How much fun are toddlers?
The answer is A LOT OF FUN!
It’s a pretty recurring theme here on the The Art of Making a Baby.
But it’s true. We’ve known that Alexis has been focusing on her physical development for a while now. It has been constant since about 9 months when she first started walking supported.
What’s interesting is that it has not changed until maybe now (16 months) when she started to work on her speech development in parallel (another post coming). But the physical aspect is and has been front and center.
I know every baby focuses on its own thing, works on one thing at a time, or two things at a time, with one always being the primary focus. It’s usually pretty obvious in babies. If you’ve been to the playground, you’ve seen a kid who’s in non-stop motion, climbing a top of everything, demanding swing rides, slides, rushed from one side to another, runs around with his mouth open, screams. Then there are talkers, builders, collectors, swing babies, slide babies….
I am sure you guessed that the active kid is Alexis.
It’s so clear to me why she always hated containers. We call her our wiggleworm. It is probably the best description that one can sum up for her.
When she’s in our arms, she’s literally wiggles her body out of them to get down on the floor. If she is sat down on a chair or couch, she instantly wiggles and gets down. If she’s in a high chair, she rocks back and forth, tries to get up, turns around, looks down. She is in a non-stop motion. ALL THE TIME.
When she is eating and is not in a high chair, she will grab a bite and instantly wiggle her way down and run somewhere. Then run back for another bite and run away. I guess it’s normal toddler behavior, but it defines her.
Unless she’s reading or listening to her Dr Seuss books. Time stops then. As long as you’re next to her.
If you’re not, though…. like if you happen to dare to try to cook, she promptly runs over to you with the book or the iPhone and demands that you read her the book or change the phone to a different Dr Seuss book. Or more often than not, simply uses her free hand ( the one not holding said book or phone) to push you AWAY from the stove.
Again, it’s normal toddler behavior, but it’s incessant. Like in our music class ( she’s been going to 18-36 months class since she was a year old, because it’s more active) there are preschoolers who are more subdued and those who jump and run all the time. That will be her when she is a bit older (just not now during the class, as she’s a bit more cautious there being the youngest along with Lexitwin and all)
She loves to run, she’s beginning to tumble, she enjoys rolling around the floor while hugging mommy, or walking on daddy’s back. She can walk upstairs unassisted by holding onto the railing and totally scales the stairs when going downstairs while supported, she can climb on and off virtually everything, she can walk up and down smaller single steps without any support. The difference in physical development from 12 months to 16 months is night and day. And we still have 2 more months to work on things before she’s the official 1.5 years old.
One thing I wanted to remember to write out is that she learned to get off chairs and beds early on. I don’t remember exactly when but it was before she was walking. And here’s an interesting fact, we never had to teach her how to get off the bed properly, i.e. feet first. I always thought that it was something that had to be taught for safety reasons, but she had sort of figured it out on her own.
I try and support her love for movement as much as I can. We go outdoors and run around all the time. We play rumble-tumble games where I hug her tightly and roll back and forth on the floor. She knows it’s coming when I grab her and announce “Rumble Tumble”. Her body goes limp in preparation for being rolled around and over and a smile doesn’t leave her face.
I help her tumble by flipping her over her head when she indicates she wants to be tumbled by tucking her neck in and trying to stand on her head. A few more weeks and she will be able to tumble on her own with proper coaching (it’s vital to show them how to tuck their head in to avoid neck injury). Sometimes we do a reverse tumble we saw online, where she is lying face down on my bent legs while I am on my back and is then thrusted towards me head first completing a tumble (with constant support of course).
Just a few days ago (6/2/13), she’s figured out how to ride and move her riding toys with her feet. So now she races down the hallway at neck breaking speed on them. Soon we’ll be ready for a balance bike. Yikes!
Another super recent development (like this afternoon on 6/4/13) is eating with a spoon without dumping the contents of it before reaching her mouth. Whoa! It was like a switch got flipped!
She also likes being rolled down my stretched out legs. Or run as fast as she can towards me and fall into my open arms.
Or a new one: jump into the water with me catching her. It’s something I’ve shown her how to do at our pool and she’s immediately caught on. Now she will actually run away, then run back towards me and jump (See video here).
She’s also awesome at climbing out of the pool, whether it’s off the edge or using the ladder (which she prefers). I always give her some support but it’s more for my peach of mind. She’s a little fish in the water, really. All she wants to do is be in a horizontal position and kick her legs (she won’t paddle, I don’t think I’ve shown her how to) or she will climb up my body in the water, stand on my shoulders and “jump” off of me into the water (she doesn’t actually jump, i just bounce her up and she helps with her knees).
She had figured out how to open doors when she was 12 months old, so at this point she’s an old pro at it. She can swing them open both ways without any trouble, and I am afraid that gates will be next. It won’t be the first time she’s figured out how to open childproofed locks (more on that in the cognitive development post).
The other days she was over at the neighbor’s house whose daughter is a professional tennis player and she picked up a tennis racket and starting walking around swinging it. That made me think that we should probably buy her a Lexi sized tennis racket and take her out to tennis courts more often to expose her to the game. The neighbor’s son was up and swinging and attempting to hit a ball around 2 years of age due to all that exposure from his older sister.
She loves to sit on everything and anything, which is so cute. She will sit down on any raised surface and adores the Svan table and chairs we have. She climbs up on those chairs multiple times a day and sits there contently for a few minutes before getting off.
So in general, she has been clearly working on her motor skills more than anything else.
That creates a bit of a challenge when it comes to playing with toys or being in her playroom. She is just NOT interested. Toys hold her attention for 5 minutes max, even new ones. But take her outside and she will contently play around for hours.
As far as her fine motor skills, while she’s not crazy about doodling, she will occasionally draw a few things on a piece of paper or go outside to play (more than draw) with chalk, but I don’t see much interest there yet.
However, give her a thin stick and a hole to put it in and she will sit there patiently trying to match the two together (and does a pretty good job). Her big love is anything too tiny to see. She will pick small things up with her pincer grasp and walk around proudly showing the spec to everyone, or just hold on to it for hours 🙂
We have this wonderful new toy by Green Toys, called Build-a-Bouquet and she loves putting flower stalks into each other building flower bouquets ( removed the small pieces since i think they pose a chocking hazard, even though I couldn’t find a warning anywhere). Building is the name of her favorite game right now. That and role playing, but that’s for another post…
The majority of what I mentioned here happened early on in the age range, around 12-13 months and of course now that I’m about to publish this post 2 weeks later, she goes around and changes some things on me.
1. Surprise! Doodling is her current obsession. She will find a piece of paper in the office, bring it to me, find a pen and go to town doodling.
2. Guess what, the stinker managed to open the top stairs gate. Totally freaked me out.
3. She dances constantly and really well. Using her hands and arms as well running in place and bouncing.
4. I bought and received some new toys recently and she has been playing with them non stop moving from one toy to another. I’m really excited about them.
In the next few weeks, i’ll write about other aspects of her development: verbal, cognitive, emotional. But in the meantime, below are some of the pictures from our daily golf course runs.