Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Toddler Can Read!?

While watching an episode of WordWorld a PBS program for preschoolers, I noticed my 3 year old sounding out words with the “ST” sound. St-age, St-airs St-ars she stuttered. I challenged her by writing a list of “ST” words, STOMP, STEP, STOP an so forth, she carefully sounded them all out, she asked for more. Needless to say, I was beside myself, “my child can read!” So, I immediately went to my computer and did a search “teach toddler how to read”. There was a lot of information in cyberspace and products too. Surprisingly, I found a little controversy over how to teach, when children are ready to read and what they can do by a certain age.

I just wanted a list of things to do to help my child with phonics and words. We are past learning the alphabet, we do workbook activities, have read countless books since the day she was born. We read several books a day and she knows the sounds each letter makes. What I needed was something that put it all together for FREE.
I did not want to buy a new toy, software or dvd’s just something to incorporate into our reading routine to help her move forward. So, I called my sister, she has a 6 year old. She suggested I visit Spelling City a website where I could find Dolch Words or sight words, FYI, the 220 most common words and 95 additional nouns in children's reading books.

I took about thirty of the Dolch words and wrote them on colored pieces of paper and put them in groups around my daughters room. They are not just for her, but there to remind me of the words we see in books all of the time.

I also found this cool site called We have been working through this site for a month now. We read the simple stories at the end of each lesson together. We practice phonics in the ABC’s section too. I have learned, rather than trying to read books with brief sentences, simple word books are perfect. We just brought this one home from the library Billy & Milly, Short & Silly.

baby pistachio’s helpful tips:
1. Have fun
2. Learn the alphabet (maybe even learn to sign the ABC’s)
3. Learn the sounds each letter makes
4. Identify letters in words
5. Refer to your old baby picture books, that just have one or two words on a page before reading long sentences (that’s my two cents)
6. Find Dolch words
7. When child resists stop
8. Workbooks come in handy
9. Continue to read to your child
10. Find a website with simple progression of lessons

baby pistachio

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baby vs. Cup

For a quick reference guide regarding the current trend in sippy cups and other child friendly consumer products visit Z Recommends.
Sippy Cup Showdown is a great read!

First let me say, Ella is finally weened off of the bottle and has graduated to THE CUP. I say THE CUP because as you know, if you are reading this article you too may have had a few challenges transitioning from bottle to a straw, sippy, or some other type of cup!
Well here is my story and my advice.

Let’s go back, way back. I weened my daughter Marley who is now three and half years old off of the bottle at 10 months. She was very easy going. We were at a restaurant in NYC, Ruby Foo’s, I think. The waiter brought us a small cup of water with a straw. Marley was about 9 months old. I offered the cup to her and she drank, I thought “wow maybe you are ready for cups.” It was as easy as that. I bought a Nuby straw cup, back then you did not have to compress the straw to draw fluid, it was very easy to drink from. I offered her milk in the cup, substituted a cup for every feeding for about 3 weeks, job done.

Fast forward about three years, I am sitting at the table with my lovely daughter Ella she was about 7 months old and I offer her a tiny bit of water in a baby food jar with a straw. The drama...“Ok maybe you are not quite ready yet” I thought. “I will try again next week.” Next week came and there was more drama. Ella was very vocal about not wanting to drink out of a cup, straw or no straw. “Ok I will wait until she is a little older” I told myself. Ten months arrives and I think “alright its time for us to start transitioning.” Ella did not feel the same way.

During a random visit at a Babies R Us I picked up a package of Playtex straw cups and one Nuby straw cup. This is when I discovered the Nuby straw cups did not work the same way they did when I used them with Marley. It did not matter because Ella was not interested in anything I put in front of her. She would take a sip and then cry, cry, cry and scream!
I panicked, I thought “uh-oh she is stubborn and this is going to be hard. She is not going to give up with out a fight.” I got online, I read posts on and random sites typing in searches like “baby won’t drink from cup!” Papa said not to worry, but I could help myself. All I could envision was my 2 year old with a nipple hanging out of her mouth, in a milk and drool stained wife beater. I also promised my glass bottles to my sister whose newborn was about two months already and I wanted to get the bottles to her. The future looked grim. Looking back I realize I was being a bit melodramatic, however, this is my reality.

This is what I finally decided to do. After Ella rejected each and every cup, I continued to give Ella about 2 oz of water in a baby food jar with a straw I salvaged from one of her cups. I offered her water at every meal to get her comfortable with the process.

I took her morning bottle away first. I bought a Thermos Fogoo straw cup because she seemed intrigued by the one her sister had and she drank from it easily.

We always used the signs for milk and water and she slowly became accustomed to seeing the Fogoo cup and would sign milk whenever she saw it. Still, she was not drinking 7oz in one shot, she would drink about 3 or 4oz at a time.

Then, I took the afternoon bottle away and replaced it with the cup. It was like pulling teeth, she became constipated and was not getting enough fluid, but she started drinking a lot more water and signing more and more for water.

After two weeks it was time for her first year check up she was still taking a 7-8oz bottle at night depending on how much she had during the day. Her diapers were not as wet as I would have liked. She was taking and average of 18oz of fluid a day.

I began to panic, I thought maybe I should just go back to bottles. I even started to pour what remained in her cups into her bottles, but by that time she was not really interested in her bottles either. Then the amazing happened one morning Ella drank 6oz and ate breakfast. Then she drank another 6oz at lunch. Finally, after a week of this I took the night time bottle away. She did not flinch and she is well, weened. She is still alive, she is not dehydrated, she takes 18 -24 oz of milk and 4 oz of water a day. Her diapers are normal, she is still a little constipated, but I suspect cheese is the culprit, that is another story. It took about two months to get her fully weened.

My advise is basic:
Find a good cup
Be patient
Do not stress
Be consistent
Add love

Good luck,
baby pistachio

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Revisiting, reinventing and repurposing my blog is quite a task. Quite a bit has happened in the past few years. I had a new baby, I have straddled life between two cities, NYC and Boston. Finally realizing my dream of becoming a MOMtrepreneur, mom entrepreneur, Savvy Mom, Smart Momma what ever you want to call it and have lots to share. I am teaching Baby Sign Language classes now and well, I want to share some insights and topics that come up from time to time.


baby pistachio