Sunday, February 28, 2010

Parenting Tip #28 The M&M Story

If you’ve been reading my blog for several weeks, you’ll realize that I have never said I was the perfect mother. In fact, my children taught me that it’s impossible to be a perfect mother. My sister-in-law loves to remind me of the M & M story on one of my far from perfect days.

Here’s the story. It had been ONE OF THOSE DAYS. My boys were driving me crazy. At ages 5, 3 and 2 they were destructive, rambunctious, noisy, argumentative, etc. etc. I had HAD IT! And there was NO CHOCOLATE in the house to help me cope with my bad situation. So what could I do? I got out the stroller, put the two younger boys in it, grabbed my older son and my purse and we went for a walk. There was a small mall just one block from my house, so I practically ran down the street with the stroller and my 5 year old trying to keep up with me. I marched into the first store I came to, bought a bag of M&Ms and went outside. Then I ate the whole bag of M&Ms in front of my boys and told them they didn’t deserve any.

Now my sister-in-law claims that this is the end of the story. That’s the way she remembers me telling it. But I like to think that I bought two bags of M&Ms and gave my sweet angelic children at least 2 or 3 from that bag before I ate them all too. I hope I did.

Music Tip #28 The "La" pitch

Last week I told you about the sol and mi pitches. These are the first two pitches that young children sing to. The next pitch is the "la" pitch which is one step higher than the sol pitch. Lots of children's nursery rhymes and folk songs are completely made of the sol, la, mi pitches.

Here's some songs with these three pitches:
It's raining, it's pouring the old man is snoring
Icha backa soda cracker
Lucy Locket lost her pocket
Blue bells, cockle shells
Bye Baby bunting
See Saw, up and down
Star light, star bright
A tisket, a tasket

See if you can sing one of the songs and figure out which pitches are the sol, la, and mi pitches. Hint: La will be the highest note you sing and mi will be the lowest.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

ASU Class 2nd Week

Here's some pictures of our class today.

We reviewed the baby signs of "mommy", "daddy" and "more". We learned the sign for "music" and "dog". One fun idea was to make a laminated placemat containing pictures of mommy, daddy, baby and other family members. The placemat can be put on baby's high chair tray. Then while you're fixing your child's food, or while she is eating finger food you can point to the pictures or have your baby point to the pictures and say The Mommy Wiggle rhyme.

This is the mommy, sweet as can be.
This is the daddy who snuggles with me.
This is the sister, she loves to play.
This is the brother who shouts "Hoo-ray!"
This is the baby who thinks she's Queen (he's King) and
This is the song that they love to sing:
La la la la, La la la la la!

You can also make a ziplock bag book with family pictures. Paste pictures on cardstock the size of the sandwich bags, put in bags and close the sides. Then punch holes in the side of the bag, insert metal rings and you have a baby-proof book.
You can point to the pictures and make the sign for it to help your baby learn the signs for family members. Don't forget pictures of grandma and grandpa, too!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Parenting Tip #27 Bedtime Stories

When I was a teenager I would wash my hair at the kitchen sink. One day my younger brother came into the kitchen while I was washing my hair, quietly opened the refrigerator door, got out the pitcher of cold water and poured it all over my head. Needless to say, I screamed loud and long! A few weeks later he did it again!

Over the years this incident became a long standing conversation piece at our house and all the nieces and nephews enjoyed hearing me tell how mean my brother was. And of course my children have heard this story about my brother many times.
I was surprised, though, when I went to visit my grandchildren in Utah last year. I was helping them get settled for the night and Kayli said, “Grandma, tell us the story about your mean brother pouring cold water all over your head.” Wow, where had she heard that from--my son, of course.

What a great way to pass down family stories and history—incorporating them into the bedtime routine. In one family I heard about, the parents loved to tell their children fairytales before they went to bed. At the end of the story the children would always ask, “Is that true?” The dad would reply, “No, it’s not true.” One night the father thought, “What am I doing? Telling my children make believe stories when there are so many true stories I could tell them, ones with meaning and morals.” So thereafter he made it a point to tell stories about his childhood or things he had learned from situations in his life.

Tell your children stories from your childhood—even the mundane sort of things like what you did during the summer and what you liked to play with or eat. As you do this, you will notice a bond of love between you and your children. Family history is tying your two generations together.

Music Tip #27 Do-Re-Mi

Have you heard of “solfege”? You have if you’ve ever watched the movie “The Sound of Music”. Remember the song, “Do-a deer, a female deer, re-a drop of golden sun, mi- a name I call my self” etc. This clever song teaches the solfege pitches by tying them to a familiar English word. Each solfege pitch also has a hand sign.

Solfege is taught in many elementary-high school music classes. It develops good sight reading skills in children and music students. This semester I am incorporating it into my ASU Tiny Tots class.

The sol-mi pitches are the first pitches sung by small children. These are the two pitches you sang as a child when playing and calling to a friend to come chase you, “nanny, nanny, you hoo”. These are also the two pitches in most early childhood songs such as “rain, rain go away” or “peek a boo, I see you”, or “ashes, ashes we all fall down.” The sol-mi pitches are an interval of a third. They are always on the same team, meaning, if sol is on a line, then mi is on the next line down. If sol is on a space, then mi is the next space down.

Now you’ve learned everything you ever wanted to learn about sol and mi!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

ASU Tiny Tots Class 1st Week

We had a great class this morning. The babies are SO FUN! I am attaching the lyrics for the songs and chants we did today in the first week class. During the semester I'll give you links to download some of the songs that have mp3 downloads. Unfortunately, I can't find downloads for all the songs I use. I'll experiment with having my daughter sing them and providing a download so you can learn them from home.

Mommy Go Round the Sun
Mommy (Daddy) go ‘round the sun.
Mommy (Daddy) go ‘round the moon.
Mommy (Daddy) go ‘round the rocking chair ev’ry afternoon.

Clap Your Hands
Clap, Clap, Clap your hands. Clap your hands together.
Clap, Clap, Clap your hands. Clap your hands together.
Stomp, stomp, stomp your feet. Stomp your feet together. 2X
Nod, nod, nod your head. Nod your head together. 2X
Dance, dance, dance with me. Dance with me together. 2x
Run, run run with me. Run with me together. 2X

Miss Mary Mack
Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back.
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 50 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.
They jumped so high, high, high
They reached the sky, sky, sky
And they didn't come back, back, back
'Til the 4th of July, ly, ly!

Quaker, Quaker
Quaker, Quaker how are thee?
Very well, I thank thee.
How’s thy neighbor next to thee?
I don’t know I’ll go and see.

Ti Ya Ya
Ti ya ya, ti ya ya, ti ya ya O
Ti ya ya, ti ya ya, ti ya ya O
Ti ya ya, ti ya ya, ti ya ya ti ya ya,
Ti ya ya, ti ya ya O ya O
Ya O, Ya O
Ti ya ya, ti ya ya
Ya O Ya
Ya O, Ya O
Ti ya ya, ti ya ya
Ya O Ya

Make the sign for "Father" by placing the thumb of your right hand against your forehead. Your hand should be open,

Make the sign for "Mother" by placing the thumb of your right hand against your chin. Your hand should be open, in a "five shape."

The sign for "thank you" is made by starting with the fingers of your dominant hand near your lips. Your hand should be a "flat hand." Move your hand forward and a bit down in the direction of the person you are thanking. Smile.

Pinch fingers and thumb together on each hand and tap closed hands together.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

ASU Class Starting soon

I'm excited about my new ASU class for toddlers and their parents. We'll be singing lots of fun new songs, playing instruments, dancing, moving, PLUS learning songs to help you teach your baby to use sign language. Baby signing is a great way to start communicating with your child if he is not talking yet, or if he is, to help augment his speech and give valuable pre-reading skills.

To register go to:

The class starts Sat Feb. 20. Come join us!

Parenting Tip #26 Do You Really Think You Need That?

I remember one day, as a little girl, I was coloring in a coloring book. My grandma was visiting and she said to my mother, “You need to teach Cathy to color inside the lines. She’s just scribbling all over the page.” From the tone of her voice I could tell she was disgusted and displeased with me.

I remember another day when I was older, probably 11 or 12, and this same grandma was teaching me to embroider on a pillow case. She said to my mother, “Cathy is so good at embroidery. Her stitches are so even and straight.” From the tone of her voice I could tell she was impressed and pleased with me.

It’s interesting that I remember these two comments, one negative and one positive. Through all these years I still remember them and can hear the tone of voice my grandmother used. I love my grandma and she was a very kind and loving grandma. She just didn’t realize that young children are not capable of coloring inside lines until they reach a certain maturation point in their life.

What do we say to our children that will remain with them and influence them? I once told my daughter as she reached for another helping of potatoes, “Do you really think you need another potato?” This was interpreted in her mind of saying, “You’re getting too fat and shouldn’t be eating any more.” After she was grown and married, she told me one day how this had hurt her. I felt so bad and apologized for saying it, but it still remains with her in her memory.

Notice your tone of voice when you talk to your children. Be gentle and positive. Be awestruck at their accomplishments. Be enthusiastic when they tell you something. Give them positive feedback. Provide them with a memory of how good and wonderful they are.

By the way, I didn’t turn out to be an artist but I do love to sew. Maybe my talents were manifested at a young age, or maybe my grandma influenced my interests. Who knows?

Music Tip #26 Valentine songs

This week at school I taught the Primary age classes a Valentine song and then I recorded them singing it. I downloaded it to my teacher website and sent home the address so they could share the song with their family at home. It was fast and easy with the free downloadable program, Audacity. I’ve mentioned that program before in another entry.
If you would like to hear my classes you can go to:

One of my favorite songs is “Little and Lots”. Here are the words:

I love you little, I love you lots.
My love for you will fill 10 pots.
15 buckets, 16 cans,
3 tea cups and 4 dishpans!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Parenting Tip #25 Pick Your Fights

My kids were driving me crazy and I needed some advice—especially about my 3 older sons who were getting into their teen years. I knew a mother who had 7 boys and one girl and I thought if anyone had advice to give me, I bet she would. So I called her on the phone and talked to her. She gave me some good ideas and the one that I remember and have used often is: “pick your fights”.

She counseled me that there will be lots of issues and conflicts that are going to arise in a family between the parents and the children. She said you can either be constantly battling with each other, or not. So pick your fights. If the conflict is minor, and one that you don’t feel really strong about, let the child choose what he would rather do. But if the issue is one you feel very strongly about, you make the decision and fight for it.

Look at what is going on in your family. Are you fighting about the clothes your children choose to wear? Does it really matter that your preschooler wears an orange shirt with her red plaid shorts. But what about a teenager who wants to dress immodestly? Does it really matter that your child wants to quit dance or gymnastics? But what about a child who doesn’t want to go to Church?

Notice all the little conflicts going on in your family today. Are they power struggles so that YOU can stay in control or are they nonsense things that can be ignored? Learn to evaluate the conflict, what the outcome will be and either let it go or stick to your guns.

Music Tip #25 Practice makes perfect?

We’ve all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect”. But does it? Does sloppy, incorrect practice make perfect? Of course not. So the saying really should be: Perfect Practice makes Perfect.

As a piano teacher I try to help my students understand this concept by giving them something to focus on while they are practicing. The focus can be different for each piece or the same. For example, the focus could be sitting tall with their back straight or curved fingers, or playing the f# every time, or listening for dynamics.

If you want to make your child’s practice session be valuable and worthwhile, then help your child focus on one thing while she plays her piece (the brain can only remember 1-2 things at a time). Then ask your child to evaluate her playing. Did she accomplish the goal? Most children tend to think of other things while practicing-- their minds wander. But if they have to judge whether they achieved their goal or not, they have something to think about while they are playing.


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