Your ten-month-old baby

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by Julie Snyder

making a silly faceYour little one seems to be heading on warp speed to his first birthday!

New skills, new words, and new moves towards independence all weigh in heavily this month.

Teasing and discovery go hand in hand. Does she head for the off-limits garbage can while watching your reaction?

At times you may think she's trying to discover ways to tease you!

Social and emotional development

Noises and situations that were fine last month might frighten him this month. A siren, the vacuum or thunder might be scary. Reassure him with a hug and explain the noise. "Gee, that siren makes a loud noise! The ambulance is hurrying to help a sick person. The noisy siren tells cars to move out of the way."

upset babyHe gets angry and expresses it -- sometimes in howls; sometimes in tantrums. Your job is helping him gain control. Here are some possible tantrum triggers and solutions:

• Is he hungry? Offer a snack.
• Is he frustrated that he can't do it? Teach him how.
• Does a certain situation trigger anger? What can you change?
• He can't have something? Use empathy and distraction.

Language development

"Mama" and "Dada" seem to be more clearly connected to their proper owners now. She can say "Da-da" but it maybe be a couple more months before that elusive "m" sounds appears. He'll wave bye-bye, and maybe even say it when someone is leaving. She can say no or emphatically shake her head. When it is necessary for you to discourage a dangerous action, instead of "no," try to use words like "hot" "tastes bad," and "stop," instead.

Cognitive development

He will look for something if he sees you hide it. Encourage your baby to join in the common family game, "Where is the Remote?" Put the remote on the couch. With him watching, cover it with a cloth napkin and ask, "Jack, where is the remote?" If he is puzzled, give him a glimpse and cover it, and ask again. When he finds it, clap and exclaim, "Yay! Jack found the remote!" Soon he will hide it under the napkin for you to find and will clap and cheer when you're successful.

He knows which toys belong to him, and has some favorites. If a toy isn't in sight, he knows that it isn't gone forever. His awareness of self is extending to know if he's a boy or a girl.

Large motor skills

holding momma's legsNew moves -- that's the only way to describe the actions of a 10-month-old. She can get up and down, pivot, turn, go forwards and backward and squat to pick up a toy. Especially at diaper changing time you may be treated to a gymnastic performance of flipping and wriggling.

Your baby may be pulling up and taking those tentative first steps ever more steadily along the couch. From there, she gets down by falling...to a sit. She can even take a few steps holding your hand.

Onward and upward! She climbs and may find herself stranded because she doesn't know how to get down. You may choose to gate off most of the stairs, just leaving a couple for practice.

Fine motor skills

face full of oat-eo'sHis pincer grasp getting better, but he may not have index-and-thumb-only pincer grasp perfected until he is a year old.

He is getting much better at pointing and poking with that index finger -- both to explore an object or to explore a tiny hole. She's also discovering how to fit smaller objects into larger ones, which makes stacking cups a lot of fun. Add your nested measuring cups to her drawer in the kitchen.

A new skill this month: She is now the princess of multitasking -- she can hold a toy in one hand doing something different with the other hand.

Note: These milestones may first appear this month. It's normal for them to happen later. Worried your little one isn't developing normally? Check out these developmental red flags.

The big picture

While she's growing more slowly and may be eating less, her desire for discovery certainly hasn't slowed! She's still using her mouth to explore. No matter how safe your home is, chances are she's going to pick up and chew on something you'd rather she didn't. Teach her the "Ahhhh Game." Stick out your tongue and say ahhhhh. She'll copy! Since she knows this game you'll be able to check what is in her mouth without frightening her.

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