Friday, March 22, 2013

Look out Mama! 25 volcanoes are interrupting!

Natural Poets: How To Celebrate Our Children's (Naturally) Creative Voices

I met cin salach in my store when she was shopping for a rocking chair several years ago just before her son, Leo, was born. As we were talking I learned that she has been a poet in Chicago for over 25 years and has incorporated her love of poetry with a unique way of recording Leo's development and creativity. This blog post was written by cin and will help you create your own poetry with your child in mind!

I’m a wannabe scrapbook-er. I have lots of  “scraps” of my son’s first years: pictures, cards, pieces of fabric, etc. But I can’t seem to make the leap from scraps to book. Being a poet, I am much more comfortable in the realm of words, and since my son’s birth I have lots of lists and bits of paper with words and phrases he’s said and conversations we’ve had. When I get enough, I put them into a poem. These poems have become my “word scrapbooks”; a valuable record of who my son is becoming at every age, as witnessed by how he shapes his ideas and thoughts into words.

“They grow so fast!” a nurse told me after his first wellness check and encouraged me to take a weekly picture of him so I could document his beautiful progression as he grew. But no one made a similar suggestion for when he started “talking”. So I will now!

Parents, write down those first, second, twenty second, one hundred and twenty second words. You’ll be glad you did. And then don’t stop. You’ll love having all the ways they articulate their world to look back on. The only rule: Write down their words exactly. Don’t edit. Their words are all you need for fun family poems!

Here are two simple ways to start: 

1. First Word Poem

Like all new parents, I was thrilled at every milestone. When my son began “talking”, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to get to witness him naming his world. I started a list of first words that I kept going for a year. Here is the poem that came from that. The title is also a list, of his first three words (Havel is the name of our first cat).

Mama, Havel, Banana

Wi wi means kiwi. Or strawberry.
It also means flag.
It also means penis.

The American wi wi is waving in the breeze.

Nana is banana or any type of fruit that is not kiwi or strawberries.
Or grandma.
Fla is flower.

B-lah,b-lah,b-lah,b-lah,b-lah is frog.
Or anything that looks like a frog.
(It is surprising how many things look like a frog.)

Boo is boot or shoe or sandal.
Baby is baby or anyone who is not Mama.
Mama is mama.

Bah ooh is balloon.

Leo Salach (as observed and recorded by cin salach)

2. List poem: This is one of my favorite kinds of poems. It’s so simple and it’s a perfect form for kids because kids repeat things. A lot. Sometimes with variations. Write them down. There’s your poem. I call this my Leo’s “Self-Observation poem”. These are his words exactly how he said them at some point over a several month period:

I’m the guy

I am the ant guy.
I am the lemonade-drinking guy.
I am the guy who carries the rice.

I’m the guy who makes the decisions of the cookies.
I’m the guy who keeps dry.
I’m the guy who holds these two things.

I’m the guy that pushes a ball with a stick
I’m the guy who takes care of these two things.
We’re the guys who are brave, mama.

Leo Salach (as recorded by cin salach)

cin salach's favorite thing to do is write poems to help people celebrate the most important moments in their lives, and she recently launched her own business poemgrown ( to do just that. Check it out and see how she can help you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why would a baby need infant massage?

Today's post was written by Amanda Tarver, who has presented a workshop on infant massage in our store.

When I tell people that I am an infant massage teacher, two of the most common questions that I get is “Why do babies need massage?” and “What do babies have to be stressed about?” These are both really good questions. I will address the stress issue first. Many people look at the life of a baby and see someone who is able to lie around all day and eat, sleep, poop and cry; but there is actually a lot more going on. Let’s start out with the birth itself. This is a very traumatic experience for the baby even in the best of circumstances. I like to encourage people to think about it from the baby’s point of view. Imagine that you have spent your entire existence in a warm, dark, quiet place where you are constantly protected and literally surrounded by someone who loves you. You are safe and happy and constantly developing, learning and growing. When you are born, you work really hard for several hours to get out, and when you finally do, everything is exactly the opposite of anything you have ever known before. In the case of a hospital birth, which covers the majority of births in the United States, everything is brightly lit, noisy, cold and sterile. You are then whisked away from the only people you have ever known, where you are poked, prodded, measured and tested before you are left alone in a warming tray. This is a very traumatic and stressful event. In the days that follow, there are many people who want to meet you. You have family and friends constantly coming by to hold you and play with you, and again, it is very stressful and sometimes over stimulating. Over the next few months, everything you experience is brand new and must be processed. Eating is brand new and is difficult; everything you see, smell, hear, touch, etc. is brand new to you. It is kind of like studying for a huge exam every day for several months just to become familiar with your everyday life. That is a lot of stress for one person to have.

Most adults get a massage primarily for stress release without realizing many of the other benefits that massage can have. While several of these benefits are the same for babies as they are for adults, there are several benefits specific to infants that many people might not know about. In most babies, massage is able to relieve gas and constipation and can help relieve colic. It also helps to increase the quality of sleep that they get which generally translates to longer periods of sleep. This can be beneficial to everyone because when baby sleeps through the night, so does everyone else. Massage can also help to stimulate muscle development. Muscle development in the arms, legs, abdomen and back can help when it comes to crawling, standing and walking, while muscle development in the facial musculature can help lead to faster language development. Massage is also a great bonding experience for babies and parents. It is a time when you maintain eye contact and have skin-to-skin contact. While good for everyone, this is especially important for parents who don’t have as many opportunities to bond with their babies such as dad, adoptive parents, parents with babies in the NICU, etc. The categories of benefits to babies are broken down into 4 categories, relief, stimulation, interaction and relaxation. You can see more benefits and how they are broken down into categories on my website at You can also view a breakdown of a typical class, and some of the discussion topics that are covered during the course.

Take care,
By Amanda Tarver, LMT, CEIM

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Cucumber plants have the most elegant blooms and tendrils. July 2, 12012.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bumble Bee

Exciting to see bumble bees helping to pollenate our garden! July 14, 2012.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bird Bath

We added a bird bath to our native grasses/perennial flower garden bed on July 5, 2012. Made it with some items we weren't using like a table from Ikea, a glass candle plate, and multi-colored floral stones. Still waiting for our first bather.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Five heads of garlic harvested from the South bed on July 1, 2012.