Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Field Notes from Stage 5

Field Notes From Stage 5: The Rubber-Road Interface at Age 16 Months

This is a post-fragment, but it's come to my attention that my posts are getting pretty sparse, so pardon the abrupt ending, there's more to come.

So, if you had the stomach, you've read the Stage 5 "expected outcomes". If not, you could read them now, by just scrolling down one post (and pinning your eyelids up). All the definitions are there if you need them. Today's post is about our actual experience as compared with the aforementioned expectations. For example, at left we have the Experimental Toddler in her garden, making cross-patterned mincemeat of an innocent stick.

At 16 months, we're squarely in the middle of Stage 5, so it stands to reason that some of the expected behaviors will be evident now, and some not just yet. Here's what we've seen so far:

Hand dominance: She appears to be weakly right-handed. She tends to pick up tools (like a spoon or a crayon) with the right hand, though she will switch if it's convenient. When feeding herself, for example, she reaches for the spoon with the right hand, but will just hold it in her right while shoveling oatmeal into her mouth with the left hand. She will grab a blueberry or blackberry with either hand.

Heterolateral movement: She walks pretty evenly, climbs stairs with both feet sometimes, but doesn't yet swing her arms while walking. She either clasps them behind her back (so like the little pacing dictator), pushes them out behind like a superman cape, or tucks them in at the elbows when walking. I think this is part of why she doesn't corner well at high speeds yet. In general, her running is sort of awkward, as are most of her attempts at heterolateral arm movements. The grannies have both noticed a little inward sickle in the left foot (and raised the specter of orthopedic shoes! I almost threw up. I LOVE shoes!) Yeah, even I can see the pigeon toe. We're going to the doctor in a couple of weeks and we'll ask about it.

Cross-patterning: We are definitely seeing her reach across the midline with ease. She opens and closes doors, reaches across her body for things, and works objects with both hands simultaneously with ease. She can shake hands, and can easily switch the hand she is holding mine with when turning around.

Cycles of activity: Her bedtime and waking time are pretty well set, including her early morning transfer to our bed (promptly between 4 and 5am) and while she is still a little flexible about the actual hour of the clock, she does expect to have sleep-eat-play cycles in a predictable order. Breakfast on waking, then play, then nap, then lunch, then play, then snack, then more play, then dinner, then bath, then bed. Deviations are tolerated as long as we are not at home, but the order must be rigidly followed at the house, or mayhem.

Undressing: She takes off socks and shoes readily, a cardigan sweater pretty easily, and raises her arms or legs to help with a shirt or pants. She does not really undress herself head to toe, as I hear some other kids do. She does run from diapers, though.

Walking and carrying things: Yes, this is a favorite activity. She will carry the biggest (a kitchen stool) or heaviest (an old doorknocker in the shape of a dog) thing she can find. It is a source of great pride for her.

Opening and closing things: Yes, yes, yes! What a colossal pain in the ass to have one's purse and wallet opened and unpacked all over the floor four or five times a day. Trash can lids, toothpaste caps, whatever she can get open, it is open, and if there is anything inside, it will be outside. She likes to replace the lids, but can't really manage screw caps or snap-tops, so hardly anything is really ever closed again.

Resisting new barriers: We have experienced this in a rather textbook way. I pictured her howling at the gates in the new house, which she has not. She accepts them as part of the whole new-house package. The predictable problem we have now is with her outdoor environment, which does not yet have all the physical barriers it should have. She is MOST resistant to being told not to go down the sidewalk and into the street, which is clearly wide open to her. I can't really gate the sidewalk, so we'll just have to work it through. I mean, she seems to get it, she's just not really willingly compliant. Is that news to anybody?

Jumping on both feet: Nuvy does not jump. The neighbors have a little exercise trampoline, and their children love to put her on it, but she just kind of bends her knees a little, to feel the bounce. The feet do not leave the ground at all. I will sometimes catch them "bouncing" her up and down by lifting her under the arms, which is not something I would do, but it's pretty funny to watch. She now bends her knees repeatedly on the bed or trampoline and says "Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!" Maybe she's taking a clue from the immortal words of Tom Cruise, If you can't say it, you can't do it.

Catching and throwing: She loves to play ball, and will devise a ball out of anything (used packing tape is a recent favorite). She is better at throwing than catching, as might be anticipated, but is very interested in both.

Leaning forward on tiptoe: We are definitely seeing this, and she has a very cute little "tippy-toe dance" that she does when she's showing off, but which is different from the sort of Devo-Jerk kind of dance she does to music.

Digging and building: I see more digging than building, but not too much of either. She is not crazy about getting dirt on her hands.

Speech: She's pretty verbal, and uses many words appropriately. I hear that early talking runs in the family. She says "bless you" when someone sneezes, "thanks" when she's giving you something (though, oddly not when she receives something), and "Oh, shit!" when she spills a whole glass of milk in her lap (I don't know where she got that...). She uses the milder "oopsie" or "uh-oh" for water spills and other accidents, as well as for deliberate acts of entropy. She can name all her immediate relatives and most anything she eats or wears, and repeats everything she hears. Everything.


Rachel said...

Wonderful blog- love seeing the developmental information so nicely co-ordinated with some suggestions for environment. Hope to see you posting again soon!

Amy said...

I love that Nuvy and Guster are so close in age.. so I can follow right along! The similarities between the 2 are astounding! We need to get these 2 together for a dance party... Gus can show off the dance we call "the crab."

Give that good girl a kiss for us!