Monday, August 22, 2022

3-6 Months Advanced Skills

I realized that in my write-up on my goals for 3-6 months, I forgot to mention the areas that my baby is ahead of that range. Here are some goals for older ages that she's been showing progress on.

Life Skills

I've previously mentioned that she can drink a little bit from a cup with help, but I've stopped offering her a cup for practical reasons. Besides that, there's a few other skills she's made a little progress on:

  • Feeds self with fingers. (6-9 months)
  • Uses technology for entertainment (6-9 months)
  • Pushes limb into clothes (9-12 months)

No, I haven't started her on solids yet, but she's started occasionally bringing toys to her mouth to chew on, which I take as a promising sign for future self-feeding.

Regarding use of technology, a few days ago she seemed to have a "lightbulb moment". I'd taken her out to play Pokemon Go and push her around in her stroller, and I'd sat down in the park to take a break. I took her out and put her on my lap, and as I was trying to catch a Pokemon, she decided to start touching my screen.

In response, I switched to an app designed for babies that covers the screen in a solid color and changes the color and plays a bit of music whenever the screen is touched. She's seen this app before and shown no interest, but this time, she seemed to understand that she could actually make something happen if she touched the screen. Physically, touching the screen was difficult for her, but she did succeed several times before she seemed to get tired and started fussing.

Lastly, pushing her limbs into clothes is something my mom started. Whenever she's dressing the baby, she'll put the baby's hand in the sleeve and say "push, push, push" while trying to encourage her to push her arm through. I decided to imitate this practice, and just recently, she's starting to try to actually push her arm through. She's not much help yet, but it's a start!

Motor Development

Here's some advanced motor skills she's shown some progress with:

  • Gets to sitting position (6-9 months)
  • Gets onto hands and knees (6-9 months)
  • Gets from sitting to crawling position (6-9 months)
  • Pulls body into upright position (6-9 months)
  • Grasps feet (6-9 months)
  • Controls fingers (6-9 months)
  • Pokes with index finger (9-12 months)

We regularly play a game where I hold her hands and help her to do sit-ups. On one occasion, she sat up just by flexing her abs when I wasn't helping her, but she has yet to repeat this feat. Similarly, she has once managed to lift her stomach off the ground by pressing her arms down during tummy time.

Technically, she hasn't managed to get into crawling position yet, but she does regularly transition from assisted sitting position to tummy time position, with the only assistance being a precautionary hand to make sure she descends in a controlled and non-painful manner. She flops forward, essentially folding herself in half, and then slowly wriggles her legs out and back.

We regularly help her stand up, either holding under her arms or, when we want to give her more of a challenge, just holding her hands. When she gets tired, her legs tend to buckle and she goes into a kneeling/W-sit position. This morning, apparently, grandma was playing this game with her while I was sleeping, and her legs buckled and she went down, and then she pulled herself back up to a stand.

Grasping feet is a side benefit of elimination communication. The potty position I put her in puts her feet right near her face, easy for her curious grabby little hands to reach. She's been trying to grab pretty much anything she can reach, so it's no surprise that she's been grabbing her toes when she's regularly put in a position that puts them so easily within reach. I think the reason this is rated as an older skill is because they're assuming that the child will first start grabbing their feet while lying on their back, and my baby certainly doesn't have enough abdominal strength to bring her feet within reach in that position yet.

Poking with her index finger occurred during the aforementioned first intentional use of mommy's phone. She wasn't consistent in her hand position, but she definitely seemed to be trying to isolate her index finger and touch the screen specifically with that finger, probably because that's how she saw me doing it when I was trying to catch a Pokemon. Fun fact - while I was pregnant, I read a study suggesting that regular exposure to touchscreen devices is associated with faster development of fine motor skills in infants and toddlers. I suppose this may be an example of that phenomenon.

In addition to that instance, I've seen her moving individual fingers independently on a few other occasions. She's been doing typing-like motions on surfaces occasionally lately. Her grandma does something similar when she's deep in thought (except she's actually typing - she thinks in text and sometimes subconsciously types her thoughts), so it could be imitative. Alternatively, it could simply be an exploration of her tactile environment and her fingers. Either way, it's pretty neat!


Here's some advanced communication goals I've seen progress on:

  • Holds books the correct way up and turns pages. [cloth or board books] (6-9 months)
  • Recognizes common household words. (6-9 months)
  • Responds to music by bopping up and down and/or turning in circles, swaying side to side, etc. (6-9 months)
  • Babbles "dada" and "mama". (6-9 months)
  • Imitates a large variety of speech sounds. (6-9 months)
  • First ASL signs using simple handshapes - c, a, s, 1, 5 (6-9 months)
  • Complies with simple requests such as "Give me". (9-12 months)

I have several different kinds of cloth books, and they're pretty much her favorite toys. I've attached a couple to her car seat, and she plays with them in the car. Well, yesterday I noticed she was trying to turn the page on one of her tactile books in the car, just like she sees me doing for her regularly. She didn't succeed, but I was still impressed. In my database the only goal related to turning pages was set to Kindergarten level, but I figured it was meant to apply to actual paper, so I made a lower-level version applying to cloth or board books.

It's hard to tell how much she understands, but at the very least, I'm pretty certain she knows when I'm asking if she's hungry and wants milk.

She loves music. Usually she just goes still and listens or does random excited movements, but yesterday morning she was moving her hand in time with Man the Cannons (a song she's heard a lot because I've been perseverating on it lately).

I've mentioned that she's starting to get a few consonants in her babbling. One of those consonants is 'm', so it's not surprising that she's accidentally said "mama" or variations on it a few times. Mostly when she's upset! She doesn't seem to use it meaningfully yet, though.

She has also started imitating speech sounds on rare occasions. The clearest example occurred when I had a bout of mastitis in July - I was pumping and saying "ow, ow, ow" because my breast hurt, and grandpa teasingly improvised a song about it, and then my baby said "ow, ow, ow" imitating his imitation of me.

I've mentioned that I thought she might be signing "hungry" in June, but I said she seemed to have stopped. Well, in the past couple days, she's started signing it again, and added "potty" and possibly "love" to her vocabulary as well. As remarkable as it is, I'm certain that at least "hungry" and "potty" are being used meaningfully, since when she signs them she usually has the need they'd imply.

Of course, she's not physically capable of doing the T handshape, so she's substituted A or C instead, but the position and movement are correct. "Love", meanwhile, she signs exactly like "more", but I haven't used "more" that much with her yet and she doesn't seem to be requesting anything but positive social interaction when she signs it. (I often sign that I love her while having smiley babbly conversations with her.)

It still feels really weird to say that I honestly think my 3 month old can sign to me, and even more so to say she started at 6 weeks of age. But apparently I'm not alone - Aidenofthetower at WeHaveKids apparently also had a child start signing at 6 weeks old! Interesting to note that their son also started by requesting food, though he signed milk instead of hungry.

And that's it for the advanced skills! We'll see how many of these she ends up mastering before the age of 6 months. 

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Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...

So happy to know that books are some of her favourite toys.

And the touching and the exploring.

I am reading a Dutch speech and language pathologist's blog called INTENTIONALLY BILINGUAL.

[THE SECTOR and PROSODY are also two good blogs].

A worker worth their salt WILL ask you what your child is good at and what opportunities they pursue on their own and with their loved ones/within relationships.

Six-week signing does not seem so very unusual to me.

Seems she is getting a lot of practice on vital fine motor skills as well as showing interest in the gross ones.

That Pokemon Go moment.

6:03 PM  

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