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Toddler - Week #59

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Week 59: Showing Independence

By Meg Leonard, edHelperBaby

           Your 59-week-old baby continues to develop his personality and gain independence. While this independence can bring mixed emotions on the part of his caregivers, it is a necessary part of growing up. Encourage your baby to take safe "risks" and be there to catch him if necessary. Allow him to make mistakes and he will learn problem solving skills along the way.


           Gone are the days of relying on Mommy or Daddy for everything! This time is bittersweet. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment when your baby walks into the house on her own for the first time, yet at the same time you feel a little sad that your baby can move around on her own. These are perfectly natural feelings. After all, you've spent the last year taking care of this tiny person's every want and need. When she is able to take care of some of her own needs, there are bound to be some conflicting emotions.

       In any case, don't let your feelings keep you from allowing your baby to learn independence. She is far from being all grown up, so she still needs plenty of love and guidance to help her grow into a capable adult. These milestones of walking, talking, and self-feeding are just the beginning of all the wonderful stages in your child's life. Enjoy!


           This week, try to find ways to let your baby problem solve. Whether it's tackling a new toy, figuring out how to maneuver over obstacles, or deciding how best to climb down from the chair he managed to climb up, step back and see how your baby solves his own problem. Of course, be close by with open arms to rescue your baby from any danger. Don't set your baby up in a situation that he might find confusing or frightening. Instead, let his natural curiosity reign supreme and see how he works out his own problems.


Silly Repetition
    Book: Such a Silly Baby! by Steffanie and Richard Lorig
       Are you in the mood for a silly tale? Then this is the book for you! With rollicking repetition, Such a Silly Baby! tells the tale of a mommy and baby who have many adventures. When Mommy takes Baby on outings, he somehow gets left behind each time. On the next day, when Mommy goes back to retrieve him, he has changed in some way. With each adventure, the list of new noises that Baby makes gets longer. The repetition is similar in style to I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly or The House That Jack Built. This is a fun, nonsense book that you will enjoy sharing with your baby.


Real Life with Baby
           For our activity with independence, I decided to see what Mary did with a sorting toy that she has had for a long time. It is a rectangular bucket with a lid. The lid has different shapes cut out of the top, and there are blocks that match the shape of these holes. The baby is supposed to try and sort the blocks by the shape.

       Our earlier attempts with this toy lead nowhere. Mary wasn't able to figure out which block fit in the appropriate hole. She would either try to cram it in whichever hole was closest or get frustrated and crawl away. We haven't played with this toy in a while, so I thought I'd see how she reacted to it at 59 weeks of age.

       After locating a few blocks that matched the toy (Mary likes to spread her toys around!), I showed her how to fit a star-shaped block in the appropriate hole. She watched intently as the star went in. I handed her a square-shaped block and let her try. She tried the same hole that worked with my star, but her square would not go in this hole. Unlike previous attempts, she tried other holes and finally got it in the square hole. It was hard to sit back and not guide her too much. I wanted to show her where to put it so she would be successful. Mary didn't seem to get frustrated as she tried to find the appropriate hole for the square block.

       We tried finding the correct hole for three more differently shaped blocks. With the second one, Mary began to show a little frustration. I pointed to the correct hole and she dropped it in. For the third and fourth blocks, Mary decided she had had enough sorting and simply took the lid off the container. She dropped the blocks right in and put the lid back on. She had seen me put the lid on in the first place, so she knew it was removable. I was impressed that she thought of taking the lid off as an answer to her frustration. Mary took the blocks out again and then put them back in the container with the lid remaining off. No more sorting today!

       This activity showed me that Mary is developing problem solving skills. I guess I see them in her daily activities as she explores our house. She is usually imitating us in some way. She will tug on the handles of the refrigerator doors when she wants something to drink or try to turn the knob on doors that she wants to open. I have witnessed her standing on tip-toe to try and reach her sippy cup on the table. Little by little, she is gaining independence and figuring out how to meet her own needs. It is exciting to watch!

       Mary was slightly entertained by the book Such a Silly Baby!. I am finding that books with drawings just don't hold her attention the way that books with photos do, unless the books with drawing are extremely short. And, while she will listen to the same book four times in a row for a total of ten minutes, she has no patience for an entire book that takes ten minutes to read. With Such a Silly Baby!, she was interested for the first few pages, but as the repetition got longer, her interest waned. She did make it through the entire book a few times, but it wasn't one of her favorites.


Problem Solving
           Maybe you have been sitting on your own problem for a while. It could pertain to anything from redecorating to money management or from a relationship issue that needs to be solved to something that you would personally like to improve upon. This week, take time to develop a plan to solve your own problem. Consult other friends or print references if necessary. Let your baby's focus and concentration while solving a problem influence you when you sit down to figure out your own problem. Remember that problem solving is a life long skill. The problems just change as we advance through the stages of our life!


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