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Infant - Week #44

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A 44-Week-Old At A Glance

By Amy Salatino, edHelperBaby

  Strap Them In!
           Your baby has discovered his freedom and his ability to roam, which most of the time is a good thing until you try to strap him in somewhere.  Whether it be his stroller, his booster seat, his high chair, or his car seat, it continues to be paramount that you buckle him in.  Your baby is stronger and more mobile than ever, which could lead to accidents if he isn't buckled in.  Try distracting him with a toy if he arches his back and puts up a fight. If that doesn't work, this is a battle that he is just going to have to lose. It's too important to give in!


  Wimpy, Wimpy!
           Has your baby gone from relatively easy going and unfazed by the world around him to clingy and afraid of just about everything?  Don't be alarmed. This is a phase and although it's an annoying one, it's simply part of growing up.  What's happened is, as your baby is becoming more aware of the world around him, he is also more aware of the dangers around him.  It might be the vacuum cleaner or the neighbor who stops by for a visit who sends him into a fit of hysterics and clinginess.  Rest assured that your baby isn't the only one; most babies go through a phase like this and like most phases, this one too shall pass!


  One Track Mind!
           Do you sometimes feel like you are talking to a wall when you're trying to get your baby's attention?  This usually happens if your baby is really engrossed in a toy he is playing with or something he is watching or even something that he is eating.  He's not ignoring you. He is really only capable of concentrating wholly on one thing at a time.  If something has his rapt attention, he'll look away only when he loses interest.  His hearing isn't going and he's not on the path to rudeness. He is just absorbed in what he is doing.  Unless your need for his attention is urgent, leave him alone and let him concentrate on whatever it is that he is involved with and learning about!


  Meaningful Language
           Your baby has been making noises and consonant vowel patterns and imitating you for some time now.  You'll notice that his meaningful language is going to start increasing dramatically.  This means that he has a label or a sound for a particular item and he uses it appropriately.  Sometimes it's not phonetically accurate, but it has meaning to him and probably you as well.  Encourage this meaningful language and continue to introduce your baby to new words as well.  If your baby has a mispronunciation for a specific thing but you understand it, continue to push for proper pronunciation.  You may not get it now, but this is a good way of being proactive and deflecting possible bad speech habits as he gets older.


  Baby Battles!
           Diaper changing, bath time, and dressing time used to be such special times of the day for you and your baby.  These calm and peaceful routine things that used to involve lots of cuddling and conversation are things of the past.  Something as simple as changing from clothes to pajamas can turn into a baby battle as your little one tries to free himself from you and be free to play.  Don't fret; it's the same all over.  Your best bet is distract, distract, distract and then move as fast as you can.  There is a whole world out there to explore, and unfortunately, these routine tasks don't fit into your baby's personal agenda!


  Do Try This At Home - Gross Motor Development!
           Most of the times developmental activities for your baby don't really take much planning or thought, and often times you don't even realize that you are doing anything important.  Nine times out of ten these activities look like simple playing.  And nine times out of ten, playing is exactly what you are doing, but while you are playing, your child is learning and developing, which is why these playtimes are crucially important.  Your baby's physical limitations have come a long way since you brought him home as a helpless infant.  Encourage this growth by setting up an obstacle course for your baby.  This could be as elaborate as tunnels and hoops for him to climb through and around or as simple as a few throw pillows scattered around him with tempting toys or rewards beyond them.  Watch your baby crawl and giggle and maneuver over these obstacles and try to reach his goal.  You'll be surprised to find that a lot of times your baby won't think that the prize on the other side is as much fun as getting there was.  Monitor your baby's progress and make it more or less difficult depending on his successes, failures, and interest levels.  It's also okay to get down there and crawl around with him.  Grab his legs, pull him back, and rough house with him a little so that he gets the idea that this is fun and playtime.  Not only are you developing his gross motor skills but you are also teaching him valuable socialization skills.  Your baby will definitely have fun with this.  Make sure you do, too!       

       Section - "Rasslin" With Max!       

       For as long as I can remember "rasslin" - yes that's what we refer to wrestling as in my house, thanks to some speech issues way back when-- has been a favorite nighttime activity.  The girls and the boys alike have always loved to "rassle."  Max has been watching the older kids play these wrestling games for as long as he's been around, and over the last few weeks he has been raring to get in the thick of things.  Before I opened him up to the "main event," I felt that it was necessary to get him used to all of the pillows and obstacles that have become a part of "rasslin" in our house.  So I started by getting him down on the floor with the "princess couch," which is one of those plush couches that opens up like a child's futon would do.  He instantly fell in love with this couch, climbed over it, on it, dove off it...he had so much fun just playing with the couch that I let him be for twenty minutes and cleaned the bathroom while he played.  The next day I pulled out the princess couch and a bunch of throw pillows and a giant stuffed dog  that comes out during "rasslin" time.  He had just as much fun climbing on and exploring these giant stuffies as well.  I let Max get used to these and get good at maneuvering over these items for a few more times before I felt he was ready to join the arena.  The kids decided one night after dinner that they wanted to "rassle" with Daddy.  Immediately, my two-year-old took off and dragged out the princess couch and the pillows.  The girls took off and dove on the couch-- let the games begin.  I got Max out of his booster, cleaned him off, and set him free.  He made a beeline for the princess couch, only to get gently but quickly dragged out and placed behind a pillow by my husband.  He giggled like it was the best thing that ever happened to him and crawled as fast as he could right back to the couch.  My husband was busily grabbing kids and tossing them around the family room and Max couldn't have been happier.  He was "playing" with the entire family (okay, I was videotaping- so almost the whole family), getting exercise, developing gross motor skills and developing social skills.  However "rasslin" looks or whatever you call it at your house, DO try this at home - it is entertaining and educational to boot!


  That's Questionable
           Q - How does your baby respond at the doctor's office?       

       This question comes to mind because I spent the morning at the doctor's office for well visits.  I've learned through taking four kids to well visits that there are ages when they are good at the doctor and ages where they are...trying (is that a nice way to put it?).  The nine-month well visit is the last one where you might have a chance at them still being good, but you are on the brink of them being not so good.  Now, of course, they all cry when their mouths are being pried open and their noses are being looked up and for sure if they need shots.  But nine months is the age where things can go south right from the moment the doctor walks through the door.  Max was not so good at the doctor's today.  The moment my pediatrician walked through the door, Max's lower lip trembled and he started crying - HARD!  It probably doesn't help that my pediatrician is a man and that he has a moustache, two things that Max doesn't do that well with...but you win some, you lose some.  Overall, we got through the visit which was miraculous with three kids being checked for well visits and two of them needing shots and one of them having to pee in a cup-- me being the one person!  I know now that as far as Max goes I have about a year of doctor's visits being simply dreadful before they turn around and he learns to like the doctor again.  Those of you who were lucky and got a nice easy nine-month visit in, I am envious of you, but beware...your time is coming!


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