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Post #8: Imogen Rose In November, at nine months of age
Baby is ambulatory
Communication and telling my baby ‘no’:
Imogen is starting to have her own opinion about things. For instance, she wants to hold some food in her hand and chew on it while I feed her. She lets me know by calling out or crying. She crawls to me, and fusses when she wants to be picked up and will cry if her brother or cousin takes a toy away from her. We are helping the boys solve that problem by helping them offer her a new toy before they take one from her. We are just beginning to play the “bait and switch” game with her.
Hide your plants; enclose your pots.
Remove ceramics to much higher spots.
Put gates on the stairwells, get latches and locks.
Elevate your papers whether you want them or not.
Baby’s not sitting. She’s crawling about!
By A. Gagliardi
Now that Imogen is “ambulatory”, I need to really keep an eye on her. I also need to prevent her from hurting herself. At times that means saying ‘no’ to her and redirecting her crawling to a safer spot. I can easily pick her up and take her to a safe place. And yet, I also want to e respectful of her, bhelp her learn where she can play and that I will help her stay safe.
Right now, she is easily distracted with a new toy or new position, with her brother or cousin playing with her, or if I, or her grandfather play a different game with her. Distraction is one of two early discipline strategies we use for infants.
The other strategy is changing the environment to keep her safe and out of places we would rather she not go. We use the table for her older brother and cousin to play with toys that are not safe for her, yet. I put Imogen in her high chair so she can be tableside, (playing with her own toy) to see what is going on and interact with us. We use an infant gate to keep one room closed off to her or to keep her from climbing up stairs; and we have a door to the basement stairs so she doesn’t fall down them. As Imogen becomes even more independently mobile and begins to walk, the gate and doors will become more important.
Even so, Traci B. Pitts, a child psychologist in Reno, Nevada suggests we start to tell our baby “no”. As you will agree, I don’t want her to crawl into the bathroom and suck on the toilet bowl bolts, do a taste test ‘rug inspection’, crawl behind the couch or under chairs, or chew on electrical cords. So, I must tell her ‘no’ on occasion. Telling her ‘no’ and moving her helps Imogen learn that these things are off limits. She may begin to understand this, but Dr. Pitts reminds me that Imogen won’t be able to stop what she is doing until much later. At nine months, Imogen is not yet fighting the change of venue, as she is still intent on exploring everything. Once she reaches the one-year mark, she will offer more resistance.
Imogen has begun pulling herself up to a standing position, which means I need to really keep an eye on her, as she often falls once she is standing. Imogen will become more competent in this skill and soon I won’t have to help her stay standing, so much as keep her safe in other ways.
Imogen under the side table
Fine Motor and Toy Safety
Her problem-solving skills are excellent. I see this in her large motor movements as well as her fine motor growth. Imogen is taking items out and putting them into containers. She finds ways to grab, transfer from one hand to other, and bang items that are in her toy box. She tastes and chews on everything, so I check her toys for damage often and wash them regularly.
Baby Center Expert Advice website has a nice list of toy safety guidelines. Go to: https://www.babycenter.com/0_toy-safety-guidelines_423.bc to check it out. The list of guidelines goes like this: 1. Pick age-appropriate toys. 2. Choose toys that are well made. 3. Think big. (bigger than your child’s mouth) 4. make sure your child is physically ready for the toy. 5. Don’t give your child balloons. and 5. Don’t pick heavy toys that if dropped would hurt your child.
I would add that many household items can be used as toys, so don’t go spending a fortune on toys for your child – especially infants, since they outgrow them so quickly. A soft, cloth doll, measuring cups and spoons, empty hard-plastic bottles and jugs (like peanut butter jars or beverage bottles) that work well to put things into and shake. Frozen juice can lids or wooden clothespins can be used to put into and take out from. Yogurt cups, small plastic or metal bowls, pots and pans, wooden spoons are all things your growing infant will love to check out, chew on and bang.
Let me not leave out Imogen’s favorite toy – us! She loves when I swing her in my arms or dance with her. She loves playing ‘climb on grandpa’ and peek-a-boo. And, she loves playing ‘gotcha’ with her brother and cousin, grabbing their ears or hair and giving slobbery kisses.
Movement & Social Play
Imogen is not yet crawling on her knees and hands consistently, but is up and rocking on them. She still goes faster in her ‘commando crawl’ so uses that to get around more quickly. She wants to play more and more with her brother and his toys, and lucky for us, he still likes to play with her toys.
Imogen rocking on hands & knees:
Eating and constipation:
Imogen has started solid foods and is beginning to feed herself. She loves gnawing on something hard and cold. She loves decimating toast crusts and slobbering all over teething biscuits.
She is still nursing and will not start cow’s milk until closer to her first birthday when she will be better able to digest the proteins and minerals in cow’s milk. Children are given cow’s milk because it is a rich source of calcium, that helps build strong bones and teeth, provides protein for growth, is a source of Vitamin D, helps regulate blood clotting, regulates muscle control and provides carbohydrates for energy. Yet, it would be better to provide your 9-month-old with formula or mother’s milk until 12 months of age.
One thing that may become a challenge once your infant begins solid foods is constipation. Imogen has had a couple of weeks of solid foods and has been eating with gusto. But, just this week she had two days where she is straining to eliminate, and her stool is hard, compact and small. She has had to eliminate more than once before she feels better. This tells me that something she is eating does not agree with her. I increased fluids and stopped feeding her the newest foods, which were waffle sections. In addition, I gave her a little tummy massage and encouraged her with more floor time, to get her moving. Parents Magazine (online) has a nice article about this. Check it out at: http://www.parenting.com/article/when-solids-cause-constipation
Using fine motor skills to feed herself
Language and Literacy:
Imogen has found her voice and loves to shout to her brother and cousin. She calls and crawls to me when she wants me. She says ‘ma ma ma ma” when she is wanting her bottle or to be nursed. She sings with us when we sing ‘itsy bitsy spider’ and ‘wheels on the bus’ and smiles when the boys sing the ABC song to her, waves her arms and shouts when she wants more! more! more! singing.
Imogen crawls to her grandpa and grabs him so he will ‘rough house’ with her a bit. That usually means she wants to pull herself up on him and grab his hair, while she crows and slobbers on him. – it is mutual admiration!
Now, we can read together and Imogen loves her books. She has devoured a few already! (just a little pun for you all). We can now sit with Imogen on our lap and read a board book to all three kids. Usually, that works alright. The books with thinner pages cannot yet be handled by Imogen because she still wants to taste everything. But, we can help Imogen hold another book while we read our own.
Eating or reading? Hmm. Perhaps both.
Notice how the baby is imitating her parent.
Another month has flown by and Imogen consistently advances in her ability to move around, feed herself, control her eye-hand coordination, communicate with us and regulate herself. She is a normally-growing infant and is an absolute joy to be around. One thing about our nine-month-old is that she is constantly growing, so I must be aware to keep an eye on her development even when I am enjoying her. This keeps her safe and healthy and able to continue on her marvelous journey of competent growth.
As I wrote last month, the most important part of our baby’s development is how we interact with them. Responding to her needs for food, sleep, a fresh diaper and safety helps Imogen learn to trust that we will take care of her. That trust frees her up to explore the environment and learn from it.
I wrote this poem a long time ago, but it is still true for infants and toddlers:
absorbing impressions like a sponge.
the child moves
through the environment,
and being touched
by Annette Gagliardi
When should I stop redirecting my child’s attention and just say “no”? from Babycenter, Expert Advice at: https://www.babycenter.com/404_when-should-i-stop-re-directing-my-childs-attention-and-just_1368543.bc?scid=mbtw_baby_post9m&pe=MlVHb3dUY3wyMDE3MTEwMQ..&liveconnect=7e7d1881bfebabd143c83f840b3de067babyc.425322
Toy Safety Guidelines by Baby Center Expert Advice at: https://www.babycenter.com/0_toy-safety-guidelines_423.bc
When Solids Cause Constipation, by Diana Burrell, in Parenting, 2017, Meredith Corporation. Online at: http://www.parenting.com/article/when-solids-cause-constipation
© 2017 agaglia