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Little Brother has developed a bit of a stutter.  At first I was completely freaked out by it.   Worried and sad and upset — concerned that he had been dealt some terribly unfair hand.   That my baby, who was so quick to speak as a toddler, would now need some help getting over a few tough hurdles down the road.

A few days into the stuttering, I did some reading and started to speak to other parents about the problem.  And, thankfully, I learned that a stutter is very common in kids between 2.5 and 3.5 years old.   And, that the stutter can last anywhere from a week to 6 months or more.  That it can even come and go for months at a time.   That it’s most often seen in children who have developed their little vocabularies so quickly that their speedy little brain is simply working much too fast for their tangled tongues.  And that, most likely, it really means nothing at all.

The counsel is to basically ignore it.  Don’t tease him about it (of course) or point out the problem.  Help with the word if he gets frustrated.   Settle him down.    Let him work through it.

We’re fine.  He’s fine.  I know it’s all good.

The thing about it, though, is that Little Brother, clearly frustrated with the situation, has figured out a couple ways to compensate for this little blip in his ability to communicate his needs.  First, he went with VOLUME.   Holy cow.

“I – I – I – I wa-wa-” (heavy sigh).   GET ME MILK, MOMMY!”

So, I was doing a lot of gentle shhhhush-ing for a week or so.

But, now he’s gone with a new tactic.  It appears that Little Brother now believes he can get the words out a little more easily by whispering them.  But, he doesn’t really get the whole spacial relations things yet so I’ll just happen to look up and notice he’s all the way across the room asking me for something.

Me:   Oh!  Did you need something, J?

LB:   wh-sh-shw-hshshshshws.

Me:  I’m sorry.  What?

LB:   wh-sh-shhs-hhw-hsmsmsshw.

Good lord.  It’s like I’m stay-at-home-Mom to Milton Waddams of Office Space.

Just trying to have a little sense of humor about it.

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“Do I love you?

My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.”

– Wesley to Buttercup, “The Princess Bride”

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So, I’ve recently learned that some nincompoop parents decided to sue the Baby Einstein company because they were angry that the videos did not, in fact, make their children smarter. And these idiots won. And now we lucky parents can walk right back into our local Walmart and return these “worthless” videos for a full refund. Are you kidding me?!

I get it that, yes, the company certainly should not make such claims if they are not going to be true in all cases. The parents who decide to drop their child down in front of Baby Einstein so that they can sneak a cigarette on the back porch, share a few extra vodkas with their spouse or catch the tail end of Judge Judy will be sadly disappointed when little Charlie doesn’t finish up his forty-two minutes with Baby Monet and head out to paint the next “Water Lillies.” So, I’ll give you that the company’s claims were baseless and that perhaps there are, sadly, thousands of parents out there foolish enough to really believe that they could cross “educate” off their childcare to-do list for the day with a video. The company should never have said such things as the videos alone clearly can not teach. And, I suppose, that makes it worthy of a lawsuit.
Sigh.
But those parents who actually remain in the same room with their child while they watch and actually talk about it now and then? I believe that those parents, more likely than not, do see that these videos can expand little minds even if just a bit. I absolutely love it that when my 2-year old hears classical music he smiles and says “Einstein!” So, he doesn’t recognize that it’s Bach versus Beethoven, he loves it. It makes him smile.

Big Brother picked up some sign language from Marlee Matalin on Baby Wordsworth. He gave me some giant belly laughs when we’d do “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to Baby Da Vinci. I also got some of my best educational (yes, educational) toy ideas from these videos. Toys that were Will’s that have become Little Brother’s that they regularly play and enjoy together.
So, I’m pissed me off. It makes me crazy that Julie Clark now has to give back any portion of her multi-millions to these lazy-ass, lawsuit-toting morons who go after a company like Baby Einstein and call themselves good parents for doing so.
And, frankly, I hope Julie is sitting back in the palatial mansion she likely bought a few years ago (when a little, know-nothing company named Disney bought the majority stake in Baby Einstein) and laughing it all off.
Have a drink on me, Julie. I’m keeping my videos.

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