A day before my son’s first birthday, I decided to review the book on toddlers that my husband gave me to see if my son’s growth and development are just right for his age. Just like the baby book he first gave me when I was still pregnant, this new book gives a month-by-month description of milestones for children – physical, cognitive and mental and emotional and behavioral development. The authors say that these milestones are just guides for parents to help us gauge how fast or slow our kids developing. Some children develop ahead of others while some are a bit slow. But if your child is acting way too far from the norm; then, it’s worth investigating to be sure.
Luckily for my son, he’s around a year ahead in physical development and 6-12 months ahead in emotional and behavioral development. His pediatrician has already mentioned this to me a number of times during our visits to her clinic; but, it did not sink in until I’ve read a lot of literature backing her observations. And reading that book the other day was one instrument in convincing me that my son is indeed potentially gifted.
I started ticking and noting at what age in months I noticed Yanthy manifest the milestones listed in the month-by-month guide in the book. I’ve finished doing that months ago with the baby book so I got the toddler book this time and did the same. Yanthy just turned one year old yesterday but many of the milestones listed for children 13 months and up were things that Yanthy has been doing as an infant! So I read and ticked on and on until I noticed that I’m way beyond what I think is the norm. I think it’s normal to be ahead or slow by 2-3 months or even 5. But to be ahead by 10-14 months is something else.
Here are some of the things I’ve observed Yanthy do in the past months:
• pulls off his socks and shoes by himself as early as 9 months;
• holds his sipping cup with one hand and drinks from it without spilling water at 5-6 months;
• jumps with his feet off the ground at 10 months without losing balance;
• opens doors and drawers at 9-10 months;
• plays imaginatively at 10 months;
• takes off his own clothes – sando, pajama and diapers – at 10 months;
• helps in putting on clothes at 10 months;
• throws ball overhead as if trying to make a dunk or just like a baseball player at 11 months;
• sleeps around 9 hours only at night with 1-2 naps during the day because of too much play during waking hours;
• runs around the house with so much energy for hours at 9-10 months. Certainly an abundance of energy!
• Asserts independence like not wanting to hold our hand when walking sometimes or grabbing the spoon or sipping cup so he can feed or drink on his own at 9 months;
• remembers people’s faces and names when asked to point or look for them at 10-11 months;
• can tip toe, sit and stand quickly and walk sideways, walk over and under obstacles in his path at 10 months;
• climbs on and off pieces of furniture at 11 months;
• shoots ball in containers or spaces around the house at will at 11 months;
• can turn the pages of the book as early as 6-7 months of age as if reading it;
• exhibits right-handedness already at 6 months of age;
• massages his gums on his own using a gum massager at 11 months;
• follows two-step commands like “pick up your book/ball and bring it to Mommy” at 9-10 months;
• remembers where he left his toys at 10 months;
• shows affection to parents or grandparents by hugging or kissing as early as 10 months;
• kicks his ball at 10 months without falling;
• bounces his ball as if dribbling at 10 months;
• bends well and is able to pick up small items on the floor at 10 months;
• recognizes familiar faces in pictures at 10 months;
• already self-assured and already comfortable to be left with familiar adults for short periods of time at 9 months;
• enjoys dancing especially when he has an audience as early as 9 months old;
• curious and friendly with other children at 10 months;
• uses non-verbals like pointing and gesturing or uttering syllables to communicate what he wants (like if he wants food, water or milk, to read his book or a certain toy) at 11 months;
• loves to pull off books from the shelves and carry them around the house while walking at 9-10 months; and
• pushes objects across the room at 10 months.
Actually, I chose to stop wondering when I reached the chapter on the 27-28th month of the book. I finally accepted that my son is probably gifted. Then, I came across a list of early signs of giftedness in children in the next pages of the same chapter. 11 out of the 14 characteristics cited are true to Yanthy. He had unusual alertness in infancy, high activity level, less need for sleep, early language development, fascination with books, intense curiosity, intense reaction to pain or frustration and excellent sense of humor. He also smiled a lot as a baby and recognized his parents early on. He shows enjoyment and speed in learning and manifests problem-solving skills.
Yesterday, I made sure that we’d be able to go to mass as part of Yanthy’s birthday celebration. There’s so much to be thankful for. We have received an abundance of graces as a family and God has certainly blessed Yanthy tremendously in the past 12 months. He has completed his vaccines and he didn’t have any major illness – just had colds and cough several times but not very long or required hospitalization. No injuries in spite of the many bumps and falls while learning how to walk. God has truly been so good to Yanthy!
We had a simple birthday celebration yesterday. My parents and brother’s gift to my son is his chocolate flavored birthday cake. I cooked spaghetti and made fruit salad, bought friend chicken at KFC and bought ice cream. One of his ninangs came over for dinner and gave him his first Bible. Yanthy and I excitedly leafed through its pages. We played some more after her ninang left. We all had a happy day – birthday boy and parents alike. I slept with a smile, grateful for the day that was and excited to receive more surprises and blessing from God.