I'm a first-time mom. I'm learning as I go with Ellie, and I screw up plenty. But today, I want to share some things I think I've done right. They aren't necessarily huge or important things, just choices with which I'm satisfied. They might help you out. They might not.
#1 - Moving her cups to a place she can reach. One night this week while we were standing in the kitchen, Ellie reached down, got out a cup and straw, handed them to me almost assembled, and requested water. I was inspired to put her dishes down low by Courtney's post here.
#2 - Speaking of Ellie and the dishes, she has a "chore" now. She empties each piece of silverware and hands it to me so I can put it away. She's too short to reach the drawer herself. With each item, she says "Thank you!"
#3 - I keep books in every room. Ellie loves to read. I read myself, a lot. I think that's good. She runs through Barnes and Noble yelling "book book book!" so I guess I'm doing something right! Ellie memorizes books and recites them, skipping words. Her favorite author is Sandra Boynton. Ellie will request that an adult read a book by climbing into their lap and hitting them with the book. We're working on that behavior, and I was happy the other day when she handed me a book with a cow on the cover and said, "Cow. Read."
#4 - Sign language. With questionable articulation and imperfect signs combined, Ellie is able to make her needs and wants known. (Unfortunately, this means that anyone walking by with ice cream on a crowded street also knows Ellie's wants. "Ice CWEAM!")
#5 - Letting her making a mess. I want Ellie to explore her world, and she's a toddler. Her favorite explorations tend to be a pain. Removing each post-it note individually, taking everything out of Matt's bedside table and replacing it with other stuff, and allowing her to eat her favorite curry are all examples.
#6 - Living life fully. We decided very early to let Ellie experience as much as possible as early as possible. We want her to be comfortable in different situations and have a rich collection of experiences and background knowledge. Even when the situation is less than convenient, we try to take Ellie out and about. Her first trip to see the Cherry Blossom Festival was the day after she came home from the NICU. She rides the Metro with glee. And shopping in Old Town? Her favorite.
#7 - See and Learn flashcards. I love them. Ellie loves them.