Baby Sis has turned 6 months old

I haven’t really been able to write blog posts lately thanks to Baby Sis, who has turned out to be a “sticker child”. I thought separation anxiety starts around 8-9 months but no… it started when she was born.

Our 2nd 3 months went almost the same as the first 3, though everything seemed a little easier, like feeding, sleeping, daily routine etc. and it’s true for our English usage too.

But let’s not run ahead. Here is an update on the little lady:

She is about 65.5 cms long and 6.0 kgs. She is very active, moving around all the time even in her sleep. Boobs mean the world to her and whenever she starts crying she can be easily calmed on the boob. If she doesn’t get what she wants the screaming gets louder and loader and more desperate. She still doesn’t and can’t drink from a baby bottle and use a dummy. As opposed to her Big Sister who really liked both and wasn’t fascinated by the boob that much. (This is where I’ll stop comparing the girls)

I can no longer watch TV, read or chat with someone while she’s being fed as she gets distracted by EVERYTHING. She only allows me to sit quietly and do nothing. She even hits my phone out of my hand (she might have eyes on the back of her head…)

L. turned to her tummy just one day before her 5th month old birthday. Ever since then she’s been rolling all around. So much that one Monday she fell from our bed… on her head. In the morning rush we looked away for half a minute and she rolled like 1.80 metres and fell. We spent the whole day at the emergency room where several examinations were made (X-ray, sonogram etc) and luckily she was fine. Since then we’ve been putting her on the floor all the time.

If she’s on her back she’s kicking like a maniac. So sweet. She also noticed that she’s got two feet and LOVES them. Watching them, chewing her toes and comparing them with her hands.

I’ve always been against sleeping together with a child (I was mainly scared of lying on her, but I also find it unhealthy for the marriage) but Baby Sis begs to differ. She is unwilling to stay in her crib, even if I wait until she falls asleep. As soon as her little bum touches the bed and she can’t feel body warmth close to her she’s up screaming.

Magyarinda baby carrier

Daytime sleeping is done in an ergonomic baby carrier (Magyarinda) on Mummy during the week and on Daddy at weekends (Sometimes I wish I could buckle her up on the dog. ­čśë┬á) Once in a while she falls asleep in the pram, but only for 20-30 minutes. We’re still practising it, though.

on holiday

She’s got 2 working modes: smiley or whiny. If she’s happy and contented she’s ALWAYS smiley, she even smiles at strangers, which might change in the near future. She’s very easy to cheer up. Whenever she sees her Big Sister her little face brightens immediately. She loves chatting with everybody, looking at the books on the book shelves (or on the floor), watching me drink from a bottle, slapping her hanging toys on the play mat and last but not least screaming.

The update got a little too long, but here comes what we do in English.

We regularly try to go to MEC (Mums’ English Club), where L. either sleeps or is on the boob or both at the same time. Okay, every now and then she plays with her new buddies.

I started to introduce her┬áboard books after the cloth books. You can find a list of baby books we’ve been using ever since E. was born. She seemed interested and enjoyed looking at the colourful pages.

I try to be a lot in English when E.’s home from the kindergarten. Baby Sis listens to our conversations but surprisingly E. talks to her sister in Hungarian. I always have to remind her that she also needs to talk to L. in English. But E. entertains her a lot.

She makes Baby Sis’s mobile move┬á

E. involves L. in her doctors pretend play

Reads her books
sisterly bonding

She tells her rhymes:

I myself try to read them in English (simple stories and rhymes) as much as I can:

Nursery rhymes after feeding

Sign language is another topic that I’d like to write a seperate blog post about. Mainly I use Makaton signs both in English and Hungarian (the same sign for the same idea) but also some American Signs and some of our own as well. Signing to babies help them to connect the spoken languages. If I say “enni” in Hungarian I show the same sign as I say “eat” in English, just to give you an idea.

I still do a lot of singing and I tell her several nursery rhymes. Her favourites are: Golden slumbers (and other lullabies) and Open, Shut them either when I do it with my hands or I move her little legs.

She also enjoys the following:
Finger family
Ba-ba black sheep
Humpty Dumpty
You’re my Sunshine
Ride a cock horse
I love you, you love me
This little pig went to the market
Round and round the garden
Head shoulders knees and toes
Here we go looby loo
Two little eyes:

When we play together it involves some balloons

some musical instruments like maracas and jingle bells

Some balls: colours and sizes
Sensory bottles for babies (later I’ll add a post on this topic too):

Apart from playing together in English, I should also mention the everyday activities, housework (just like with E.)┬áwe do in English when we are just the two of us at home like unloading the dishwasher, hanging the clothes to dry, going to the bakery or to the market. Of course, L. just watches me do the chores but I hope later on she’ll join in.

I report everything to her. I tell her all the time what I’m doing or where we are going. Sometimes I feel like I talk to myself all the time but then she gives me a smile as if she understood everything.

Halloween parties 2.015

Just like last year we threw a Halloween party in our home. We invited the mums and their kids from the local Mums’ English Club. Also, we got a really kind invitation to a Helen Doron Halloween Party.

Here comes the summary of the party series:

E. had been preparing for Halloween for weeks. She decided it early what to dress up as: a Jack-o-lantern. My mum found this Jack-o-lantern costume in a second hand clothes shop and I made a little skirt to go with it. E. had an exact idea how to do her hair (a stem on the top out of her fringe and leaf hair clips).

Unfortunately, she couldn’t take part in the Halloween costume party at the kindergarten as E. had been ill for almost a week but I hope we could manage to compensate her.

My husband was on holiday to help me with the pumpkin carving and decor. I needed to work in the morning, so E. and Daddy went to the market to buy a big pumpkin and by the time I got home our Jack-o-lantern had been carved. E. scooped out the inside and Daddy did the carving. (This activity was done in Hungarian)

We wanted to put on the scary Halloween decoration in our living-room while E. was sleeping but she was over-excited because of the party and she couldn’t sleep a wink. Eventually, she ended up helping, which made the whole process really long. Mostly she took off what we’d put on.

Finally I prepared Daddy’s eye patch for his pirate costume (which was very basic: checked shirt, jeans, eye-patch and a head scarf). I dressed up as a mummy (which was E.’s idea. She loved to say: “Mommy, you’ll be a mummy at Halloween. A Mommy mummy”) with the help of some gauze that I wrapped around myself over a long sleeved white top.

Guests began arriving, bringing a lot of treats. (I’d also prepared some sausage mummies, healthy fruit and cheese snacks and some biscuits too.) And from that moment everything went in English.

There were four moms and their kids (twins and siblings too) and also 2 dads turned up. Even more moms wished to come but they got sick. What a pitty! Maybe next year.

The party was mainly about eating, though we also found some time to sing some Halloween songs and other traditional English nursery rhymes for the little ones. Throwing the Halloween balloons was one of the favourite hits with the kids.

The Halloween costume contest ended with 3 winners who received English children books for their outfits:

Ladybirds (the twins)

The witch

As I’d just broken our camera before the party, all of the photos were taken by our phones, hence the poor quality. Anyway, we could enjoy the moment instead of watching the happenings from behind a camera.

On the 31st we were invited to a Helen Doron Halloween party┬áin the city centre. (E.’s ex-HD teacher invited us. How nice of her!). There were some colouring activities, we made a scary ghost lantern out of a jar, some gauze, googly eyes and a tea light inside.

There were a lot of fantastic costume ideas and a dark, scary room the children loved. E. went back twice. They needed to climb through spider webs and match X-ray photos with animals and body parts. And of course, at the end everybody could choose some candy from the trick-or-treat bag.
Thanks you, Zs, for inviting us. It was so much fun!

Spooky lights in the dark room
Zs. is showing an X-ray photo and the matching animal

They all managed to climb through the web
Funny costumes

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Scare you next year, too!

Happy Halloween!

Our preparation for Halloween started more than a month ago with the skeleton craze (see a post about it). E. has┬áreally┬ábeen excited about this holiday. She didn’t get the spooky part. She thought ghosts, skeletons and witches are funny and fell in love with the jack-o-lantern.

We, parents, did a lot of preparation for the big day, which was the 30th instead of the 31st October.

It all began in the nursery. A little costume party was organised in the afternoon and parents were invited. The kids had a short performance of singing and dancing in Hungarian and mostly in English. Songs like these:

Knock, knock trick or treat who are you?

Can you make a happy face?

E. knows them well enough as we’ve been watching nothing else but Halloween songs since she saw the Dem bones song:

E. knew exactly what she wanted to dress up as from the very beginning. What else than a skeleton. (I got her skeleton costume -pyjamas- from H&M).

As a part of the party the kids could have a look at how a pumpkin is carved into a jack-o-lantern.

Little helpers
Partying hard

The fun continued at home with our welcoming jack-o-door …

… and the MEC (Mums’ English Club) Halloween party.

 

Guests are arriving in costumes

 

We added face paint to maximise the scariness
MEC group

 

Mummies, oat-pumpkin biscuits and other snacks

Batman is playing with the balloon, Pumpkin and Spider are looking for some toys, Fairy wants her Mommy in the backround and Skeleton is just gazing into air. 
What a company!

The parties, the excitement, the food, the costumes, the decorations and the atmosphere were all great and memorable for both parents and their little ones. See you next year!

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!

Helen Doron Early English – First Impressions

Putting aside my scepticism,┬áfew weeks ago we took part in a mock lesson at the Helen Doron school nearby. The teacher, Zs., was really kind, gave us all the information we needed (about the course booklets, CDs, prices, summer programmes, the course itself). She was well-prepared for the lesson (even had a little piece of paper with the lesson plan, CD track numbers etc., which E. wanted to steal). She’s┬ágot a┬árelatively strong Hungarian accent.┬áI would be happier with a native speaker, but you can’t have it all.

The lesson was only 20 minutes long. The usual lesson is 45 minutes otherwise. We have already known one of the songs which is also available online and E. recognised it showing it with a wide smile and arm flapping when it started:

In the past I had already visited a lesson in another school, where the teacher was nice as well and the lesson could have gone well, however the parents present were a pain in the neck. So this time I was worried about the other moms. Luckily,┬áthe whole session was a pleasant surprise. Three mommies were there with their little ones and after we’d chatted a bit, it turned out they also think in the same way as I do. They want some useful activities for their kids. None of them was smarty, bossy or pushy as for the language learning. (At the previous place moms corrected the teacher, talked in Hungarian with their kids during the lesson, bombarded the teacher with their idiotic questions after the lesson. None of these happened here.)
So we went home cheerfully. I discussed the details with D. and we decided to go for it.

The course has just started we are at the very beginning. It’s hard to draw any conclusion, but so far so good. We are enjoying it. I found the CD material quite entertaining, nicely put together and only about 10 minutes long. According to the instructions, E. needs to listen to it twice a day. We manage to do that. We have a long list of songs she listens to while I’m doing housework, so I included the Helen Doron tracks into our morning routine.

The school premises are basic, though. The classrooms are okay, they are well-equipped. Still, I think the flashcard, pictures should be re-laminated every now and then.

The prices are reasonable. If we do not calculate the booklets and CDs, on a monthly basis it costs as if you were going to a costly playhouse once or twice a week.

Of course, hiring a native nanny at the same fee would be the best, but I want E. to be in another surroundings, meeting other people, kids.

In the back of my mind it is also there that some moms might be interested in MEC. I’ll give them a flyer soon.

I’ll be back posting on Helen Doron Early English more, when I have more to talk about.

Helpers

To reach our goals I am not enough as the only English speaker in E.’s life.
First, I tried to find native playmates for E., but she was too little for them. But I’ll try it again when she starts being interested in playing with others, as┬ánow, at the age of 11 months, she just plays┬áNEXT TO┬áanother child, but not WITH them.´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐
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B. is reading with E. (who is 7 months old here)

I arranged┬á with my best friend, B., who is an English teacher as well, to talk to E. in English only. So every Friday when she has no lessons or other programmes she comes over and plays, chats, reads out to E. It’s real fun as I can be with my friend and E. is also entertained IN ENGLISH. There are other family occasions where B. is also present (name days, birthdays, Easter etc), and even at these times when Hungarian is the major language used, B. speaks English to E. Sometimes it’s a bit chaotic and quite challenging for B. to share her attention between two languages, but we have succeeded so far. (By the way, B. speaks four languages at a near-native level: Hungarian, Romanian, English and German). Nice example for E.´╗┐´╗┐

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Another helper of ours is A., our British nanny. A. comes once a week (on Thursdays) for 2 hours to play with E. She loves A., smiles at her as soon as she arrives, screams and babbles a lot while A. is at our place. I may claim that E. “talks” to A. the most compared to how rarely they meet. A.’s main task is to talk, talk and talk to E. Another reason why it is so useful for her to be present in our life is that I can brush up my English. If I don’t know the exact, or natural expression for some object, activites, baby language, A. is here to help me out. In the future I would like A. to come more frequently or come out with us to the playground or to the zoo. If I go back to work (which will be soon even if it’ll be only part-time) I would be happier if an English speaker took care of E. while I’m away. If she has time for us as she is quite popular with moms. A. could be a kind of replacement for me.┬á I know this idea won’t be very welcomed by the Grandmas.
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A. is talking to E. (10,5 moths old) about animal flashcards

At the Helen Doron Early English class, our teacher, Zs., is also a kind of helper. She provides us with another occasion to practise and learn English out of our home. E. can see that other people also use this form of communication. And it is also important that she is with other kids, too.

The same applies to MEC (Mums’ English Club), except for the fact that it takes place in our home, in E.’s comfort zone.

My plan for the near future (as soon as E. can walk) is to find a playhouse where native or non-Hungarian mommies go with their little one.