It’s mind boggling to think six months have already gone by. I have a lot of trouble visualizing how much Lena has changed over those months and the precious videos and pictures from the early days hardly do her justice. Be that as it may, she’s growing by leaps and bounds! All of a sudden she has a distinct personality and shows definite preferences for certain toys and games. It has been so much fun watching her puzzle things out for herself as she explores her new abilities and learns more about the world around her.
She is also beginning to really enjoy interacting with other people, children and animals. This brings on a whole new adventure in teaching her to be gentle and using her “inside voice”. Even though she’s so little, there is no doubt that she understands our reactions and has begun to change her own behaviors based upon that feedback. When a shrill scream is responded to with a hushed voice or gentle “shhh”, she quickly changes her own voice to match. Our next big challenge is teaching her to be gentle. She adores our cat and my parents’ dog and while the pup may withstand a bit of roughhousing, the cat has a tendency to run and hide. Adelena follows their every move and shrieks with laughter when she gets her fingers licked. She’s very good at petting the cat but usually resorts to grabbing a handful of fur after a few pets. By encouraging her with repetitive comments of “gentle” and “nice”, along with a gentle loosening of her fingers…she might eventually catch on! She’s extremely receptive to the gentle coaching and although she still repeats the more enthusiastic behavior, I’m confident she’s making progress. Patience is the name of the game!
Here are a few toys we couldn’t live without:
- Play gym – Any and all of these have provided countless hours of fun and amusement. Even now that she’s getting a bit big for it, she’ll pinwheel her way around and sometimes even manage to set her animals loose. The only major down side is when she manages to get herself wedged against one of the arms so it keeps her from continuing on her little journey.
- Jumper – We have a rather tall baby so I can’t stress enough how useful this has been. She began to fit into it around three and a half months, but really got interested around four months. She’s only on the second of five possible height settings which is a huge relief to us considering she’s on the top setting of most exersaucers. You can easily change up the toys as often as you like and she gets a great vantage point from which to interact with anyone in the room.
- Floor mat – We stole this idea from friends and it’s been incredibly useful! We only have a crawls space, with hardwood floors and throw rugs so it adds another layer of protection in the winter. Now that Lena can push herself around her play area a little, we don’t have to worry about her coming into contact with our carpets. The wipeable surface is also a huge bonus for those teething and spit up moments.
- Simple,Small Toys – Anything that she can manipulate or chew on (particularly with a variety of surfaces) have had huge success. They don’t have to be complex or noisy. The most important characteristics so far have been color, texture and something to interact with (small wooden beads that slide along a string, a flexible ring of multi-textured surfaces, a tiny rattle that fits her hand perfectly, etc.).