A Journey Through Infant Development: The Seventh Month
By: Michelle VanderHeide, BSW
It’s been another wonderful month with my son. Each month I see him increasing his desire for independence. There is already an instinctive attitude of “I can do it!” With this attitude comes frustration, perseverance, and ultimately a sense of growing competence. Allowing him to go through the times of frustration helps to build the perseverance, which is all worth it when I see that look of “I did it!” Many of the milestones written to him below are a direct result of allowing him to fail, persevere (with or without a little support), and succeed.
- You are so busy discovering new things. Your old toys are no longer fun, and you find so much more enjoyment out of strings, boxes, spoons, and other non-toy items. I love sitting back and watching you find something you want and go after.
- Because of your increased curiosity, you have found new ways to move around to get where you want to go. You started off rolling everywhere, but that wasn’t always such an effective method. At church one morning, I watched you eyeing a little girl your age as she crawled around and pulled herself up to stand. You watched intently. It wasn’t but a few days later that you began to move forward and try to pull yourself up. Although you are only making small strides, you are beginning to get where you want in a forward but awkward motion. It’s really cute. Your left arm reaches out, and then you pull yourself forward over that arm. The right arm offers little assistance. Grandma found that to be very funny, as you are taking on the same strange crawling patterns that your daddy used.
- You know your name now. We have lots of little nicknames for you too, and you respond to all of them. I’ll be sitting on the couch watching you play, and I’ll call your name. You stop what you are doing, and turn with the most beautiful smile. It melts my heart, so I interrupt your play a lot just so I can see that precious face.
- Patterns are becoming more and more evident to you. Playing Patty Cake is one of your favorite games. I like to be that annoying mother who wants to show off your cool tricks, so I’ll say “Patty Cake.” You look right at me with a smile, and start clapping. Your little clap is so cute. Your right hand will be wide open, but your left hand will be in a ball. As the month went on you got better and better at the motions that go with this little chant. We always end it with a “so big.” Your little arms shoot right above your head. It’s funny to see, because your hands barely reach the top of your head. One day you’ll only do the clapping, the next day you’ll only do the “so big”; but I know it won’t be long before you put it all together. It makes grandma so proud to watch you do the little game she teaches all her grandchildren.
- You are beginning to initiate play a lot more now. Sometimes when nobody is paying attention to you, you’ll throw your sweet little arms straight up in the air until one of us looks at you. All we have to say is “so big,” and you start giggling. Once you have our attention, you’ll stop playing the game. You think it’s funny to tease us by getting it started and then refusing to do it again. I love your little sense of humor already!
- Solid foods are becoming more common for you. Cheerios are the best thing ever; and if half of them make it in your mouth, you are doing pretty well. I usually find most of them in your bib, on the high chair, or on the ground. You’re getting the hang of it though, and each week it becomes easier and easier. I can’t believe you are just around the corner from feeding yourself. You don’t even need me to hold your bottle all the time anymore, but we both prefer it when I do. This is the only cuddle time we get.
- Getting kisses from you is a new favorite for me. I’ll pick you up and say “kisses,” and you’ll lean in with your mouth wide open. I can’t ever get enough kisses; although with your little teeth coming in, I’m beginning to get bitten instead of kissed. I guess we’ll have to work on hugs.
It can be very difficult to watch a child struggle with something, and not just step in and do it for him/her. I often watch my son try to eat a Cheerio, and I just want to grab it and put it in his mouth for him. I watch him scooting, and I can tell where he is trying to go – I want to pick him up and move him there, but I resist. I let him try, I let him fail, but I’m always ready to support him to ensure that he’ll be successful. It’s from very early on that infants learn to persevere through their failures to come out ahead. There is a tough balance, though, between overcompensating and under-compensating – especially if you have a child with special needs. If you do too much for your child (overcompensating), perseverance will not be established, and a desire to try new things will seldom occur. If you don’t offer enough support (under-compensating), a constant feeling of incompetence will be built, ending with the same result. The CORE Approach program helps to find that right balance, giving your child the necessary amount of support to become confident with an increased desire to try new things. Through CORE Approach, we can help you help your child fail successfully!