Monday, February 07, 2011

Checking the List; Petite's Skills and Abilities

FYI: This post is mostly about Petite and her development at her current age. Skip it if it's a sensitive topic for you.

About two weeks ago, I got a letter from Ottawa Public Health. I had no idea what it was; I wasn't really expecting anything. Regardless, I opened it up and I was pleasantly surprised to find a letter and checklist inside for parents of 18-month old children.

Dear Lord. I am still shaking my head in disbelief.

Do you realize that Petite will be a year and a half at the end of February?! I have NO clue where that time went but I can tell you this: I have loved EVERY SINGLE MOMENT and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Anyway, I was reminded of some of the public resources in Ottawa for parents (e.g., the public library, early years centres, community health centres). There were also health reminders, for example, to take Petite for her check-up at 18 months, and to get her innoculations. Those are on the list, for sure.

And the checklist enclosed has examples of what most 18-month old children are able to do. I peeked at it with some interest, wondering if my little girl is 'on track'... although always with a grain of salt because I know that every child develops at his or her own rate. No two are alike. The list is called the Nipissing District Developmental Screen. It could be a useful tool to see how things are going, if you're so inclined.

Regardless, here's the checklist if you're interested and my notes on how Petite is doing:

By 18 months of age, does your child...
  1. Identify pictures in a book? (e.g., "Show me the baby?") -- Petite does this, and has done it for about two months now. And sometimes, she knows the word in both French and English. We're doing our best to ensure she's bilingual!
  2. Use familiar gestures? (e.g., waving, pushing away) -- Yep. Waving bye-bye, picking up the phone and saying Hello/Allo, reaching up and saying "up" when she wants to get in our arms, pushing on her high chair when she's hungry, and more.
  3. Follow directions when given without gestures? (e.g., Throw me the ball. Bring me your shoes.) -- Petite does this without any problem. "Get the duckie," and she does. "Put your books away," and she does. Or at least, she tries to. So she's doing fine here.
  4. Use common expressions? (e.g., all gone, uh-oh) -- Both of these are common vocabulary for her now, as are many more.
  5. Point to at least three different body parts when asked? (e.g., Where is your nose?) -- She's got it this! And again, some in both languages. She knows head, chin, ears, eyes, mouth, hands, nose, toes, knees, belly (and bellybutton!) with no problem. And she knows them on us too! If I ask her, "Where's Mama's nose?" she'll immediately touch my nose and giggle. It's cute!
  6. Say five or more words? (Words do not have to be clear.) -- Dear Lord, she's got this one down pat. She has for a number of months. She's a chatterbox!
  7. Hold a cup to drink? -- She is starting to hold an open cup to drink, probably within the last two or three weeks. But obviously I give her very little liquid in it, and I refill as required. I started practising this with her in the bathtub actually. I have a cup in there that I use to rinse her hair after I wash it. She wanted to play with the cup, starting when she was around 9 or 10 months old, so I added a second cup to the tub routine; one for her, one for me. She's at the stage now where she's learning to transfer water from one cup to the other to fill it. And she drinks from both cups regularly.
  8. Pick up and eat finger food? -- No problem. She's using a spoon and fork now too at dinner. She prefers to use the utensils, but will resort to her fingers if she can't make the utensils cooperate! It's cute!
  9. Help with dressing by putting out arms and legs? -- Yes, and she's grabbing her socks from my hands on occasion to try to put them on her own feet!
  10. Craw or walk up stairs/steps? -- The only stairs we have in our house are to the basement, and she doesn't go down there (fuse box, wiring, cat litter, etc., would be too tempting to play with) so she doesn't practice this much at our house. We do have one step from our kitchen down to our living room, and she mastered that while crawling. She's now able to fluidly walk up and down that step and just hold the side of the wall for a little support as she does so. At the caregiver's, there are steps and she goes up them lickety-split with no trouble! The caregiver tells me that she's learning to sit on her bottom and go down as well.
  11. Walk alone? -- For a number of months now. She was able to walk alone in her 11th month. She's actually running, spinning, dancing and starting to learn to jump.
  12. Squat to pick up a toy without falling? -- Yes. No trouble with this.
  13. Push and pull toys or other objects while walking? -- She loves doing this! We have a hand-made wooden frog that has click-clack wheels on it. She adores running around the house with the froggie trailing behind her making a clatter!
  14. Stack three or more blocks? -- Yes, but she's not interested in the blocks or stacking cups all that much.
  15. Show affection towards people, pets or toys? -- She's doing this more and more these days. She tried to pick up one of the cats yesterday, much to his disgust! But she hugs them and cuddles them. She is very attached to her Pooh Bear stuffed toys, and a blue stuffed teddy that my cousin gave to her. She walks around the house hugging them, sometimes all at once! She comes up to us as well, wrapping her arms around our legs and giving us a hug too. She is willing to give hugs and kisses to familiar people on request (most of the time!).
  16. Point to show you something? -- She points to the TV frequently, if she wants The Wiggles! She ADORES The Wiggles! Dear God, you'd think they were the best thing since sliced white?! It's so sweet. Side note: Two of her favourite songs are "Hot Potato" and "Rock-a-Bye Your Bear." She knows most of the actions for both those songs and literally dances in the living room when she hears the first notes of each. It's sweet to see. Must make sure I take her to see The Wiggles in concert next time they come to Canada. Anyway, yes. She knows how to point at things she wants, like her water cup, food, the computer... (eeesh!).
  17. Look at you when you are talking or playing together? -- She makes great eye contact so yes, that's not an issue with her. Which is good. Cause Mommy loves to look at Petite's sweet blue eyes. :)
So all in all, I think she's on track.

FYI, the other side of the checklist has an Activities for your Child section. Activities suggested are as follows:
  • Help me to notice familiar sounds, such as birds chirping, car or truck motors, airplanes, dogs barking, sirens, or splashing water. Imitate the noise you hear and see if I will imitate you. Encourage me by smiling and clapping.
  • I am learning new words every day. Play games to help me learn the names of things. Put pictures of familiar things, such as toy animals, people, or objects, in a bag and say, "One, two, three, what do we see?" and pull a picture from the bag.
  • Pretend to talk to me on the phone or encourage me to call someone.
  • Don't be afraid to let me see what I can do with my body. I need to practise climbing, swinging, jumping, running, going up and down stairs, and going down slides. Stay close to me so I don't get hurt.
  • Play some of my favourite music. Encourage me to move to the music by swaying my arms, moving slowly, marching to the music, hopping, clapping my hands, tapping my legs, etc. Let's have fun doing actions while listening to music.
  • Let me play with balls of different sizes. Take some of the air out of a beach ball. Watch me kick, throw and try to catch it.
  • I like toys that I can pull apart and put back together: large LEGO containers with lids, or plastic links. Talk to me about what I am doing using words like "push" and "pull."
  • I'm not too little to play with large crayons. Let's scribble and talk about our art work.
  • I like simple puzzles with two to four pieces and shape sorters with simple shapes. Encourage me to match the pieces by taking turns with me.
  • I want to do things just like you. Let me have toys so I can pretend to dress up, have tea parties and play mommy or daddy.
  • I feel safe and secure when I know what is expected of me. You can help me with this by following routines and setting limits. Praise my good behaviour.
  • I like new toys so find the local toy lending library or play groups in our community.
  • I enjoy exploring the world but I need to know that you are close by. I may cry when you leave me with others, so give me a hug and tell me you will be back.
In all that list, most of those things we're doing with Petite already. I need to be more diligent with naming things (the objects in a bag game) or sticking the names household items on the item itself (e.g., "table" will be stuck on the table) so Petite can see it. She's still a little young for the words I think. Not sure. She loves the music parts and actions, she has fun colouring and will point to her colouring book and markers on a daily basis, saying, "colour?" She has a fish puzzle that we got in Mexico that she walks around the house with; she enjoys the puzzles a lot. Shape sorters are fun for her too; we did that a few times just yesterday. I'm teaching her "carré vert" (green square) and she finds the green and shoves the square into the right spot. We try to change up her toys frequently. Must make a note to do that in the next week or so. We just did it a little while ago but it's almost time again now. I haven't given her the pretty, porcelain, Alice-in-Wonderland toy teacups that she was given for a tea party yet; that'll come when she's a bit older. For now, I can give her some of the plastic, non-breakable ones. She has a new table and chair set that she got for Christmas, so maybe we can put it to use... And she is definitely an electronics baby! She plays with the phone, the computer, the mouse, keyboard, etc. So talking on the phone will be a breeze for her. She and I pretended to do that yesterday actually. She held a block to her ear, and said, "Hello?" and I replied. We had a little conversation. Every time she said a word (or tried to), I responded to her. That entertained her for about 10 or 15 minutes yesterday evening. It was really sweet to see. Given that the phone is one of the main ways I keep in touch with my family, it'll be important that she is comfortable with it so she can talk to Nana and Poppy and all the aunties and the like.

Oh I am thrilled beyond belief for Kellie and her husband D. After many, many years and a plethora of f*ck-ups in their home state as they attempted to adopt a child (or children), their dreams have come true. I actually squealed aloud when I read Kellie's recent post in which she told the blogging community that they have TWO children in their home now! Go read for yourself; she and D are just over the moon and honestly, I couldn't be happier for them!

And Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Hubby and I typically don't celebrate (for a few reasons) so I'll probably just pick up a card for him and a little chocolate cause I know he likes it. What do you and your other half do to celebrate, for those that do? I'm curious. Mind you, ahem... keep it clean folks!

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how quickly our babies grow? Glad she is doing so well!