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Toddler - Week #84

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Month 20: That's Me!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           The absolute cutest thing occurred this week. After his evening bath, Evan was toweling off and looked into the mirror. As usual, I said, "Who's that cute baby?" but this time the reply came from Evan instead of from me! He looked at himself and said his name! The few days to follow he would constantly look in the mirror and say his name. It's funny because he has been saying Alice's name for awhile. Maybe his name has sounds that are harder. He also continues to make great gains in vocabulary. Some new words this week are shoes, juice, banana, and waffles. Many of the words sound very similar though. I made him a waffle one morning this week after breakfast. I thought it was weird for him to ask for one since he'd already eaten, but I obliged. It was after the waffle was made and Evan was refusing it that I figured out he had merely wanted a drink of juice!


Creating Good Readers:
           When children begin to talk and read, they are able to say certain sounds at certain times of their lives. There is a typical pattern of sound acquisition that most children follow. As I said, Evan hasn't really been able to say anything that sounded like his name until this week. This week, his recognition of his own name is understandable by me. It is not clearly "Evan" but more of a mumble that has the hum of his name. The "v" sound will not be acquired by most children until age five. Toddlers are only really expected to have command of some of their vowel sounds. Most experts agree that they will use the p, b, and m sounds as well. Information like this is readily available on the internet. You can also ask about this kind of thing when speaking with your doctor. But it is important to understand how and when children acquire sounds so that you can understand their reading process. It is also helpful when selecting books. Flip through a book to see if there are mostly words that have sounds your child can make or should be practicing making. Obviously, we want to select books that build vocabulary and introduce new words. But we also want to be cautious about selecting a book that will be too full of words our children cannot say, especially when they begin to read on their own.


Book Of The Week:
           Baby Einstein, Mirror Me!

       By: Julie Aigner-Clark       

       Every page of this fun book has a mirror on it! It gives your child a chance to make funny faces, explore body parts, and just look at himself, which we know he loves to do! It is sturdy, which I love. Each page is hard board, and the mirror isn't easily ruined. It isn't made of a material that is going to easily get peeled off. It is colorful and interactive like Baby Einstein always is!


           This week's activities were all about Evan and his name. I figured we should celebrate this milestone. The funny thing with Evan is that he will never perform. He'll do something like say his name, but when I ask him to say it to someone else-he clams up! Oh well, we celebrated his name anyway.       

       I drew his name out in big letters and let him finger paint all over it. I also put a mirror tile up in the playroom next to all the dress up materials. I used unbreakable ones. They are readily available in craft stores for a very inexpensive price.       

       Evan always spends time looking in the mirror. So this week was no different in that respect. He loves to look at himself in our mirrored closet doors, especially when he is naked! The only difference this week was that I said his name probably a thousand times more!


Rhyme Time:
           I made this song about Evan's name to the same tune as Bingo:


       There was a boy who had two eyes and Evan was his name, oh

       E-V-A-N, E-V-A-N, E-V-A-N

       And Evan was his name, oh!       

       There was a boy who had a nose and Evan was his name, oh

       *-V-A-N, *-V-A-N, *-V-A-N

       And Evan was his name, oh!       

       There was a boy who had a tongue and Evan was his name, oh

       *-*-A-N, *-*-A-N, *-*-A-N

       And Evan was his name, oh!       

       There was a boy who had a belly button and Evan was his name, oh

       *-*-*-N, *-*-*-N, *-*-*-N

       And Evan was his name, oh!       

       There was a boy who had two knees and Evan was his name, oh

       *-*-*-*, *-*-*-*, *-*-*-*

       And Evan was his name, oh!       


       Obviously, wherever there is an asterisk marked is where I would clap. I also changed the body parts to relate it to the book. So when I sing the stanza about his tongue, for instance, I stick out my tongue like we did in the book. It was lots of fun!


Evan's Opinion:
           Evan really likes this book and so do I! I like it for different reasons though! He loves to look at himself, and I like it because he can do that by himself! Since it is a sturdy book and I am not worried about it being ruined, I can let him take off with it. He likes to sit with it and he really did spend a good deal of time looking at himself in it. He also loves looking at himself both naked in my mirror and now dressed up in the playroom mirror.


You're Probably Wondering.....
           Question: "Is my son going to be shy?"       

       I have been wondering if Evan will be shy as he gets older. He is so different from my other children who all seemed pretty outgoing at this age. I'm not complaining-that's for sure! They often scared me with their lack of inhibitions around anyone. I can often let Evan walk somewhere, and I know he'll stay beside me. Last week in Disney, I could let him run around in those water play areas, and he never left my vision site. He never even tried! My others would have been trying to chase down Mickey or something!       

       But I wonder if his closeness to me, his refusal to talk much to anyone else, and his dislike of being held by even relatives is a sign of his future personality. Can you tell this soon what his personality will be like? Are these indicators of his potential persona or is it too soon to tell?       

       There are some traits that are inborn in people. For instance, how we react to things and people is something we are born with. Evan has always reacted to people with more caution than my other children did. I wondered if this is because he is the only one I nursed and if this created such a strong bond between him and me that he holds others at a little further distance before he decides if they are okay.       

       Another is activity level. While Evan is very busy and likes to play, he is not as hyper as my other two boys were. I never could go to a family function and sit and relax with them. I had to follow them around. Evan follows me around!       

       The others are tolerance for frustration and reaction to changes. Again, Evan is much easier going with these things than those boys were. He never seems frustrated at all. I hardly ever see him cry because he can't get a toy to work or anything like that. I also see him quite willing to bring the toy over and ask for help. And as far as change, well, we tested that one with our ten day Disney trip and he was fine!       

       So does this mean he's just more laid back or is he shy? What difference does the label make? Actually labeling it at all can be a problem. Avoid saying things like he is shy or he's just shy. It can sound like a criticism or it can later become an excuse for your child not to be social. And yes, your shy child needs to socialize just like other children. They cannot avoid social situations just because they are shy. You simply need to help a little more. Perhaps try social situations that are not so overwhelming-like smaller groups and quieter places. If you see him smile at Uncle Jeff after he's hidden behind you for fifteen minutes, encourage that smile. Acknowledge it and say that you bet Uncle Jeff is really happy that Evan smiled at him. But don't force him to perform (mistake I have already made!) and don't force him to leap into Uncle Jeff's arms or horseplay with him. And don't allow relatives to try to bully their way into that kind of situation either. Simply coach those folks into being patient with your bashful one! And remember to also be patient with your shy guy yourself!


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