Informal Developmental Check In

I was thinking today about how Bella isn't as "advanced" as some of the babies on my iVillage messageboards. I decided to write out exactly what she does and how she does it so that I have a better grasp of where she's at developmentally. Turns out she's right on schedule for her age group. Here's the list (warning: it's lengthy!):

1) Knowing what things are - check. She definitely knows the controller is for turning on the tv. In fact, if we won't turn on the tv, she'll grab the controller and press the buttons. When the tv doesn't come on, she waltzes over and presses the power button. She does the same thing for the radio. We keep it programmed to a kids' station, so when she wants to listen to music, she turns the radio on. She's keen to keys, too - she grabs them and tries to unlock the front door. When I had to change her diaper in the front seat of my car the other day, I gave her the keys to occupy her. She tried to stick them in the ignition.

We have only recently begun using a real toothbrush. Before that, we were using the little finger condom they give you in some boxes of baby toothpaste. I've had to stop that because she tries to bite my finger off. I still use it sometimes so that I can feel around for teeth since she won't open her mouth for me. On those days, I let her "brush" her own teeth during bath time.

Telephones are her favorite electronic device. When my cell phone rings, she lunges for it and dances around. When the home phone rings, she holds her hand up to her ear and yells "YOOOLLLLOOOOO?" If we don't answer it, she runs to the answering machine and waits for the message. If it's someone she knows, she claps. If not, she loses interest.

She also understands that the fan cools her off. We run a fan in her room at naptimes bc our upstairs doesn't cool very well. I laid her down the other night for bedtime and she pointed at the fan and said "hhaaaaaad!" I asked her if she wanted the fan on and she clapped.

2) Eating manners - sort of check. She doesn't eat with her mouth open, but she does still throw food on the floor. We've tried to teach her to put what she doesn't want in the cup area of her tray but she only does it half of the time. When she doesn't want something, she'll drop it over the side of the tray. She'll look straight at you while she's doing it and then smile. When she's done, she'll wipe her own mouth, throw her hands up and say "ahdah" for all done.

3) Elimination understanding - no check. Just as she doesn't care about running around in a dirty diaper, she doesn't lead us to a designated changing place. However, when we tell her she needs a new diaper, she will trot over to the diaper bag and fish one out for us. After she hands it to us, she'll run back for the wipes. If she seemed to understand that she was pooping or peeing, I would probably buy her a little training potty and get started on that.

4) Gross motor skills - check. Bella can climb stairs and has now learned how to walk down them holding onto the rail. She began climbing stairs around 6 months, but she would come down on her butt. Now she thinks she's a big girl! When there is no rail, she opts to come down on her butt. She can also roll, kick, throw and bounce a ball. Balls are her absolute favorite toys. She'll play with one for hours and has several in various sizes. Since she began going to daycare, she has learned to push herself along an a big wheel, climb up a slide and come down it on her butt, and walk along a "balance beam" (a long 2x4 they laid down for her bc she was so into it).

5. Fine motor skills - check. She loves to sort shapes and those types of toys are her favorite when balls aren't available. She can also stack rings on a holder and stack blocks up to four or five blocks. After five blocks, her stack usually tumbles. Now, when she sees it getting wobbly at four blocks, she knocks it over, laughs and starts fresh. She likes to "thread" things. For example, she'll string her stacking rings an length of string she likes to carry around. She'll also hook her musical instruments on that pieces of string.

6. Favorite toys - check. Like I mentioned, her favorite toys are balls and things that stack. When those aren't available, she loves to read books and play her instruments. Her favorite is an electronic keyboard that started out as Javi's but he has given it to her. She also loves her xylophone and drum set. She'll play something, dance or rock side to side, and then play some more. When we play for her, she'll dance and then take her turn (which is when you're expected to dance). She has no interest in dolls, except for her Tasha and Diego dolls.

7. Finding things - check. Bella is an expert finder. If you ask her where her shoes or cups are, she will search until she finds them. She'll look under things, around things, inside of things. She'll go upstairs and look around there too. When she finds it, she expects LOTS of fanfare. She'll also look for her Tasha and Diego. With those, you can ask her "Where's Tasha?" and she'll track that thing down. For Diego, you can ask "Where's the rescue pack?" and she'll track down Diego and then turn him over to point at his rescue pack. She most enjoys finding people or herself! :)

8. Understanding of bedtime - no check. Bedtime is when we lay her down, and it has changed since she began going to daycare. We definitely have been slack on setting up a routine for her to help her transition from play/family time to quiet/night time. Most nights, she'll lay down without argument. We tuck her Tasha into the crook of one arm and her Diego into the crook of the other arm. We put her Tinky Bear (lovey) on the pillow and cover her with a sheet while saying "night night, bella." Often she'll smile sweetly until you leave the room. That's when things can go either very well or horribly wrong. Tonight they went wrong and she cried for a good hour despite our efforts to soothe her. I plan to set up a real routine after we get back from travelling this weekend.

9. Vocabulary - sort of check. Bella's language skills are not as developed as her motor skills. She doesn't have many words but she's getting more every day. Today she began calling her sitter "Gahn" and her sitter's husband "Pa" - because the other children there call them Granny and Papa. She also learned "tah" which means "stop" and is recognizable by her hand in your face. Who knows where she picked up that little gem. :) In total, she says (sometimes clearly, sometimes her own version of) mama, dada, uh oh, byebye, hi, night, brother, hello, all done, this, stop, grandma, granny, pa, no and yes.

See? She's our own little phenom. :)


  • Sharon G

    Bella is amazing!!! I have always thought of her as one of the more advanced children on IV.

    My little monster might be able to count to 10, but she is also throwing her waffles on the floor right now, and finger painting her hair with yogurt!!! I keep telling myself that she is a budding artist!!

    Bella is wonderful, and so are you!!!!

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