For our second Parents as Teachers Home Visit, any anxiety from before our first visit was replaced by excitement. Don’t get me wrong, we still straightened up to welcome our Parent Educator, but this time around I knew what to expect: informal playtime with developmental tasks and questions mixed in.
However, there were a few differences this visit. First, my husband was there. It was really fun to have him participate. He helped ask and answer questions about Baby’s development and was happy to see what these home visits were all about. He loved that the visit was totally informal yet still really informative.
The second change was that we completed Baby’s one-year-old evaluation. The 12 Month ASQ-3 Information Survey (aka a developmental questionnaire) also counted as his initial development assessment, something our Parent Educator needed to complete within 90 days of our first home visit.
We spent most of the visit working through the survey. Our Parent Educator worked through the assessment, giving Baby different tasks to complete to test his communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social skills. She also checked in with us about my responses to a social-emotional survey that I completed after our first home visit. From Baby’s perspective, it was playtime!
Baby showed excellent signs that he was understanding what we said to him. When asked, “Do you want up?” he crawled over to me, pulled up on my legs, and put his arms in the air (his half of the cue to be picked up). He’ll also respond to “come to Mama” and play peek-a-book with his curtains. We’re still working on waving hello and bye-bye, clapping, and playing So Big!
It’s awesome that he’s starting to follow directions (when he wants to). Next Baby should start communicating when he wants something by pointing to it, like when his sippy cup is out of reach on the table. Until he reaches that milestone, we’re continuing with the trial and error method in our attempts to interpret his whines.
Verbally, Baby scored points for making two-similar sounds (“na-na”), but his overall speaking skills could still use some practice. His next talking milestone will be saying three words with consistent intention (i.e. Mama, up, no). We’re taking bets on what those first three words will be. Any takers?
Gross Motor Skills
Baby flew through demonstrating his gross motor skills. He iwa able to bend down to pick up an object and return to standing while holding on to something for balance. He also sat down from standing relatively gracefully. He cruised around furniture while only holding on with on hand.
Baby scored points for walking alone, yet he skipped right over taking steps with someone holding both or just one of his hands. This is on par with him not clapping, waving, or playing peek-a-boo with his hands. He hates it when I try to move his arms or hands for him, so the puppeteering method for teaching new things doesn’t work so well. Hopefully he’ll learn to like walking while holding my hand, otherwise parking lots are going to become very difficult in our near future. Baby is definitely going to be that kid on a leash.
Fine Motor Skills
Baby mastered his pincer grasp! It could be a result of eating cheerios and other finger foods, but I’m guessing it’s mostly from his love for loose strings and fuzz from various dog toys found all over the house. His other fine motor skills included throwing a ball and turning the pages of a book. He kept flipping back to the picture of a dog in our Parent Educator’s book. Go figure. (We’re pretty sure “puppy” is going to be one of his first 10 words.)
Side note: I’ve seen many parents who seem to have mastered teaching their toddlers not to put icky things in their mouths, but Baby has had selective understanding when it comes to this direction. I asked our Parent Educator about it and she said that it’s just developmental and he’ll grow out of it when he’s around 18-months-old, after which he’ll still probably check out new and exciting things with his mouth. Until then, I’ll just continue to keep a look out for choking hazards and truly disgusting things (like dog food and shoes).
Many of the problem solving tasks were things that I had never thought to challenge Baby with before, like banging two toys together (he wouldn’t do this one yet) or figuring out how to get a Cheerio out of a clear bottle. Baby rocked playing with the Cheerio and figured out how to put the it back in the bottle, too, which is a 14 month old skill. He’s so advanced.
Scribbling was also on this list, something I hadn’t thought Baby would be ready for yet. Using a jumbo crayon, she would ask Baby to scribble while showing him what “scribble” meant, and then gave him a crayon. It went directly to his mouth instead of the paper every time. I’m pretty sure that’s out da Vinci got started, too.
The last problem solving task was to drop two small toys, like wooden blocks, into a container one after the other. I’m not quite sure what makes this a problem solving task, but I appreciate the life skill of teaching Baby how to put his toys away.
This category basically confirmed that Baby is growing into a little human being. When I hold out my hand and ask for a toy, he will offer it and (usually) let go. When I change his clothes he will help push his arm through a sleeve (kind of), but he still needs to learn to help with his feet. He will throw or roll a ball back to me so that I can then give it back to him (the beginnings of playing catch, but it’s actually more like fetch).
The question in this section that surprised me was when our Parent Educator asked if Baby plays with a doll or stuffed animal by hugging it. No, but he’ll happily try to eat it’s tail, ears or feet. Does that count? This led us to talk about Baby’s budding imagination. I learned that I should model imaginative play by hugging and pretending to feed stuffed animals or dolls and making vrooming noises when playing with cars. I’m not the most creative when it comes to imaginative play, so I appreciated the suggestions. Any others are welcome!
Baby scored “above the cutoff” in every category, which means his development appears to be on schedule in every area, yet some scores were higher than others. He rocked at gross motor and fine motor development, but was less stellar at problem solving, communication, and personal-social skills.
The other options were “close to cutoff,” which means that parents should provide learning activities and monitor the skill, or “below the cutoff,” where further assessment with a professional may be needed. One of the awesome things about Parents as Teachers is that if any baby scores below the cutoff, they will provide the additional help from a professional for free.
While Baby was developmentally on track, we still had some homework to help him continue to grow. The biggest things we needed to practice are banging two blocks together, stacking two blocks on top of each other, scribbling, pretend play, pointing, and talking. One thing that our Parent Educator said that stuck with me was that one of the best things we can do to help Baby developmentally is to talk to him. Talking is super simple, incredibly effective, and free.
Our Parent Educator doubled as a baby forecaster when she told us the skills on Baby’s horizon. By around 18 months, he should be able to use a spoon, and we should start practicing this with him now so that he has lots of time to get the hang of it. Baby may lose his clothing privileges during these practice meals. Verbally, Baby should be able to say 10-20 words with intention when he’s around 18-months-old, and from 18-20 months it may seem like he’s learning to say a new word everyday.
Soon after Baby gets the hang of walking, he will be running and climbing. We learned that there is no way to stop this monkey business, so the best thing we can do is provide him with a safe place to climb and tumble.
So many changes in so little time. Baby’s first year has flown by, yet his newborn days feel like they were so long ago. I miss the days filled with cuddles, but I love this active phase so much more. It will be a sad day when Baby drops his morning nap, but I can’t wait for all of the adventures the year will bring.
What milestones did your baby reach at 12-months-old? What were their first words?
It’s amazing how fast that year goes by and how much they grow and develop during that short window of time!
Keep on growing cute baby boy!
I love the Parents as Teachers program! It is such a great resource!
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The first year of an infant’s life is remarkable… the developmental changes are miraculous to observe. Is ASQ – Ages and Stages Questionnaire? If so, we used to use that in child care and it was one of my favourite developmental checklists because it really relied on parents working with the educators to complete the assessment.
Thanks for sharing. You have a one year old?! It’s stunning.
Wishing you well.
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