Aria was three weeks old this week.
This is a summary of our week using the early learning / infant stimulation program outlined in How Smart is Your Baby by Glenn Doman.
This week we sort of fell off the bandwagon when it came to Aria’s early learning program. I mean, we still “did stuff”. But it wasn’t the consistency super-week I was hoping it would be.
In fact for half of the week she didn’t even use her crawling track because it was… (cringe) full of clean laundry that never got put away. Whoops. So that is somewhat the sort of week we had.
This is what our program looked like:
- Visual stimulation: lots of high-contrast patterns to look at, well-lit rooms during waking hours, and stimulating the pupils with a dull flashlight
- Motor: tummy time on parent’s or sibling’s chest, tummy time in crawling track
- Stimulating the grasp reflex, babinski reflex, and startle reflex
- Face to face conversation
- Vestibular (balance) stimulation activities
- Poem recited a few times (“One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door”)
And the new things added this week:
- Started a new song: we’re listening to Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46: Morning Mood (at bedtime and through the night, sometimes during naps)
- Started showing simple black and white outline flash cards (stage II cards)
Starting the stage II flash cards was something I was really looking forward to, but it was actually a bit of a flop. I mean, not completely: she checked them out for a second or two. But then she was more interested in going back to looking at things across the room, or looking at faces, and so on.
Then the next day I tried to show her another card and she gave it a quick glance but then wasn’t interested. The cards are, I know, already too easy for her. Her vision has developed to the point where looking at super simple cards like that is way too easy, and she’s on to bigger and greater things. Sigh.
So I am a bit disappointed that I missed the window of opportunity for these cards, but it’s certainly not a great loss. I mean, her vision is growing! In leaps and bounds! That’s the goal, right?
She still is very interested in these picture cards that I have above the bed. She really enjoys looking at the display while being held, or while nursing. These cards are actually meant for stage III!
But I decided to put them up long before she reached stage III visual development because they were still high-contrast and easy to see, so it couldn’t hurt, right? I didn’t want to wait too long and miss the opportunity. It happened with Damien, he grew out of things so quickly!
She also still enjoys her pictures in her crawling track.
Speaking of visual development, it seems like we’ve been getting a lot of smiles lately, and they are so often coincidentally close to being intentional smiles. That is, smiling at us.
This is a pretty big visual milestone, because it means that she can make out the details of our faces, something that very brand new newborns can’t do (at birth, babies can see light and dark, then the next stage is seeing outlines, then finally, the ability to see details within an outline).
Generally, from what I have researched, the “social smile” (smiling at someone in response to their smile, rather than just randomly), develops in most babies around six weeks old, although sometimes it can be eight to twelve weeks. So to possibly see very real evidence of the beginning of this development at only three weeks old is exciting.
Our visual stimulation program, albeit not always perfectly consistent, seems to be working!
Speaking of our visual “program”, we’ve been doing some more flashlight stimulations to strengthen her pupils, but I’ve been using my phone as a flashlight instead (using the light of the screen, not the “flashlight” aka camera flash because it is too bright).
It’s much more convenient than carrying an actual flashlight around.
And more along the lines of visual development, this week we went to the fair, and boy was she alert! Now, the alertness was not so unusual, but what was funny was the way she was looking at me and for such a long period.
She was in her Moby wrap and lifted her head up to stare at my face for twenty minutes. She fell asleep and did this again later on into the evening. Perhaps it was the way the bright lights were illuminating my face, I’m not sure, but she sure was working hard on something to stare at me (and hold her head up!) for so long.
For a little honesty, Aria did not spend a lot of time in her track this week. For the silly reason that I had a bunch of clean laundry in there that needed to be put away and procrastinated about it for days.
The good news is, on the days she did use it, she was actually getting quite a bit of movement. Several inches to sometimes over a foot, and she sometimes surprised me by doing so very quickly.
This was a problem because I would put something in one half of the track thinking that she wouldn’t scoot that far, then she would end up scooting right up to it and start angrily crying because her head was stuck and she couldn’t go any farther.
This week she also started lifting her head quite high and turning it from side to side in her crawling track to look at both walls of pictures.
Her neck strength seems to get stronger and stronger every day, and it is so amazing to watch how motivated she is to grow and develop.
In other news on our program, the grasp reflex stimulations are still happening, and the babinski reflex stimulations. Not so much the startle reflex stimulations, except incidentally.
I did not start any of the other Stage II activities besides the flashcards, and I’m not entirely sure that I will. I will write a separate post about this but Stage II is the “vital” stage that has the not-very-fun activities that will test your baby’s response to life-threatening stimuli.
Now it is really fascinating to see these responses develop, especially since it is something not present at birth. But unless your baby is brain-injured and really needs those pathways strengthened, I don’t see the point in doing the stimulations daily.
If you have already witnessed that your baby has an appropriate response to hot and cold, pain, and loud (threatening-sounding) noises, which I have, I don’t think that there is a need to further stimulate them.
We started our first new song this week (we had been listening to the same song for her previous three weeks), and it was Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46: Morning Mood.
I have gotten better about playing it all night long, and sometimes during naps.
Resources used this week: