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Infant - Week #40

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A 40-Week-Old At A Glance

By Amy Salatino, edHelperBaby

  Cruising For A Bruising!
           A whole new ballgame of gross motor development is approaching in the near future.  Your baby has probably been creeping and crawling for some time now and probably even pulling himself up on furniture or stairs.  The next step is to walk around while holding on to furniture or other stationary items, otherwise known as cruising!  As your baby's balance continues to develop, he is more vulnerable to falls, so check your sharp corners and make sure they are covered.  This new stage also opens up a whole new line of vision for your baby, and we already know that what he sees he wants. If something appealing and new is in his vision, he will make a grab for it. Make sure that dangerous items are out of your baby's new "higher" line of sight and reach!


  The Name Game Revisited!
           You stressed and struggled with what to name your little bundle of joy, and now your baby can decide for himself if he likes his name.  Well, maybe not so much, but he does recognize his name and will respond to it not only from familiar voices but to anyone who uses it to address him.  Challenge him and call out to him from time to time to keep him on his toes!


  Sitting Up!
           Your baby has probably been supporting himself in a tripod-like sitting position or even full-fledged sitting for quite some time now.  Usually, you just plop him down on his diapered behind with a few high interest toys hoping that he'll stay long enough for you to get something done.  Don't be surprised if he is out roaming on his tummy and you turn around to find him in a sitting position.  His stomach muscles have strengthened and he can now go from lying on his tummy to sitting all by himself!


  A New Dimension Of Mimicking
           All along through talking and encouraging you have been urging your baby to mimic your sounds and your voice and sometimes even your gestures.  Be aware that he will also start mimicking behaviors that you DON'T want him to mimic.  Keep yourself in check and make sure that you are behaving as you want your baby to learn to behave.  Now is the time to curtail bad habits because a mini you is on the verge of materializing.


  Nine Month Well Visit
           An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?  Not in the case of well visits - and it's time for one of those again.  Remember to go prepared with a list of questions for your doctor so that you don't get frazzled when you are there.  With separation anxiety and stranger danger at full throttle, your baby may cry and fuss, which makes it really easy to get flustered and lose your train of thought.  Don't be embarrassed if your baby cries or, even worse, shrieks and screams; your doctor knows the stages of development and probably is expecting it.  Just talk right over that screaming and make sure you get your questions answered!  You will be hit with the same slew of questions about feeding and pooping and sleeping, so be prepared with those answers as well.  There really is no way to prepare your nine-month-old for this check-up. He is still too little to comprehend, so since you can't prepare him, prepare yourself!


  Do Try This At Home - Body Parts 101
           It seems like nine months old is too young to be taught, but it's time to let the teaching begin.  First class: Body Parts 101.  Whenever you have time, start pointing out those body parts and expect your baby to start pointing out where his are as well.  As your baby's perception increases and his motor skills increase as well, it is not too soon to expect him to not only remember where body parts are but to point to them as well.  Like everything else, the more you do it, the sooner your baby will start to remember them himself and the more he will learn.  In my experience, bath time is a great place to start pointing out these parts because everything is exposed, and it's easy to talk while you wash.  Start with the basics like eyes and nose, and when your baby has mastered these, add in some more like tongue and ears.  Keep in mind that your baby may not pick up these body parts right away, but in the meantime it is a wonderful interaction between you and your baby. One day he will surprise you and point to his nose when you ask him to!


  Body Parts 101 With Max
           This is one of those more obvious activities that I did with all my kids, but with Max it snuck up on me.  How is he possibly ready for this already?  Like I said above, bath time has always been a good time for this for me, so I started at bath time with Max one night after I had everyone else out.  I chose this time because it was just me and Max and I had his undivided attention.  I decided to start with the nose and used the washcloth to scrub his nose and said "NOSE" to him in a loud, strong voice.  Then I touched my nose and did the same.  Next I took some bubbles and put them on my nose (which he thought was hilarious, by the way) and kept repeating the word over and over again.  I did this throughout his bath and when I was getting him dressed.  I took his fingers and kept touching his nose and my nose as well so that he could associate a texture with the word as well as a visual.  After bath time, I let it rest and left the kid alone for awhile only to start up again the next morning at breakfast time.  I alternated between giving him bites of Rice Krispies and touching his nose with the spoon and repeating the word again.  Again, he thought this was funny at first and then decided he was too hungry for this ridiculous game and starting screeching crabby screeches if the spoon was empty.  I decided enough for breakfast time and started up again later while we were playing on the floor.  All this time I asked him to do it himself and to "Show Mommy your nose!"  Unfortunately, to no avail.  I did this for three days before I finally got him to touch his nose - the joyous event happened during dinner time while the other kids were all talking and vying for our attention.  As I cut up a mostaciolli for Joey, poured ranch dressing for Emma, and listened to Sophia tell me a story about preschool, I whispered to Max - put your noodle on your nose and miraculously - he did it!  Everything else was forgotten and I responded like he had just won a gold medal.  Of course, everyone at the table looked at me like I was nuts - but I had been at this for days and finally the kid pointed to his nose!  Wahoo!! Excitement died down - Joey got his noodle, Emma got her ranch, and Sophia finished the story.  The next day I started in on where Max's eyes are and, sadly, every time I ask, my little genius points to his nose and giggles like a maniac!  Oh well, success was fun while it lasted...Do try this at home!


  That's Questionable
           Q - How do you soothe your baby when he is sick?       

       I've been pretty lucky so far with Max, and other than a snotty nose and a few really low grade fevers, I haven't had much experience with HIM being sick (can you believe I just wrote that-- now he'll be sick for sure within the next 48 hours)!  I do, on the other hand, have experience with sick babies.  My kids run exceptionally high fevers, which with my first was horrendous and terrifying - the first fever she ran at six months old was over 104 degrees for three days straight.  Naturally, I freaked out and called my doctor. Over the years though, I have filled up my bag of tricks and illness isn't AS bad.       

       In order to soothe my kids when they are sick, I start by relaxing and soothing myself first.  I always remind myself that chances are it could be worse and that it's good for them to build up those immunities and be sick every once in a while.  Then...I crack out the Motrin and the Tylenol.  Because of the high fevers, I am a huge fan of alternating the two every four hours for the first day or two of sickness just to be safe.  That in itself usually helps a bit, but when the kids are sick, all bets are off and all rules go out the window.  This means rocking on the couch even if it is bedtime and I know that he would fall asleep easily in his crib or snuggling in my bed, which to this day Max has never seen because I ruined my first daughter and couldn't get her OUT of my bed. Poor Max has to deal with the repercussions of me actually learning from my mistakes.  So basically, when they are sick, they get a little spoiled, but we all deserve to be spoiled when we are sick.  In addition to additional spoilage and Motrin and Tylenol, I follow all the other advice of my doctor and watch for hydration (get out the popsicles and Jello) and extreme lethargy.  I monitor the diapers and hope that it'll be a quick illness.  I think that this is pretty much all you can do, especially when they are still this little.


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