Aviana is coming along nicely with learning new words. I have lost count of the number of words she knows but it is well over 50, may be even 100, and the other day she actually put two words together that she came up with herself, in context of the situation….”Daddy gone?”. I was taken aback at her new found skill. Her other new skill is knowing the names of colours – she hasn’t quite got the difference between pink and purple yet, but to be fair, I know a few guys who can’t tell the difference :-0 There is one word in particular she has trouble saying, but is the sweetest – Lizard – she basically says ‘Li-la-d’ and sticks out her tongue like a lizard as she says it. Too cute. She occasionally also says words backwards…like ‘Cup’ is ‘Puc’. I find all this language development truly fascinating. Every day it’s something new!!!
Why is everything a competition when it comes to baby milestones??!!! Aviana is pretty much textbook in hitting all her milestones (except for crawling which she avoided, but that’s not a real milestone anyway), but today at Aviana’s gym class someone made out like Aviana was LATE in her development.
Whilst Aviana clambered over some low lying parallel bars, a mother of a little boy who was new to the class commented on how she is glad her son isn’t climbing yet, I laughed and agreed ‘I can’t take my eyes away for a minute’, then she asked ‘awww, how old is she?’, without much thought I said ’13 months-she just started walking really in the last week so she is off exploring everywhere’. The mother looked surprised, probably because Aviana looked pretty confident, so I added, ‘she has been almost walking for a few months but finally figured out it was more efficient than scooting’. And then the mother asked if Aviana was my first, I replied yes, and she said it….’ohhh first borns are always late at walking’.
Wait. What? Aviana isn’t a late walker!
Yes some kids walk earlier, and some kids walk much later!!! In fact the average is 12 months. Aviana is pretty much text book and started walking solo aged 12 months 1 week.
So this conversation got me thinking how much pressure as parents we put ourselves under for our babies to hit their milestones at any given time. It is seemingly never ending! Of course it’s important to track them, but it also helps to know what the range for developmentally normal actually is. This mother’s perspective was clearly from a limited experience and luckily I knew better so as to not be offended or become worried!
This is one of the reasons why I hate the question ‘how old is she?’ from random strangers. I always feel like the only reason they are asking is to judge their kid against mine.
Technically Aviana doesn’t crawl, she scoots on her bum and drags her right leg. It’s kind of Gollum like and a little creepy…if I dressed her up in some weird creepy baby Halloween costume, she would terrify many people with her scooting crawl. When she was learning to get from A to B she was incredibly frustrated as she developed this skill, but as soon as she figured it out, all was right with the world. I sense this period of frustration happened again, but this time with walking.
Aviana has been ‘walking’ with our assistance for quite some time. Even the doctor thought she would be walking within weeks of when we saw her at the 9 month wellness visit. But no, and I could see that Aviana was very frustrated by this.
Another odd thing happened. Aviana turned into a grumpy/touchy baby with head banging and hair pulling being her signature move. I wondered what had happened to my sweet girl, who seemed to turn into the demon toddler from hell. So I thought I should check my wonder weeks app and low and behold, she started her 8th leap. It was the exact day her grumpiness started that the leap started.
The wonder weeks app has proven to be very accurate in its timings over the past year. This particular leap is the ‘world of programs’ leap. The signs of this leap includes temper tantrums. I thought that babies didn’t have temper tantrums much later into toddlerhood, but I was so wrong!
Really, we think Aviana can walk and that she hasn’t sussed out that it’s actually quicker to get places by walking. We think this because she can walk with us holding just one hand (barely a finger even). But on my Birthday (a few days ago), at 53 weeks old she decided to walk on her own! She was very pleased with herself! But was so excited she kept falling over. Which frustrated her more. So I think the mental leap and her walking development turned her into a very touch baby. Technically we have 18 days left of this leap, but with her figuring out how to walk she became noticeably a little less grumpy. With the wonder leaps, I tend to find that she is crankiest at the beginning and end of the leap, but not always constantly for the whole leap.
I am really excited about this leap, I can see her doing some of it already in just the past week. Aviana has been very observant of us making breakfast, dinner and knows the correct order of putting the toys away in the bath just before she gets out. The signs are all there of her working through this leap. The wonder weeks has been a really fascinating app to help us through some of her crankier stages in life.
I swear Aviana smiled BACK at me a couple of days ago. Yes, yes, I know all the books say that it doesn’t happen until 6-8 weeks old, but my 3.5 week old baby surely smiled back at me. It’s still possible, right?? It was different to all the other smiles we have seen since she was born – the so-called reflex smile. This smile lingered and she was looking at me and slightly turned away coyly, it just felt different, it felt like a genuine interaction.
But when I told Chris, we put it down to her gassy nature…our baby girl does have a lot of gas (the poor lass sometimes sounds in pain when passing wind). And so I thought nothing more of it…..
….Until yesterday afternoon. We were visiting a friends house when they were cooing over Aviana with Chris. Chris was talking about Aviana being a strong contender for the gurning competition (she has some wonderful expressions). And all of a sudden they exclaimed – look she smiled! Come see Dani! And so she did another two times. Chris was tickling her and getting a smile in response. But doesn’t this still count as a reflex smile? After all Chris was generating a response by tickling her, that’s the definition of a reflex? Or may be I wasn’t so daft in the end thinking that she actually smiled at me? But again, it was still dubious. Later that evening Chris managed to replicate the smile by tickling her. OK….so perhaps she is interacting with us??!
And then this afternoon she was wide awake, I was talking away to her, and after changing her I kissed her belly, told her how much I loved her and smiled at her – she smiled right back at me with a kind of immature half giggle to say she liked the tummy kisses. Or may be I just tickled her again??!
I don’t care what the books say when she should smile…whatever it was, it was freaking adorable and it was a wonderful reward. I can’t wait for more!!!!