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Infant - Week #47

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Let's Play, Drink, and Snuggle!

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Life From My Perspective!
           Physical Development:  I am very busy.  I like to play with my toys, and I also like to play with you.  But, most of all, I like to play with you and my toys at the same time.   Here is a fun idea that would encourage my physical development as well strengthen my ability to problem solve.  Grab my favorite toy.  Lie down on the floor and place my toy on your head or chest.  Make sure I am near your feet and encourage me to crawl on top of you to get my toy.  I will have to try really hard to balance myself, but I think I will be able to figure out a way to reach to get what I am after.  Outstretch your arm and place the toy in your right hand.  Am I able to get it even if I am on your left side and am forced to crawl across your body?  Continue to switch it up and do it again and again.  I like repetitive play!

        Social-Emotional Development:  When I grabbed at your face and scratched your nose, I didn't mean to!  I could tell by your reaction that I had done something that was displeasing.  You said ouch and quickly but gently pushed my hands away from your face.  I have known your voice since pregnancy, and I know your face by heart; but I just wanted to feel the smoothness of your lips, the silly bump that people call a nose, and I want to catch those eyes that won't stop moving!  Try to give me just a few seconds to explore your face.  Clip my fingernails if you must so that you can trust me a little more.  Please humor me and give me a few seconds to satisfy my curiosity.  Encourage me to be gentler if I get too rough.  Be Gentle! by Virginia Miller is a book you might want to read to me to help me better understand the importance of being gentle to others.

       Intellectual Development:  Make my learning environment extremely safe so I can explore freely on my own.  I will learn more by crawling and cruising around than I will from being confined in my walker, exersaucer, playpen, or other restricted area.  Like yours, my mind seems to never shut down.  When I am done playing with one toy, I want to freely move about and obtain the next one that strikes my fancy.  My crib and playpen are great for those times when I must be confined to a space, like when you are taking a shower, answering the door, or  running upstairs to quickly help my sibling.  But please don't let me out of your sight and leave me sitting in these confined spaces for any amount of time.  I won't get the exercise I need to develop my gross motor skills, I won't be able to keep my brain occupied, and I will begin to develop insecurities from lack of interaction.  Once you make sure the house is safe for me to move about, consider placing a basket of toys in each of the different rooms you primarily reside.  The office, kitchen, family room, and even the laundry room are great places to have a little stash of toys to keep me occupied.  Learning how to occupy myself will take time, but I will eventually be able to do that given a safe, nurturing, and supportive environment.  Once I begin to do something new, I need to be able to master the art of doing it.  I must move once I become mobile, and I will need some independent playtime once I learn how to occupy myself.

       Language and Literacy Development:  I can use my fingers to pick up small things.  If there is a speck of anything on the floor, I will get it.  If there is something on my hands from crawling around, I will notice it and try to get it off.  My attention to detail is becoming more pronounced each day.  My fine motor skills and my ability to notice small details are a great combination for early literacy and language development.  Place me in my highchair or snuggle me in your lap with a sheet of paper and a thick crayon or marker.  Help me learn how to draw pictures, letters, or numbers.  You know so much more than I do.  I will not be able to recognize that what I am drawing actually represents something of value, but each experience we have together will get me a little closer to figuring out the different literary symbols and their meanings.


  From A Parent's Perspective
           Since Reagan and I spend a lot of time on the floor playing with toys, reading books, and playing silly games like "baby arm wrestling," I cannot sit on the floor without her ending up in my lap.  If her princess feet touch the carpet, she is not satisfied; she must completely be enfolded in my every embrace.  I knew that having her obtain a toy from my hand while I lay on the floor would be right up her alley.  I placed her at my feet and she immediately made her way over me and to her toy.  Because she quickly was able to maneuver herself from one point to the other, I tried to make things a little more complicated for her.  I placed a blanket over the toy that was in my hand, I arched my back and slid the toy under me, I stuffed the toy inside my shirt, and once when she wasn't looking, I slid the toy up my pant leg.  She was so quick to assume that the toy was up near my head when I hid it near my feet.  It took her a little while, and with much prompting, to look back near my feet where she started.  She uses the hide-and-seek strategy a lot when playing.  When she drops a toy while in her car seat, highchair, or off the coffee table, she really searches around for it and seems to understand that the object she is looking for is somewhere close by.   Her gross motor skills are also improving.  She will not hesitate to attack her brother to reach for a toy he is playing with nor will she be deterred from crawling up the stairs for the sake of satisfying her curiosity.  She is becoming a headstrong little girl all right!


  Bottoms Up
           Transitioning from a bottle to a cup can be an emotional experience for you and baby.  Holding your baby while she drinks from a sippy cup might not give you the same experience you get when you snuggle her as she drinks from her bottle.  Your baby should be able to self-feed by this stage of development.  Along with self-feeding comes drinking on her own.  She has been able to hold a bottle on her own for some time and now she is ready to hold the handles of a transitional cup and drink in a more upright position.  During this transitional process you may introduce a sippy cup.  Non-spill sippy cups are great in the sense that they prohibit messy spills. They help train your baby how to hold a cup with two hands and how to tip a cup towards her mouth to drink.  Sippy cups are transitional cups.  They are not intended for long-term use.  They should be used for a short amount of time, usually until your baby learns how to drink from an open cup without spilling and until she can successfully ration the amount of liquid she takes in without choking herself.

       When using a sippy cup, try to limit sugary drinks.  Your baby's front teeth will be heavily exposed to sugar due to the way the sippy cup lids are designed, which can lead to tooth decay. Peruse the baby department to find a transitional cup that works best for your baby.  Besides sippy cups, you might be able to find straw-type cups.  The way in which babies wrap their mouths around a bottle is similar to the way they drink from a straw.  If you intend to teach your baby how to drink from a straw, you may consider going straight to a straw cup and skip the sippy lid altogether, which in the long run might be better for her oral health.  Regardless of the type of cup you decide upon, refrain from allowing your baby to travel around the house with a cup in hand.  Give your baby milk or juice during snack and meal times.  During these times she can use the sippy cup independently, and occasionally you can assist her in drinking from an open cup, which is ultimately the type of cup you want her to transition into.  Your demonstration of patience and the opportunity for her to practice regularly will be the key to mastering the art of drinking from an open cup.


  Just You And Me Time
           If you have multiple children (or a partner that likes to spend time with you), then you know how hard it is to share your time equally among everyone.  It is important to spend one-on-one time with each child at some point during the day.  This can be very difficult especially if you work full-time outside the home, have your children in extracurricular activities, and/or if just isn't possible to give your undivided attention.  Feeling stretched is no fun!  Staggering bed times is one way to find a little one-on-one time with each child.  Here is a bedtime routine that you might find beneficial.
  • Establish a routine so that all children get on their pajamas, use the bathroom, wash their hands, and brush their teeth at the same time.
  • The older child can go pick out a book and begin reading, or write in his daily journal until you are finished spending individual time with the other child.  This downtime will allow him to quietly reflect on his day and establish an understanding that soon he will be expected to lie down and go to sleep.
  • In the meantime, you can read or tell a story to the younger child.  Once you finish reading, call the older child in to say prayers together.  Kiss your little one goodnight and slip into your older child's room to read together, listen to his daily reflection, etc.

       The individual attention you give your child will improve listening skills, cooperation, ability to maintain focus, his social-emotional development, and give him an anticipated time in which he can share his thoughts and feelings with you.  Through a little planning, you should be able to get a minimum of ten minutes of time with each child.  There will be days when you can't wait to tuck them in and slip into you own PJs, but remember these years will soon be a distant memory.  Cherish these moments as the nursery rhymes, knock-knock jokes, and snuggle times won't last forever!


     Let's Walk!

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