Is My Baby Right-handed or Left-handed? Is Laterality Strictly Hand-related?

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I remember the joy when my son clutched a toy for the very first time. My baby can hold a toy! “Oh wait”, said the voice of anxiety in the mommy head. “Is he right-handed or left handed?” “Come on, it’s too early to tell”, said another voice (I’d like to believe it was the voice of wisdom. Yep, it’s still somewhere there in the mommy brain.)
Of course it was waaaay too early to tell, but as a parent, isn’t it one of the things you’re asking too? My son is now 14 months old. He can hold things in both hands, he can pass things from one hand to another. Yet it’s still too early to tell. And is it that important? Are you going to love your child less if he’s left-handed? Or if you’re left-handed, are you going to like a righty less? Or are you secretly hoping, he or she will be left-handed – a hidden genius and rugged artist with the wildest imagination? Sometimes we just wave the hand and say ‘We parents worry too much.’
Not until the age of 3-4 (some sources say 2-3, as always, babies are individualities) can we talk about absolute laterality. Once babies start grabbing things, they may prefer one hand over the other. But before the age of 1 they actually should be using both hands and experimenting with both parts of their body equally. If they have very strict preference at this age, it could be because the parents hand them objects into one hand only; then it’s good to switch the hands here and there. If this is not the case, it’s good to check (preferably with assistance of a pediatrician) for a possible muscle weakness or underdevelopment.
When talking about laterality, most people think about hands first. But laterality refers to a preference for a whole body side. Humans’ ear and eye laterality should be ideally identical with hand laterality. If it’s not, it could lead to learning problems in the future – it may be crucial in the way a child processes information. So as we, parents, anxiously watch for the “handedness”, we should watch for possible signs where a child is using one eye or ear more when forced to choose.
Breastfed babies are in a slight advantage when it comes to eye and ear stimulation – they get usually fed from both breasts, so primary sound and vision stimulation changes with each breast. Bottle-fed babies tend to be held in the same position when being fed. If you have a bottle-fed baby, you might try to stimulate him in different positions.
The same applies if your diaper changing station is by the wall with a parent changing always from one side. You might consider either changing the side with each diaper change or, which is even better for you and the baby, move the table so the baby’s feet are towards your body and you look at your baby from above. This is by the way the most preferred diaper changing position in Motessori-style upbringing.

How to support muscle development in both hands? Children as young as 10 months can be handed crayons and showed, how to use them on paper. Don’t expect any miracles, your baby will need a few sessions to figure out things (and you’ll need a bit of patience trying to stop her eating the crayons:) ), but you can start with drawing some simple shapes, letting them scribble over them and filling them with different colours. Describe what you’re doing and you have just developed an educational game! Example:
Look, I’m drawing a blue square! Will you help me colour it? Now we’re making a red circle.
You can even make it a pre-diner game when one partner is preparing the meal and the rest of the family is waiting at the table (and you have a brand new family ritual!). While ambidexterity (equal skills with both hands) is very rare, children are natural learners and using both hands for easier tasks is a game for them, so even older children can take part and try drawing the same easy shape with each hand taking turns.

I like these triangular crayons ¬†for the first experiments – they don’t roll away, are non-toxic AND washable. Washable is important. Mark my words…

Just remember – we all are unique and possess individual nervous systems – you cannot change your baby’s laterality and you SHOULDN’T try.

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for your support by reading and commenting ūüôā

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The Easiest DIY Toys for Babies EVER

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I wish I could sew, I wish I could knit, I wish I had a workshop in my garage to saw and bang and hammer toys for my little one! But I don’t need any of that to make these really easy toys for him. No sewing or sawing required.

Give baby a wooden stick or a scarf and they will think of ways to play all day long. And babies this small (Aditya is 6 months old) are fascinated by everything! I don’t know if I can call the toys I made for him toys, but I know that YOU can make them too. And all materials are right at your home!

I was inspired by Montessori mobiles to buy a large jingle bell – one of their sensory mobiles is a jingle on a string or a ribbon. See, here goes the first toy! And the idea for the second one was conceived simply because the jingle bells came in a pack of two:) So I was thinking what to do with the second one and noticed, how Aditya loves his fabric ball with a jingle inside. I took a wash cloth (because of the texture, but you can take a piece of flannel or cotton¬†fabric, or any other, for¬†that matter) and this particular one had a frog face on it,¬†and I thought it would be fun if I positioned the face so that it looks like frog’s head.

I put the jingle inside the cloth, tied with a ribbon and tadaa! This is a great tip for traveling too, if your baby gets tired of the old toys (or you forget to take any with you). The cloth is good enough as a makeshift doll without the bell inside.

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There are many¬†ways to play with these toys, but please be very careful, especially¬†with the jingle on a string, as it may pose a strangling risk. Always make sure that the end is tied in a way your baby can’t get the string around his or her neck and supervise their discovery time with the toy!

I like using the jingle bell on this IKEA wooden gym – I just strip the hanging toys it comes with and tie the jingle for a change. It seems very simple, but Aditya just loves to bat, bat, bat at it!

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This is what it looks like:

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What simple toys do you make for your kids? Do you prefer making at least some toys or other items for your child to just buying everything?

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DIY Baby Mobile – Butterflies

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Here is a fairly simple baby mobile to make. All you need is:

  • cutout shapes (in my case butterflies)
  • thread
  • skewers/ chop sticks
  • hole punch

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I found these butterflies¬†at Michael’s in the scrapbooking section – the package had 12 butterflies made of thin plywood, but if you are making yours from scratch,¬†stock paper with any shapes will do. There are all sorts of paper punches to make your job easier.

Pinterest has the most adorable ideas for mobile designs – hot air balloons, airplanes, birds, bubbles…

Here is how I made this mobile:
Make a hole in each butterfly with a hole punch. String one butterfly at the end of a thread and secure with a knot. Add another butterfly and make a loop or a knot to secure the second butterfly. Repeat for all butterflies until they are strung on threads in twos.

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Make a mobile base using¬†3 skewers. You can¬†tie them¬†together in a triangle shape with the same thread like I did or you can use a wire or, if you’re a big fan of the hot-glue gun, you can “gun” them together. Hang the threads with butterflies in varying lengths, add a hook and hang at a desired place. Watch the delight in those little eyes:)

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DIY Infant Stimulation Mobile

This post contains an affiliate link to Brillkids.com.

When I was pregnant, I was thinking “I will make so many things for the baby! Toys, blanket, clothes! I was always good with crafts, I can do this!”
Dear momma-to-be. It’s not that easy. If you still have time, work on your crafts before your baby arrives! I mean it. Once your little monkey makes her way to this world, your mind will be set on a million things, but baby DIYs. I still have a crochet half-blanket somewhere, I don’t think I will finish it unless I decide to make it for someone else’s baby in the future:)

But there IS light (at the end of the tunnel? Eh, I’d say more like a skylight on the way:). Aditya is really enjoying his tummy time and spends more time in his baby gym without me having to hand him toys or dangle play-stuff above his head, so I decided to make him a few mobiles while he was at (baby)work. Yes, not just one mobile. This baby gets bored so easily, so I thought if I’m able to finish a few of them, I can rotate them throughout the house to keep him entertained. So there will be more DIY mobiles on the way:)))

This one is for the smallest babies and I wish I made it when he was really tiny. He enjoys it anyway, but I recommend this as one of the very first mobiles for a baby. The mobile is Montessori inspired and covers the principles of many early education methods. There are lots of ways you can modify and customize your mobile. I didn’t use anybody else’s instructions, so I had to figure out some things and kinks along the way, but I hope my half-baked instructions will help you or at least inspire you!

Here are the things I used:

  • black and white printouts (I used Infant Stimulation cards¬†from BrillKids)
  • construction paper (you won’t see it in the picture though, I couldn’t find any in the house, but I found 5 non-winning lottery tickets… don’t ask… and used them instead)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • thin ribbon
  • wooden sticks (I used skewers)
  • steel wire (not pictured)

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There was¬†a small change along the way: the wooden skewers didn’t work very well, so I changed them for a WIRE.

First I cut out the shapes I selected and glued them onto the cardstock (non-winning tickets, I mean;))) and then made a hole in the middle to pull a piece of ribbon through. I made a little loop at the end – this is how you will hang the pictures. You can tie them directly to your mobile base, but I wanted to make them interchangeable and use different pictures after a week.

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The I made a base with wire – from the top: a large hook (to hang it wherever you fancy), one wire arm – looks like an arch with a loop in the middle and on each end), loop to hang both arms above each other and the second arm – same arch with a loop in the middle and on each end.

You will want the two arms to form a cross, so the mobile’s pictures are spread out evenly.

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Make hooks to add at each arm’s end and one in the middle:

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Hang your pictures and voila!

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I will be delighted if you share your mobile ideas with me! And as promised, when I have time, I will post other mobiles.

This post contains an affiliate link to Brillkids.com.

 

The Day I Disagreed With Our Pediatrician

I am a self proclaimed Amazon addict:) This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.com and Brillkids.com.

During our first visit to pediatrician, when our son was 4 days old, I asked the doctor: “What shall we do with the baby – how should we stimulate him? What can we teach him?”
And the doc said: “Nothing really. All you can do the first three months is to watch him eat and sleep. Babies this small don’t do anything.”
When we came home, me and my husband were feeling a bit let down. “Nothing? Really? So during pregnancy we were trying to play games and connect with the unborn baby and now for thee months NOTHING?”
When I was expecting this little boy, I found a beautiful book by Deepak Chopra – Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives.

Chopra gives such a sweet ‘recipe’ to bonding with your baby before you even meet him or her, it’s impossible that all ends (or gets interrupted) at birth. I could feel him kicking, I could feel him respond to my touch – in my belly. So now when he is finally here, we do nothing?
I turned to Google (yes, I am a self-proclaimed Google and Amazon addict) and found wonderful Infant Stimulation cards – black and white pictures you can use from birth to stimulate your baby’s vision and brain development. I printed them and started showing then to Aditya at about 2 weeks old. I could see him trying to focus his eyes, I could see him trying to follow the pictures when they moved. It was all slow and very subtle, but then at about 1-1.5 months old he started wiggling when he saw the pictures. He would first stare and soak a picture in, when wiggle as if saying ‘next please’ and then focus on the next one I showed him. Now at 4 months we have a few different booklets including black & white & red cards and they have proven not only to be an educational toy, but also a great distraction tool then he’s fussy or bored.
Since then I have discovered a TON of great tools and toys and I will share them, so in case you’re still waiting to meet your miraculous baby or you’re at home “stuck” with a bundle only a few days/ weeks old, you can start playing games to boost your baby’s development.

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Other things they suggest you can do with your teeny tiny little baby:

  • play music
  • talk and sing
  • massage baby every day
  • show and read him/ her books
  • and, of course, play with your baby

Our days were not filled with watching the baby, but with doing lots of new activities every time he was awake and attentive (probably at that very little age it was all more stimulating for mummy and daddy, but we learned lots of things and created some little rituals that are now a natural part of our life with not-so-little-anymore baby).

And yes – you will spend LOTS OF TIME watching your little one feeding and sleeping, but it totally doesn’t end there!

 

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon.com and Brillkids.com. I never link to products I would not recommend based on personal use or products I believe are not healthy/ eco friendly/ ethical.