would be, but I will not miss the nightly cleanings and the bonks on the head.

On the other hand, I will miss the protection the helmet provided. Even just a few hours without the helmet yesterday were eye-opening. I had to be on my toes every time he stood up on the coffee table or swung the kitchen cabinets open and closed. Goodbye, helmet…hello, bumps and bruises!

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