Wonder Weeks by Frans X. Plooji

Read this book if: you want to learn more about baby’s developmental stages in the first 1-2 years.

I found the sections with activities for each stage helpful as well as the accompanying app, which sent me a notification every time we were entering a new stage (it really seemed to match up for us).  It’s always a great idea to keep a journal to write down notes about new developments (so you can remember when filling out that baby book when you finally get around to it!)

If you like the summary, support the author by buying a copy here.

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The ten big changes your baby undergoes in the first 20 months of life, at around 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, 55, 64 and 75 weeks.

 

Chapter 1 – Growing Up – How Your Baby Does It

For the past 35 years, we have studied the development of babies and the way mothers and other caregivers respond to their changes. Our research was done in homes, where we observed the daily activities of mothers and children. We gleaned further information from more formal interviews. Our research has shown that from time to time all parents are plagued by a baby who won’t stop crying. In fact, we found that, surprisingly, all normal, healthy babies are more tearful, troublesome, demanding, and fussy at the same ages, and when this occurs they may drive the entire household to despair. From our research, we are now able to predict, almost to the week, when parents can expect their babies to go through one of these “fussy phases.” During these periods, a baby cries for a good reason. She is suddenly undergoing drastic changes in her development, which are upsetting to her. These changes enable the baby to learn many new skills and should therefore be a reason for celebration. After all, it’s a sign that she is making wonderful progress. But as far as the baby is concerned, these changes are bewildering. She’s taken aback—everything has changed overnight. It is as if she has entered a whole new world. It is well known that a child’s physical development progresses in what we commonly call “growth spurts.” A baby may not grow at all for some time, but then she’ll grow a quarter inch in just one night. Research has shown that essentially the same thing happens in a child’s mental development. Neurological studies have shown that there are times when major, dramatic changes take place in the brains of children younger than 20 months. Shortly after each of them, there is a parallel leap forward in mental development. This book focuses on the ten major leaps that every baby takes in her first 20 months of life. It tells you what each of these developments mean for your baby’s understanding of the world about her and how she uses this understanding to develop the new skills that she needs at each stage in her development.

Difficult periods are usually accompanied by the 3 C’s: Clinginess, Crankiness, and Crying. These are telltale signs of a period in which the child makes a major leap forward in his development. Shortly before each leap, a change in the nervous system brings the baby a new kind of perception and alters the way that she perceives the world. The fussy periods come at 5, 8, 12, 15, 23, 34, 42, 51, 60 and 71 weeks. Use baby’s due date as calculation (ex. If baby was due weeks late, her first fussy phase will occur 2 weeks earlier).

When a big change occurs, he will go through the following phases:

  • A need to cling to mommy
  • A need to play and learn new skill with mommy
  • A need to play on his own

 

Chapter 2: Newborn – Welcome to the World

What Babies See: Up to about a foot (perfect distance for breastfeeding babies to see their mother’s faces). Beyond this, their vision is probably blurred. Focuses on object intently, so much, may appear cross-eyed. Interested in sharp contrasts – red and white stripes etc. The bigger the contrast, more interest. (Black & white best)

What Babies Hear: At birth, can distinguish sounds and your voice. Likes hums etc. – similar to sounds heard in the womb. High-pitched voices (baby talk) draw more attention. Sudden, loud noises may frighten.

What Babies Smell: Very sensitive to smells. No pungent/sharp odors – they will make her overactive. Can smell the difference between mom’s breast milk and others.

What Babies Taste: Preference for sweet things and dislikes sour/acidic tastes.

What Babies Feel: Can sense change in temperature. Can feel heat, which is why she finds the nipple when placed on chest (much warmer than breast). Can sense cold, but can’t shiver to get warm to control body temperature – so make sure to wrap up baby! Extremely sensitive to touch. Enjoys body massage in warm room.

Baby not yet able to make distinction between the senses or their surroundings. His reflexes tell him what to do – turning head to breath freely when lying down, turning head towards sound, suckling mouth, strong gripping reflex, moro reflex etc. Reflexes disappear when replaced with voluntary responses. Automatic reflexes that remain for life include breathing, sneezing, coughing, blinking, and jerking hand from hot surface.

Babies get bored: Explore house with her, have a quiet “chat”, place interesting objects in clear view, experiment with music

Close human contact is the best way of imitating your baby’s secure world inside the womb. Besides food andwarmth,snugglingcloseismostimportantduringfirst4monthsoflife(4th trimester).

 

Chapter 3: Wonder Week 5 – The World of Changing Sensations

At about 5 weeks, and sometimes as early as 4, your baby will begin to take the first leap forward in his development.

How You Know It’s Time To Grow – She May Be Highly Upset/ May Crave Closeness How This Leap May Affect You – You may feel insecure; very concerned

Soothing Tips – Cuddle and caress him; rock him gently in your arms or sit in a rocking chair; walk around slowly with him; talk or sing to him; pat him gently on the bottom; Babywear! Can make a sling

A number of indications in babies of approximately 4-5 weeks show that they are undergoing enormous changes that affect their senses, metabolism, and internal organs. This is when 1st leap occurs – the baby’s alertness in the world of sensations increase dramatically. He will lose some of newborn skills; se will no longer follow a face with his eyes or turn toward a sound. At this age, your baby is also likely to outgrow problems that he may have had initially with his digestive system.

Sleeping Tips – warm bath, warm towel, massage with baby oil; breast/bottle feed him since suckling will soothe him; walk around with him in sling or baby carrier; push him in stroller; take for ride in car; pop him into bed beside you.

Starts crying real tears. Can focus at a longer distance. 5-6 week old babies prepared to work in order to experience interesting sensations. Babies can also start using their smile in social contact to influence their experiences. Your baby’s smiles change from something superficial, almost robot-like, into social smiles around this age.

At approximately 3-4 weeks, there is a dramatic increase in a baby’s head circumference. His glucose metabolism, in the brain, also changes.

How Your Baby Explores This New World (Can write about this in a diary) His Interest In His Surroundings

  • Looks at things longer and more often
  • Listens to things more often and pays closer attention
  • Is more aware of being touched
  • Is more aware of different smells
  • Smiles for the first time, or more often than before
  • Gurgles with pleasure more often
  • Expresses likes or dislikes more often
  • Expresses anticipation more often
  • Stays awake longer, and is more alertHis Physical Changes
  • Breathes more regularly
  • Startles and trembles less often
  • Cries real tears for the first time, or more often than before
  • Chokes less
  • Vomits less
  • Burps less*It is impossible to spoil her at this age, so never feel guilty about comforting her, especially when she cries.Exploring Sight: Your baby looks longer at objects that interest her now. Likes brighter colors (can still only see a foot). If you notice your baby is getting bored, show her objects similar to the ones she likes but slightly different.Exploring Sound: Chat to your baby about how beautiful she is, everyday events, or whatever comes to mind. Stop talking once in a while to give her a change to “reply”.

Exploring Touch: May hear baby laugh out loud for first time when being tickled; however most babies don’t appreciate tickling yet at this age.

At around 6 weeks, the leap has ended, and a period of comparative peach dawns. Babies are more cheerful, more alert, and more preoccupied with looking and listening at this time.

 

Chapter 4: Wonder Week 8 – The World of Patterns

This leap is age-linked and predictable. The ability to perceive patterns emerges at about 8 weeks, and is a necessary precondition for “sitting with minimal support”, but this skill normally appears anywhere from 2-6 months.

Sometime around 8 weeks, your baby will begin to experience the world in a new way. He will become able to recognize simple patterns in the world around him and in his own body. Happens in all the senses, not just vision. May discover his hands and feet and spend hours practicing his skill at controlling a certain posture of his arm of leg. He’ll be endlessly fascinated with the way light displays shadows on the wall of his bedroom or interested in small details of cans at grocery store or short burst of sounds.

This time, the fussy phase could last anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks.

Start to express his own preferences – which colors he prefers, what kinds of toys or activities he enjoys, and whose face makes him light up most – beside yours, of course. These are the first signs of your baby’s newly emerging personality.

Baby will become more demanding ~7-9 weeks of age. Crying more; want to be close. Your baby may want you to spend more time amusing her. She may event want you to be totally absorbed in her, and only her. Ultimate goal is to be with their mommies. They want their mothers to look at them, talk to them and play with them. She may become shy with strangers. She may lose her appetite – as soon as they are taken off the breast or the bottle, they start protesting and continue to cry until they feel the nipple again. This generally occurs only in babies who are allowed to decide for themselves when they want to nurse. Some mothers who breastfeed may begin to think that there is something wrong with their milk supply, while other mothers questions whether the decision to breastfeed was the right one after all. This would not be a very good time to choose to wean baby. During this stormy period, the breast is serving as less of a nutritional purpose and more of a comfort to baby – explains why babies will suck their thumbs of fingers more often during this period.

She may cling to you more tightly, especially when senses that she is about to be set down. She may sleep poorly or may start crying the moment you carry her into her bedroom, which explains why parents sometimes think that their babies are afraid of their cribs. She may just cry and cry.

At approximately 8 weeks, it’s normal for your baby to have an urgent desire to go “back to mommy”

 

Signs Baby is Growing (Between 7 and 9 weeks; can keep diary)

  • Cries more often
  • Wants you to keep him busy
  • Loses appetite
  • Is more shy with strangers
  • Clings more
  • Sleeps poorly
  • Sucks his thumb, or more often than before

Temperamental, irritable babies are the most difficult ones to deal with. They will seem to cry 10x louder and more frequently, and they will thrash around as if they were in boxing rings. When every other avenue has been explored, some mothers finally decide it has to be colic that’s upsetting their babies.

Shaking Can be Harmful: Having violent feelings about a demanding little screamer is not dangerous, but acting on those feelings is. Never shake a baby. Shaking a young child is one of the worst things that you can do. It could easily cause internal bleeding just below the skull, which can result in brain damage that may lead to learning difficulties later on or even death.

Cuddle Care: The Best Way to Comfort

The Magical Leap Forward: About this age, your baby no longer experiences the world and himself as one universe. He starts to recognize shapes, patterns and structures. Your baby may now discover that his hands belong to him; he will look at them in wonder and wave them around, close them around a toy. He can distinguish patterns in sounds, smells, tastes and textures too. He may realize that holding his arm in the air feels different than letting it hang down. He may also gain more control from within. He can maintain certain positions and may start to make all kinds of faces now that he has more control over his facial muscles. He might make explosive sounds because he can keep his vocal cords in a certain position. May focus more sharply on an object. Many of the reflexes that your baby had at birth will start to disappear at this age. Your baby doesn’t use the sucking reflex anymore because he is able to latch onto a nipple in one single movement, instead of finding it by what appears to be sheer coincidence after nuzzling for a while. Babies will only resort to their old reflexes if they are hungry or upset.

Brain Changes: At approximately 7-8 weeks, a baby’s head circumference dramatically increases. Researchers have recorded changes in the brain waves of babies 6 to 8 weeks old.

How My Baby Explores the New World of Patterns:

Body Control:

  • Holds his head upright when he is very alert
  • Consciously turns his head toward something interesting
  • Consciously rolls from his side onto his stomach/back
  • Kicks his legs and waves his arms
  • Kicks at plaything, with jerking movements
  • Allows himself to be pulled into a sitting/standing position
  • Tries to lift his head/body when lying facedown
  • Shows an increased desire to sit
  • Is able to look left and right when lying on stomach
  • Makes faces

Hand Control:

  • Swipes at toys
  • Attempts to grab objects within reach but does not succeed
  • Closes his hand around objects within easy reach
  • Holds plaything and moves it jerkily up and down
  • Touches and feels objects without holding them

Looking and Seeing:

  • Discovers hands/feet/knees
  • Watches people moving or working
  • Is fascinated by children playing close by
  • Enjoys watching fast-moving images on TV
  • Watches pets eating/moving
  • Is fascinated by moving curtains
  • Discovers luminous object, such as a flickering candle
  • Watches treetops outdoors and is particularly fascinated by movements such as rustling leaves
  • Looks at items on grocery store shelves
  • Looks at complex shapes and colors, such as abstract art, especially while being rocked
  • Is fascinated by shiny clothing or jewelry
  • Enjoys watching people chewing food
  • Enjoys watching and listening to people talk
  • Watches facial gesture

Listening and Chatting

  • Enjoys listening to voices, singing and high pitched sounds
  • Makes short bursts of sounds, such as ah, uh, eh, mm and listens to himself
  • Makes a series of sounds, mumbles, and gurgles, as if telling a story
  • Repeats these sounds if you encourage him
  • Sings along when you dance and sing with him
  • “Chats” to and smile at cuddly toys
  • Consciously makes eh sounds to attract attention
  • Interrupts while others are talking

Baby’s first intentional movements are very different from those of an adult; they are quite jerky, rigid and stiff, like those of a puppet, and will remain so until the next leap.

Babies love anything new. It is very important that you respond when you notice any new skills or interests. Your baby will enjoy it if you share these new discoveries will him and his learning will progress more quickly.

What you can do to help: Encourage her to develop the skills she finds most interesting. If you praise her, you’ll make her feel good, and this will encourage her to continue. Try to find a balance between providing enough challenges and demanding too much for her. Try to discover what she enjoys doing most. More importantly, stop as soon as you feel she has had enough of a game or toy.

Explore Sight: Brightly colored objects. Move the object slowly across her line of vision, since this will draw her attention quicker and hold her interest longer. Try moving the object slowly backward and then forward. When your baby is in a playful mood, she may become bored if she always sees, hears, or feels the same objects in the same old surroundings. Craves variety and will learn from it. Toys may not be as interesting as “real things” to baby.

When They’ve Had Enough: Will look away or turn body away from you
Explore Touch: Make sure to always place easy to grab toys near her waving hands so she can practice closing and opening her hands when she wants.

Explore Sound: Try to respond to every sound your infant makes. Imitate so she can hear them from someone else.

Explore Body Postures: Pull up games. Pull up by arms from a half-sitting position to an upright position or pull from a sitting to a standing, but support his heavy head.

Very demanding babies will automatically get more attention. Quiet babies are easily forgotten, because they don’t demand as much attention from their mothers. Try to give a quiet baby just that little bit more encouragement and stimulation to get the best of him. Many highly gifted children were demanding, discontented babies.

Top Games for this Wonder Week:

  • Hands or Feet, A Favorite Toy – put him on a large towel or blanket. If warm enough, let him play without clothes to enjoy freedom of naked body. Can tie a colorful ribbon around his hand or foot as an added attraction. Wrist/Ankle Rattles
  • Cozy Chats – making sure that you have enough support in your back, draw your knees up and lie your baby on his back on your thighs. Be sure to give him enough time to respond. Watch your baby’s reactions to discover what he finds interesting.
  • The Great Indoors – Explain to him what he sees. Let him touch and feel whatever he seems to like.
  • The Pull Up Game – (only if baby able to lift head on his own) Draw your knees up and put baby on legs and tummy so he is half-sitting. Hold his arms and pull him up slowly, until he is sitting upright, giving him words of encouragement.
  • Take a Bath Together – lay him on his back on your stomach, play “row, row, row your boat” and make small waves.

Top Toys for this Wonder Week:

  • Playthings that dangle overhead
  • A moving or musical mobile
  • A musical box with moving figures
  • Playthings to swipe at or touch
  • Cuddly toys to talk to or laugh at
  • Mommy – you’re still his favorite!At around 10 weeks, another period of comparative ease sets in. Your baby may not require as much attention as he did in the past. He is more independent; interested in his surroundings, in people, animals and objects. His need to be with you constantly may also diminish at this time. Lots of mothers regularly put babies of this age in their playpens, as they feel their children are ready for it now.

 

Chapter 5: Wonder Week 12 – The World of Smooth Transitions

This leap is age-linked and predictable. At 8 weeks, your baby’s ability to swipe and kick at objects with his arms and legs. At 12 weeks, this jerky action is about to change. It will also affect your baby’s ability to perceive with his other senses the way things change around him, such as voice shifting from one register to another, cat slinking across the room, light in a room becoming dimmer as sun dips behind the clouds. Baby’s world is becoming more organized as he discovers the constant, flowing changes around him.

How You Know It’s Time To Grow:

  • He may demand more attention. He may seem to want you to play with him more and keep him entertained all the time. Just sitting with him may not be enough; he may want you to look at him and talk to him, too
  • He may become shy with strangers
  • He may cling to you more tightly – babies who do this may even pinch their mothers very hard in the process
  • He may lose his appetite – spend time chewing and gnawing at nipples instead of drinking. Drift off to sleep with nipples in mouth. May try to hold on to you or grab your breast during nursing.
  • He may sleep poorly
  • He may suck his thumb more often now – may discover for the 1st time or may suck thumb longer and more regularly than before. Some mothers introduce a pacifier
  • He may be listless- quieter or less lively than usual

Signs My Baby is Growing (Between 11-12 weeks; can keep diary)

  • Cries more often
  • Wants you to keep him busy
  • Loses appetite
  • Is more shy with strangers
  • Clings more
  • Wants more physical contact during nursing
  • Sleeps poorly
  • Sucks his thumb, or does so more often than before
  • Is less lively
  • Is quieter , less vocal

You May Become Worried or Irritated – mothers grow annoyed with their babies irregular eating and sleeping routines. When it all gets to be too much, just remember: It can only get better. At this stage, some others fear that these dreadful crying fits may never stop. From now on, the intervals between the fussy periods will be longer. At approximately 12 weeks, your baby will be able to perceive the many subtle ways that things change around him, not abruptly but smoothly and gradually.

Brain Changes – At approximately 10-11 weeks, the head circumference of babies dramatically increases.

The Magical Leap Forward – As she enters the world of smooth transitions, for the first time you baby is able to recognize continuous changes in sights, sounds, tastes, smells and touch. She not only notices voice shifts and body shifts, but can learn to make them herself. Her head movements also become smoother and she can vary their speed. She can look around the room the way older children do and follow a continuous movement. Her eyes are able to focus more sharply on what they see, and her vision will soon be as good as an adults. When your baby was first born, she came ready equipped with a reflex that moved her gaze in the direction of any new sound,. This disappeared somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks after birth, but now she can do the same thing consciously, and the response will be quicker. She notices everybody’s coming and going (but not quick changes in succession).

How My Baby Explores the New World of Smooth Transitions Body Control

  • Barely needs support to keep his head upright
  • Smooth head movement when turning to one side
  • Smooth eye movement when following a moving object
  • Is generally more lively and energetic
  • Playfully lifts his bottom when his diaper is being changed
  • Rolls independently form back to stomach or vice versa when holding on to your fingers
  • Sticks his toes in his mouth and twists around
  • Sits up straight when leaning against you
  • Pulls himself into sitting position while holding on to your fingers
  • Is able to move into a standing position when seated on your lap, by holding on to two of your fingers
  • Uses both feet to push off when seated in a bouncing chair or lying in a playpen

Hand Control

  • Grabs and clutches at objects with both hands
  • Shakes a rattle once or twice
  • Studies and plays with your hands
  • Studies and touches your face, eyes, mouth and hair
  • Studies and plays with your clothes
  • Puts everything into his mouth
  • Strokes his head, from neck to eyes
  • Rubs a toy along his head or cheek

Listening and Talking

  • Discovers shrieking and gurgling; can easily shift between loud and soft tones, low notes and high ones
  • Produces new sounds that resemble the vowels of real speech: ee, ooh, ehh, oh, aah, ay
  • Uses these sounds to “chat”
  • Is able to blow saliva bubbles, and laughs as if he finds this very amusing

Looking and Seeing

  • T urns hand over , studies both sides
  • Studies his own moving feet
  • Studies a face, eyes, mouth and hair
  • Studies someone’s clothing

Other Skills

  • Expresses enjoyment by watching, looking, listening, grabbing or by “talking”, then waiting for your response
  • Uses different behavior with different people
  • Expresses boredom if he sees, hears, tastes, feels or does the same things too often; variety suddenly becomes important

How to Help: Make an activity more complex or vary it a bit so that he stays with it longer and is challenged a bit more. The baby’s father and older siblings can help – most children will be able to go on long after the baby’s desire for repetition has exhausted you.

Gender Gap: Baby boys seem to take up more of their mothers’ time than baby girls do during the first mothers. Mothers of baby girls are much quicker to respond; mothers also tend to “chat” more to their girl babies.

Explore Sound – Most babies love to have cozy chats with their mommies. Or course, a baby has to be in the mood to do this. The best time to chat is when he attracts your attention with his voice. Try imitating the sounds he is making. Some babies find this so funny that they will break into laughter. This is all-important groundwork for later language skills. Your baby may use one of his latest sounds when he wants something. This is often a special “attention!” shriek. If he does this, always answer him. . This is important since it will give him that sense that you understand what he is trying to communicate, even if you don’t have time to stop and play with him at that moment. He will begin to use his voice to attract your attention. That’s a significant step toward language.

Explore Touch – if your child reaches for objects and misses, encourage him to try again, or make the game a little easier for him so that he gets a taste of success. At this age, he is not yet able to make an accurate estimate of the distance and won’t be able to learn this properly until 23-26 weeks old. After the last developmental leap, most babies spend about 1/3 of their waking hours playing and experimenting with their hands. After about 12 weeks, this suddenly doubles to 2/3 of their waking hours. Carry your baby around the house and garden, letting him feel all kinds of objects and experience their properties – hard, soft, rough, smooth, sticky, firm, flexible, prickly, cold, wet and warm. (Touch and feel flashcards).

Top Games for This Wonder Week – At this age, your baby will particularly enjoy games where you move her whole body around. Play several different games in a row, rather than continue the same game for too long.

  • The Airplane – around the house making different sounds. Kiss her upon landings.
  • The Slide – let baby slide down you (carefully)
  • The Pendulum- sway from side to side making clock sounds.
  • The Rocking Horse – place baby on knees facing you and make stepping movements; clip-clop or “Schlupp”
  • Nibbling Game – Nibble babies tummy or nose making drawn out sounds “aah boom”
  • Feeling Fabrics– let baby try different fabrics while folding laundry
  • Jumping and Bouncing – while on your lap

Explore Body Movements – at this age, all babies are getting livelier. Some babies perform acrobatics; for example, they might stuff their toes in their mouths and almost spin on their backs in the
process. Let him spend time without clothes in warm environment. Success comes more easily, and the baby will get to know his body better and control it more precisely. If your little squirmer tries to roll over, let him hold on to one of your fingers as he practices. Physically strong babies may manage to roll from tummy to back or vice versa.

Top Toys for This Wonder Week

  • Wobbly toys that bounce back when the baby swipes them
  • The clapper inside a bell
  • A rocking chair
  • Toys that emit a slow squeak, chime or other simple sound
  • Rattles
  • Dolls with realistic faces

After the LeapBetween 12 and 13 weeks, another period of comparative calm settles in.

 

Chapter 6: Wonder Week 19 – The World of EventsThe first phase (fussy period) is age linked and predictable, and starts between 14 and 17 weeks. Most babies start the second phase of this leap 19 weeks after full-term birth.At around 19 weeks (or between 18 and 20), his ability to understand the world around him becomes far more developed and a little more like our own. The word “Event” here means a short, familiar sequence of smooth transitions from one pattern to the next. He can reach out to a toy, grab it with one hand, shake it, turn it around to inspect it, and put it into his mouth. It actually depends upon a high degree of neurological development. The sounds your infant emits may still just seem like baby babble to you for a while, but they are actually becoming much more complicated. You will also be aware of his attempts to roll over and his first attempts to crawl. Your baby’s awareness of the new changes actually begins at approximately 15 weeks (or between 14 and 17). From this age on, the fussy periods will last longer than before. This particular one will often last 5 weeks, although it may be as short as 1 or as long as 6.Your baby may insist that you give her undivided attention. She may also expect to be amused all through her waking hours. If she is not kept busy, she may continue to be extra cranky even when sitting on your lap. She may even start to cry the moment you walk away. Her head may need more support from slumping during crying fits. May feel like a newborn again. She may be moody; shrieking with laughter one minute and the next burst into tears. Laughter and tears seem to be dramatic and exaggerated, almost unreal.

Signs Baby is Growing (Between 14 and 17 weeks; can keep diary)

  • Cries more often; is often bad-tempered, cranky, or fretful
  • Wants you to keep him busy
  • Needs more support for his head
  • Wants more physical contact
  • Sleeps poorly
  • Loses his appetite
  • Is shier with strangers than he was before
  • Is quieter , less vocal
  • Is less lively
  • Has pronounced mood swings
  • Wants more physical contact during nursing
  • Sucks his thumb, or sucks more often than before

You may be (still) exhausted/ you may feel trapped/resentfulBecause this fussy phase lasts longer than the previous ones, most mothers immediately sense that this period is different. At approximately 19 weeks, you will notice that your baby is trying again to learn new skills, because this is the age when babies will generally begin to explore the world of events. Your baby will choose the skills best suited to her – the ones that she wants to explore.

The Magical Leap Forward – shake playthings from side to side/ up and down. Press, push, bang, or beat a toy repeatedly. Grab an object within one hand, and then try to pass it to the other hand. Grab a plaything and immediately attempt to put it in his mouth. Turn a plaything around and look at it from every possible angle. From now on, he is able to carry out a thorough examination of any object within reach. Adjusts movements of his body, especially his upper arm, lower arm, hand and fingers, to reach the exact spot where the plaything lies. He can twist and turn, roll over or spin on his back more easily. First crawling attempts. Makes short series of sounds now – Russian, Chinese and American babies all babble the same language initially. He may now respond to all voices that express approval, and he may be startled by voices that scold.

Brain Changes – recordings of babies’ brain waves show that dramatic changes occur at approximately 4 months. Baby’s head circumferences suddenly increase between 15 and 18 weeks.

How My Baby Explores the New World of Events (Begins ~15 weeks; this leap is a pretty big one; skills may take place ~19 weeks. May not acquire until months later)

Body Control

  • Starts moving virtually every part of his body as soon as he is put on the floor
  • Rolls over from his back to tummy and vice versa
  • Is able to fully stretch his arms when lying on his tummy
  • Lifts his bottom and attempts to push off; does not succeed
  • Raises himself onto his hands and feet when lying on his tummy, then tries to move forward; does not succeed
  • Attempts to crawl; manages to slide forward or backward
  • Supports himself with forearms, and raises upper half of his body
  • Sits up straight (all by himself) when leaning against you
  • Attempts to sit up straight when he’s by himself and briefly succeeds by leaning on his forearms and bringing his head forward
  • Remains upright in high chair with cushions for support
  • Enjoys moving his mouth – puckers his lips in a variety of ways, sticks his tongue out

Grabbing, Touching and Feeling

  • Succeeds in grabbing objects
  • Grabs things with either hand (and can do so when not looking at it)
  • Passes objects between hands
  • Sticks your hand in his mouth (even when you talk)
  • Sticks objects in his mouth to feel and bite them
  • Is able to pull a cloth from his face by himself, slowly at first
  • Recognizes toy, even if partially covered; gives up unsuccessful attempts to retrieve
  • Shakes/bangs a plaything (tabletop)
  • Deliberately throws toys on floor
  • T ries grabbing things out of reach
  • Plays with activity center
  • Understands purpose of a toy; example dials telephone
  • Studies objects closely; interested in minute details

Watching

  • Stares in fascination at repetitive activities (brushing hair)
  • Stares in fascination at you talking (lips and tongue)
  • Searches for you and is able to turn around to do this
  • Looks for plaything partially hidden
  • Reacts to his own reflection in mirror; he is either scared or laughs
  • Holds a book in his hands and stares at pictures

Listening

  • Listens intently to sounds coming from your lips
  • Responds to his own name (even if background noise)
  • Understands 1 or more words (ex looks at teddy when asked where it is)
  • Responds appropriately to approving or scolding voice
  • Recognizes opening bars of song

Talking

  • Makes new sounds, using lips and tongues (sss, zzz, arrr, grrr)
  • Uses consonants: d, b, l, m
  • Babbles. Utters first words: dada, abba, hadahada
  • Makes noises when yawning and is aware of this

Body language

  • Stretches arms to be picked up
  • Smacks lips when hungry; waves arms and legs
  • Opens mouth and moves face towards food/drink
  • “Spits” when had enough
  • Turns away when full

Other Skills

  • May exaggerate actions; ex. When respond to cough, will cough again, then laugh
  • Gets grumpy when becoming impatient
  • Screams if he fails to do what he is trying to do
  • Has one special cuddly toy, such as a blanketBabies start to recognize short, familiar tunes. At 19 weeks, babies can tell whether interruptions in music are genuine or not. May be fascinated by up and down motion of bouncing ball. Likes short, familiar sequence of events such as stirring saucepan, slicing bread.

To Help: the more your baby comes in contact with events and the more she plays with them, the greater her understanding of them will be. Ever toy, household item is hers for the taking; you are no longer her only toy.

Explore Body Movement: lay baby on back, hold colorful plaything next to her so she reaches for it and rolls over. Lay baby on stomach and hold colorful toy behind her. Imitate babies attempts to crawl – they might find it hilarious.

Activity centers offer a variety of hand/finger exercises all in one board. Many babies love empty, crisp bags because they slowly change shape and make wonderful crackling sounds when crumpled. Give your baby objects with rough edges or dents. Most babies have a weakness for weird shapes. Plastic keys are great.

Make Home Baby-Proof

  • Never leave small objects around (buttons, pins, coins)
  • Never leave hot drinks within reach (or tablecloth with hot drink)
  • Guard/fence around stoves, fireplaces
  • Poisonous substances (bleach, medicine) locked away
  • Electrical outlets secure and no trailing wiresExplore Sight – babies love watching mom prepare food, set table, get dressed or work in garden. Start to play peek-a-boo and hide and seek.

Top Games for This Wonder Week

  • Happy Talk – short descriptions of what he sees, feels ex. Feel this grass
  • What happens next – I’m going to (pause) pinch your nose
  • Look at pictures – brightly colored picture book; describe them
  • Sing songs – esp when accompanied by movements (pat a cake)
  • Tickling Games – This little piggy went to the market
  • Peek A Boo – cover baby’s face with blanket and ask Where’s Baby. Say Boo
  • Mirror Game– Let him figure out which is the real you

Explore Music– baby understands words but cannot say them; baby is hearing familiar pattern of syllables along with intonation of voice as a single sound event

Top Toys for This Wonder Week

  • Bath toys (measuring cup, colander, plant spray bottle, watering can, soap dish, shampoo bottles)
  • Activity center
  • Ball with gripping notches, preferably with bell inside
  • Plastic or inflatable rattle
  • Screw-top container with rice inside
  • Crackly paper
  • Mirror
  • Photographs/pictures of other babies
  • Photographs/pictures animals he recognizes by name
  • CD with children’s songs
  • Wheels that really turn, such as on a toy carBaby may start to bite, chew and pull at your face, arms, ears and hair. May pinch and twist your skin. Between 20 and 22 weeks, another period of comparative calm begins.

 

Chapter 7 – Mental Leap 5 ~ Wonder Week 26: The World of Relationships

With mental leap 5, at about 26 weeks, your baby will start to show the signs of yet another significant leap in his development. If you watch closely, you will see him doing or attempting to do many new things. Whether or not he is crawling at this stage, he will have become significantly more mobile as he learns to coordinate the action of his arms and legs and the rest of his body. Building on his knowledge of events, he his now able to begin to understand the many kinds of relationships among the things that make up his world.

One of the most significant relationships that your baby can now perceive is the distance between one thing and another. We take this for granted as adults, but for a baby it is an alarming discovery, a very radical change in his world. The world is suddenly a very big place in which he is but a tiny, if very vocal, speck. Something he wants can be on a high shelf or outside the range of his crib, and he has no way of getting to it. His mother can walk away, even if only into the next room, and she might as well have gone to China if he can’t get to her because he’s stuck.

Between 22 and 26 weeks, you may notice your baby starting to show any of these behaviors making the leap into the world of relationships:

  • Cries more and is bad-tempered, cranky, or whiny more often
  • Wants you to keep him busy
  • Wants more physical contact
  • Sleeps poorly
  • Loses appetite
  • Doesn’t want to be changed
  • Is shier with strangers than he used to be
  • Is quieter , less vocal
  • Is less lively
  • Sucks his thumb, or sucks more often than before
  • Reaches for a cuddly toy, or does so more often than before

My Diary – How My Baby Explores the New World of Relationships

Balance

  • Sits up by herself from lying down
  • Stands up by herself; pulls herself up
  • Sits down again by herself after standing
  • Stands without support
  • Walks with support
  • Makes a jumping movement without leaving the ground
  • Grabs a toy from an overhead shelf or table

Body Control

  • Walks around the edge of a crib, table or playpen while holding on
  • Walks around, pushing a box in front of her
  • Lunges from one piece of furniture to another
  • Crawls inside or under things, such as chairs and boxes
  • Crawls back and forth over small steps
  • Crawls in and out of rooms
  • Crawls around the table
  • Bends over or lies flat on her stomach to get something from under the couch or chair

Grabbing, Touching and Feeling

  • Opposes her thumb and index finger to grasp small objects
  • Can play with something using both hands
  • Lifts a rug to look under it
  • Holds a toy upside down to hear sound inside
  • Rolls a ball across the floor
  • Invariably grabs a ball rolled toward her
  • Knocks over wastepaper basket to empty out its contents
  • Throws things away
  • Puts toys in and next to a basket, in and out of a box, or under and on a chair, or pushes them out of the playpen
  • Tries to fit one toy inside another
  • Tries prying something out of a toy, like a bell’s clapper
  • Pulls own socks off
  • Pries your shoelaces loose
  • Empties cupboards and shelves
  • Drops objects from high chair to test how something falls
  • Puts food in the mouth of the dog, mommy or daddy
  • Pushes doors closed

Watching

  • Observes adult activities, such as putting things into, on or through something
  • Looks from one animal to another in different picture books
  • Looks from one person to another in different photographs
  • Looks from one toy, object or food to another in her hands
  • Observes the movements of an animal, particularly when its unusual, such as a dog pattering across a wooden floor
  • Observes the movements of a person behaving unusually, such as daddy standing on his head
  • Explores own body – particularly the penis or vagina
  • Pays a lot of attention to smaller details or parts of toys and other objects, such as labels on towels
  • Selects a book to look at
  • Selects a toy to play with

Listening

  • Makes connections between actions and words; comprehends short commands, such as “no, don’t do that” and “come on, let’s go”
  • Listens to explanations intently and seems to understand
  • Likes to hear animal sounds when looking at animal pictures
  • Listens intently to voices on the telephone
  • Pays attention to sounds that are related to a certain activity, such as choppingvegetables. Listens to sounds she makes herself, such as splashing bathwater.

Talking

  • Understands the link between actions and words. Says her first words in the correct context. For instance, says oo (for “oops) when she falls and a-choo when you sneeze
  • Puffs and blows

Mother-Baby Distance

  • Protests when her mommy walks away
  • Crawls after mommy
  • Repeatedly makes contact with her mommy although busy playing on her own

Mimicking Gestures

  • Imitates waving goodbye
  • Claps her hands on request
  • Mimics clicking with her tongue
  • Mimics shaking and nodding her head, although often only nods with her eyes

Miscellaneous

• Dances to the sound of music (sways tummy)

Between 30 and 35 weeks, another comparatively easy period begins. For anywhere from 1-3 weeks, the baby is admired for her cheerfulness, independence and progress.

Top Games and Activities for this Wonder Week: World of Relationships

Peek a Boo and Hide & Seek

  • With a handkerchief over your head and ask, “Where’s Mommy?” Help him pull it away
  • With hands
  • With newspaper/book
  • Behind a plant/table (where they can still see part of you)
  • Behind a curtain (they can follow movements of curtain)
    • Make sure they see you disappear (for non-crawlers announce you are going to hide; for crawlers tell them to come find you). If they don’t see you hide, call their name.
  • At door (will teach them leaving and returning)
  • Reward when they find you by lifting up high or cuddling
  • Let them hide themselves with blanket or while changing
  • Hide toys under blanket (use fav toy). Show a part of the toy
  • Hide bath toys in bath foam. Let him blow at foam if he knows how (or give straw and encourage).

Talking Games – Talk frequently to baby. Listen to him. Read books. Play whispering, singing and word games.

  • Look at picture books together with baby on lap. Let him choose book. Describe what they pointto. Make animal sounds for animals.
  • Whisper in their ear. Blow in air/face.
  • Giddy Up Giddy Up Little Rocking Horse
  • This is the Way the Lady Rides

Balancing Games

  • On knee. Move baby from left to right so he shifts weight. Lean forward and backward. In circles.
  • Swing him in clock like motion singing tick tock, tick tock
  • Kneel and hold him standing in front of you having him transfer weight between legs/ back tofront.
  • Fly him through room. Rise and descent. Turn left and right. Fly in small circles, in a straightline, and backward. Vary movements and speeds. Zoom, hum, screech.
  • Stand him on head (only if baby likes rough play). Support his body.

Games with Toys- Best toys are those found around the house – emptying cupboards, dropping things, throwing things away.

  • Baby’s Own Cupboard (fill with empty boxes, empty egg cartons, empty toilet paper rolls, plastic plates, and plastic bottles filled with something rattles). Fill with noisy objects, such as a pan,wooden spoons and an old set of keys.
  • Falling Game – let him drop objects from high chair (blocks)

Outdoor Games– Riding in bicycle baby seat, baby jogger, and baby backpack. Talk to baby about what you see.

  • Swimming (some have heated pools for babies or special baby only hours)
  • Children’s Farms/ Duck Pond (feeding animals/ mimic how they sound/move)

Top Toys for This Wonder Week

  • His very own cupboard or shelf
  • Doors (watch his fingers)
  • Cardboard boxes in different sizes. Empty egg cartons. Wooden spoons. Stacking cups. WoodenBlocks. Balls (light enough to roll). Photo/Pic books
  • CDs with children’s songs/ Pandora
    • Pandora: Raffi/Wiggles/Sesame Street/Kidz Bop/Disney/Rockabye Baby!
  • Bath – things to fill/empty: plastic bottles, cups, colander, funnel, watering can
  • Toy cars with rotating wheels and doors that can be opened
  • Cuddly toys that make noise when turned upside down
  • Squeaky toys
  • Drums
  • Toy pianos
  • Toy telephones

Teething: Being fussy doesn’t necessarily mean teething. Generally speaking, the lower front teeth are cut when the baby reaches 6 months. By 1st bday, 6 teeth. 2.5 years, the last molars come through.

Eating: Don’t force food they don’t like. If not eating nutritiously put two pieces of food on plate to occupy and sneak food in between bites. Feed in front of mirror to make food more attractive.

Baby Proof Home: Take precaution with electric outlets, plugs, wires, keys, drains, stairs, bottles (nail polish/perfume), tubes (toothpaste, antiseptic), stereo equipment, remote controls, TV, plants, trash, alarm clocks, watches.

No “correcting” slaps; babies can be very impatient in this leap. They don’t want to wait for food. Or get mad if a toy doesn’t behave as they wish. Or if something isn’t allowed/mommy doesn’t pay attention fast enough. Babies understand what they want, but not why it’s not allowed etc.

 

Chapter 8 – Wonder Week 37: The World of Categories

This leap is age-linked and predictable, emerging at about 34 weeks (fussy period). Second phase at 37 weeks. At 37 weeks (or between 36 and 40), baby attempts to do new things – picking up specks from floor and studying them between fingers. Categorizes things – bananas and spinach are both food, but look, feel, taste different. Language skills develop – he understands much more. Babies’ brain waves show drastic changes again around this time.

Fussy period begins around 34 weeks (between 32 and 37). Will last 4 weeks (or 3-6 weeks). Fussy babies cry less when with the mother, especially when has mother all to herself. Sometimes mother is only one allowed to look at her and talk to her. May want to be on your lap all the time. Cling to you. Become jealous when mother puts attention elsewhere. May sleep poorly. May have nightmares. May act unusually sweet, switch back and forth between troublesome and sweet behavior, trying out what works best to get the most attention. May become listless and daze off. May refuse to have diaper

changes. Some mothers decide to stop breastfeeding after the fussy phase, but continue if you can.

Signs Baby Growing (between 32 and 37 weeks)

  • Cries more often and is bad tempered/cranky
  • Cheerful one moment, cries the next
  • Wants you to keep him busy
  • Clings to your clothes
  • Act unusually sweet
  • Throws temper tantrums
  • More Shy
  • Wants more physical contact
  • Sleeps poorly
  • Nightmares
  • Loses appetite (or will only eat food they put in mouths themselves)
  • Babbles less
  • Less lively
  • Daydreams
  • Refuses diaper change
  • Sucks thumb
  • Reaches for cuddly toy
  • More babyish

At ~37 weeks, baby becomes calmer and starts to do new things. Handles toys in new ways, behaving in more concentrated/inquisitive way. Some researchers believe that intelligence makes its first appearance at this stage.Babies brain shows dramatic changes at approx 8 months. Baby’s head circumference increases, and the glucose metabolism in the brain changes.

How Baby Explores New World of Categories (Diary)

Recognizing Animals/Objects

  • Can recognize category, such as animals, in pictures, toys, real life
  • Distinguishes shapes
  • Shows she thinks something is dirty, by wrinkling nose
  • Shows she think something is good/fun by sound or movement
  • Understands names of objects (looks for it when you ask)
  • Repeats words after you
  • Compares things seen directly and through a screen

Recognizes People as People

  • Relates to people with sounds/gestures
  • Imitates others
  • Wants to play more
  • Calls family members with distinct sounds

Recognizing People in Different Circumstances

  • Recognizes people
  • Makes silly faces in mirror and laughs
  • Looks at person and then person in mirror

Recognizing Emotions

  • Becomes jealous when mom gives other kid attention
  • Comforts cuddly toy when dropped/thrown
  • Acts extra sweet when wants something
  • Exaggerates mood to let everyone know how he’s feeling
  • Starts to cry when another child cries

Switching Roles

  • Initiates games by himself
  • Plays peek a boo with younger baby
  • Uses bottle to feed mother
  • Asks mother to sing song, then starts clapping hands
  • Asks to play hide and seek by crawling behind something
  • Asks you to build blocks by handing you his blocksSome babies particularly interested in different shapes, such as round, square and notched shapes. May demolish things; so use blocks or other objects to teach. Next leap he’ll start to assemble instead of demolish.

Top Games for Wonder Week

Exploring

  • Bells and Switches – press button in elevator; turn on light, push pedestrian crossing – will explain to him about relationships
  • Outdoor always great to show runners, walkers, joggers
  • Dressing in mirror

Words

  • Naming – objects in books. Make animal sounds to animals you point at. Encourage baby to make sounds as well. Some babies need cuddle/tickle after each page to keep focus.
  • Tasks- Ask baby to give objects to mommy or daddy.

Copycat

  • Challenge baby to imitate, and then imitate him again. Make gestures slower/faster. Add hands, sounds. Try in front of a mirror.
  • Talking to Mirror
  • Pat a Cake

Role Switch

  • Chase – have him chase you; praise when he succeeds
  • Hide and Seek – let him see you disappear; pretend you’ve lost him

Play/Act

Babies start to manipulate, but can play along with them.

Top Toys for Wonder Week

  • Opens and closes like doors/drawers
  • Pans with lids
  • Doorbells, elevator buttons, traffic light buttons
  • Alarm clocks
  • Magazines/newspapers to tear
  • Plastic plates, cups, silverware
  • Boxes/buckets bigger than him
  • Cushions/duvets to crawl under/over
  • Containers, especially round ones, pots and bottles
  • Anything he is able to move – handles/knobs
  • Anything that moves by itself – shadows/branches
  • Balls of any size
  • Dolls with realistic faces
  • Blocks in all shapes/sizes; larger the better
  • Baby pools
  • Sand, water , pebbles, plastic toys
  • Swings
  • Picture books with on or 2 large, distinct pictures per page
  • Posters with several distinct pictures
  • Toy cars
  • Beware of electrical plugs/switches, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, other appliances and stairs.Now will need to be more consistent with things you say “no” to. May fear heights/ being confined. Babies tend to be wary of new things until they are sure they are harmless.Between 40 and 45 weeks, another relatively easy period sets in. For 1-3 weeks, wide range of things interesting to them. Other people start to play more important role in their lives.

 

Chapter 9 – Wonder Week 46: The World of Sequences

First phase (fussy period) age-linked between 40 and 44 weeks (~42). Second phase 46 weeks.

Babies natural mess makers. Last leap quite destructive; at ~46 weeks, notice the opposite. Realizes to reach his goal, has to do things in a certain order. May notice for first time seems to be able to put two and two together and more conscious of his actions than ever before.

Will be fussy and demanding at new leap once again. Fussy period last ~5 weeks (~3 to 7). If baby cranky, watch closely to see if discovered new skills.

Weeks Fussy Signs: Cries more; fussy, bad tempered, restless. Do whatever they can to be with mothers; some preoccupied with this all day long. Some more frantic at possibility of separation than others. Complain less when they have your undivided attention. Clings to clothes. Needs “mommy refill”. May be shyer with strangers (many babies are shy now). Wants closer physical contact (sitting on lap, mad when you leave). Wants to be kept busy (starts asking for more attention). May be jealous when pay attention to someone/something else. May be moody ~ cheerful one day, opposite the next; mood can change suddenly. May sleep poorly – refuse to go to bed, have more difficulty falling asleep or wake up earlier; some particularly troublesome sleepers during the day, some at night, some any time. May have “nightmares”. May be listless. Refuse to have diaper changed. Many babies seem less interested in food and drink at this time (also more choosy). May behave more babyish (relapses normal; means another huge leap forward is about to happen). May act unusually sweet (brings parents books or toys asking to play by putting hand on lap, snuggling or resting head against you; may also alternate between troublesome and sweet, which works best at the time to get the most attention). Mischievous – does everything he is not allowed to (especially when rushing to finish something).

Signs My Baby is Growing (Between 40 and 44 weeks)

  • Cries more often and is bad-tempered or cranky
  • Cheerful one moment, cries the next
  • Wants to be kept busy or more so than before
  • Clings to your clothes or wants to be closer to you
  • Acts unusually sweet
  • Is mischievous
  • Throws temper tantrums, or throws them more often than before
  • Is jealous
  • Is shier with strangers than before
  • Wants physical contact to be tighter/closer
  • Sleeps poorly
  • Seems to have nightmares
  • Loses appetite
  • Babbles less
  • Daydreams
  • Refuses to have diaper changed
  • Sucks thumb or more so than before
  • Wants to cuddle toys or more so than before

How This Leap May Affect You: You may feel insecure, worrying when baby is upset and trying to find a cause, eventually blaming teeth. May be exhausted from little sleep and baby demanding attention with headaches, backaches, nausea and lack of concentration. May become annoyed of little clingers. May start to quarrel and wonder whether to stop breastfeeding because baby wants to nurse all day long (which baby finds unacceptable). *Normal feeding pattern will resume after fussy period is over*

How Your Baby’s New Skills Emerge~46 weeks, you’ll see your baby growing calmer and attempting to do things that are brand new for him. Will be more precise and pay more attention to detail. Now understands one thing must follow another to make a sequence.

The Magical Leap Forward

In the last leap, baby realized that certain things have so much in common they belong to one group or category. In order to categorize things, she would examine by breaking down ex. Remove key from lock, take out drawer. This paved the way for the current leap, where the opposite takes place. Baby needs to learn how to take tower apart before she can build one.

How My Baby Explores the New World of Sequences (put here at earliest it can occur just to know what to watch for)

Each baby has her own ideas about what’s interesting. May be more of a listening and looking baby than physically active etc.

Pointing and Talking:

  • Follows and points to a person, animal or object that you have just named whether in life or a picture
  • Points out 1 or 2 items for you to name or names them in turn
  • Deliberately looks through book, making sounds to go with pictures
  • Points to his nose when you ask “where is your nose”
  • Points to a body part wanting you to name it
  • Imitates the sound for an animal when you ask what it says
  • Raises arms when you ask how tall he is going to be
  • Says yum when wants another bite
  • Says no when doesn’t want to do something
  • Uses word in extended way for example yuck when something is don’t touch

What Goes Together and What Comes Next

  • Knows he can push a peg through a hole
  • Tries to put together 3 pieces of a simple puzzle
  • T ries pushing coins through slot
  • Tries fitting different sizes of containers inside each other
  • T ries to fit key inside keyhole
  • Looks at lamp and reaches for it when you flick light switch
  • Tries to talk into telephone receiver
  • Puts object in container , covers, removes cover , removes object etc
  • Tries to put “doughnut” ring over upright rod
  • Pushes toy cars around making vrrrm sound
  • Scoops up sand with spade and empties in bucket
  • Fills bath toys with water and empties them again
  • T ries to put two blocks together
  • Tries scrawling on a piece of paper with a pencil or crayon

Making and Using Tools

  • Helps herself learn to walk by finding an object to push
  • Finds something to use as a step to reach desired place/object
  • Points with her finger in direction she wants to be carried

Locomotion

  • Clambers down the stairs or off a chair/sofa backwards.
  • Puts head down to initiate somersault with help
  • Bends knees then stretches leg in order to jump
  • Tries to aim before throwing/kicking ball
  • Looks first to see whether she can reach supporting object within number of steps she can take by herself

Playing With Others

  • Plays with you; clearly expresses which games
  • Repeats a game
  • Entices you to play with him by pretending unable to do something

Hide And Seek

  • Looks for something hidden that you have concealed
  • Hides something that belongs to someone else, waits and watches, and laughs

Copying Sequence of Gestures

• Imitates two or more gestures in a sequence

  • Studies how same sequence looks in reality vs mirror
  • Copies 1 or 2 movements while you are singing a song

Helping with Housekeeping

  • Hands you things to put away 1 by 1
  • Gets simple objects when asked
  • Picks up clothes you have just taken off and puts in laundry basket
  • Gets own bucket with doll’s laundry and puts in washing machine
  • Gets broom and sweeps floor
  • Gets cloth and dusts things off
  • Imitates you cooking, baking fork in bowl or stirring with spoon

Dressing and Grooming

  • Tries to undress self, but pulling sock
  • Tries putting on shoe or sock himself
  • Helps you when you dress him (leans toward you when pulling/putting sweater on or sticks foot out when shoe/sock is coming)
  • Brushes his hair
  • Uses toothbrush
  • Sometimes uses a potty

Eating/Feeding

  • Offers others a bite or sip
  • Blows steam off food himself
  • Sticks piece of bread on baby fork and eats it
  • Can scoop up food with spoon and put in his mouthBecomes involved for the first time in constructing, putting things together and linking things. Understands sequences now so will listen to sound after you push doorbell.*Some babies will put off talking in favor of other skills, such as walking*

Your Baby’s Choices: A Key to His Personality

Some are very social and like to focus on skills involving people; others prefer playthings. *Between 46 and 51 weeks, he will select the skills he likes best from this world*

Baby may do things in peculiar order. He may put dirty clothes in toilet or trash instead of laundry basket. Once he knows order, may not accept it any other way and may be stubborn to change his mind – so pay attention, because does not yet know meaning of danger.

Many babies refuse to be helped and resist any form of interference by others; this is the age when may little ones like to start asserting their independence.

At this age, many mothers spend huge amounts of time taking things away from their children and disciplining them. It’s important to consider that your baby isn’t necessarily disobedient. She just wants to do things herself.

At this age, babies start testing limits of how far they can go before someone stops them. Let them know clearly when they are doing something wrong and why it is bad or dangerous so they can learn. Similarly, let them know what they are doing right by praising her. Will teach her good and bad behavior. Many babies ask for praise by looking at you and laughing or calling for attention. Distract baby from something he isn’t allowed to do with favorite toy or game.

Help baby with language. If she tries to say things, don’t improve her pronunciation – this will spoil your baby’s fun and will make no difference to the way she speaks. Make sure you use the correct words all of the time so baby will learn right pronunciation in time. For a while, they will “translate” what you say into their own baby pronunciation.

Baby may be fearful of new things she doesn’t understand.

Some babies can atoll you they remember certain people or situations by using body language and sounds. If you notice this, talk to him a lot, explain what you are seeing and react to what he tells you.

Top Games for This Wonder Week
Helping Out Games
Housework – show baby how to cook and clean. Involve him. Give him his own bowl and spoon if cooking etc.
Dressing – Most fun in mirror. Name parts. Ask her to help. Praise.
Grooming – Most fun in mirror. Brush hair, teeth. Can even give washcloth and pretend wash body parts. Feed Self With Spoon

Naming Games (baby understands more than you think)
This is Your Nose – touching and naming parts of body
Pointing and Naming – play anywhere – outside, in store, with a book

Song and Movement Games
Pat A Cake
Itsy bitsy Spider
Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Hide and Seek Games
Unwrapping Parcel – wrap plaything in paper or crisp bag, encourage to unwrap
Under the Cup – put plaything under cup; put identical cup next to it and have her find toy; if too complicated, play with cloth

Between 47 and 52 weeks, another period of comparative ease sets in. For 1-3 weeks, you may be amazed by your baby’s cheerfulness and independence. May pay more attention when you talk. May seem calmer and more controlled when she is at play and may play well on her own again. May want to be put in playpen. May look remarkable older and wiser – growing into a real toddler.

Top Toys for This Wonder Week

  • Wooden trains with stations, bridges, sidings
  • T oy cars
  • Dolls with toy bottles
  • Drum, pots and pans to beat on
  • Books with pictures of animals
  • Sandboxes with bucket and spade
  • Balls of all sizes
  • Giant plastic beads
  • Stuffed animals, especially ones that make music when squeezed
  • Bicycles, cars or tractors he can move around
  • Primo Blocks
  • Smalls plastic figures of people or animals
  • MirrorsRemember safety: electrical outlets, stairs, stereo equipment, TV, vacuum, washing machine, pets, small objects such as knickknacks, pins etc

 

Chapter 10: Wonder Week 55: The World of Programs

First fussy phase age-linked and predictable, emerging between 49 and 53 weeks. Second phase (see Quality Time- An Unnatural Whim) at 55 weeks.

End of first year means for many parents the beginning of the end of babyhood. Shortly after 1st birthday, at 55 weeks, another big change in mental development and ready to explore world of programs and a toddler’s way of thinking. “Programs” is very abstract; a program is a degree more complicated than a sequence since it allows the end result to be reached in a number of ways. Baby will understand what it means to do laundry, set table, get dressed, make a phone call etc.

Baby may insist on doing things herself – washing her hands, feeding herself, undressing herself. More unpredictable than ever. Interested in certain toys all over again, and a budding imagination and more complex play.

Between 49 and 53 weeks, child will perceive her world changing again. Fussy period lasts 4 to 5 weeks; can be as short as 3 and as long as 6.

Fussy Signs: May cry more easily than he did during past weeks and may be quicker to cry now. May cling to clothes – or come back during play for a “mommy refill.” May be shyer with strangers, may even include some family members. May not want to be put down. May want to be entertained, asking for more attention. May be jealous and moody, sleep poorly and daydream. May lose appetite; a child who is still breastfed usually wants the breast more often not because of appetite but to be close to mother. May be more babyish – relapses are normal. May act unusually sweet; may reach for a cuddly object more often especially when tired or when mothers are busy. May be mischievous. Have more temper tantrums.

Signs Baby Is Growing (Between 49 and 53 weeks)

  • Cries more often and is more often cranky or fretful
  • Is cheerful one moment and cries the next
  • Wants you to keep him busy, or does so more often
  • Clings to your clothes or wants to be closer to you
  • Acts unusually sweet
  • Is mischievous
  • Throws temper tantrums, or throws them more often
  • Is jealous
  • Is more obviously shy with strangers
  • Wants physical contact to be tighter or closer
  • Sleeps poorly
  • Has “nightmares” or has them more often
  • Loses appetite
  • Sometimes just sits there, quietly daydreaming
  • Sucks his thumb, or does so more often
  • Reaches for a cuddly toy, or does so more often
  • Is more babyish

Some mothers may wonder why not walking as quickly as expected. Some parents become increasingly aggravated by their baby’s demands on them, by their seemingly purposeful mischief and by using tantrums to get their way.During each fussy period, mothers who breastfeed feel a desire to stop. At this age, this is because the baby keeps wanting the breast by fits and starts, or because his demands are accompanied by temper tantrums.

Baby’s New Skills Emerge: ~55 weeks, little one is less fussy. Attempting and achieving entirely new things again. Deals with people, toys, and other objects in a more mature way. Enjoys doing new things with familiar toys. Transformed into a little toddler.

Magical Leap Forward: During lunch, will decide after every bite whether he would rather take another bite of the same food, switch to something different, have a sip of his drink, or 3 sips. Try everything out. Learn consequences of the decision he makes at different points – so he could decide to empty the next spoonful on the floor instead of his mouth. Decides when he wants to put a program in motion – example grabbing broom out of closet because he wants to sweep the floor. Mothers can easily interpret baby wrongly. Baby still can’t understand the idea of “waiting” at this age. Can choose to refuse program he does not like.

Brain Changes: Brain waves show changes again at approximately 12 months. Head circumference will increase and glucose metabolism in brain changes.

Toddler’s Choices: A Key to Personality. Every little one learns programs in their own way. Some will be acute watchers; studying with care the way things are done around them. Others may want to “help” all the time. Others will want to do it themselves.

Starting a Program Himself

  • Gets out broom/duster and tries sweeping or dusting
  • Goes to bathroom and tries cleaning toilet bowl
  • Comes to you with things he wants to be put away
  • Gets out cookie jar and expects snack
  • Comes to you with coat, cap or bag to go shopping
  • Gets out coat and shovel to go to sandbox
  • Gets out clothes and wants them put on

Joining with your program

  • Throws cushions from chair in advance to help with your cleaning
  • Tries to hang towel back in place when you are finished
  • Puts an object or food item away in right cupboard
  • Brings her own plate, silverware and place mat when setting table
  • Tells you by word, sound, or gesture that it is time to bring out the dessert when she has finished eating
  • Puts spoons in cups and usually starts stirring
  • Grabs an item from you and wants to carry it herself
  • Tries to put something on by herself while she is being dressed of helps by pulling on her leggings or sleeves
  • Picks out a tape or CD and helps put it on. Knows which button to press for play/eject

Executing a Program Under Supervision

  • Puts differently shaped blocks through the correct holes in a box when you help by pointing out where things go
  • Uses potty when you ask him or when he needs to. Then carries the potty to the bathroom by himself or helps you carry it (if not walking) and flushes
  • Gets out pens and paper and scribbles when you help him to

Independent Programs

  • Tries feeding dolls or cuddly toys, copying her own eating program
  • Tries giving a doll a bath by copying own bath ritual
  • Tries putting doll on potty, maybe after she uses it
  • Eats everything on her plate without help
  • Eats raising by herself from packet
  • Builds tower of at least 3 blocks
  • Starts and continues a telephone conversation, sometimes dialing or ends with “bye”
  • Crawls through room following “paths” of her own choice, under chairs and table and through narrow tunnels and indicates her direction first
  • Crawls through room with toy car or train saying “Vroom” with diff routes
  • Can find something you hid

Watches Others Carrying Out Program

  • Watches cartoon on TV, which keeps his attention for ~3 min
  • Listens to short story on radio or CD
  • Expresses understanding of what is happening in pictures
  • Looks and listens when you play pretend games
  • Studies how older children carry out a program with their toys
  • Studies other family members when they are carrying out everyday program

Bags, purses with money inside, TV, Radio, cleaning utensils, makeup – many want to use everything the same way mother does.

Baby more interested in more complex playthings that allow them to imitate programs, such as garage with cars, train with track, farmhouse with animals, dolls with diapers, tea sets, play shop. Interested in seeing real thing too.

Language and Music

Fascinated by stories. On TV, tape or by making it up yourself with or without a picture book. Make sure story corresponds with child’s interests, short and simple. Most can concentrate for ~3 minutes. Let baby tell story while looking at picture book. If you listen closely, may make out real word. Love listening to children’s songs that are simple and short. May like gestures with songs. Some like playing their own music – drums, pianos, keyboards, and flutes. Most prefer grownup instruments, but kid ones safer.

Top Games for this Wonder Week

Doing a Job By Himself – making a mess with water most popular. Most calm down as they play with water.
o Giving doll a bath – washing hair is favorite
o Doing Dishes – plastic plates etc. Stand on safe chair
o Helping Out
o Unpacking and Putting Away Groceries – put fragile things away first

• Hide and Seek Games
o Hide object under a cup but let them see and encourage to find o Sound game – put something making noise under something

Show Understanding for Irrational Fears – some are scared of noises, dark etc.

Top Toys for This Wonder Week

  • Dolls, doll strollers, doll beds
  • Farmhouse, farm animals, fences
  • Garage and cars
  • Wooden train with tracks, platforms, bridges and tunnels
  • Tea set
  • Pots, pans, wooden spoons
  • T elephone
  • Primo blocks
  • Bicycle, car, toy horse or engine he can sit on himself
  • Push-along wagon that he can use to transport things
  • Rocking horse or chair
  • Box with differently shaped blocks and holes
  • Stackable containers and rod with stackable rings
  • Mop, hand broom, dustpan and brush
  • Colored sponges to scrub with or play with in bath
  • Large sheets of paper and markers
  • Books with animals and their young or cars and tractors
  • Musical instruments, such as drums, toy piano, and xylophones
  • Cassette tape or CD with simple short storiesPut away or take precautions with closets and drawers that might contain harmful or poisonous things, longs on audio and video equipment, electrical appliances, ovens, and lights and power outlets.

After the leap – ~59 weeks, most toddlers become a little less troublesome with a friendly talkativeness and cute eagerness to help out with housekeeping. Most are now beginning to rely less on temper tantrums to get their way.

 

Chapter 11: Wonder Week 64: The World of Principles

First fussy phase age-linked and predictable, starting between 59 and 63 weeks. Second phase ~64 weeks.

After previous leap, little one began to understand a “program”. He now has a slightly different approach to household chores – using his magical powers to banish anything and everything in his way to that one special out-of-the-way spot: the bathroom or trash over the balcony.

~64 weeks – approaching 15 months – tries to do new things. ~61 weeks (14 months), things are changing. He turns to familiar surroundings, becomes clingy, needs “mommy refill.”

Weeks Fussy Signs: Rarely hear baby laugh any more. More irritable, impatient, frustrated or
angry. Especially If mommy not at his beck or call if mommy doesn’t understand what he wants or if she says No (even if he is about to topple over a chair).

Time to Grow: Clings to clothes (some are content with mommy giving brief eye contact). Some only happy sitting on mom’s lap. Shyer with strangers – even father may be too much. Mommy may have to remain at spot where she is and not move. Wants to be entertained and wants mommy to play along.

May be jealous – especially in the company of others, especially if they are other children.

May sleep poorly – move from 2 naps to 1 nap a day. Some only continue sleeping if mom stays with them or if they can occupy the spot between mom and dad in the big bed.

May lose appetite – sometimes they skip a meal; breastfeeding toddlers will want to eat more often. Mischievous – being naughty is the perfect way to draw attention. If something breaks, is dirty or dangerous, or if house gets turned upside down, Mom will have to address – a covert way to get a “mommy refill.”

Signs Baby is Growing – between 59 and 63 weeks:

  • Cries more often, cranky/fretful
  • Cheerful one moment, cranky the next
  • Wants to be entertained or more often
  • Clings to clothes or wants to be closer
  • Acts unusually sweet
  • Mischievous
  • Throws temper tantrums or more often
  • Jealous
  • Sleeps poorly
  • Nightmares, or more often
  • Loses appetite
  • Sometimes just sits there, quietly daydreaming
  • Reaches for a cuddly toy or more often
  • More babyish
  • Resists getting dressed

How leap may affect you – Mothers have less patience with clinging, whining and provocation from a child this age. You may argue – if he isn’t allowed to interrupt, he rebels fiercely.

New skills Emerge ~64 weeks (almost 15 months) – clinginess starts to disappear. Baby getting more willful; sense of humor changed.

Magical Leap Forward – Little one will think ahead, contemplate, consider consequences of actions, make plans and evaluate them in world of principles. Naturally, toddler is not very adept in devising plans, nor are they as complex as ours. Becomes possessive; doesn’t readily share her toys, especially not with other children. By using her whole arsenal and by studying your and others’ reactions, your tyke discovers that various strategies she employs gives different results. Discovers when its best to be friendly, helpful, aggressive, assertive, careful or polite. Really needs mom and others in this learning process.

Brain Changes – U.S. research on 408 identical twins concluded ~14 months, clear hereditary influence upon mental development. Both non-verbal as well as speech comprehension.

Toddlers Choices – Key to his Personality: Very first choices apparent ~64 weeks or 15 months. Anything new to him, your toddler likes most. Always react especially to new skills and interests your child shows.

How Baby Explores New World of Principles:

Exercising Own Will

  • Chooses consciously
  • T akes Initiative
  • Wants a say if others do something
  • Feels more need to belong, to be accepted
  • Possessive with toys

Copying and Imitating

  • Observes grownups, other children
  • Imitates sweet and aggressive behavior
  • Imitates overt physical actions, like somersault, climbing
  • Imitates subtle motor skills, like holding pencil
  • Imitates “oddities” like limping, walking like a hunchback
  • Imitates what he sees on TV or in a book

Practicing Strategies, Exploring the Limits and Becoming Resourceful

  • Experiments with motor skills
  • Stashing/recovering objects
  • Crawling in/behind something and getting out again
  • Manipulating things with caution and care
  • Makes choices
  • Exploring Y es vs. No
  • Fools mom; acts like he is disobedient
  • Ramps with cars

Implementing Strategies and Tactics

  • Helpful more often or tries to be
  • Obedient more often or tries to be
  • More careful or caring or tries to be
  • Accepts more often he is small and requires help. Takes hand when crossing street
  • Makes fun to get people to do something
  • Extra sweet to get way
  • Tries to get way by being pushy
  • Shows his feelings in a fit of obstinacy
  • Does more often what he feels like, goes his own way
  • Gets dad to get him a cookie if mom says no etc…

Get physical; explore outdoors (many ask questions endlessly- what is this, what is that); may only want to eat if feeds himself – helping when not wanted can result in things ending up on floor; learning how to hide something, put something away and recover it; Fun pointing to parts of body when you name them.

Many moms think toddler should be speaking more given they know so much, but not the case. Only after the next leap does your toddler’s speech really take off (~21 months). In the world of principles, most children are content with pronouncing single words, imitating animal noises and reproducing all sorts of other noises. Get child to play game of pointing/naming with you. Call his name and get him to call your name. He copies what he sees. The people around him are his role models. What he sees in TV/books gives him inexhaustible source of ideas.

Toddlers really want to be understood so play with them. Many toddlers experimenting with emotions – toddler may put on an act because mom or toys not reacting how they’d like. Help him to discover that there are other/better strategies that she can use when she wants something done, ways that are more receptive and successful.

Gender gapboys express sense of impotence and displeasure more often than girls; often because parents accept this type, so girls learn to suppress their feelings – consequently they become more easily depressed.

Tips on aggression – Shortly after 1st birthday, mothers report the first physical aggression. ~17 months, 90% of mothers report child is sometimes aggressive and peaks just before 2nd birthday. By time for school, most disappeared under normal circumstances (child’s surroundings important and helps determine how long child remains aggressive).

Mine and yours – some children find it disturbing if another child grabs something out of their hands for no reason without recognizing them as owner.

Jokes – Toddler may start making his first jokes and will get the biggest kick out of them
himself. Appreciates others jokes, too. If people or animals do something out of the ordinary, in real life or TV, it makes them laugh.

Cooperation – Child decides if he’s going to go with the flow or against. Does he care what mom says or not. Toddler is growing even more outspoken and more capable. Try involving child in day to day and getting involved in his day to day too. His ego is growing. Praise him too, if he is thinking ahead for you.

Being helpful – He wants to help; let him do his part. He wants to believe he is a big help and that without him things would be a huge mess or that dinner wouldn’t be any good. Be sure he receives a well-deserved compliment.

Being careful – Reckless behavior seems to be very popular. Running, climbing, wild horseplay and reckless treatment of objects seem to be the favorite pastime. But realize that by experimenting and getting your reaction to such behavior, your little one learns what it means to be reckless or careful.

Show Understanding for Irrational Fears – Child is discovering new dangers, ones that didn’t exist before but isn’t able to talk about it yet. Only after she comes to understand things more fully will her fears disappear – show sympathy.

Learning the Rules – Whining and whimpering to get one’s way, childish behavior like needing a pacifier and needing to be entertained, being messy without any cause, not being careful and expressly hurting others, going out of the way to be bad – you probably wonder if you’re the only one that is having such trouble with your little one’s behavior. Toddler is no longer a baby. Time to lay down some ground rules – your toddler is ready for you to start asking and expecting more from her; she is searching for these boundaries. Now that she has entered world of principles, she yearns for rules. Social rules in particular are important. You must show her what is acceptable and what is not acceptable socially. There is no harm in laying down the law. On the contrary, you owe it to her.

Top Games for This Wonder Week (15-16 month old toddlers):

  • Physical Antics: Running, climbing, chasing other kids, jumping on the bed, doing somersaults, rolling on the ground, wrestling with other kids, playing “I’ll get you”, walking stairs without holding on…
  • Exploring the Outdoors: Roaming outside, doing nothing in particular while scouting about is often the favorite pastime: at the petting zoo, at a playground, zoo. Carried on mom or dad’s back at a festival for several hours
  • Pointing Games: Say a word and have child point to object, toy, body part
  • Games Using Hands and Feet With Singing and Rhyming: Wheels on the Bus, Happy and You KnowIt, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, Hokey Pokey*
  • Calling Names: Start with child calling you. Then call her name out to call back at you. Children feel proud hearing name called out.
  • Kidding Around: Someone acting funny or bending the rules
  • Being Silly: Funny faces, funny walks or odd sounds – especially unexpected
  • Joke As Strategy: Pleasant surprises are far more effective in getting something out of mom than temper tantrums. Give kid opportunity to play clown, but be clear when they overstep.
  • Cartoons, Monsters, Animals: Animals do something silly unexpected are favorites. Monsters in “Sesame Street” funny
  • Household Games: Cooking Practice (food and bowl of water to feed doll), Vacuuming (replicas), Dishes (plastic), Leave shoes around so she can wear
  • Games with Emotions: Play along with drama – imitate her and play pitiful – will make her laugh
  • Hide and Seek & Peek a Boo

Top Toys for This Wonder Week

  • Jungle gym, slide
  • Balls
  • Books
  • Sandbox
  • Tea set with water or cold juice in cups or mugs
  • Puzzles
  • Plastic bottles
  • Cleaning Utensils
  • Toy Vacuums
  • Toys on a string
  • Sesame Street
  • Cartoons*Be careful with: garbage cans, toilets, baseball bats, and hockey sticks in hallway…

~68 weeks (~16 months), most toddlers become less troublesome.

 

Chapter 12: Wonder Week 75: The World of Systems
First phase age-linked 71 weeks. Second phase 75 weeks.

Since last leap, performing physical antics, exploring outdoors, getting skillful with objects and language, imitating others, replaying day-today, trying out emotions, beginning to plan, staging her own drama class, insisting on taking part, using aggression, learning what’s hers and what’s not, using gags as a strategy to an end, experimenting with “yes” and “no”, being resourceful in putting people on the spot, learning to cooperate, wanting to help out around the house and experimenting with being reckless and being careful.

When your toddler makes her next leap, she will land in the world of systems. She will need a number of years before she understands what our society, our culture or the law really entails. She starts with the basics and stays close to home.

Now she begins to understand that she can choose what she wants to be: honest, helpful, careful, patient, and so forth. To be or not to be, that’s the question. She starts to learn how she can refine her approach to all sorts of different circumstances.

~75 weeks, or 17 months and more than a week, you usually notice that your little one starts trying new things. From week 71, or just over 16 months onward, your toddler has noticed that her world is changing.

In this last chapter, we no longer describe in detail the clues that your baby is about to make a developmental leap. By now, these will be familiar to you ~ just remember the 3 C’s: Crying, Clinginess and Crankiness. Remember that your toddler is only after 2 things – being near you and having your undivided attention.

How This Leap May Affect You – all parents report that they quarrel with their “teenaging” toddler – it gives a preview of what is to come in 10 years. Ex. Baby asks with a whiny voice, doesn’t want to take a nap or wear diaper, wants to get way all the time, afraid you’ve created terribly spoiled monster, always end up on your lap

How Your Baby’s New Skills Emerge: ~75 weeks, or 17 months and a good week, you will notice that a large part of the clinginess disappears. The temper tantrums and quarreling with your “teenaging” toddler subside. She’s back to her enterprising self. You may notice that she has changed, becoming very aware of herself as a person, that she thinks differently, and that she has a better sense of time. She plays with her toys differently and her use of fantasy takes off. Her humor has changed. Try to see what she is doing and help her. But watch out! She wants to do it all by herself.

The Magical Leap Forward: From this age you can see him develop the earliest beginnings of a conscience, by systematically upholding his norms and values. Your toddler now discovers that he owns and controls his own body. He also discovers that he can orchestrate things that he can do himself, that he can control things, and that he can make decisions, all things that stem from his growing concept of self. Now he might do things different that is expected or asked of him.

Toddler begins to understand mom and dad are separate people. He discovers that dad has a penis just like his father and mom doesn’t. For the first time he sees that not everyone likes the same things as he does. He has become less egocentric. He is now able to comfort someone. He copies anything and everything around him. His imagination comes to life. Your explorer is also fascinated by other living creatures: ants, dogs and so forth (they are all systems too). He notices that his little friend’s family doesn’t have a salad with dinner like yours.

He is getting better at finding his way around in the familiar surroundings outside of his house. He starts paying great attention to his clothes. He can be quite vain and is very possessive of his toys. He no longer scribbles, now he draws “horses”, “boats” and “himself.” He also begins to appreciate music – that too is a system.

Your toddler begins to develop a sense of time. He is now better able to recall past experiences and to understand what the future will brings.

Begins forming his first sentences. Not every toddler does this, though. All now understand much of what you say to them, but some not ready to start speaking. Few do speak in sentences; whether or not your toddler does depends on how you interact with him.

Learning of values, norms and other principles is practically automatic because toddlers imitate anything and everything they see.

A toddler is also interested in basic architecture. He can watch builders for hours or imitate his father making cement. He mixes water and sand the whole day long and then he starts “plastering walls.” His Lego buildings have also become more complex. For instance, he can lay down train tracks and run his trains on him.

Brain Changes: Between 16 and 24 months, the number of synapses in the cerebrum vastly increases, both within the various subareas of the cerebrum and in between those subareas. In the 2nd half of the year, a part of the cerebrum behind the forehead matures (The orbitofrontal lobe) and a cascade of new skills emerges. The right half of the brain develops in leaps and bounds in the first year and a half. Then development in the left half of the brain, where the language centers reside, takes over. As far as comprehension of single words is concerned, at 20 months, a confinement takes place from the whole cerebrum to a few small areas in the left half.

Toddlers Choices: Key to his Personality

The very first choices become apparent when she is 75 weeks, or 17 months and a good week. If your toddler has a high musical intelligence, that will now become clear. Use the list in “My Diary” to mark or highlight what your child selects. Stop marking when your child begins with the next leap; that is usually when she is ~20-21 months old.

Anything new to your toddler, they like the most. Therefore, always react especially to new skills and interests your toddler shows.

My Diary: How My Baby Explores the New World of Systems

Conscience

o Jumps and blurts out a loud “no”
o Tests you by doing what’s not allowed o Imitates behavior from TV
o Is hurt or confused by unjust sanctions o Is able to “lie”
o Other _______

Notion of Self

o Me and my body
o I control my body
o I can do things on my own o I have my own will
o I can decide for myself
o I want power
o Otherwise_________

Out of Sight But Not Out of Mind

o Hides and wants to be found
o Looks for people without just going back to where they were o Other______

Me and You

o Grasps that mom and dad are different people o Sizes up similarities and differences to a tee
o Wants to be recognized as his own person
o Can put himself in the place of others

o Can realize that another child wants something different

o Can console another
o Is at his high point in mimicry
o Imagination takes off

o Starts treating toys as autonomous agents

o Other___

Other Living Creatures

o Waves at birds and planes

o Smells the plants
o Likes feeding the chickens
o Is interested in bees, ants, ladybugs and the like
o Laughs at nature films with animals doing unusual things o Wants to water the plants
o Other ____

Nuclear Family

o Grasps that members of his nuclear family are separate people but still belong together
o Plays the whole day long with stuffed animals, feeds them and puts them to bed
o Grasps that there are other nuclear families with other moms and dads, brothers and sisters o Other

Family and Friends

o Grasps the difference between his family and that of his friends o Know exactly who belongs to who
o Wants to phone/visit grandma/pa
o Other __

House, Neighborhood and Finding the Way

o Has a good idea of the lay of the land in surroundings
o Knows exactly where to find things in and around the house o Recognizes his own house and grandma/pas
o Can point the way to supermarket or park
o Recognizes things even in less familiar surrounding
o Other __

Ownership

o Knows perfectly well which clothes belong to whom when sorted out of the washing machine o Knows exactly which bag and jacket belongs to which kid
o Knows exactly which toy belongs to whom and what is off limits
o Wishes no longer to share his toys with other children

o Collects things and insists that they are not to be thrown away o Doesn’t like a mess. Wants everything systematically put away o Other ___

Puzzles and Little things

o Is now good a doing puzzles; puzzles of 7, 12 or at most 20 pieces o Motor skills are increasingly more refined
o Finds the sewing kit interesting, or a vast array of buttons
o Stickler for details

o Other ___

Making Up Own Games

o Makes up own game with own rules o Makes up own magic tricks
o Other ___

Art

o Grasps that toys symbolize real world things or people
o Starts drawing in a completely different way. Random scribbling makes way for circles, squares

and the like
o Draws horses, boats, planes, the dog, grandma, grandpa and himself o Likes It when you draw, too
o Music lovers can listen to music for quite a long time
o Likes playing the keyboard
o Erects more buildings
o Other ___

Sense of Time

o Remembers past experiences
o Predicts familiar, daily events and programs
o Reminds you the whole day long of your promise to go to grandma and grandpa’s house o Makes plans; if you promise to do something and foregut, he is upset and insulted
o Remembers in the morning what we did the night before
o Other ____

Physics

o Holds a ball under water to watch it pop up
o Endlessly busy pouring his special mixture from one container to next

o Pays attention to colors

o Found first snow intimidating
o Frightened of electric toothbrush o Busy w basic phenomena of physics

o Other

Architecture

o Watches builders for hours
o Imitates making cement by mixing sand and water o Imitates plastering walls
o Lays down Lego train tracks
o Tries building with Lego blocks
o Other

Language

o Understands most of what is said
o If exposed to different languages, he can distinguish between and ignore one o Produces more and more words
o Sooner or late is able to combine words to form sentences
o Imitates animal noises
o Mimes a lot. Is able to communicate w gestures
o Loves books. Listens attentively to short stories til the end
o Other___

Me and My Conscience: You must demonstrate right and wrong. Hopefully, your actions have been consistent. Craves rules and tests boundaries

Sometimes: Can hear same cry after staying with someone else who lets him do things you do not. Can function as an errand boy doing whatever is asked of him. Makes a mess faster than you can clean. Can console, mimic, fantasy play. Can’t tell in morning that you are doing something in afternoon because they remember.

Thinks in terms of me, me, me: my body, I can do it myself

Out of Sight but Not Out of Mind: understands that people/objects continue to exist even if not in field of vision. Understands that he exists for mom and dad when they cant see him. Furthermore, he now understands that other people do not necessarily remain where he last saw them. It starts to dawn on him that they can move about and change their positions. When he looks for dad, he now understands that he not only needs to look where he last saw him..

Me and You: now that your toddler sees himself as an individual, he will start using terms like “me” and “you”. He grasps that mom and dad are individuals too who lead their own lives. He starts to compare himself with them and maps out the similarities and differences to a tee.

In a simple experiment, it was shown that toddlers of 13-15 months were unable to fathom that another person could make a choice that was different from theirs. At 18 months, they will be able to do this for the first time. That has all kinds of consequences.

Other living creatures are all separate systems with their own behavioral rules and programs. Your toddler is fascinated by this.

Learns difference between his family and his friend’s families.

No Mess: you’ve never seen anything like it before. He can’t stand a mess. Enjoy it while it lasts. It lasts until the next leap and won’t be back for a number of years – if it ever does come back. He wants everything arranged systematically.

A puzzle is a system devised by someone else. Your toddler is now able to think of systems himself, for instance a game where he can make up the rules.

If little artist loves making drawings, will have hard time keeping supplied w paper. May start building constructions. If a music lover, will be playing her keyboard and can listen to music for quite a while and enjoy.

That toddlers in Japan can play the violin fairly well at the age of two is not without reason. They use special, small violins. In Western culture, not many people are eager to drill their toddlers this early in life in pursuit of such mastery. “Freedom and happiness” Is the motto. The fact is that toddlers at this age normally have the ability to learn such things.

The emergence of art was preceded by a massive increase in our brain size. But the notion of self, fantasy and language certainly play a large role, just as the increase in the seize of the frontal lobe placed just behind our foreheads does.

Between 17 and 22 months, toddlers start using the adult language system with an explosive increase in the spoken vocabulary and the average duration of a speaking turn. Furthermore there is an impressive increase in verbal language comprehension ~18 months. Some toddlers don’t use many words (~6). Other children use many words, repeating after you (Sometimes just the first syllable) or taking the initiative, but no sentences yet. They can make themselves understood, though, literally with hands and feet. They mime their part. A 3rd group already produces sentences while still miming.

He is discovering new dangers, dangers that didn’t exist until now. Only after he comes to understand things more fully will his fears disappear. Show sympathy.

After the Leap: After 79 weeks or a good 18 months, most toddlers become a little less troublesome that they were, although their budding notion of self and a tendency to want to get their own way and the struggle for power are not making it easy. However, those behaviors make them troublesome in a different way. Not difficult in sense of 3 C’s: Crying, Clinginess and Crankiness. Just irritating. Place yourself above it all. Stop and count to 10, remember that your little darling is progressing and do your best to manage the situation. It’s a good opportunity to phase in some rules of conduct for your toddler so he learns that the world doesn’t revolve around him and that he must take others into account as well.

Top Games for this Wonder Week (17-20 months)

o Playing silly together by pronouncing words differently and making silly movements o Play wrestling
o Recognizing people
o Standing on his head, scrambling about, practicing balance

o Drawing
o Blowing bubbles
o Jumping and balance on walls (up to 5 ft.)
o Playing the fool
o Tickling and physical play
o Playing physical with Dad and joking around
o Playing outside
o Playing with other children
o Playing ball games
o Feeding the dog
o Ghost games
o Twirling around getting dizzy
o Playing circle
o Riding horse game
o Tag
o Hide and seek
o Reading stores
o Tongue game: mother pushes her tongue against the inside of her cheek and toddler pushes

cheek in where tongue was

Top Toys for this Wonder Week (17-20 months)

o Cars
o Clay
o Children’s TV
o Children’s books
o Small trinkets, things that belong together

o Garage with cars
o Toy airport
o Drawing on paper
o Buckets with sand and water

o Push car
o Plastic chair
o Ball
o Bike
o Stuffed animals, bears and dolls o Stickers
o Sandbox
o Digging in the yard
o Sesame street music
o Slide
o Coloring pencils
o Tractor trailer trucks
o Blowing bubbles
o Pinocchio
o Trains
o Swings
o Rocking horse
o Puzzles (up to 20 pieces)
o Clicker for the bike

Be careful with following: toilet, garbage cans

Children learn principles by observing their surroundings and then start to use them themselves. However tender this start may be, it is important and has far-reaching consequences. Among other things, a beginning is made with forming a conscience and learning norms and values. If a poor start is made here, the negative consequences will be most noticeable a few years down the road. If you give it all your attention, it will be a very good in depth investment. It will save you, your child and everyone around him a lot of misery.

Whether your tyke likes music, likes to build, talk, play with physical phenomena or practice body control, give this rising star a chance. You will be amazed at the pleasure you will have together.

PostScript

Countless Wonders

By now you know that ever mom will, at some time, have to deal with a baby who is tearful, cranky or fussy; a baby who is difficult to please, a baby who, in fact, just needs to touch base.

We have shown that every baby is “reborn” 10x in the first 20 months or so –called sensorimotor period. 10 x her world has turned upside down by a “big change” in her brain. 10x she was bewildered and did everything in her power to cling to mommy. 10 x she touched base. And 10x she made a “mommy refill” before making the next leap in her development. Obviously, your toddler still has a long way to go.

More Wonders Await

Research of the development of brain waves (EEG) of children aged 1.5-16 has shown that major changes occur at the transition between well-known stages in their mental development. The beginning of puberty is one such leap at a later age. For a long time it was common knowledge that surging hormones triggered the onset of puberty. But recent discoveries have show that big changes in the brain also co- occur with the onset of puberty. These are not only changes in brain waves (EEG), but also sudden and extremely rapid increases in the volume of certain parts of the brain. For the umpteenth time these youth enter a new perceptual world, enabling them to gain a new insight that they could not possible have developed at an earlier age. Teenagers are not keen to admit this, because they think they re on top of the world already. As parents we cannot help but smile at the thought that babies are of the same opinion.

Even teenagers still have a long way to go. Further leaps occur several more times before they become fully independent. There are even indications that adults experiences these phase, too.

About The Author

Jessica