Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
I will be observing my virtual baby and explaining what steps I took to help my baby improve from the ages of birth to five years old. My baby boy’s name is Nessiah. His ethnicity is Hispanic born in America. He is handsome with brown skin. He is growing at a normal rate. His development is average. My partner and I chose for me to be artificially inseminated so I could give birth to Nessiah. I chose a sperm donor from the on-line files at the sperm bank who resembled both of us in terms of skin tone, hair color, educational level and personality traits. Nessiah had a normal birth. Labor was about ten hours long.
He spends a lot of time studying my face and the faces of anyone who comes close to him. At 3 months of age, Nessiah is showing more intense interest in his surroundings. Nessiah smiles at familiar people and toys, is able to laugh at surprising or funny things and is developing lots of cute little habits. Nessiah is able to find a hidden object, as long as you don’t wait too long or distract him in the middle of the search. Nessiah really likes this hiding game and shows by his interest that he wants it repeated. However, if you hide the object in the same place repeatedly, and then change the hiding place, Nessiah has a strong tendency to look in the old hiding place, and then get confused about where the object is, or forget about it. This curious error was first discovered by Piaget, but researchers have some new explanations for the error. Nessiah turns 9 months, the pediatrician has the following to say after a routine physical exam, a few items administered from the Bayley Scales of Infant Intelligence. When Nessiah got upset by the shot, it was difficult to soothe him down. The doctor recommended more one-on-one contact between Nessiah and one of you. Nessiah is physically healthy. Nessiah is cautious around new people and situations, but warms up fairly quickly to friendly people and to new and interesting activities and then begins to vocalize a lot and make eye contact.
Nessiah has strong emotional reactions and has difficulty soothing himself back down. Nessiah is advanced in his gross and fine motor skills and enjoys crawling, pulling up to stand and manipulating objects. Nessiah is able to find the object even after long delays and seems to think this is a great game. When I set up two hiding places for the object and hide it under one of the two covers repeatedly. When I switch it to the second hiding place, he no longer has the problem you saw earlier of searching at the more common of the two hiding places. I can’t even trick him by hiding it in my hand. Nessiah likes this game and wants to play it over and over.
At nine months old, Nessiah began to understand a few words and point to something he wanted. At twelve months old, Nessiah now clearly understands a couple of dozen words. In fact, Nessiah just recently pronounced his first clear word and pointed at the object in question. Nessiah just turned 15 months of age, and he often studies things in his environment and performs simple little “experiments” with them, almost like a little scientist. For example, he throws a ball against the wall repeatedly, varying the strength or angle of throw and delightedly watching how the ball rebounds. Sometimes he gets hit in the face, but fortunately it’s a soft ball!
Nessiah caught a cold a week ago and now has a painful earache that requires immediate attention and Nessiah wakes up crying at night. Nessiah is very interested in music, and often dances in rhythm to my favorite music, and tries to clap or sing along with songs that I sing or that are played on TV. Nessiah is able to enroll when he becomes reasonably well potty-trained. He is 19 months old now. Just to find out how Nessiah’s development compares to other children of his age at this point. The early childhood specialist observes Nessiah in free play with other kids and does a little testing of cognitive skills. She reports the following:
Overall, Nessiah appeared to be fairly aggressive with the other children. The examiner recommended setting firmer guidelines for behavior at home, giving Nessiah practice at expressing his needs, and using time-out plus explanations for acts of aggression. She also recommended more supervised experience in toddler playgroups or daycare. The specialist observed both parents with Nessiah and seemed concerned that Nessiah was not securely attached to either of you yet and seemed to avoid both of you when stressed out. She recommended that both parents spend much more time doing enjoyable activities with Nessiah and responding to his interests. Nessiah was shy with the examiner, who thought he was nervous around new adults or just didn’t know what to do. She recommended that Nessiah stay with one primary preschool or daycare provider during the day and get to know other new adults slowly. The examiner observed Nessiah become moody and irritable several times during the play session, when things did not go his way. The examiner recommended that you help Nessiah regulate his moods gradually by not overreacting to mood changes, and by patiently waiting for him to calm down and communicate his desires. Nessiah scored at about the 18-19 month range for communication skill, language comprehension and language production. This is age-appropriate of course, but the examiner recommended that because Nessiah was in such an important period of language development, that you spend as much time as possible talking with Nessiah, asking questions that require some kind of extended answer and looking at and naming things in picture books, etc. Nessiah was above age-norms for building a block tower to model one made by the examiner and other spatial skills such as copying shapes, coloring within the lines and solving picture puzzles. Nessiah was advanced in his gross motor skills. The examiner recommended that you expose Nessiah to a variety of indoor and outdoor activities and let his interests be the guide as to what to pursue. The examiner commented that Nessiah had some difficulty concentrating for more than a few minutes on any one activity. She noted that it could be the newness of the situation that prompted this, and that 18-month olds shouldn’t be expected to stay focused more than 10-15 minutes on any one activity. However, she noted that I might try to engage Nessiah’s attention in something really interesting for longer and longer periods of time, to gradually build up his tolerance for preschool-type activities. She also recommended, when he seemed ready for it, to get Nessiah to follow simple directions at home, and that I gradually increase the complexity and length of the directions. Nessiah is going to be starting a preschool program soon. Nessiah, who is 2 ½ years old language, motor and cognitive skills using some developmental scales, and observes Nessiah interacting with other children in a toddler play group.
This is her report: Nessiah was somewhat hesitant in the group of children and spent a few minutes watching them before joining in. After a while he latched on to a couple of the other children and had a good time. By the end of the session they were smiling and imitating each other. If there was a confrontation with another child about toys, Nessiah could become quite possessive, and once even pushed and hit another child in the group and had to be put in time out.
The specialist recommended I go along with Nessiah to places where he can interact with children, and that I monitor the activity and coach or remind Nessiah how to behave when necessary. When given some challenging problems by the examiner, Nessiah became frustrated and refused to cooperate. The examiner had to take a break to allow Nessiah to calm down. Nessiah’s scores on measures of language comprehension and production were in the average range, and he was beginning to show more consistent use in conversational speech of grammatical markers such as past tense, plural, etc. The specialist recommended you continue to converse about anything of interest to Nessiah, read favorite books to him and go on outings. Nessiah is about average in solving problems with more than two steps, and grouping objects together in categories. The specialist recommended that you help Nessiah “talk through” the steps in solving problems, and that you expose Nessiah to more hands-on learning activities. He is above average in copying shapes with a pencil, working with picture puzzles and constructing things out of blocks and seemed to enjoy working with these things a great deal. The specialist advised that you offer Nessiah more complex construction activities such as making things out of sets of building blocks or interlocking blocks, train tracks, etc. Nessiah was above average on nearly all gross motor skills, such as climbing, throwing and catching a ball, balancing, and skipping and enjoyed these activities quite a bit. The advice was to continue these activities, emphasizing Nessiah’s interests and focusing on having fun with them. Nessiah was hard to keep on task, as his attention kept wandering to items in the examiner’s “bag of tricks”, and he kept adding comments that were not relevant to the task at hand, such as “I have red shoes.”
The specialist recommended that you have regular routines around the house and minimize distractions when you want Nessiah to focus on something, such as listening to a story. Nessiah fills up page after page in his coloring books with partially colored pictures. Nessiah is always anxious to get on to the next picture. Nessiah’s little sister has been ill on and off for a couple of months. Nessiah is very jealous and has been acting up and whining for attention. Nessiah is no longer having problems behaving poorly in restaurants. I am relieved, and begin to fade out the rewards that I gave Nessiah for good behavior in restaurants, but make sure to remind him of the rules and to praise good behavior. Nessiah will turn 5 this summer and will be a bit on the young side in the fall when he starts kindergarten. The school where Nessiah will attend kindergarten has started a kindergarten prep session over the summer that lasts for a couple of weeks and involves group as well as individual work on letters, numbers, etc.
I enroll Nessiah at the age of 4 years, 10 months. He is assessed by one of the kindergarten teachers, who observes him during free play and tests Nessiah one-on-one. Then the teacher sits down with you and your partner and gives the following report: The teacher noted that Nessiah seemed to have made one or two friends and usually played cooperatively with them. She observed that Nessiah was sometimes reluctant to join in new activities with unfamiliar children. He could read a few short words and write his name and could name most of the letters on sight at the time of testing. He also showed an age-appropriate understanding of phonological awareness. The teacher recommended continuing to enjoy reading and writing activities. Nessiah was prepared for literacy activities in kindergarten. The teacher noted that Nessiah had no difficulty adapting to the “practice” kindergarten activities the children were asked to do. Nessiah was generally cooperative, avoided getting distracted, and stayed on task. Nessiah did not get upset when mild stress occurred. The teacher recommended that Nessiah be given more and more responsibility for self-management and care at home and at the preschool in preparation for kindergarten. He performed in the average range on tests of vocabulary e.g., naming a picture and providing an antonym or synonym for a word), and the ability to retell a story. The teacher thought you should engage in more reading aloud, and encourage Nessiah to tell stories, perhaps so that you could write them down and read them back to him.
Nessiah has age-appropriate skills in counting, classifying and understanding quantitative relationships. Nothing special needs to be done in this area, as the kindergarten class picks up and teaches these skills very effectively, says the teacher. Nessiah had a real knack for the art projects the teachers had the students do, and really got interested in the pre-math activities involving working with blocks and geometric shapes.