Why Do Babies Smell So Good?

Why do babies always smell so good?

When Samantha was still a very small baby I thought she had a nice smell (especially on the top of her head). Samantha uses a fragrance free body wash, so the nice smell was really quite unexplainable. Of course, I may have been biased since she was my daughter, but when I brought her along to a friends place for gathering, another friend commented that she likes the smell of babies too!

Recently I was pleasantly surprised to come across this article published in Frontiers in Psychology (September 2013) explaining the science behind it!

In their study, they discovered that when women smell clothes of newborns, the pleasure centers in their brains are activated. What’s interesting is that it doesn’t matter if the woman is a mother or not – even women who have never given birth before feel good after smelling the scent/body odour of newborns.

It’s a shame that men were not included in the study as well, as it will be interesting to see if men react in the same way as women. .For now, natural baby morphine anyone?


Book Review: Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

I bought this book for Samantha because I vaguely remember reading it when I was little. This book has ten little plastic ladybugs stuck into it, with one ladybug on each page.

ten little ladybugs

As you turn the pages and tell the story, the ladybugs disappear one at a time, being taken away by a different animal each time. Luckily for these ladybugs the animals did not eat them-they are all reunited at home on the last page!

This book can be read with a constant tempo, with words that rhyme in between. The book also teaches counting (in reverse). Although not a board book, the pages are relatively stiff, thus toddlers will not have much difficulty thumbing through the book.

Shichida Musical

A regular activity in Shichida class is something they call the ‘Shichida Musical’. In this activity the teacher plays a song with a theme (for example colours, or going to the zoo), and flashes flashcards to represent some key words of the song.

It’s quite interesting and as Samantha seems to enjoy it quite a lot in class, I decided to incorporate it into my home practice. There’s no way I can ever compose a song, so I made flashcards for a few nursery rhymes, children’s songs and Disney songs. I used YouTube to play the music in the background while I sing along and flash the cards as the words are sung. Here’s some examples (minus my singing)..

Incy Wincy Spider

Three Blind Mice

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

I think this is a refreshing alternative to the usual flashcard routine. Showing her flashcards instead of the YouTube clip also helps to  reduce the amount of computer/television screen time Samantha is exposed to. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding screen time in children under the age of two years old.

Book Review: Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

This is one of Samantha’s favorite books.

pat the bunny

The book is well written, with simple short sentences describing what a pair of children siblings are able to do on the left side of the page and a chance for the reader to do that activity on the right side of the page.

The activities are really fun, and are quite varied – you get to pet a fluffy bunny, feel daddy’s scratchy face, play peekaboo and look at yourself in the mirror. There is even a scented page for you to smell the flowers (not for those sensitive to perfumes), and a mini book within the book (to read).

Do note that it’s not a board book – the pages are card-like and bound together by a plastic spiral. It is fairly resistant to rough handling by a toddler but not chew resistant..

Review of Shichida Right Brain Game

The company on taobao.com that I bought my flashcards from has recently introduced this new product, and I decided to give it a try.

right brain game

It comes in a nice box, with foam padding on the insides.

right brain game 2

There are three packs of 50 cards each. Each set of 10 cards follows a general theme (for example, colours, shapes, animals, body parts). The cards are made of durable paper that is slightly water resistant, so I did not consider laminating the cards to lengthen their lifespan.

right brain game 3

right brain game 4

I think the cards are quite well made, the pictures are nice and unambiguous, and there are no distracting background images. These cards can be used for linking memory games and even clairvoyance/telepathy games. There is an instruction booklet within the box that gives you a few suggestions on how to use these cards.

The cards cost me $28.50 inclusive of shipping. An ok buy if you want to introduce some variety into your Shichida home practice materials. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider buying playing cards like ‘donkey’, ‘snap’, ‘happy family’ and ‘old maid’ from old neighbourhood shops that can serve the same purpose as well (each pack costs less than a dollar).

old maid