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Infant - Week #44

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Ouch...No Pulling!

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Baby's Development
           Occupied with something else, you don't realize that she is slowly reaching for your blonde locks as she rides on your hip.  You feel a sudden rush of pain, and you quickly grab for her hands to pry her fingers away from each and every strand of hair.  Babies love hair, don't they?  They love the texture, its flexibility, and most of all they love the reaction they receive when they play with it.  Explain to your baby that pulling hair is a "no-no"; since her memory recall skills are not quite up to par, you will need to repeat your expectations each time she does it.  Many moms cut their hair or keep their hair pulled back during this stage of development, and if you've had your hair pulled recently, then you might be able to recall why.  To satisfy your baby's desires to pull, grab, stroke, prod, and push at this stage of development, consider providing your baby with a few objects so she can satisfy her tactile/hair desires and fine-tune her fine motor skills at the same time.  Some things that might resemble free-flowing hair include streamers or ribbons that hang freely from off the side of a table, baby doll hair, and the edges of decorative pillows and throw blankets.  Always practice caution when allowing your baby to play with anything that is long enough to get wrapped around her neck.

       This concept of pulling, tugging, grabbing, poking, and prodding is very appropriate for this stage of development.  As she grabs and pulls your hair, you will want her to also understand the concept of letting go.  To teach your baby this concept try obtaining a few clean chemical-free sponges.  Hand your baby a dry sponge while sitting in the bathtub or her highchair.  Does she attempt to squeeze the dry sponge?  Will she let go?  Now wet the sponge and place it in her hand.  The sponge will feel different from the dry sponge.  It will feel softer and heavier to the touch.  Does she squeeze the sponge full of water?  How does she react when the water drips from the sponge?  Does she quickly release the sponge?  After time to play, does she seem to understand the cause and effect relationship she created when she squeezes and releases the wet sponge?  Your baby's fine motor skills will increase as she develops the ability to open and close her hand.  Hopefully, as she perfects her ability to grab and let go of objects, the number of times and/or the severity in which your hair is yanked will decrease!  Letting go of an object will transfer into her ability to hand you an object, throw a ball, and even learn how to share with others.  Aside from this activity, encourage her to hand you an occasional toy while she is playing, give you her spoon after eating, and hand you her sippy cup when she is finished. When she is able to "let go," she will just need some reinforcement when it comes to understanding the language behind the action.


  From A Parent's Perspective
           From the time my daughter was old enough to manipulate her little hands, she has found pleasure in playing with my hair.  She plays with my hair while she drinks her milk, when she is lying on my shoulder, and when we snuggle up together to read stories.  This sounds all very sweet and innocent like she is merely caressing my hair and expressing how great of a mother I am to her, but, on the contrary, most of the time I am playing defense.  My hair isn't the extent of her textile desires.  We have a throw blanket on our sofa that she loves.  I can throw the blanket on the floor, and she will find pleasure in crawling over and lying down on it.  While she lies on it, she loves to play with the twisted cords that hang off the edges of the blanket.  She has even fallen asleep on it a few times.  A friend made a tutu which has short strands of ribbon flowing off the elastic waistband.  Reagan wears it during playtime.  She'll stop occasionally to run her fingers through the ribbons before she is off to her next toy of choice.

       The sponge activity was a hit.  Due to the spring-like action of the sponge, Reagan seemed very intrigued by the sponge and how her actions elicited different reactions.  Investing some time in hand activities similar to this one will help her better understand the concept of gripping and releasing.  I can only hope that when she does grab onto items that I will be able to persuade her a little easier to let go when necessary.


  Out And About With Baby
           Given that your baby doesn't show signs of animal-related allergies, consider taking your baby to a pet store even if you don't have a family pet.  Many pet stores have an array of birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals.  Take an "I-spy" animal walk around the pet shop and view the different types of animals.  Keep in mind that anything with a mouth can bite, so express extra caution when getting close to an animal, specifically when it comes to petting.  Take into account your baby's reaction to the animals.  Which animals excite him? Which ones does he seem more reserved with and/or scared of?  If you have a cat or a dog, take your pet into the pet shop with you.  Your baby will be excited to see how Fido acts in an environment other than home.  Don't forget to discuss each of the animals you see, the sounds it makes, and how it acts.  This experience will surely be an enjoyable one for both you and baby!


  A Love Letter From Your Baby
           Babies cannot obviously write you a sweet love letter, but in this age of technology your baby can type you a letter.  Position your baby in front of a word processor and encourage him to type away.  You will undoubtedly have to stop occasionally to clear out any mishaps, as he will find a keyboard shortcut every now and then.  Dictate these love letters in a separate paragraph or directly beneath each line of text.  Then add some clipart to jazz them up!  These dictated letters can tell about his developments, favorite toys and activities, events he looks forward to, etc.  Consider emailing these letters to daddy at work each week, sending them to family and friends, saving them as your desktop wallpaper, sneaking them into his siblings backpack, or printing them off and inserting them into your photo display coffee mug.  These adorably sweet letters will brighten the dreariest and busiest of days.


  Men, Women, And Shoes...Oh Why?
           Draw an analogy that relates your daily responsibilities with the typical number of shoes men and women each have in their closets.  Men seem to function perfectly with three to four pairs of shoes: tennis shoes, black dress shoes, brown dress shoes, and a pair of sandals.  Men will spend a lot of money on a pair of shoes and it can be justified because they wear them every day. This means that their shoes are great in quality and they are extremely reliable because they consistently provide them with the desired support and comfort. While wearing those shoes, men are great at looking past the dinner dishes, ignoring the incoming phone calls, and other distractions to give 100% of their attention to one or two things.

       Women, on the other hand, typically have a pair of shoes for each outfit in their closet, which equates to more shoes than they can (or want to) count.  More shoes means that the money-pot for shoes needs to be spread thin to account for quantity, which lends itself to shoes that are so-so in quality and can potentially cause blisters or other discomforts.  Women change focus almost as much as they change shoes.  The shoes women wear (better known as the roles they serve, such as kids, house, work, friends, family, religious services, community outreach, marriage/partnership, etc.) can take up a lot of a person's time, energy, and spirit! The people observing also feel the pain from the so-so in quality and blistering discomforts.  The more roles you have, the less focused you will be on any one thing.  Supermom and Superdad are fictitious characters.  Take off the cape, shed the many hats you wear, and put on a dependable and comfortable pair of shoes that will ground you in your #1 job...being a high quality parent!  Pondering question:  Do you or your partner need to reprioritize your obligations/desires for the sake of your family's well-being?


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