We are frantically working on gross motor skills at the moment with Ariella, now she’s back on full form we took her for a walk through Wisley gardens over the weekend. I had planned to take her to a messy play session but I double booked our shopping delivery over the time slot – doh! I have no idea how I managed to do that given that it was in my calendar and I’m usually quite good with these things! We decided to just take the Tula carrier in case Ariella did get tired, we’ve never tried walking her that much and really until now she’s not been coordinated enough to walk for extended periods of time.
To make it easier for Ariella I wanted somewhere with flat paving and we walked with her (one of us each holding a hand) all the way around. We picked her up a couple of times when she seemed to be getting more wobbly but she did quite a few long walking sessions like this and she was suitable knackered by nap time. In addition to these walks we are still taking her swimming each week as well as weekly hydrotherapy swimming sessions to help her with mobility. Swimming is really beneficial to children with hypermobility – the connective tissue is much more pliable and stretchy. Gentle exercise is recommended and swimming puts less pressure on the joints while strengthening muscles, control and balance so is ideal.
During swimming on Sunday Ariella did a mixture of proper swimming in deep water and also toddling in the shallow areas. We are lucky that we have a children’s splash style leisure pool with slides and fountains, a wave machine and lots to look at rather than a plain pool. This weekend she was walking in the water holding hands very well, it was lovely to see and she looked quite confident. We didn’t have as much stress getting her dressed either, she still screamed a lot but I think keeping everything routine seems to help. We try to go to the same changing cubicle area, put our things in the same or near locker and keep the routine of getting her into her costume the same. Over the last few years since Ariella was born we’ve done a variety of swim classes with her from the main stream branded classes with Waterbabies to more structure children’s swimming (with less rhymes) to hydrotherapy. She’s very happy in the water and confident, it’s really just getting her ready for the job that can be more challenging.
It’s useful to take a few paid for lessons so that you know how to hold toddlers in the pool, how to get the maximum benefit of their swim time and make it feel like playing for them. Pool toys are great, I’ve bought some for our holiday as I’m hoping that we will be able to swim with Ariella a lot you can pickup something like these flip toys for your holiday. These teach children to blow bubbles to flip them, something that you can do anyway while swimming in front of them.
Following on from our walk yesterday, today we decided to go to a park and leave both the Stokke Xplory and Tula carrier at home. We wanted to give Ariella as much opportunity to walk for herself so we held her hands and accepted that it was going to take much longer than normal (with a few pick ups). This would have been impossible when she was unwell with her dragging leg as she just didn’t have any balance at all. The last week we’ve really noticed quite a difference some of the lovely things we’ve picked out particularly are:
- Talking to her new Monkey, making him wave his arms, clap his hands, walking him
- Touching her own body parts and naming them.
- Understanding the concept of self – every couple of months I put some lipstick on Ariella’s head in the mirror to see if she realises that is there. It’s used to identify awareness of self in children, they realise that they are looking at themselves and that something is different. Today Ariella realised the lipstick was on her head and went to touch it, we asked her what she was looking at and she said “Me”.
- Playing with her toys more in an imaginative way
- Showing an interest in colouring, putting the pens back in their pot
This is really promising as many of these are “cognitive and social” development milestones for eighteen month olds and if so that means that cognitively and socially Ariella is catching up slightly and closing the gap. We are doing a lot of work with her daily to try to aid this and I hope that it continues to be the case. Hopefully with more time focusing on walking we might be able to bring the Gross motor up to this eighteen month milestone mark also, it would be lovely to see her walking by March.
The following snippet is taken from the CDC website.
What most babies do by this age:
Social and Emotional
- Likes to hand things to others as play
- May have temper tantrums
- May be afraid of strangers
- Shows affection to familiar people
- Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
- May cling to caregivers in new situations
- Points to show others something interesting
- Explores alone but with parent close by
- Says several single words
Says and shakes head “no”
- Points to show someone what he wants
Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, brush, spoon
- Points to get the attention of others
- Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed
- Points to one body part
- Scribbles on his own
- Can follow 1-step verbal commands without any gestures; for example, sits when you say “sit down”
- Walks alone
- May walk up steps and run
- Pulls toys while walking
- Can help undress herself
- Drinks from a cup
- Eats with a spoon
We have been experiencing quite a bit of gagging on food lately, most meals there is a risk of vomit. We’ve left it a little while to rule out illness but it’s still happening so I’ll need to go flag it up with the doctor next week. I want to discuss a NHS referral for occupational therapy anyway, although I have been told the wait list is really very long so I am looking into private options. But it’s worth checking with the doctor first to confirm what the wait times really do look like. Occupational therapy would help with developing fine motor, sensory and may possible help with the gagging on food but it depends what is causing that.
I decided to buy Ariella a Groclock sleep trainer, sometimes she wants to wake up lately very early and asks for breakfast. Although I don’t know whether it will work yet or whether she might need to be older I thought that this would be a good way to try to teach Ariella when bedtime starts and ends. You set the time and the time you want to be “wake up”, each night you set it to go and the little stars slowly disappear. Once all the stars have vanished and the sun will come up, letting Ariella know when it’s time to wake up. I’ll let you know how this goes, she does know what a star is so that’s helpful!
The clock came after Ariella was asleep thanks of Amazon Now! I’ll give it a go tomorrow night, the little lady is suitably tired from both days of walking. Today she did swimming and walking so extra tired, not a single sound has been heard from her since bed time. Lets hope she doesn’t have us up at 5.30am again tomorrow!