Tag Archives: bath

Witches’ Brew Bathtime

This year I didn’t seem to decorate the house for Halloween quite as much as usual, and I had some little plastic spiders, bugs, bones and other doo-dads left in the Halloween bin. Every year I move things around and I just didn’t find a good place for these guys yet. I realized today on Halloween that they were still looking for a home to be spooky.
How to sign BATH www.growingsigns.com

So after my son’s muddy soccer game today, he needed a bath right away before we even thought about getting dressed for trick-or-treating tonight. I grabbed the bag of tiny creepy-crawlies and ran upstairs to the get the bath started while he took off his cleats and shinpads. I poured some bubbles into the running bath and dumped out the bag. Once the bath was almost full, I tossed in some spiders and bugs and a few snakes for the bottom of the bath. Then I placed some other bits and pieces around the tub, and gingerly added a few of the lighter plastic spiders and bugs on top of the bubbles. I called him in for his bath and he loved it.

His favourite part was finding the ones that had sunk to the bottom.

I think we have another new Halloween tradition!
How to sign BATH www.growingsigns.com

Make sure you find things for your witches’ brew bath that are washable, and big enough not to be swallowed by your wee ones or your drain.

How to Sign BATH in ASL www.growingsigns.com

To sign BATH in American Sign Language, rub both fists up and down on the chest, like you’re soaping yourself up in the bath.

Do you have spooky Halloween traditions?

Potty Training and Beyond!

Oh, potty training.
I get asked what the American Sign Language sign is for POTTY a lot in my baby sign language classes. Some parents are starting earlier rather than later, with their newborns and babies, like my mom-friend Lindsay Coulter, who writes the Queen of Green blog for the David Suzuki Foundation. Check out her son, Wyn, on the potty at 4 months old!

The sign for POTTY should be added to the conversation whenever babies and kids use the TOILET or POTTY -it’s the same sign for both. The visual cue (sign) as well as your spoken language (word) creates two opportunities for your kids to learn and follow your prompting about potty training. To sign POTTY, make a fist and tuck your thumb underneath your index finger, and then twist your whole hand at the wrist sideways few times.

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Newborns to toddlers, every child needs to be potty trained at some point. I trained both of my two kids at around age 2 1/2. One was easier than the other, but for both it took between 4-6 months until they were diaper free in the daytime.

Nighttime was a different story

Potty training takes patience. Even once my daughter mastered daytime potty training, we went through many, many, many months of nighttime wetness. It seems that little bodies that know how to go to the bathroom during the day don’t necessarily wake up at night to go pee. My son’s body had a long go of it, he was 7 years old before his body was automatically waking up to get himself to the bathroom. So for both kids I spent many nights washing sheets and remaking beds.

In the dark.

While my naked toddler sat on the floor shivering.

My history with nighttime potty training is looooong and wet. And I will admit, it made me quite cranky to change wet sheets in the dark while also trying to soothe my wimpering, shivering, cold child (and avoid the pee myself!).
I thought I was so smart when I started double-making the bed: 1 plastic sheet + 1 fabric sheet + a 2nd plastic sheet + a 2nd fabric sheet. When I got the warbly call from their bedroom that they were wet, I’d pull off the top sheet and plastic sheet, get my kid redressed and back into bed, and throw the wet sheets in the laundry. Not bad, but my genius idea exhausted me; I still had a full set of sheets to wash in the morning, and then re-make the bed each day. Every day. And those plastic sheets were crinkly and made my kids sweat like crazy.

I wish I had been as smart as my friends, Liz and Amanda! They’ve created a brilliant solution: PeapodMats -a soft, terry-cloth mat that doesn’t slip or leak and goes ON TOP OF your child’s sheets. It absorbs and locks in the wetness within its waterproof backing. Yes, that means all you have to do is pull off the mat and throw that in the wash.


Your sheets and mattress stay dry.

No wet sheets, no remaking the bed, only one thing to wash. Simple, soft, and effective. And it doesn’t take away the sensation of being wet on the top, so kids’ bodies still learn that they need to wake up. I love them for nighttime sleeping, and also for daytime playing, strolling, and sitting.



PeapodMats are eco-friendly, washable, waterproof and useful (which I know my friend Lindsay will love)! And Liz and Amanda have given me one to giveaway!

Enter to WIN A PEAPODMAT of your own. Contest ends June 7th, 2014.

More info about Peapodmats and what they’re made of HERE
Photos by Tracy Paterson Photography

Pick a Sign (but not just any sign)

I often get asked, “What signs should I teach my baby?”

Easy beginner words like MILK, MORE, ALL DONE, MOMMY, and DADDY are an easy start, but some parents aren’t sure what signs to pick next. Don’t worry, there are endless ways to incorporate American Sign Language into your daily lives, and choosing your first round of signs is easy!

I find a two-fold approach in choosing signs is always successful: some for you and some for baby. In other words, pick some signs that are routine-based, and also pick some signs that reflect what your baby is interested in. Remember, sign language is the bridge between communicating with your pre-verbal baby until they can speak, so pick signs that help name what’s happening in your day (routines) as well as what your baby wants to talk about (the fun stuff).

So signs like DIAPER, EAT, BATH, BED, UP, etc, are great choices for describing what’s happening or about to happen –everyone loves to know what’s happening next, even babies. Spend time talking about and naming what you’re doing, and your babies will soon learn your natural routines and feel calmer and more included in the daily schedule. I’ve always said, “Happy baby, happy family” (sigh), and I still believe that’s true.

And also pay attention to what your baby is telling you! Do they love a particular TOY or object in a BOOK you always have around? Do they giggle when they see DOGS outside on your strolls? Do they tap at the FISH tank in your house? Do they stare at certain colours, toys, anything? Then name it! Sign it! Discuss it! This is your chance to connect deeply with your babies because they will know you are noticing something they want to tell you, and you are responding. Bam! That’s communicating! You are an awesome parent and an outstanding communicator.

My daughter, Ella, noticed BIRDS while we were on neighbourhood strolls. I, of course, did not notice BIRDS; I was staring straight ahead, viciously sleep-deprived most days and barely picking up my own feet, but my baby was mesmerized by birds in the trees. She was always watching them flit around above us and listening to them chirp away. I hadn’t really noticed how much Ella loved watching birds until I saw her craning her neck to still face the trees after I had turned the stroller around to head home from the park.

I finally realized she was pointing at the birds and I had a mini-AHA! moment. I promptly taught her the sign for BIRD and started talking about those birds: “Hey, I see all the BIRDS! Look at the BIRDS! How many BIRDS do you see?” Her response was almost feverish, and a truly triumphant look came upon her face. She knew I knew what she wanted to talk about! And so began a massive daily dialogue about birds: birds in the trees, birds up high, birds down low, birds by the pond, birds in books, birds chirping outside every morning. I could visibly see how much she wanted to tell me about the birds, and it was fantastic. I’m guessing your baby will be feverish about something around you, too. Keep an eye out, and you’ll find your next sign.

Successful early communication with babies involves some mindful decisions about what to say, but it’s not tricky. Think about the words that will help you name your daily routines, and also be very aware of what your baby is interested in. These words will quickly become your arsenal of vocabulary to work on. It will build naturally as your baby grows, and as you make more routines and do more activities together. Always say the words aloud to your baby as you sign them, and repeat often to maintain context.

Oh, and please allow me to introduce you to our family’s new pet bird, Lucky!

Lucky was rescued from a nearby alleyway by friends who couldn’t keep her. Both my kids are thrilled that we adopted a bird, but it’s especially cool to pull a favourite word from my daughter’s first roster of signs into her life as a big kid.

What does your baby want to talk to you about?

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To sign BIRD in American Sign Language, tap your index finger to your thumb a few times, like the beak of a bird.