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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Healthy

Today there is a video addition to an older post looking at life's milestones. There's age 13 and becoming a teen, there's age 16 and getting your driver's licence, there's 21, drinking, and 65, retiring, and . . . and then there's one of the most important milestones — three months. Yes, three months is a milestone.

Check this short, 40 second video of Fiona at three months. Watch her eyes grow as she twigs to the fact that she and mom are about to play a game and then see the laughter from the fun. If you're a parent, there are certain very important things you look for as your baby hits the three month mark. A baby's laugher indicates good health and is just one more reason why it makes a parent laugh with joy.

video

Motor skills: At first Fiona was a Wobbly Head. But little ones are exercise crazy and all that vigorous stretching and by three months all that kicking and stretching is beginning to pay off.  She is beginning to hold her head high, putting her Wobbly Head days behind her.

Vision: Most newborns focus best on objects about 12 inches away, or the distance to mom's face during a feeding. But by age three months, according to the experts, Fiona is ready for art. The experts agree that Fiona is ready to appreciate more complex stuff, like intricate, geometric Navajo designs in rich earth-tones. Her preference for a big, beautiful red painting done by a friend in Montreal is real. I am not imagining things. (Whew!)

Hearing: Even newborns respond to loud noises; They blink, act startled, even frown. But today Fiona responds with noticeable discernment. She smiles — a relaxed, contented smile — especially when mom or dad are speaking.

Communication: At three months communication skills are definitely non-verbal but they are there nevertheless. There is a new tone to the cries, the coos. One best pay attention or soon the tone will take a nasty turn and Fiona gets downright insistent: "Now, listen up!"

When pleased the little queen will measure out a smile and if bored with the present company she will decide to entertain herself by blowing bubbles. Waving hands and wiggling feet can be quite captivating. If you are going to hold Fiona's attention you've got to prove yourself a more interesting companion than her ten toes. This is not as easy as it sounds.

Who would have thought that the ability to savour the pleasures of bubble blowing would be an indication of healthy development?

Which brings me back to the walks I take with Fiona down the hall. The experts say simple conversation, and my conversation with Fiona can be as simple as they come, lays the groundwork for language development. Describing sights, smells and sounds around the house is good. Fiona may not understand a word but she is a sensitive little thing and can pick up stuff from just the tone of your voice. (I've actually used a firm tone to ask her to stop crying and she has stopped. I immediately headed for the hallway and the art to reward her good conduct.)

Which brings us to the flip-side of all this. Babies reach developmental milestones at different ages but by three months one should consult the baby's doctor if any of the following red flags are flying:
  • No improvement in head control
  • No attempts to lift the head when lying facedown
  • Extreme floppiness
  • Lack of response to sounds or visual cues, such as loud noises or bright lights
  • Inability to focus on a caregiver's eyes
  • Poor weight gain
 Like I said, Fiona has passed some important milestones.  :-)

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