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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The only constant in life is change.

For sharing family photos, Facebook is good but I find it cluttered. I share images quickly by including them in blog posts. The picture of Fiona at the end of this post was downloaded within minutes of hitting the Net.

But the speed at which we share stuff today is not today's story. Today we look at milestones and the changes I've noticed in Fiona. I checked the Internet and discovered . . .

Motor skills: At first Fiona was a "Wobbly Head." But little ones are exercise crazy and all that vigorous stretching and kicking quickly pays dividends.  At three months she holds her head high, her Wobbly Head days are 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 smilesa relaxed, contented smileespecially whenever mom or dad are speaking.

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

When pleased the little queen will measure out a smile and if bored she will 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.

(This makes me think of a picturea close-up of her little lips, so perfectly formed, pursed, puckered and blowing bubbles. Could be beautiful.)

Which brings me back to our walks down the hall. The experts say simple conversation, and mine 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 sensitive and picks 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 to view the art on the walls and to reward her for 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.

Update: Fiona at 21-months

Milestones are still being reached and passed. "You go, girl!"

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