Darrington Library Blog

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Communicating With Babies

As a lifelong observer of babies, I have often thought that a fussy baby is simply a misunderstood baby. To understand the needs of a baby, we learn to decode what baby is trying to communicate or teach baby a new way to communicate with us.

American Sign Language is becoming a second language for many families with preschool children. Infants can learn to do simple sign far earlier than they can master verbal skills.
Baby Signing by Andrea Fixell and Ted Stafford is good beginning book to use.

Recently, I began to teach my grandchild some basic sign. I was amazed at how quickly the communication proceeded. At 9 months she understood basic sign, and would respond with basic sign, please, thank you, no, yes, I want more…. Etc. At 12 months she began to teach her baby dolls to sign. Now she is trying, with limited success, to teach her grandpa to sign. At 24 months she has a vocabulary of approximately 50 word signs.

Of course she is learning to talk too. I am convinced that learning sign language has enhanced her ability to verbalize. She uses complete sentences and talks as well as children twice her own age. I recommend Bright From the Start by Jill Stamm to anyone who has an interest in nuturing the developing mind of a child.

Yes, I am a proud grandma. However, I am convinced that teaching a baby to sign is a wonderful gift.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Knitty Gritty

I taught myself to knit many years ago from a how-to book published by Sunset. I renewed my love for knitting this winter surrounded by Sno-Isle books that instruct and inspire me. Here are some favorites.

Sally Melville takes a beginning knitter through projects that she designed to build confidence and skills in The Knitting Experience, Book 1: The Knit Stitch. The photos and designs are a treat for the eye, plus Sally offers some “meditations” on what knitting teaches us and how it can change our lives. Did you know that repetitive, intellectually undemanding, and visually stimulating activities such as knitting take us out of our left brain thinking into our more innovative, solution-advancing right brain? She believes this is why it feels so good to sit and knit and I would have to agree.

For a fun read try Wendy Knits, My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn by Wendy D. Johnson. She offers knitting patterns she designed and in the process she tells about her knitting life. As a child she was a self-taught solitary knitter but today she is part of the worldwide community of knitters through WendyKnits.net, her successful website.

There are many books published by Vogue with beautifully designed projects, but I especially enjoyed the articles on knitting and the profiles of famous knitwear designers in Vogue Knitting: 25 Years of Articles, Techniques and Expert Advice. I’ve often wondered how knitting got started and found the surprising answer here. Knitting originated about 3,000 years ago on the Arabian Peninsula with men of nomadic tribes using wool from the sheep and goats of their flocks. The wool was gathered and spun by the women, who did not knit. The men would knit as they tended the flocks, some as they stood on stilts so they could keep better watch over the animals!

If you are allergic to wool (like I am) don’t give up on the idea of knitting. Take a look at No Sheep For You : Knit Happy With Cotton, Silk, Linen, Hemp, Bamboo and Other Delights by Amy R. Singer. The author gives practical information and knitting tips for alternative yarns with 22 excellent projects.

And that’s the “knitty gritty”.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A New Season

The hectic holiday season is over and a crisp snowfall paints the landscape blue in the twilight. Like others, I make my New Years resolutions and meditate on ways to improve myself.

For anyone with AD/HD, commonly called Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, the demands of busy times of year such as this can be overwhelming. I know because I am one of those folks. So, I use the New Year as a kind of cue to regroup and assess my progress; refocus my energies.

Sno-Isle Libraries has a good selection of books on AD/HD in both adults and children to help you and the ones you love get back on track and in the groove.

ADD-friendly ways to organize your life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau is a fabulous book for helping sort through those piles and developing habits to keep the piles from coming back. The authors also help with the myriad of other areas in our lives that get away from us. Understanding first hand what does and does not work for those of us who are "ADD wired" the organizing information is practical and do-able. This book is also very freeing in the sense that it helps one determine what goals can realistically be accomplished, and what limits gracefully accepted.

Another title I continually find myself revisiting, You mean I'm not lazy, stupid or crazy?! : the classic self-help book for adults with attention deficit disorder by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo ; foreword by Ned Hallowell has been recently updated. The authors share both their own experiences with attention deficit and those of their clients over the past twenty plus years. Along the way they impart tried and true techniques for improving professional and personal relationships and finding the right job for you.

Attention deficit disorder: the unfocused mind in children and adults by Thomas E. Brown is full of useful information from both a clinical and personal point of view. Dr. Brown examines the results of several studies of AD/HD ADD, as well as the various perspectives of the authors of those studies. For a person like me who has a hard time plowing through the snowdrifts of charts, statistics and erudite phrasing it is slow going, but very rewarding.

Organizing solutions for people with attention deficit disorder : tips and tools to help you take charge of your life and get organized by Susan C. Pinsky
This book is one I just came across this year but definitely worthwhile. Ms. Pinsky is a professional organizer who refined her organizing techniques for ADD clients after working with her extremely ADD daughter. The book is well laid out, entertaining and useful enough to make it into my permanent collection. The information she shares about the Brutal Purge alone is worth the price of the volume.

Everyone benefits from a fresh look at life at the start of a new year. So let's reboot and renew and happy new year to you all.


Winter is really starting to make it’s presence known up here, which means I start looking for some INDOOR entertainment. This winter, I went hunting magazines and books on beading. WOW! I was (and continue to be) amazed at the huge number of books and periodicals Sno-Isle has available.
Whether you want to make jewelry, decorate clothing, explore the beading styles and techniques of another culture, or just make something completely cool and different, there is a book or magazine for you.

One of the titles I really enjoyed is Creative Doll Beading by Patti Medaris Culea. This amazing little book is filled with great photos and directions for making the dolls pictured, as well as patterns and techniques for creating your own dolls. Along the way, the author shares her thoughts on both beading and creativity.
In Simply Sparkling Christmas Beading: [over 35 beautiful beaded decorations & gifts] by Dorothy Wood the projects are varied in complexity and for the most part well explained. This book is not just for Christmas, despite the title. The beadwork on the light string is wonderful enough to really light up any special occasion, (think outdoor barbeque,) as is the beadwork on the candles. I liked this book so much I bought a copy.
The impatient beader by Margot Potter is wonderful for helping folks get over their fear of creating. This book is THE ONE if you have never tried beading. Margot shows you the tools and the techniques then helps you dive right in with projects for every taste. She even rates the difficulty of each project with great titles like “Beading Virgin” “Beading Vixen” and “Beading Goddess”. I bought this book for a friend who wanted to try beading out. She was afraid she could not be creative. She fell in love with beading and soon was coming up with ideas of her own!
I have heard there is clinical evidence that learning new things keeps your mind young. Try beading and enjoy the indoor weather this winter.

Local History

Are you interested in local news and current events? Do you wonder who your parents invited to dinner in 1958? You can find links to local newspapers from Sno-Isle’s home page. Some of the newspapers have online archives that allow a researcher to immerse themselves in the past. To reach the links, move your mouse over Research Tools. Click Databases, Web Sites, Research E-Books. This will bring up a category called Browse Subject Guides. Click Newstand. Scroll down until you find the topic, Recommended Websites Categories. There you’ll find a link entitled, Local Newspapers. Click on the link and it will lead to many local newspapers that cover news for local communities in Island County and Snohomish County or click here. Enjoy the unique flavor of local communities through their own publications produced and distributed in the small towns they represent.