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kids-slings-blogOur kids love slinging their babies and bears, their doggies and dolls.  After months of watching mom and dad put on their slings, kids know just how to do it.  Even better, they often have a few style tricks up their sleeve too!

Our Sakura Bloom Children’s Play Sling are crafted out of our signature handwoven dupioni silk. In four simply gorgeous colors—candy pink, sky blue, jade green, and freesia blue—for little boys and girls.  Priced at $38, these slings are washable and adjustable, just like mom’s!

Great educational toys for helping kids learn about caring for someone smaller than they, a Children’s Play Sling will also touch your heart as you watch your little one cuddle and love her “baby” in her sling.

There’s something simply amazing about communicating with your infant via sign language.

The first time they sign to you just stops you in your tracks. Did my baby just sign to me, you think? Could it be? Wow! My baby is brilliant!

I signed some with my son (okay, confession: he really only signed one sign—“more”) and am now teaching my infant daughter to sign. We started when she was about eight months old, inspired by seeing Rachel from Signing Time perform at Baby Celebration LA.

L’s first sign was the one to nurse, and its still her most consistent and used sign (well, along with bye-bye). She’s also made up her own sign or two which we are working on deciphering.

There are many claims made about the benefits of signing. I don’t doubt that its beneficial to some degree, but mostly I just think its fun. Pamela Paul has an insightful article on Babble about infant sign language: Hands Across America: Is Baby Sign Language Essential or a Rip-off? Will it make your kid ace the SATs and get into Harvard? Probably not. Will it be a neat way to communicate with your infant? Yes, or at least, it has been for our family (albeit in our own limited, ad hoc way).

Today I decided to teach her the sign for baby sling. Turns out that you use the signs for “baby” and “carrier.” Click here to see a very serious woman demonstrating this sign for you.

Do it like she does, but please, add a smile and have some fun!

We have a new and wonderful store here in Boulder: MomentuM, a fair trade shop with a great selection of products from around the world. Over the holidays, I went a little nutty buying children’s books there and one of our new faves is Somewhere in the World Right Now.

Written and illustrated by Stacey Schuett, this is a gorgeous book that takes the reader around the world starting with the near break of day in London and east through Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas until arriving at bedtime in Boston.

Beautifully illustrated and laid out, with text that inspires curiosity about the world in little minds, this is a book to keep and savor as your children grow.

Already in love with this book? Then check out some of Stacey Schuett’s other books; next on our list is A Tree Is a Plant. What’s on your list?

One is good for a quiet walk. Two is right for a quiet talk. Three is nice for having tea. Or for counting one-two-three.

Sandra Boynton’s One, Two, Three was my son’s first book. Technically, it arrived as a gift in a box of six of her board books, but for us, it stood alone. We read it every single day his first year of life, and now that he’s almost four, he “reads” it to his baby sister. He (and I, and many of you I would bet) have the entire book memorized.

And when you want to go explore, the number you should have is four.

Sandra Boynton’s children’s books are truly a gift. Their cadence, their rhymes, their characters, so lovingly illustrated. They’re silly. They’re fun. They’re heartwarming.

And, they are perfect for the youngest of children (and their parents, too). Who couldn’t love Birthday Monsters? Or Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs (crammed in an elevator)? Or Hey, Wake Up!?–“Good Morning Sun! Happy Morning Everyone!”

Babble’s Gwynne Watkins recently interviewed Sandra Boynton and we were delighted to read not just about Boynton, her books, and music (check out Blue Moo!), but also to learn that there’s going to be a Sandra Boynton retrospective at the Norman Rockwell Museum in 2009. If you didn’t already have a good reason to go to the Berkshires, now you’ve got one!

My favorite book is one of the least assuming ones: The Going to Bed Book. Its about animals on a boat getting ready for bed. Its got all the classic Boynton-isms. Adorable drawings. Clever rhymes and rhythms. Simple messages for children (brush your teeth! wash your face! exercise!).

The best part, however, is its double ending. The first time I read it, I thought this was the ending: “The day is done. They say goodnight, and somebody turns off the light.” That was perfect, I thought, until I turned the page. There it said, “The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep.”

Ne’er a better ending has there been for lulling a child to sleep. Thank you, Sandra Boynton!

We just must share our newest favorite holiday song. (Well, its really an old, traditional song that we’ve been singing year-round, but so be it.)

Its “Come and I Will Sing You” as sung by Great Big Sea, from the “tropical island of Newfoundland” for those of you who have not yet encountered these amazing boys from up north.

Come and I Will Sing You is a call-and-response song (perfect for toddlers) combined with a counting backward song (a la Twelve Days of Christmas; also perfect for toddlers).

Come and I will sing you.

What will you sing me?

I will sing you one-o.

What will the one be?

One the one that’s all alone and ever more shall be, so…..

And on the song goes, all the way through 12 and back down to 1. Its next to impossible to understand what each of the lines is as sung (and if you’re like me, you’ll just make it up as you go rather than google the lyrics), but part of the fun of singing it can be to create your own verses with your kids.

Listen to the entire song here, or check out this You Tube puppet version.


We just discovered this delightful book by Oliver Jeffers.

Lost and Found tells the story of a lost penguin. Or, so the boy whose home he arrives at, thinks.

My three year old son adores the tale of how the boy slowly discovers that the penguin isn’t lost, but lonely.

What he needs is a friend.

The illustrations are as precious as the story. It turns out that Oliver Jeffers has a number of other kids’ books, all of which are award-winners (and all of which will be coming to live at our home sometime soon!).

If you already know Lost and Found, it might be time to check out: How to Catch a Star, The Way Back Home, or The Incredible Book Eating Boy. Get yourself a book or two, then snuggle up with your favorite toddler and get reading!

Every day, everywhere…..

To read this book is to love it.

The text is gorgeous to read, not just for its rhymes, but for its message. All babies, all families, all making their way in this world roll by roll, drool by drool, step by step, just like real babies do.

The illustrations are adorable, and when younger, my son was convinced that he knew all the babies in the book. There is a familiarity, a realness, to the illustrations that makes them all the more endearing.

Our favorite part, of course, is the page that goes: “Every day, everywhere, babies are carried: in front packs, in back packs, in slings and in strollers, in car seats, and bike seats, and on Daddy’s shoulders.”

Everywhere Babies is simply a must-have for every baby’s library. Its a book you smile as you think about and memorize without even trying. Its a book that will make you happy.

Already have Everywhere Babies? Try Meyers’ recent book This is the Way a Baby Rides for more heartwarming rhymes and illustrations!

I’ve been in love with Grace Lin’s artwork ever since discovering Red is a Dragon for my son several years ago. Her drawings of people have a softness and a care to them that makes them feel like people you know, or, people you want to know. And her colors. Her colors!

Dynamic. Vibrant. Popping right off the page. Red is a dragon indeed! And pink? “Pink is the sunlight on my nose.”

A theme linking many of her illustrations is family and friendship—sharing, tradition, and joy. Eating, singing, kite flying and more. Everyday activities and holidays alike, from Chinese New Year to Christmas, and enough drawings of dim sum to make you want to hop in your car (or get on a plane) and get yourself to the nearest Chinatown you can find!

Her images are just lush on the pages of a book, wonderful for infants, toddlers, and parents alike.

Have some wall space you’ve been looking to fill? Some of her work is also available in print form for hanging in your child’s room, in your room, or just about anywhere. And, while I don’t play the lottery, if I ever win big, I’d love to commission a portrait of my family. Like the portrait below, I’d like it to be of us—of all my extended family—sitting around the table sharing a meal. Now that I think about it, I think I will buy a lottery ticket tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe dreams do come true!

Who doesn’t love a massage? As much as mothers and fathers love (and need!) massage, so too do their babies.

It was in Nepal that I first saw infants being massaged. This was back before I knew anything about babies. Children were everywhere there, a wonderfully present part of the public social fabric in a way different than what I was used to in the USA. Whether riding my bike in Kathmandu or walking through villages, I adored seeing women massaging babies.

Infants in Nepal are massaged frequently, often outside in the warm rays of the sunlight. Homes in Nepal have no central heating, so that moment when the sun reaches one’s home is a joyous one. On patios, balconies, and courtyards throughout the country, one will find mothers and grandmothers massaging infants as they sit chatting and enjoying the day. A social, physical, loving activity, infant massage is a practice on the rise around the world.

The benefits of infant massage are numerous….for both baby and parent. And massage is something you can continue with your toddler and preschooler with positive effects. Researchers around the world, including the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, have documented how and why massage works.

Haven’t massaged your baby yet? Not sure how to do it? No worries—there are lots of books and DVDs and oils and lotions out there for you to read and take and use. Always be gentle and loving. Always be focused. Always use products right for your baby (we love Little Twig and Burt’s Bees products.

Be hands-on and have fun!

Beautifully illustrated, lovingly narrated. Looking for a special gift for a new parent or for a child? A must-read for anyone interested in cross-cultural childrearing is Emery and Durga Bernhard’s A Ride on Mother’s Back: A Day of Baby Carrying Around the World.

I’ve been reading this with my son for two years now and we always find something new to talk about, some new detail to discuss. A baby carried in a net bag? Inside their mother’s coat? By their grandfather? Or big sister? And in carriers ranging from simple pieces of cloth to framed backpacks. This book has it all and is a great introduction to how people live their lives around the world. What we like most about it is not the range of baby carriers and cultures shown, but the love evident between child and caregiver on each page. Truly a book to keep on the shelf long after the carrying years!

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