Your twelve-month-old baby

by Julie Snyder

birthday girlHappy birthday, baby! Such a sweet, precious face full of curiosity and love! She has lots of energy and is always on the go.

Hey, wait...where are you? Come back here so I can cuddle you!

That little, snuggly newborn has turned into a totally animated, toddling ball of energy, learning from the world around her! Watch out world, here they come!

Social and emotional development

baby feeding selfHe's becoming increasingly independent. He can feed himself and tries to dress himself. Taking off hats and socks is simple for him; putting them on is quite another story. He still needs your help with this task.

If your baby is with another child of the same age, she will watch the other child. If that baby picks up a block and examines it, she will pick one up. The babies may play side by side but they probably won't interact except to mimic one another.

Some typical behaviors such as hitting, not sharing and picky eating are normal.

Language development

what's that?She understands a lot more words than she can say. While a dozen words is the norm, she could be saying anywhere between three and a hundred. Unfair as it might be, most babies most don't say mama yet, but will say dada, baba and call for the cat and dog. Almost enough to give mom a complex!

When she is telling tell you a totally incomprehensible story, interspersed with a few real words, just listen politely and reply. It's the talking, not the content that's important. She is open for help with words. When she names an object and looks at you for approval, you can say, "Yes, that's car." Often she'll mimic you and gradually her pronunciation improves.

Has she begun to play "wot dat?"

Cognitive development

Here's my tummy!Curiosity is the main drive of your little one, from the smallest fuzz on the carpet to the older siblings running through the house. What can you do when curiosity leads her into danger?
• Interrupt the dangerous activity
• Divert the baby's attention
• Reaffirm your connection with a hug
• Redirect activity in a new direction

If this is a common occurrence, you might try offering an advanced warning. Perhaps holding your hand palm out and shaking your head can signal that if she continues, you will have to redirect. Some babies respond well to a heads-up.

She is demonstrating her new understanding by sorting things according to size, color or some other attribute. An amazing accomplish! She is learning where different parts of her body are and might even be able to name some of them. "Where is your nose?" "Oh."

Large motor skills

first stepsHe may have now taken or is about to take first steps. If he's still crawling contentedly don't worry. Each child develops on his on time line. Those first steps have wide gait for stability and he literally does toddle from side to side as he walks.

When in a hurry, especially if chasing after a sibling or pet, he may drop down on all fours. At this point crawling is faster and easier. He's been growing taller. One fun way to explore size is crawling through tunnels. You can make your own of cardboard boxes tapes together.

If she's walking, introduce her to a sit-on push toy. Make sure it's stable and low enough that she can get on and off by herself. Get her a sturdy child-sized chair that's wide enough to crawl into and turn around. She'll enjoy practicing sitting.

Another fun game? Roll a beach ball down an incline or bounce it off a wall. She'll gleefully chase after it.

Fine motor skills

She loves to experiment and mealtime with its food is no exception. She'll dip her fingers into apple sauce and smear it onto her tray. She'll slap the squash hunks. At the same time, she is learning to feed herself. You can confine the mess by putting a bib or hand towel on her and an old shower curtain under her chair. Stand back and enjoy.

shape puzzleNew ability this month -- he can put together simple shape frame puzzles. The same dexterity allows him to take lids off containers and open cabinet doors.

Do you wonder if she's left handed or right handed? She may show preference for one hand. Try placing a toy in front of her. Does she always reach with her right hand? If so place that toy to the left and see if she reaches way over there to get it with her right hand. Yes? Chances are, that is her dominant 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

Enjoy your animated toddler. Her growth will slow down. Will development? No! By 2 years, your toddler will be able to run, talk, jump, use a fork, sing a song, speak in sentences, scribble on paper, solve complex problems, pretend and a lot more! Expect the next year to be amazing, too!

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