04 January 2012

5 Things...the tenth month

1. A favourite activity at this age seems to be standing. Granted some babies pull to standing sooner than the 9 month point, but by the same token, others only start much later than this. My own two children were at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to this skill but for both, we provided a place for them to safely pull up to standing. A wooden rail mounted securely to the wall, with a mirror behind it so that they can see themselves performing all the actions necessary to get from sitting to standing. The bar is mounted 45cm off the ground for optimum reachability and should be narrow enough for your baby to grip the diameter of the rod all the way around.

2. Another favourite activity is stair climbing. Our house has two flights of stairs so we have lots of opportunity to learn this important skill - but if your home is all on one level, look for stairs wherever you go and give your baby time to climb up and down them as many times as your sanity can handle! Just "spot" them until they can do this safely without your immediate presence. In this video you can see Luke climbing the stairs independently after about 3 weeks of constant practice!

3. Ever had a whole box of tissues emptied by your baby? Well your 9 month old is sure to spring this one on you shortly! Whilst I allowed the very first box of tissues to be emptied when my kids first discovered the joys of pulling them out, I was careful to place boxes out of reach for a while after that - it's important to reintroduce the tissues at some point since we want our toddlers to learn how to wipe their noses eventually! But this mostly begins to happen at a later stage when they have a bit more self-awareness and a bit more self-control! Try offering a substitute experience by filling a nappy wipe container with colourful cloth squares. We have also covered a pringles tube with fabric and punched a small hole in the lid. We put a length of ribbon through the hole and sewed a bead onto each end of the ribbon to stop the ribbon from pulling through. You stuff the ribbon into the tin, put the lid on and then let your baby loose on it!

4. Your baby might start pointing at things. Things they want, things they see, things they want named. This is because they are right at that point in their language development where they have made the connection between sounds and meanings. Every time I point to this, she says that! A real aha moment! Help this stage of language learning by playing naming games. Familiarise yourself with the Three Period Lesson technique which is used in Montessori classrooms to introduce new vocabulary to children. This lesson is what you can  base your informal naming games on. Bear in mind though that at first you will only be completing the First Period. When you are both familiar with the game you can extend to include the Second Period, but we don't really ever use the Third Period (except in the case of an exceptionally verbally gifted child) with children under the age of three. So don't be tempted to coax your baby into saying words - that is a completely different brain process from acquiring the names of things - which is what your baby is really interested in at the moment. Receptive language is always more prominent than Expressive language in the Infant Toddler Period.

5. Object permanence is becoming an internalised concept now, with your baby understanding that things do exist even when they can't be seen. In this vein, hiding games are well-received by the 9 month old. Simple things like hiding a teddy under a cloth in plain view of your baby and then saying "where's the teddy?" will delight your baby. You can progress to hiding a single object inside a box with a lid. You can try a modified version of the old sleight of hand trick using a small ball and three upturned cups. Hide the ball in front your baby at first, then try moving the cups slowly after hiding the ball, even try hiding the ball out of view! Your baby's interest in this game stems from their developing sense of external order. In Chapter 3 of "The Secret of Childhood" in the section entitled "Orientation Through Order", Maria Montessori tells of playing Hide and Seek with a group of 2 year olds. The children each took turns to hide in exactly the same place and all screamed with delight when "finding" their playmates in the predicted spot!


  1. I'm glad you're back blogging again. I really like your blog.
    Best regards from Spain.

  2. Thanks Cris - not sure what kept me away for so long. Life...I guess! But a special request from a friend prompted me to get the ball rolling again. Hoping to update the look of the site over the next few weeks - kind on like an online spring clean!

  3. I would love to see photos of the pringles container. Thank you for your blog! :)

  4. I love these posts :)

    Where did you get the TAG ball tracker in the first photo? I just spent an hour on the Internet discovering I couldn't find an Aussie shop that stocked them or a US shop that would ship it for less than $100.

  5. Charissa: I'll upload a photo and link to it in the post so you can see the ribbon in the Pringles tube.

    Louise: sadly there are no Australian stockists for the ball tracker. I bought mine from Michael Olaf with a heap of other stuff in a group order with friends and we all split the shipping costs. Still really expensive though! If I could find someone to make something similar here in Australia would you be interested in buying it? And how much would you be prepared to pay, as a matter of interest?

  6. I have spent literally hours investigating ball trackers. I would buy something similar to the TAG tracker if you had it. Of course there are heaps of other ball rollers on the market that would probably give my child the experience he needs, but I'm averse to the plastic ones simple for aesthetic reasons, and the wooden ones are often very expensive and yet get not-good-enough reviews for the price. I am considering paying $130 to get the Haba tracker, which is ridiculously expensive for us & we can only afford it because he has been gifted some money. I would be really really happy to pay $80 for a tracker like the TAG one. Obviously I would pay a little bit more too seeing as I'm about to do so, but I was really hoping to find one for $80.

    Apart from the TAG toys one you have, the next best one that I found currently on the market was the Haba Ball Track Roll n Roll n Roll: http://pinterest.com/pin/160581542933063942/. It's a very different track with extra things to interact with. Since I can get the Haba one shipped to Australia for $35 I will probably get that, although I prefer the TAG tracker's simplicity. The main thing I was looking for was sturdy construction and balls that roll well without bouncing off. A big bonus was that these two I liked best could be used from either side, allowing more kids to play with them at once. I didn't like the smaller ones that came with reviews saying they would tip over, or that pieces came apart, or that the balls bounced off. I read a lot of reviews on Amazon, if you search for ball trackers on there you will find a lot of information in the reviews. I saw some trackers made with two wooden poles for the balls to run down instead of chute, I would have been happy to buy that style as well had there been one with good reviews or big enough (I wanted one where my child has to reach up or stand to put the ball in, just because he could do with the extra challenge). Like this: http://www.supercoolbaby.com/archives/2007/10/wooden_musical_ball_run.php I liked the idea of the bell that this one has. (I couldn't identify the brand of this one, or find it for sale anywhere.)

  7. Hmmm, my son is 11 mnths right now and his language skills are definitely starting to increase. He is understanding more and more. I thought maybe he too young for a three period lesson, but perhaps I will give the first period a try. Instead I have been focusing on making his environment very vocabulary rich by putting out certain toys and using focused stimulation with certain words as he's usually holding that object. So I will try the first Period in this mix as well!

  8. I'm so glad you are back into blogging. I'm always very interested in reading your post. Thanks for being back!

  9. I gave you a blog award. It will go up tomorrow at growingagodlygirl.blogspot.com

  10. I keep checking back a couple times a week for the next installment of this series of posts. I'm eager to see more!

  11. Oh, I'm sorry to hear you stopped blogging... I'd love to read five things at 11th and 12th month (like you said you are going to write in your first "5 things at..."). It's so clear, simple beautiful, understandable ... Thanks for everything :) Greetings from "the old continent".

  12. I love your blog!! I am about to make a pull up bar for my son, and I would love to know how you mounted it to the wall. We first thought to use a wooden towel rod, but the diameter of the rod is too large. I would love your advice!

    1. Dear Amf Soprano, we purchased the end pieces from our local hardware store. They are approximately 22mm in diameter and we purchased a piece of dowel that fitted into the end pieces. This diameter was fine for both our boys baby hands. The end pieces were not made for the dowel, we just fitted a few different diameters in until we found the best fit. You could also buy a smaller diameter dowel and wrap the ends with something like electrical tape to make them fit snugly into the end pieces. The key is to prevent the bar from spinning around in the metal brackets.