Place Your Bid!

Check out our first-ever auction and place your bid!

www.32auctions.com/babyfingers 

We are raising funds to help support research, scholarships, professional development and teacher training, new materials, curriculum development, website overhaul and more.

Thank you for participating! FREE GIFT for all donations and winning bids of $75 or higher.  What are some of our items?  Here’s a SNEAK PEAK!

PIGS-COVER1 parent child yoga watermelontourmaline braceletSince our auction is small and sweet, just like our clients, our items alone (while worth more than their market value!) will not be enough to reach our initial fundraising goal. However, there is also an option to safely donate money in any amount of your choosing.  Please note that we are an LLC, we are NOT a non-profit organization, we are not a charity.

Thank you for your support! www.32auctions.com/babyfingers 

Remember to subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out our classes/products! Why wait to communicate?!  Join us for a winter class!  www.mybabyfingers.com/schedule

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CHANGES

My blogs and posts are rarely about politics or political themes, but hey –

“times, they are a’changing!

This morning’s NY Times headline reads “Obama Urges U.S. to Embrace Change.” His State of the Union address last night was a mix, as they wrote in the Times, of “both optimism and regret.” It may have been one of his strongest speeches since he impressed the world in 2004 as a senator from Illinois speaking at the Democratic National Convention. His timing was impeccable, perfectly comedic or poignant at various moments, yet perhaps he missed the boat in other ways.

Obama apologized for not having improved the relationship between the Democratic and Republican parties. He initially campaigned with the hefty goal of bridging that divide, but the gap may be even wider today.

In my opinion, Obama came into the Presidency amidst tremendous turmoil. He had to walk through quicksand in several places – and he didn’t always sink.  There’s still work to do – more affordable health care, accessible education, higher paying jobs, counter-terrorism efforts, immigration laws, etc., etc., etc…. He wants to help find a cure for cancer and continue his attempts to close the US prison in Guantanamo Bay. Obama has promised to do more and has a very busy final year ahead, yet no President leaves the office with everything in place. This President, despite what may be left undone, has certainly made a unique impact on this country in a variety of ways.

Talk about impact…Just yesterday, more than half of the first page of the NY Times Arts section was taken up by a dramatic, colorful photo of young David Bowie. This musician had an impact on so many of us in similar and quite distinct ways. He left a legacy, and while I love much of his early work (especially his song Changes on YouTube here –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMQ0Ryy01yE) it may be his final album (just released) that tells us the most about him as a musician and a human being.

The NY Times tells us about another change today, in the Business Day section. Sesame Street has moved from PBS, where only re-runs will be played, to HBO as its home. The new stories and sets are designed to engage the internet-era toddler. Oscar’s trash can is connected to recycling and composting bins. While Sesame Street has always had a wonderful way to address people with different needs and abilities (some of my own favorite moments included sign language, others were songs about acceptance), there is a recent addition of a Muppet with autism. As the NY Times says today, “Welcome to ‘Sesame Street’ where the word on the street this season is C-H-A-N-G-E.”

When Obama was first running for President, many in the Deaf community used the exaggerated sign for ‘change’ with the O-hand-shape as his sign-name. He would be the President to make the necessary changes in this country for people in need.

The song Waiting on the World to Change began circulating on YouTube in sign language. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKnF9CCYQPQ. While it’s not specifically about Obama, and the video depicts unique concerns within the Deaf community, the overarching message is one with which we can all relate.

We’re not even two full weeks into 2016 – many people have made New Year’s Resolutions or have set new goals – change is a current and recurring theme. While I would have appreciated greater focus around President Obama’s resolution for change on the issue of gun violence and accessibility to firearms in his speech last night, there was an empty chair in the First Lady’s guest box to symbolically represent victims of gun violence. As he said himself, “change doesn’t happen in a day.” Let’s see what happens in this year ahead. I’d like to be optimistic.

 

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Re-Discovery

EXPLORING THE CITY WITH TEENS

NYC culture 2

When my children were babies and toddlers, we explored the city all the time. They came with me to Baby Fingers classes and we took other classes too – music, art, sports… We went to all the museums, checked out library story times, saw some children’s theatre. Sometimes we spent all day in the park – we had our choice of playgrounds.

As they got older, they went on school trips to these places and still do, now and then. What might be lacking in the schools due to space is easily made up for in the larger classroom – the city itself. It’s hard to escape the culture all around us here – and why would we want to? But schedules get so busy, with baseball, music school, religious school, homework…

So we’ve decided to re-discover the city. It’s a different experience going to all these places with teens this time – a new perspective for sure! In the past several weeks, we’ve gone to exhibits at the main Public Library, the Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and of course walked through both Riverside and Central Parks. Since they’re not always up for family “game night” anymore, these adventures have guaranteed us weekly interaction that’s separate from dinner conversations and helping with homework.

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Parents aren’t always a teen’s first choice of company. But it has been fun, for all of us, I think. We’ve re-discovered old interests and unearthed new ones, opened up doors to new learning and old memories. The conversations are more enriched and insightful this time around. I look forward to our weekly outings and our re-discovery of our own home town.

NYC culture 1

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 NYC culture 7

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Celebrate 16!

11 sweet 16

Celebrate good times, come on!

Baby Fingers turns 16 on January 1st, and we’re really excited to celebrate a sweet new year.

 

Baby Fingers: A Musical Journey through Language and Learning has been providing family programs in the NYC area and beyond since 2000. Our founding director is a local mom, music therapist and early childhood special educator.

Baby Fingers offers creative sign language and music classes in an effort to foster the bond between parent and child while enhancing language acquisition and development. Our services are designed for babies and children of all ages, with and without special needs.

In our “signature sign language” classes we teach ASL vocabulary through songs and play, enhancing socialization, communication, and cognition. We also offer music therapy, music lessons, infant massage, ASL tutoring, and more.

By February 1st, we’ll be launching our first ever on-line auction. We are hoping to raise funds this year that will help support family retreats, scholarship for families in need, professional development and teacher training, additional staff and program space, creation of new supplemental learning materials, curriculum development, website overhaul and more.

Watch for the auction link to be posted on our website and social media pages so you can bid on some special items – and please contact us if you’d like to donate any “goods” or “services.”  info@mybabyfingers.com

Thank you for your support.  We look forward to singing and signing with you as we celebrate our 16th birthday!  

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At Baby Fingers, we’re SIGNING along!

 

book3 Want

Wishing you the happiest of holidays from Baby Fingers!

<—I Want, one of the Baby Fingers board books by Lora Heller, a great stocking stuffer filled with things you could ask Santa to bring for Christmas!

www.mybabyfingers.com/products

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A Special Bond

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Several years ago, a mom in one of my Baby Fingers classes told me about the most incredible benefit of participating in our program – the special bond formed between her and her baby.

Her daughter spoke at a very young age – 15 months – and every word had first been signed. So the primary goal of developing early communication through this class was achieved over the course of two 12-week sessions. What she didn’t anticipate was the relationship that solidified as an apparent result of so much eye contact, presence, listening and validation.

As a music therapist, these are techniques I implement with my clients and teach to my college students training in the field.  I’m glad to know that I’ve trained the Baby Fingers teaching staff to share that as well, and that our families are reaping the rewards.

I know that the relationships with my own children benefited from our ability to communicate with one another, their capacity to make their needs known through sign and my acceptance of their attempts.  We were also benefited by the fact that I needed to pause, look right at them, and reply in kind rather than talking without such connection while still cleaning or texting.  We shared close-up and intimate moments that incorporated a word or sentiment that they could repeat right back to me.

We talk about that special bond on our website, in our promotional materials, and while we teach our classes.  I’ve experienced it first hand.  But to have a Baby Fingers family tell me about their special bond as a direct result of their “take-away” from class (AND their baby was signing!), that’s a gift.

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Family

FAMILY

FAMILY

 

According To Wikipedia, Family Is – In Most Societies – The Principal Institution For The Socialization Of Children.

Fam·i·ly/ˈfam(Ə)Lē/

 

 

Noun:
A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.
Adjective:
Designed to be suitable for children as well as adults.
Synonyms:
noun.  kin – house – household – stock – clan – race – tribe
adjective.  domestic – homely – home – familiar

 

Family used to consist of villages and tribes, kibbutzim…. In “this day and age,” family has become just those we live with, and perhaps some additional blood relations.  Yet recently, so many of us have discovered that family is much more than just people who are blood related or who live together.  Family can be colleagues and classmates, neighbors and friends.  Post-Hurricane, we’ve realized that family can consist of fire fighters who are off duty from another state that are volunteering their time to help.   Family can be the people who anonymously donate the diapers, blankets, and canned food that we so desperately need.  Family – people who care enough to be there regardless of the situation.

From Lifeprint.com:  To sign “family” form “F” hands and use the hands to trace the shape of a circle as if representing a family sitting around a dinner table.

FAMILY:

 

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Growing…

 <—— Birthday” from Hands4Learning

My birthday is in October.  This year I finally turned 39……. :)  The younger we are, the older we want to be.  The older we are, the younger we wish we could stay.  After I graduated from college, people were still asking me what grade I was in!  At that time I wanted to look my age, at least!  Now that I’m approaching my…um…40s, I wonder why people are not so surprised by my age–I don’t want to look older than my 29, I mean 39 years for sure.

As parents, we look forward to and celebrate our children’s first tooth, first step, first word, first day of school, first…. All things to celebrate!  Yet all things we look back on with nostalgic tears, admitting that the time flew by way too quickly.  If you’re anything like me, your photo albums leave a lot to be desired…honestly the convenience of digital film has gotten in the way of completing the beautiful baby and family photo albums I started years ago.  Maybe it’s just an excuse.  But I continue to take pictures!  I continue to collect baby teeth, hold onto certain articles of clothing or special toys, and once in a while wish I could go back to do some of it over again—I’d probably do it the same way, but perhaps the knowledge I now possess would help in certain situations.  Hind sight is 20/20—a cliché but there’s some truth to it.  If I grew up knowing what I know now, would I be a different person?  Quite likely—or just the same person making different choices—or even the same choices for different reasons.

What I do know is that while I don’t necessarily want to celebrate growing OLD, I think it’s great to celebrate growing up.  I won’t actually grow UP any higher, but I continue to learn about life, and continue to grow as a person.  My children are constantly challenging me to model for them, admit my mistakes or lack of knowledge, share memories and experiences, and to share a love of life with them.   I know I have so much to give them, and I know they have so much more to give me.

Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up, and in many ways I don’t blame him.  With age comes responsibility, expectations, challenges.   But I think the grass is always greener—another cliché.  We so often want what we don’t have, what we can’t have, simply because it’s not ours.  If we had that, we’d want something else.

So I tried to celebrate my birthday this year feeling thankful for another year of life.  I’m  grateful for my family and friends, my home, my work, and for the experiences I gain each day.  I miss my babies but I love my big boys.  I miss my independence but even more I miss my kids and my husband when we’re apart.  I’m going to hang onto my memories as memories—special people, events, experiences that provided me with personal growth and helped me move on in life.  Even the difficult times have helped in some way.  I’m going to try to enjoy each moment without looking too far back, or too far ahead and miss out on what’s going on NOW.

Carpe Diem—I’m going to seize the day every day.  Happy Birthday to Me.

(If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate your child’s special day, take a look at http://www.mybabyfingers.com/parties and contact us!)

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October– STOP BULLYING Month

This is an important month.  Different organizations have different names for it– National Bullying Prevention Month, National Anti-Bullying Month, Stop Bullying Month, Bullying Prevention Awareness Month…. call it what you wish, each has the same purpose.

Watch Lora’s YouTube video of Mark Wills’ song “Don’t Laugh at Me.”

http://www.youtube.com/user/babyfingersASL?feature=mhee#p/a/u/0/UmWrDXEQlFY

Peter Yarrow took this song and created a curriculum that has become well known for use in schools and camps around the country to extinguish bullying behaviors.  Take a look at http://www.operationrespect.org/.

Below are some other useful links on this topic:

http://www.teachsafeschools.org/bullying-prevention.html

http://www.nobully.org.nz/guidelines.htm

http://www.friendlyschools.com.au/about.php

We can all make a difference in the life of a child.

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A Mother’s Journal

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes…

While I was pregnant and throughout early childhood for both my boys, I kept a pretty detailed journal.  Now that they are getting so much older, I often look back at the memories–I need a reminder that they were cute and sweet once!  LOL– they are still cute and sweet, especially when they want something!  Anyway, here are some cute quotes from my guys:

“More.”  E, 16 months, in sign language after his dad and I stopped hugging each other.

“Just calm down mommy.”  E, age 2.5 yrs.

“I’m not gonna love you for a whole week!”  E, age 3 yrs.

“I look like a dude!”  E, age 4 yrs.

“Don’t-do-that!”  (almost as one full word) O, age 16 months.

“Mommy, I’m not a baby anymore!”  O, age 2 yrs.  We changed his sign name that day!

I definitely encourage all parents to keep a journal!  And tell your children stories about them… they love to hear about what they said and did when they were “little.”

http://www.mybabyfingers.com/our-story

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