We found out today that our friends Dave and Christina are expecting (sorry, no link) their first child this September. I know he/she will be born on September 13th. We're thrilled for them! With all of the baby-happenings around us, this seems like a good time for us to share some of the things that we've noticed our friends do that we just think are insanely great ideas related to babydom.
decide on the name, but save it
friends of ours who gave birth to twins a little while ago did this. When you're expecting, you run into the same mantra of questions from acquaintances and even friends. Well-intentioned folks don't realize that you're hearing the same four or five questions seventy-three thousand times over the course of nine months. One of the top five has to be, "have you decided on a name??" In the case of this couple, it was "names," of course. Their response was, "yes, we have, and we've decided to reveal them when they're born." To me, the beauty of this response was that they didn't even really have to have completely settled on the names!! I have no doubt that our friends did, but if you don't, it completely defuses a potentially annoying situation with a satisfactory answer.
teach your baby sign language
This is beginning to become a trend, and two of our friends are well into the process with their one/two year olds. The concept is that if a child can express him/herself pre-verbally, that child will be less prone to tantrums because they can be understood. As a side benefit, the converse is also true... the parent will be less prone to tantrums too! From the two examples we've seen, it works, and doesn't delay verbal development at all. Amazon has several books and videos on the subject.
The only catch is that you have to be willing to teach your child's co-caretakers certain signs too! Lydia was keeping our one year-old friend and she kept showing her a certain sign that she couldn't make heads or tails of. Lydia called our two year-old friend's mom and described the sign to her and she translated... "milk." It kind of looks like the motion you make when you milk a cow.
con your kids into eating what they need
Our one year-old friend eats all of her vitamins and vegetables at every meal. Because they're buried. She loves pancakes, and she loves baby food fruit... she'll devour every bite of either one. So when you pour liquid vitamins into the fruit, or if you add broccoli and carrots to the pancake batter, she'll never know she's getting her nutrition. And, at the rate that kids grow over the first few years, the extra calories will only make her stronger.
have the best baby on the block
Yes, this is an Oprah find, but it looks amazing. There is a book and DVD entitled The Happiest Baby on the Block that really has one purpose: how to stop your baby from crying. Dr. Karp goes into great detail about five things that can help a child lose the need to cry based on everything from the expected (food) to the different volume level the child experiences outside of the womb. We gave it to my brother and sister-in-law who don't have anything to try it out on yet, but it seemed to work great on Oprah. She quit crying almost immediately. (kidding.) Your mileage, of course, may vary.