Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Age Appropriate

Earlier this week someone mentioned that Hannah's actions I had described sounded very 'age appropriate' and it's stuck with me ever since.

Age appropriate.

How, as a mom, am I supposed to know what is age appropriate as far as Hannah's behavior and development is concerned?

Do I take her to playgroups and compare her to other children her age?

I tried that.
They made me out to be the freak with the crawling/walking baby and even went so far as to accuse me of lying about her age.
Not the best experience...

It would seem to me that a pediatrician would be a good person to ask about 'Age Appropriate' skills and behaviors, but we only see her every 3 months and I think the visits are going to begin to spread out to every 6 months.

...  so who do you ask?

Perhaps a book.

A book can tell me the stages of development and what is common in each stage.  But it seems a little dry and, frankly, the time I have to read is minimal at best.  The advice also isn't catered to Hannah, but to the masses.

I would expect that children in quality day care centers would receive periodic feedback on how their child behaves while in their care, and how 'normal' it is for their age.

But what if they're not in a daycare?

It seems like there should be a baby whisperer that I can go to and let them observe Hannah exploring a room full of toys.  I'd like feedback as they watch her grab every stuffed animal/ball/random item she can possibly hold on to with her little hands.  I'd like to know if I should apologize to the child's mom when Hannah steals another kid's toy.  And what about this slapping thing she's gotten in to?  Is it just a matter of frustration and is giving her a stern "no ma'am" the best way to handle it?

Don't you think that parents should get more help in raising their children WELL?
I'm all for mom's groups and playdates, but with all the misinformation and throw back advice from older generations, I think more parents would benefit from periodic one on one discussion with a real professional.
I feel that it is my job to make sure Hannah grows into the bright, sweet little girl she has the potential to be, and because it's such a monumental task - I'm not above asking for input.   EDUCATED input.

You'd think that a preschool teacher or long term nanny would become a sort of baby consultant.

So I did some googling.
(I love Google.)

Search "Baby Development Consultant"

  • One of the top responses is the website of Sara Shaw M.S. MFT.  She is a social emotional develoment consultant, but it states right on her main page that the population she serves is children that are facing changes in their home life such as divorce or difficulty at school.  She does have a page of links to helpful articles that I'll be looking through:
Since most of my results seem to be geared towards treatment and evaluation AFTER a problem is apparent, I switched my search to:

"Encouraging Healthy Baby Development Consultant" and this caught my eye:
DayOne || Parent Classes & Workshops 
Taught by an experienced sleep consultant, the workshop covers a baby's ... massage helpsbabies to sleep better, reduces fussiness, promotes healthy ... “How can I help my child'slanguage development, motor skills and social development? ... Promote eye coordination, muscle tone and strength; Encourage spontaneity ...

It seems that the DayOne center in California has parenting classes that cover INTERESTING topics such as Finding a Presechool, Writing a Will or Trust, Photography Tips, Introducing Solids, Pumping and my favorite - DEVELOPMENTAL PLAY.

THIS is the type of interaction I'm {kindof} looking for.
I'd prefer more one-on-one, but mainly I'm looking for classes for parents that want to be proactive in teaching & raising their children instead of court mandated programs that are focused on treatment instead of prevention.

DayOne is not local so I'll have to search for something similar in the Portland, Oregon area, but it's a start.

I took all these classes before Hannah was born - breastfeeding basics, WEEKS of childbirth classes, CPR and first aid, etc etc etc.  Most were geared towards preparing for that ONE day of labor (or days and days in my case), But once Hannah actually GOT HERE I'm just expected to know it all.

We read and prepare so much to understand the 9+ months that we're pregant, and focus so much energy on the delivery, but shouldn't it be the next 18 years that we really prepare for?

Having a beautiful labor and delivery is a wonderful goal,
but if I had to choose
I'd rather have a csection and be a fabulous parent.



  1. I have been a full time nanny for the past 11 years. I have helped raise a total of 15 children not counting all of the babysitting and family experience. As for schooling, I have taken many child development and child psychology courses. I now have my own 8.5 month old twins. With all of that experience, the one main thing I've learned is that there is no "normal". Normal is a range of what most children should be doing by a certain age and that spectrum is huge. Most will not even begin testing for a developmental delay until after 2 years of age. Too much information makes us crazy. A good child development book can give you a good overview of what should be expected, other than that trust your instinct. If your child seems happy and is developing consistently you have nothing to worry about.

  2. I am currently attending school for early childhood development. I have also grown up with many children around me and had been a babysitter for many years. I also worked with all the age groups in a childcare program for many years as well. I have a 4 month old daughter that is considered to advanced for her age. The only advice I can give you is that age development is taught to all Drs and Teachers in a very vague way. The only way to know that someone knows what they are talking about is their past experience with that age group and how many children that have worked with. If Hannah is anything like my daughter is, she is advanced in some areas and not in others. I think if she is hitting milestones labeled within a few months of what is considered to be normal than Hannah is just perfect.

  3. Did the term "age appropriate" stick with you because perhaps you felt/feel that Hannah is "advanced" for her age? And so hearing that she was just "age appropriate" made you feel that perhaps she wasn't so "advanced" after all? Just a thought. Could be totally off base, but I get that vibe from you a lot during your YT videos.

  4. While Hannah seems to be advanced in areas of gross motor skills (as evident by the crawling and walking at an earlier than average age), she doesn't have as much social interaction as children in daycare or those with either siblings or multiple playdates a week. She attends gymboree once a week and, again, has no problems with the physical aspect, but I'm not sure where she falls in her social development. I'm not sure if her interaction with other children is 'age appropriate' or not.

    I think that fine and gross motor skills are very easy to assess based on developmental milestones, but social interactions and development are much harder to gauge. Plus, I don't think any parent wants their kid to be viewed as the mean/bossy/greedy kid on the playground, but at this early of an age, I'm pretty sure the expectations for sharing and selflessness are still low. But maybe not!

    I think it's probably easy for you to get that 'vibe' since the majority of my videos are either about ME or Hannah. I think she's a great little girl and have very few 'bad' things to say about her, so yes - I talk about her in a very positive light. She's my baby! :)


  5. I'm so sorry that your playgroup made you feel so awkward about Hannah's progress. The strange thing is Carla if you look at the ones really pointing the fingers I would guess that half are probably 1st time parents. And the reason is simple they only have that one child to compare it to. Its not really their fault, its just a fail on the "I don't have enough data to make a call" I have 3 children. My son, Lee walked at 10 months, our daughter, Peyton running full steam ahead at 11 months and well, Piper is only 13wks and we'll see. I honestly don't know what the huge deal is on the whole "my kid started walking, talking, writing and reading at so & so age" is all about. Don't dwell in it..enjoy every moment. Cause in about 5 yrs its going to be irrelavant to when she started walking. Encourage her to grow into a beautiful, creative and productive human of this amazing earth and thats where you'll find the true success of reaching developmental milestones for your sweet little lady.

  6. and oh, by the way I think your a SUPER MOM and Hannah is one SUPER LITTLE GIRL! Keep up the amazing job, Mom!

  7. I SO agree! Our preschool invites speakers several times a year to give talks on various parenting and development issues. They're usually great talks that are very informative. This being our 5th year there, I finally asked myself "Who are these speakers?" I found out one of them actually identifies herself as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and Parenting Coach (and a mom of 4 grown children herself). What a great idea! I started thinking, if my husband can spend time and money on a personal trainer every week, why couldn't I/we hire a parenting coach to help us do the best job we can at the most IMPORTANT job we'll ever have?! I mean we go to college for 4 or more years and often don't feel fully prepared for (or even like) our money-making jobs. What's more important than our kids? And why would we think parenting was so simple we could just wing it? Seriously!

    Of course, much of parenting is based on your personal values and beliefs and you have to make certain judgements or decisions that others can't tell you are right or wrong. But it sure can be nice to talk to someone with a lot more experience and even education in the parenting arena. There are lots of other parents out there willing to give advice, but I think talking to someone that does this for a living and has some specific training in this field makes a lot of sense. My friends and family (well, some of them) are great resources when I'm faced with parenting challenges, but a Parenting Coach can be much more objective and doesn't have to spare my feelings. It's kind of like having an hourlong session each week with Supernanny. You can ask questions like: "What am I doing wrong (or right!) here?" "Is this normal?" "Is this a reasonable limit to set?" "How can my partner and I improve the way we parent as a team?" The list goes on and on!

    Maybe a personal Parenting Coach isn't right, or affordable, for some families. But I definitely believe that getting some parenting advice that is more personal and specific than a book can ever be, is a hugely worthwhile investment!

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