A Journey Through Infant Development: The Fourth Month
By: Michelle VanderHeide, BSW
It’s already been four months since our little man joined our family, and I can’t remember life without him. He has been such a joy to have in our family. When I was pregnant and thought about what it would be like, I couldn’t imagine a baby being added to our already busy lives. I look back now and wonder how it was that I found as much joy in life as I do now with another wonderful child. It kind of makes me wonder what other beautiful characteristics could be added to our family with yet another. What am I missing? I won’t go there, though; three children are plenty! Here continue my reflections for my baby boy:
- You are so funny! You already know what gets a reaction out of us. You started coughing the other day and I responded with “Oh, you’ve got a bad cough,” in that annoying motherly voice that we adults all use with babies. You found that to be quite hilarious, so you began this silly fake cough that then made me laugh. We had some good laughs about that. The next day I was laying you down for a nap when you looked right up at me and coughed, and then gave me a big smile. You remembered that it made me laugh before, and you threw it out there again.
- On the same note, you are now becoming quite opinionated. If you don’t like something, you let us know – this horrifying scream comes out of your mouth! It’s not a cry, but a “I’m being attacked” kind of scream. It’s usually for good reason though; like when your sisters are on the attack or when I’m trying to clean out your ears or nose. I guess I don’t blame you – I’d probably scream too.
- At the beginning of the month, I held you up in front of a mirror and you saw me. You kicked your legs and smiled at me through the mirror. I even saw some gaze shifting as you were looking between me and my image in the mirror. You looked at yourself and didn’t know what you were looking at, so you quickly shifted your gaze back to me. Just a few weeks later I did the same thing, and you looked at me first; but when you caught yourself in the mirror you were quite impressed by the handsome little thing you were looking at, which was evident in your kicks and squeals.
- This was a big month for strengthening motor skills. Your sense of balance and ability to hold yourself up is getting much better. You can sit with much less assistance now, but not independently. You fold in half once your start to reach for something, and get stuck in that position. I find it quite hysterical, but you aren’t so fond of it. You also rolled over from your stomach to your back for the first time. When it first happened you had a look of shock on your face, as you had no idea what just happened to you. You settled down quickly, though, as you saw the toys that were once behind you were now right above you. The next time you rolled over, there were no toys to stare at; so you cried until your oldest sister was in your face, and you realized you were fine. Then the scream returned.
- Your reach is getting much better. You are so cute when you are focused on trying to grab something. Your lips round out and your eyes get all buggy. You are concentrating so hard on being able to reach and open those precious little fingers. When you grab on, the look on your face is priceless. You are so proud of yourself! Just achieving this goal is a reward in itself!
- Feeding you is getting much more difficult. As you are drinking your milk, you will turn to see what is going on around you and forget that you are eating. Once you turn back, you see me, then smile. I of course have to smile back. This then turns into a game. You suck once and then smile. This is fun for about three or four times; but I eventually have to look away so you’ll eat, or we’d be there all day!
- You love to play with your voice. You are making so many sounds, and playing with the intonations while you make your “oohs” and “ahhs”. Watching these early forms of communication already developing in you is so amazing.
Isn’t it amazing how much develops in an infant in one short month? The best part about having infant development at home is that I can take the early objectives in the Relationship Development Intervention (CORE Approach) program and see how perfectly they fit into infant development. What seem like such small achievements are so critical to human development. Can you imagine speech without the use of intonations? It would be boring. Can you imagine communication without the feedback of facial expressions? It would be meaningless. Through CORE Approach, we start with such foundational objectives so that kids who missed this the first time can have a second chance at developing these critical components of development. I had a family describe these foundational objectives to me this way: “I tell people that my son is a building, and that there are several gaps in the building that are missing. If we don’t do something now, as the building continues to get taller it will become even more unsteady. We need to go back and fill in the gaps so he can have a solid foundation.” This is a great way to look at it, and a wonderful way to summarize the CORE Approach program.