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Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Time Capsule – 0-12 Months at the Speed of Life! ( 2 )

7-9 Months

At this age your baby’s vision is nearly as clear as adult vision. He can sit without toppling over or losing balance and he can crawl consistently using his hands, knees and feet.

He may even be pulling himself up using the edge of a table or chair, so watch for things he might pull down onto himself or for light tables or things that may fall over when he tries to use them to pull himself up.

Your baby can recognize the sound of your voice, your touch and the image of your face and he shows distinct preference for you and others who are regular caregivers.

He has recall and memory of these things and knows that people and objects are permanent, and he waits for them to reappear.

Because they no longer think you have disappeared when you hide behind the end of the crib or behind your hands, they now love to play ‘hide and seek’ and will wait anxiously for you to come out of hiding.

If your baby has not already started to pull herself up by holding onto things, she will probably do so by 9 months of age.

Once she is comfortable with that process and she has some balance she will try to take a step or two, still holding onto the table or chair for balance.

While your baby will still want to put every object into her mouth, now she can examine toys and other things with her hands too, and she will pick up objects to examine them.

Your baby’s babbling has taken on even more shape and meaning. Within a few months, he will say his first word. Right now, he is practicing and coming as close to real language as his new skills will allow.

His mother skills are much better, and he will soon master the critical ‘thumb and forefinger’ grip.

10-12 Months

The rate of growth will start to increase again around this age. By the time your child is 10-12 months old, he will have tripled his birth weight.

Sometime around the 10th month, the fontanels (soft spots) in his skull will begin to grow together more rapidly to form the solid skull.

This process can take up to 9 months to complete so don’t become concerned if your baby reaches 12 months of age and there is still a soft spot in his head.

Your child will become less sensitive to strangers as these months pass but he will still have a preference for those he knows well.

He will become more curious and interested in his environment and since he can now crawl and may even be able to pull himself up and take a few steps, he will quickly learn that he can explore the world around him on a whim, so watch him carefully.

He is no longer a ‘blob’ you can place on a blanket. If you don’t watch him carefully, he will be in the other room before you know it.

By now, your child can probably understands the word ‘no’ and she can respond to your commands to wave goodbye or go to another person by putting her arms out. If you tell her to put down her toy, she knows what you mean.

She has graduated from control of the large muscles to the ability to control smaller muscles in her hands, as her brain continues to develop and integrate her senses and her motor skills.
She knows she is the one controlling her world now!

She may still put things in her mouth to explore them, but she is just as likely to hold an object in her hand and study it seriously.

Ever since your child has discovered that she can get around the room by holding onto tables and chairs, she has spent hours testing her balance and developing muscle strength by exploring the room and holding onto the nearest coffee table or end table.

Only about 50% of children will walk by 12 months, but most will begin to walk by 14 months, so watch your little one for signs. At first, she will try to walk on tiptoe, but she will rapidly learn how to balance on the balls and heels of her feet, although she will fall at lot trying out her new balancing skills.

You will also notice that your child’s curiosity extends to those drawers, doors and cabinets you are always opening and closing and that, if given the chance, they will happily explore these enclosures.

Be sure you have ‘baby safe’ closers on cabinet doors under sinks to protect your child.

We’ll talk more about child safety later.

At 12 months of age, your child understands a lot more words than they can say, but within months they will begin saying words you may or may not understand at first. At a year old, they may already be saying the most common words like ‘dada’ and ‘mama’.

‘Dada’ is an easier word for little lips and mouths to form!

So, Moms, don’t be upset if your little one says ‘Dada’ before he says YOUR name.
By this age, your child knows his own name and he will look at other family members and may point at them if you call their name. He will try to talk to you in a stream of unintelligible words that have real inflection and tone.

You may not recognize the words, but you will know from the conversation whether he is upset or happy.

She will carefully observe your behavior and the behavior of others to watch how you act when things go wrong, so be sure to remain calm and don’t discipline by yelling, or you will be teaching them bad habits at a young age.

By the time she is 12 months old, your baby will have grown to about 28 inches in length.
By 12 months, your child has mastered the ‘thumb and forefinger’ grasp – that most critical motor skill that separates us from other mammals. She can pick up and examine objects using her thumb and forefinger to grasp the item, and she can pass it easily from hand to hand.

In his high chair, your baby is probably trying to feed himself small things (like Cheerios) and may or may not be missing his mouth, but he is getting the hang of it.

At this age, he might want to try to feed himself with a spoon and while he may fail at the effort, you should feel free to let him try.

The attention span of a one-year old is about 2-4 minutes, and he can sit and play quietly for that period of time, but is likely to want to become active and explore very soon after he sits down to play, so be sure to put him in a playpen if you are not watching him every moment.

He will take a toy from you and give you a toy to play with him. He likes to push, pull, throw and knock things around as he tests his newfound muscle control and strength.
You can put him in a playpen with blocks or shape sorters and he will have a ball!

At a friend’s house, he is happy to play with pots and pans or various sizes of plastic containers he can stack and put inside one another, and he loves to bang things around, so be prepared for loud noises!

At around 12 months, your child may begin to resist naps. If you keep her on a regular routine for naps and meals and bedtime, this will help.

Well, there you have it. A quick capsule version of the first 12 months of your baby’s life.

Your baby will grow rapidly during his first year of life and your doctor will measure progress in motor skills and growth and ability every time you take your baby in for a well-baby check-up. If you have questions or concerns, ask your doctor.

But, remember that all babies grow and develop on their own timetable, so if your child is 6 months old, don’t try to compare her to another 6 month old.

The best thing to do to ensure that your child will is healthy during this critical developmental time is to feed him the rights foods. You should also make sure he gets plenty of sleep and exercise (as his abilities warrant) and spend a lot of time talking to him and holding him and interacting with him so that you challenge those developing neurons and synapses in his brain.

Just because your child can’t talk yet, doesn’t mean he isn’t learning language by listening to you.

Just because he isn’t ready to walk, doesn’t mean he can’t strengthen his muscles and balance by playing, stretching and trying out his new body.

Left to his own devices, he is a curious bundle of experimentation and new skills. All you have to do is encourage him and watch him grow.


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