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Infant - Week #36

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A 36-Week-Old At A Glance

By Amy Salatino, edHelperBaby

A Mastered Pincer Grasp!
           You have been challenging your baby with Cheerios, oyster crackers, and raisins for the past few weeks.  Because of his mastered pincer grasp, the grasp that his thumb and forefinger use to pick up small objects, these are a piece of cake now.  Continue to encourage your baby to self-feed by giving him bite size bits of food that he can handle.  This mastered grasp will come in handy during meal times, but be careful when you put your little one on the floor; everything, even those little dust balls and strings, will go in your baby's mouth.  Make sure to watch for nonfood choking items when your baby is playing on the floor!


           Your baby is already suffering from separation anxiety and may start to develop other fears as well.  Some babies can't handle the noise of vacuum cleaners, or certain toys might scare them to pieces.  Are these phobias?  Not so much...more like fear of the unknown.  Snuggle your baby when he shows fear and comfort him, but also help him to see what it is that is scaring him.  Be careful how you handle some of these fears. If you ever want to vacuum during the day again, you might make a BIG effort to get him used to the vacuum cleaner!


  Done Developing Already?!?
           How is it possible that at 36 weeks of age, part of your baby is already just about done developing?  Your baby's vision is as clear now as it will be when he is an adult.  He can see both up close and at a distance.  His short range distance still dominates, but he can see clearly across the room now.  So...if you are trying to sneak that cracker and don't feel like dealing with the mess of giving him one, do it carefully so that you aren't spotted!


  Naptime Woes
           Not for your baby, but definitely for you.   Your baby is getting to an age where he may only need one nap a day.  This is good for your baby but maybe not so good for your routine.  This becomes just another one of those issues where you may not have a choice in the matter.  Typically, babies around this age lose their morning nap and sleep longer in the afternoon.  Now's the time to set a schedule that works for you.  Shoot for a three-hour block if your baby appears to be ready to go down to one nap.  If your baby is still taking two naps and seems to be doing fine with it, then by all means enjoy it while you can.  All babies are different and your two-nap bliss may last for quite some time still!


  Do Try This At Home - Making Music
           Your baby is capable of imitating basic gestures.  Chances are he is also probably intrigued by a different range of sounds.  Help him to explore both of these interests and skills by creating "music"! Okay, it's not really music...it's simply noise, but it is a great way for him to not only develop his motor skills but to delve further into understanding cause and effect as well.  Provide him with "instruments" that he can play with, show him how to use them, and let him go.  These instruments don't necessarily have to be traditional instruments.  Don't go out and buy a music set for your baby if you don't already have one. Some loving relative who has a vendetta against you will for sure gift you one down the line.  For now get creative and use nontraditional instruments that you already have around your house.  Spoons, pots and pans, rattles, plastic salt and pepper shakers filled with marbles...get creative- there are lots of musical sounds to be heard just floating around your house.  Give your baby the instruments and let him explore them on his own for a day or two.  Then sit down with him and show him their functions, or at least the musical functions that you had in mind.  Show how to get the instruments to make noise and then give him a chance to try it on his own.  You have a few more weeks of relative quietness left before he really gets the hang of it, but exploration and experience is key for him to learn anything.  Have fun with this and start thinking about hiding places for when you are ready for these toys to mysteriously disappear!


My Little One Man Band!
           We have been blessed by many wonderful relatives who wanted to make my life loud, so we have "musical" toys all over the house.  I gave Max four toys to play with, not wanting to over-stimulate him, but wanting to give him an assortment at the same time.  I gave Max a set of maracas that shook like rattles, a pot and a wooden spoon and a metal spoon, a set of metal measuring spoons that were all attached to each other that jingled when you shook them, and a real drum.  The first day, when no one else was around, I just put him on the floor with the toys and let him play.  Of course, he had no idea what I wanted him to do with them but was more than happy to explore some new things that he hasn't been exposed to yet.  For the next few days he just rolled around on the floor with the toys and had fun chewing them and looking at them.  On the fourth day that he had these toys, I sat down with him sitting up between my legs and put the pot in front of both of us.  I used both the wooden spoon and the metal spoon to hit the pot.  Max appeared both thrilled and surprised by the noises that the spoons made.  I did it a few more times, and each time I did it he got more comfortable with the noise and freer with his reactions.  After the fifth or sixth time with the metal spoon, he was cracking up!  I put the spoon in his hand and using a hand over hand method, helped him to bang on the pot.  He was so surprised that he dropped the spoon. We tried again together a few more times, and then I left him to his own devices.  At first he just swung the spoon around aimlessly and then accidently hit the pot.  This seemed to remind him of the purpose.  Now he had a mission.  I could tell he was really trying to hit the pot.  His coordination was really off and this was hard for him, but every once in a while he was rewarded with a small hit.  How cool it was to see!       

       We went through similar routines with the maracas, the real drum, and the jingly measuring spoons.  The maracas and the spoons he got pretty quickly because they are much easier to operate.  The real drum was hard for him because the mallet was attached to the drum and his range was limited.  I will continue to expose Max to these toys until he becomes too efficient and they will furtively disappear!  Do try this at home, but be warned- you may need ear plugs in the near future!


  That's Questionable
           Q - How long can your baby "entertain himself"?       

       I was at my girlfriend's last week, and she has a little girl about the same age as Max.  It was just us and the babies, and I was all for putting them on the floor with some toys and having a cup of coffee at the kitchen table to catch up.  I suggested leaving the babies in the "babyproofed and safe" family room with some toys on the floor, and she looked at me like I was going to throw my baby off a cliff.  She couldn't believe that a) I was going to leave Max alone in a room and b) he would let me.  First of all, know that it was an adjoined room - we would have been in plain sight of the babies at all times.       

       I was equally as shocked as she was.  I couldn't believe that her baby had never stayed and played in a room awake and by herself.  Not only did she not play by herself but my girlfriend reported to me that if she put her down and walked away, she would start crying.  I wanted to see it for myself, so I asked her to show me and sure enough, she put her down, walked about ten steps the other way into the laundry room, and this baby started howling.  Maybe a touch of separation anxiety, yes, but also definitely overindulged in my opinion.  To each her own I guess.       

       Max can entertain himself with toys easily for up to a half-hour in a room without the other kids.  He's been with the kids in the jumperoo or on the floor for an hour without fussing or needing to see me.  Of course, I am in and out of the room the whole time, but I truly think that Max would be okay self entertaining if I weren't.  I've said it all along, and by now you know that Max is just that kind of baby, good - good - and more good, but I think most nine-month-olds should be able to entertain themselves for at least fifteen minutes at a stretch!


Finding Good Evening and Weekend Childcare
By Alicia Magee, edHelperBaby

           Finding good childcare for weekend and evening engagements can be difficult, if you do not have family members or close friends who live nearby. It is often important, however, to have a few trustworthy, fun baby sitters to depend on when you would like an evening out. Firstly, contact any friends you have with babies and children of similar ages to see if they have sitters they trust and ask for contact information. You can also check with local services in your area, many for a fee, will offer sitters that have had background checks and been approved to work for their organization.

       Another really helpful option is to create a childcare exchange with a few other parents in your area. You can trade fairly equal amounts of time without paying one another but just return the favor for other parents. You can use email to contact the others and let them know what date and time you would like a sitter and the times you are available for other parents. This can be a great way to have wonderful, supportive sitters when you need them!       


Strong Bonds with Grandparents
By Alicia Magee, About my child Keenan

           Although we live almost six hours away from Keenan's grandparents, we have made an effort to visit frequently so that he will know his grandparents well. The long drives and flights have been challenging at times but seeing that he recognizes grandma and grandpa by sight is definitely worth it for our families. I love that he has the close bond with them and our visits provide his dad and me with breaks plus we know that he is a very happy baby when he is with them! We sometimes consider moving even with the job and housing changes it would require. However, we know that even if we continue to live in separate states that we will make sure that he knows his grandparents very well and keeps the strong and important bond that he has as their grandson.       


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