We’ve all seen or experienced it; mums “competing” with each another. For mums, especially new mums, there is always that worry of “is my kid ‘normal’?” especially when all the other mums in the playground boast of their youngster’s latest accomplishments (standing, walking, rolling over, smiling… the list goes on and on). The conversation in the playground can get spirited but before Team Mummy gets fed up, takes her toys and heads off, she needs to remember a few things…
All these “competitions” are based on a baby’s developing motor skills. Trying to achieve the next milestone. But WHY?
WHO WINS? Every child (with the exception of those with medical issues) will walk, roll over etc. at some point. But, will those who take their first steps first be the ones to achieve great things later in life? Would Obama and Steve Wozniak have been the winners in this walking competition? Most probably not!
INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE BACKS IT ALL UP! Every infant goes through 10 predictable mental development leaps in their first two years. With each leap the baby / toddler is able to perceive things he never perceived before. With each leap a whole new world of new things to explore reveals itself to the baby.
When it comes to what a baby does and on what timescale, it’s up to your baby to pick and choose which skills he wants to master first. Some babies choose the motor skills (walking, rolling over, etc.) which are really noticeable for everybody; and others choose more sophisticated skills, less-noticeable-but-more-promising-for-the-future skills, like finding out what gravity is and how things change in perspective while moving.
Here’s a great example: There was a boy whose parents believed he was falling within the autistic spectrum. While the other kids were playing, making a lot of noise and running about, he sat in the corner, playing with a spool for hours. Turning it around, looking at it, and doing ‘nothing.’ Or so they thought. Fast-forward 40 years and he is one of the most innovative IT professionals in the world, holding a double degree from a top university, and a millionaire.
It seems that his doing “nothing” was actually quite something! Letting the spool slip through his fingers and slowly fall to the ground was his feeling how gravity worked. He didn’t just throw it to the ground; he felt the action of how it fell. He played with the movements of his fingers, showing him the point where gravity took over. He was so absorbed by this that he forgot the world around him. By turning the spool, he saw how the perspective of things changed while holding it in different angles. He was doing baby-science and he wasn’t so interested in motor skills. Actually, he never ever really learned how to walk. One day he just walked. He never fell and never made a mistake. Why? Because he took his time observing other people walk and he learned by watching the movements of others. The same goes with riding his bike, he never really “learned,” he just did it.
He wasn’t the first one to walk or ride a bike, and he didn’t get the experience (or scrapes and bruises) of trial and error but then again, he never needed to.
Meet Xaviera Plas-Plooij at BabyExpo Berkshire and hear more about The Wonder Weeks!
For more information visit www.thewonderweeks.com