Saturday, February 18, 2023

9-12 Month Educational Goals

My baby is 9 months old now, so we've come to another checkpoint. Now I can officially say she's spent longer out of my womb than in it.

Life Skills


6-9 Months

Here's the goals from 6-9 months:

  • Getting a decent latch and sucking persistently until no longer hungry

  • Regulates quantity of foods consumed

  • Feeds self with fingers

  • Drinks from cup held to lips

  • Reaches for and picks up cup

  • Returns cup to table

  • Drinks from a straw

  • Can be spoon fed and swallow the food without gagging

  • Feeds self with spoon

I've pretty much given up on breastfeeding altogether. I feel like it's just getting harder, not easier, and it just makes me depressed and her mad at me when I try. I'm planning on having another bio kid and I'm pinning my dreams of breastfeeding on them now, and accepting that my first child will never be a breastfed baby.

Meanwhile, I'm marking "regulates quantity of food" consumed as mastered. We may need to revisit this in the future, but currently, I think she's doing pretty good at regulating how much she eats, with both milk and solids.

Speaking of which, she's eating solids now! And not just purees! I've marked finger self-feeding and ability to eat from a spoon as mastered, and she's working on feeding herself with a spoon.

Drinking from cups is another matter. I tried cup-drinking at 6 months, and she just wasn't going for it. So I let it go. At 8 months, however, I've introduced a sippy cup with a straw, and so far she's put her mouth on the straw in imitation of me and also thrown it around and generally explored it, but not really drank from it. So the cup-related goals are still ongoing.

9-12 Months

New goals in the area of eating:

  • Feeds self with fork

  • Opens packages, plastic wrappers and containers

  • Transfers materials with a spoon

  • Uses utensils to eat

She hasn't started on any of these yet. I do have a fork meant for small children, but I haven't offered it to her yet. She likes to play with chip bags and chocolate bar wrappers, but I've only offered her empty ones with supervision.

She is starting to open some containers, specifically the object permanence boxes she has. The first is one with a sliding top that can be slid out and replaced with other options (coin slot, circular hole or her favorite, which has five holes to wedge toy carrots in to make a carrot patch). She figured out pretty quickly how to slide the top slot out and grab things inside it. The other two (a ball one and a coin slot one) have the more classic sliding shelf design, which has been more difficult for her, but she's starting to figure it out now.

Regarding using utensils to eat, I'm interpreting this as being able to eat independently without having to touch her hands to the food at all, which is still pretty far off.


6-9 Month Goals

Here’s the 6-9 month goals:

  • Allows nose to be wiped

  • Wipes own nose on own hands or random objects

Nothing much to say here. She still hates me wiping her nose. She is getting a little better at wiping her own nose, but still not good enough to avoid the dreaded mommy nose wiping. She's also sometimes getting solids (especially purees) up her nose, and absolutely hates when I clean that out.

Advanced Skills

There's no new goals in this area, but there are some advanced skills!

  • Turns faucets off and on

  • Holds toothbrush to teeth

So, the turning faucets on and off started back when I was still doing the elimination communication hold over the sink. I often turned the water off and on - I’d wash her if her diaper was wet or messy, and after she peed or pooped in the sink as well. And then after a while I noticed she was more likely to pee if I ran water, so I’d do it to encourage a pee, too. As I mentioned above, the EC hold got less and less effective as she got older, but one side effect of it is that she’s had a lot of exposure to faucets turning on and off in front of her for quite awhile, and, well, she figured out the connection and has started attempting to turn them off and on herself.

This has continued with the transition to the potty, especially since the easiest way to put her diaper back on while we’re still in the bathroom is to sit her atop her diaper on the edge of the sink, run water for her to splash her feet in, and do the diaper up around her. Several times while I’ve been doing this she has attempted to turn the faucet on or off as well, though unfortunately she has to lean forward enough that it interferes with me dressing her when she tries this.

As for the toothbrush thing, one time while diapering her, I handed her an old toothbrush I haven’t used since she was born, and she started chewing on it. I was a bit concerned that the bristles might hurt her, especially if they broke off and she swallowed them, so I ordered a toothbrush meant for toddlers online, and she’s quite happy to chew on it as a distraction during diapering.


6-9 Month Goals

Here's the goals from 6-9 months:

  • Urinates in toilet

  • Voids bowels in toilet

She's been having a turnaround here. Just a couple weeks ago, I decided to buy a potty chair for her - specifically the Oxo Tot 2-in-1, which can be either a toilet attachment or a free-standing potty with a disposable bag attached.

Before then, I'd had a long while of barely catching any pees and absolutely no poops in the potty, and also her fighting being pottied pretty much every time. I'd also noticed that she'd started trying to crawl to the bathroom whenever I left her to go use the toilet.

Well, the potty has helped with both issues. Obviously she's no longer trying to crawl after me in the bathroom if I'm bringing her along to begin with, and she seems to really like sitting on her little potty looking at mommy on the big potty. And she's been inconsistent, but she has had some really good days where a lot of her pees were in the potty, as well as a couple times that she pooped in it.

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the new goals for toileting:

  • Only urinates in toilet

  • Only defecates in toilet

  • Goes to toilet unprompted to urinate or defecate.

Yep, full potty training. Well, sort of - I still expect she'll need help for quite awhile, and need to use diapers with grandma and grandpa, but I am hoping to start working towards eventually phasing out diapers. I've gotten undies for her that are just barely absorbent enough to hold one accident, which I put on her sometimes when I'm ready to be very on-the-ball about offering her the potty. I keep thinking about tossing them, because they're a bit small on her already and because whenever she poops in them it's impossible to remove them without getting her legs poopy.

But I do think they make her more aware of her accidents. Most notably, on several occasions so far, she's responded to having an accident in her undies by spontaneously heading towards the bathroom. So as much of a pain-in-the-ass it is to get her to wear those things, I do think they're actually helpful for potty training.


9-12 Month Goals

Now, we finally have dressing goals that are age-appropriate:

  • Pushes limb into clothes.

  • Removes socks.

  • Takes off/puts on hat.

I mentioned she'd started working on two of these skills early. She's gotten so good at removing her socks that I've switched to thigh-high socks most of the time to make sure her feet don't freeze - and she's also stolen a bootie off another baby in a mom & baby program we went to! She can't remove the thigh-high socks, and it takes her a lot of work to remove regular socks, so I wouldn't call this mastered.

As for pushing her limbs into clothes, she's usually been more inclined to fight against getting dressed, rather than cooperate with it, but just recently, she seems to be getting more cooperative with dressing and has started doing this sometimes. I think she's starting to realize being dressed has advantages, because she's also starting to ask me to dress her.

I also put a tuque on over her eyes recently to see her reaction and she removed it. But when I put it on correctly, she tried and failed to remove it and ended up crying until I took it off. She also often tries to remove her hood by pulling it downwards, which obviously is a frustratingly unsuccessful approach.

One thing I've been doing to help her practice this is tossing a blanket over her head. It started as a variation on peek-a-boo, but I read that the ability to extricate yourself from a blanket is also a precursor to self-dressing.

Also, I'm starting to wonder if she has some tactile sensitivity, since she hates socks and hats so much. Specifically she hates the separate garments that have to be tight to stay on, and is more tolerant of hoods and footed onesies. We'll see if this becomes a pattern, I suppose.

Advanced Skills

Here's some advanced dressing skills she's showing a little progress on.

  • Puts on shoes

  • Unzips

  • Assists in the removal of [clothes] by pulling [limbs] out of garment

She recently tried to put her foot in grandma's shoe. She's pulled her arm out of her onesie recently. It was a slightly oversized onesie, but still.

She also sometimes tries to unzip the pockets on the baby supply bag, and is sometimes successful.

Motor Development


6-9 Month Goals

Here are the goals she was working on at 6 months:

  • Pushes up on extended arms.

  • Attempts to kick a ball without standing.

  • Sits, supporting self with hands.

  • Sits without support for short periods.

  • Gets to sitting position without assistance.

  • Gets onto hands and knees.

  • Gets from sitting to crawling position without assistance.

  • Stands with support./Supports whole weight on legs.

  • Pulls body into upright position.

  • Climbing on or off of things.

Well, she's made drastic progress in this area. At 6 months, she was just starting to crawl by dragging her belly along the ground. Well, first she was getting into the upright crawling position to manipulate objects, and then she started pulling to stand by dragging herself somewhere, getting up into crawling position, and then pulling up on the object.

And then when she was 8 months old, I went to a program at the library where she met a 9 month old with an extremely fast belly off the ground crawl, and she decided that looked like a great idea and learned it within the next few days. She does have a bit of an awkward crawl because she tends to step with her left foot instead of placing her left knee on the ground, but it works.

She's also now freely transitioning between different positions, and pulling to stand and side-shuffling along furniture pretty much constantly. She's been sporting an endless succession of forehead bruises from the falls she's been having, but she's getting stronger and better coordinated.

Overall, the only two goals in this area that she hasn't mastered are the ones I added to capture unexpected things she was trying - kicking from a seated position and climbing on or off things. She's shown no interest in kicking balls lately. She has been working on climbing, though. Currently her favorite thing to climb is "Mount Mommy" - ie, me. She started out using my leg to transition from tummy to crawling position, but she no longer needs that help - now, she just climbs me out of affection, I think. I find it overloading, so sometimes I make like a cat and flee onto the couch when it gets too much.

9-12 Month Goals

In this segment, there are three goals she's mastered already:

  • Crawls on hands and knees.

  • Walks with assistance.

  • Walks holding onto.

I shared the tale of how she started crawling on hands and knees above. She's also readily able to walk with her hands or torso held by an adult, though she'd rather crawl.

And here's the new goals for her to work on in the next few months:

  • Stands upright without support.

  • Walks 2-3 steps without support furniture.

  • Rolls a ball to another.

She's stood independently for a few seconds on several occasions, but she doesn't have the balance to do it for long. She hasn't been very interested in balls lately, so I don't know how she's doing in that area.

Advanced Skills

Here’s a couple advanced skills.

  • Throws objects.

  • Demonstrate spatial awareness in physical activity or movement.

She’s just starting to throw things, and also starting to become aware of obstacles in her crawling path and move them away. Although she still does often obliviously bring toys along while crawling!

Hand Control

6-9 Months

Here's the hand control goals for 6-9 months:

  • Purposeful grasping and shaking of objects.

  • Reaching a hand across the center of their torso during intentional manual activities.

  • Transfers objects from hand to hand.

  • Purposefully grasps and releases objects.

  • Controls fingers.

  • Intentionally works with hands to manipulate objects.

  • Holds books the correct way up and turns pages. [cloth or board books]

She's definitely grasping and shaking objects now, but still struggles when the goal is to touch without grasping - such as plucking mandolin strings or petting cats, both activities she's very motivated to do. Non-grabbing hand activities have been getting more common, but she still mostly grabs.

She's actually been crossing the midline less lately because her gross motor skills are getting so good she doesn't really need to as much. However, she has been transferring objects from hand to hand really well. I've even been able to prompt her to do this while I'm getting her dressed, to hand the toy from the arm I haven't dressed yet to the one I have and free up her arms for dressing.

She hasn't shown much interest in turning pages lately, so there's no real progress on that particular item.

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the new hand control goals:

  • Prehension with pincer grip - small objects.

  • Pokes with index finger.

  • Holds large objects with arms.

  • Turns over container to pour out contents.

  • Uses technology for entertainment

She's been working on pincer grip while eating solids and also while grabbing random bits of garbage from the floor to try to eat, but it's still a work in progress.

She hasn't been poking much though. Her main context for doing that was with touchscreen devices, but lately it's hard to get her to focus on her tablet or my phone for more than a few moments without her trying to eat it. She's very focused on gross motor skills and chewing on things right now. Even with YouTube videos for children, she's often been clawing at the keyboard so much that we can barely watch anything. So technology isn't a big thing for her right now.

She's been turning over containers a lot. For solid containers she's pretty consistent at this, and she's working on doing it with cloth sacks as well.

She's also occasionally "helped" me carry things when I'm carrying both her and something else, but I'm doing most of the work still.


Hearing & Understanding

6-9 Month Goals

Here's the goals we were working on for 6-9 months:

  • Responds to changes in tone of voice. (L.H&U.5)

  • Responds to music by bopping up and down and/or turning in circles, swaying side to side, etc. (L.H&U.16)

  • Recognizes common household words. (L.H&U.12)

  • Recognize that signs produce meaning. (C.FS.K.1c)

  • Responds to "no" by briefly stopping activity and looking at adult. (L.H&U.14)

  • Copies physical movements involving the arms, hands, head, and face (VCSL 4)

  • Distinguishes facial expressions (VCSL 8)

  • Joint reference (ex: parent and child look at same object) (VCSL 9)

  • Responds to an adult "pointing" at something. (L.H&U.15)

So, she's definitely dancing to music by now, and grandpa keeps pointing out that she's sometimes dancing in time. (I don't have a good enough sense of rhythm to tell, personally.) I've marked this one as mastered.

Tone of voice I'm still uncertain about. There's been a number of instances where she's acted concerned when I'm upset or grandma is upset. But on the other hand, sometimes we'll be having an argument in her presence and she doesn't seem to care. She definitely likes child-directed speech, though*.

She definitely seems to understand what I'm saying sometimes, but her receptive language is still pretty limited as far as I can tell. She's mostly been showing signs of understanding English, but she did correctly pick the horse once when I said "uma" while she was playing the tablet app AIUEO Onigiri and it was asking her to read うま. I don't know if that was a fluke, but I have been talking in Japanese about her toy farm animals set a lot so she's definitely been exposed to that word.

I also suspect she recognizes some signs, but I'm not sure of that. She has been showing more interest in signing than she was before, but she's a very auditory-focused kid so it's easier to get her to look at signing videos if they have music.

She's still not responding to no, either spoken or signed.

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the new goals for the next few months:

  • recognise and respond to greetings, farewells, and introductions (CF-J 1-2)

  • Complies with simple requests such as "Give me". (L.H&U.13)

There's a new curriculum goal source here. I grabbed a bunch of goals from Japanese in the New Zealand Curriculum, one of which is CF-J 1-2 above. The way I handle languages in my curriculum database is to mark items based on whether they're relevant in each of the languages I'm looking to teach her. So far most of the items have been language irrelevant, but now we're getting into items that are actually affected by which language is being used, for which I'm going to mark basic mastery if she can do it in any language and full mastery if she can do it in all languages. So, the Japanese curriculum goals from the New Zealand document include some that are Japanese-specific and some that are just general linguistic communication stuff you can do in any language, and I've designated those as relevant for all languages.

Anyway, I think she recognizes "good morning, (name)" which I say to her most mornings when I'm getting her out of her crib, but otherwise she's still working on understanding greetings. She's also followed commands on a few occasions but doesn't do any of them consistently.

Advanced Skills

She’s showing several advanced skills in receptive language.

  • Can identify (by pointing) various body parts. (L.H&U.17)

  • Can identify (by pointing) objects in pictures and books. (L.H&U.20)

  • Recognizes own name

  • Enjoys signed stories and imitates the actions/facial expression of characters in the story

She definitely recognizes her own name, and knows that we’re talking to or about her when we say that name. This one I’m actually listing as mastered.

She is starting to get interested in signed story videos. For quite awhile, it’s been hard to get her to pay attention to any video where visual cues are more important than sound cues, and the best way to get her to watch signing has been videos of ASL/PSE interpretations of music. But she seems to be realizing now that signing is special and she should pay more visual attention when someone is signing.

Expressive Language

6-9 Month Goals

These were the goals for 6-9 months:

  • Babbling begins to resemble more mature speech and contains some consonants (p, b, m). (L.S.5)

  • Babbling includes a range of sounds and gaps which resemble phrases. (L.S.11)

  • Imitates a large variety of speech sounds. (L.S.14)

  • Laughs when seeing fingers approaching to tickle. (VCSL 16)

  • Choose from an array of preferred and non-preferred items? (CM4)

  • Nonverbally compares and contrasts qualities of two objects, actions or situations. (SCS-PC 42)

She's making lots of babbling noises, including p, b and m sounds, and sounds like she's chattering away in her own nonsense language, so the first two items are mastered.

She's still not consistent at imitating speech sounds, but she's been doing it more and more, so she's making definite progress.

She definitely is consistently reacting to approaching tickles. Grandpa likes to make a big production of "winding up the tickler" and getting his fingers moving and building the anticipation. She loves it and will shriek with glee.

She's just recently started making choices for clothing. If she grabs an article of clothing, she's generally more cooperative when I dress her in it. She's also been making choices sometimes regarding whether to wear diapers or undies. So far clothing is the only context she's been making choices.

She might be starting to compare a couple of her balls. I crocheted the exact same pattern in the same color but chose different stuffings (stuffing vs beans) and she sometimes seems puzzled as she feels these two balls. But there's very little sign of this behavior so far.

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the expressive language goals for 9-12 months. Since there's a bunch of them, I'm separating out the Montessori Scope and Sequence Speaking goals vs the Pragmatics Checklist goals. So, Speaking first:

  • Uses exclamations such as "uh-oh".

  • Says "mama" for specific person.

  • Begins to point at things with index finger.

  • Uses gestures to communicate (ex: come here)

  • Uses negative headshake alone

  • Has some recognizable words.

She's mastered saying "mama". Since November, I've been known as mom, mum-mum, mama, or mem-mem. Though her pronunciation is inconsistent, it's clear that she's talking about me when she says it - especially since one of the most common times she says it is when she's having a bout of separation anxiety. She also consistently calls grandma "amma" or "grrma", and she's starting to attempt grandpa ("umpa" or "bapa").

She's made clear gestures a few times. The funniest in my opinion is the one time she shook her head no. Grandpa was talking about her conversational turn-taking with him, and meanwhile I was getting her packed into her car seat and giving her a bottle of milk to settle her down. He tried to demonstrate it by making babbling noises at her, and she just shook her head in response. I felt like she was giving a clear message of "not now, grandpa, I'm having milk". Her most consistent gesture is touching hands to ask to be held.

She partially isolated her pointer once in response to Super Simple Songs' rendition of "Where is Thumpkin?" and once while using a tablet game. But as I've mentioned, she's been too focused on gross motor skills and chewing to play much with her tablet lately, and she hasn't really pointed at anything lately.

And now for the Pragmatics Checklist:

  • Blames others nonverbally

  • Interact nonverbally with others in a polite manner

  • Initiates a topic of conversation nonverbally

  • Ends a conversation nonverbally

  • Nonverbally makes apologies or gives explanations of behavior

  • States a problem nonverbally

  • Disagrees with others nonverbally

  • Compliments others nonverbally

  • Asks questions nonverbally to get more information or out of curiosity

  • Nonverbally compares and contrasts qualities of two objects, actions or situations

  • Identifies feelings nonverbally (I’m happy.)

  • Makes choices nonverbally

So, she hasn't mastered any of these yet, and most of these she hasn't shown any progress on yet. Honestly, in the process of copying out this list I removed several items that I think would be more appropriate for 12 months, and I might come to realize that others are too advanced - or possibly that it might just be impossible to do some communication functions nonverbally. But there's a few that she's showing progress on.

I already mentioned that she's starting to pick out her own clothing sometimes, so I'd count that as making choices nonverbally. Also, the above mentioned anecdote about her shaking her head also counts as an example of ending a conversation. She's also starting to show me objects in an apparent attempt to get me to comment on them, which is an example of initiating a topic of conversation.

I crocheted two balls for her using the exact same design in every way except for one change - one of them is stuffed with stuffing, the other with dried beans. She's starting to show an interest in the two balls together and may be starting to compare them, but it's not clear yet.

Advanced Skills

There’s several advanced skills she’s working on in this area.

  • Makes requests using 1-3 words

  • Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.

  • First ASL signs using simple handshapes (ex: c, a, s, 1, 5)

  • Complains using 1-3 words

  • Uses appropriate social rules such as greetings, farewells, thank you, getting attention using 1-3 words

So, yeah. I’ve mentioned her early signing quite a while back, and one of her first spoken words used communicatively was “hi”. She also uses her approximations of mom and grandma for both requesting and complaining purposes - for example when grandma is dressing her she’ll often say “amma” in a whiny tone to express her displeasure. And another often-used word is kitty, or as she says “kih-ih”.

Sensory and Science

Sensory Development

6-9 Month Goals

Here's the goals she was working on for sensory development for 6-9 months:

  • Eats food with varying textures. (GOT.G.1)

  • Begins to show preferences in the tastes of food. (GOT.G.2)

Both of these are mastered. She still doesn't have any teeth, which limits her food options, but she's basically able to eat anything that doesn't require a lot of crunching. She also has definite food preferences - she particularly banana, garlic bread, and peas, and hates apples.

9-12 Month Goals

So, the Montessori Scope and Sequence doesn't actually have any sensory development goals for this age range. But the Australian Montessori National Curriculum does, and here's the ones I'm tracking:

  • Gain impressions of colour, shape/form, weight, length, dimension, texture, taste, sound (0.SS.012)

  • Discriminate objects by sight (0.SS.021)

  • Discriminate objects by the sense of touch (0.SS.032)

  • Experience timbre, rhythm and beat (0.SS.041)

  • Identify objects by sound (0.SS.043)

  • Experience and identify different foods by smell, taste and sight (0.SS.051)

So, she's making good progress on some of these already. She has been recognizing bottles of milk by sight from a very young age, and since she's started solids she's also shown signs of recognizing bananas and garlic toast on sight.

I'm not great at music myself, but my dad is very musical, and he's constantly updating me on amazing developments in musical ability my baby has been showing. She loves listening to music, loves to sing and play musical instruments, and according to grandpa, she really seems to understand and respond to the musical structure of songs - moving or babbling in time to music, reacting to key changes, etc. So she's making definite progress on the goal of experiencing timbre, rhythm and beat.

Regarding discriminating objects by touch, I already mentioned the differently stuffed balls. In addition, in a recent bath, she seemed to be comparing the sound and feel of splashing the water as opposed to tapping against mommy, her floating bath book, and the side of the tub.


6-9 Month Goals

Here's the goals for 6-9 months in science:

  • Finds a partially hidden object.

  • Purposefully explores objects through shaking, banging, throwing, dropping, etc.

  • Reacts to anticipated future events.

She's mastered finding partially hidden objects and exploring objects through various actions, but she's still not consistent about anticipating future events. Maybe if I had more of a routine she'd develop this faster, but that doesn't work for me.

9-12 Month Goals

Here's the new science goals for this period:

  • Begins to associate names of objects with images.

  • Begins to use objects for their intended purpose.

  • Hides an object inside or underneath something, or puts it in a container.

  • Finds hidden objects.

She's been playing a lot with containers - putting things in and taking them out - so those two are emerging skills.

She doesn't seem to know what pictures represent yet though, but I have plans to work on that. I have some cloth flashcards of animals that came from the Livre et Jeux de Bain sets, and corresponding Fisher Price animals for several of them (mainly the farm and wild sets), and I'm planning to try some matching games with them.

I'm interpreting "begins to use objects for their intended purpose" as mostly being about playing pretend with toys designed to represent objects. She has plenty of toys like that, but currently she mostly plays with sensory exploration and physics experiments rather than pretend play.

Advanced Skills

There’s one advanced skill here.

  • Pairs identical pictures.

I don’t know if it was a fluke, but she’s occasionally answered correctly several times in a row on the first level of the app game AIUE Onigiri, which involves matching identical hiragana symbols.

*For those of you who haven't taken university courses on child development, child directed speech is the technical term for the particular way that people tend to instinctively talk to small children, with a high-pitched, animated tone and simple, clearly enunciated words.

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