Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Pumpkin's First Annual Assessment

As the final post in the week-long celebration of the Pumpkin's birthday, I am blatantly stealing an idea from Burgh Baby's Mom, although I won't be using pictures like she did since I don't put pictures on my blog. Thank you, BBM, for the fantastic idea. Now, let's see how the Pumpkin did.

Disclaimer: This assessment was done by caramama as the reviewer, who assess the Pumpkin against the average development milestones for the first year. Londo does not agree with all of the ratings, as he would apparently give her "Exceeds Expectations" in all areas except Self-Soothing Skills and Sleeping Abilities.

Competency: Gross Motor Skills
Rating: Exceeds Expectations
Assessment: The Pumpkin excelled in this area above all others. Much too her grandmothers' excitement (and her mother's bewilderment), she held her head up in a controlled manner on the day of her birth before carefully laying it back down. She sat up early, crawled early, pulled to standing early and started walking at 10 months, which she had mostly mastered by 11 months, and gave her parents lots of exercise while she practiced these skills.
Development Action: The Pumpkin should continue to work on walking and progress to running in a stable manner. While the Pumpkin has mastered climbing up stairs, climbing down stairs is an area that needs improvement and should be done by backing down the stairs not blindly trying to take a forward step down and starting to fall over. To continue her growth in this area, the Pumpkin should continue to practice everywhere during every second of the day, and she should take classes at The Little Gym with her mama once a week.

Competency: Fine Motor Skills
Rating: Meets Expectations
Assessment: The Pumpkin has progressed as expected in her fine motor skills. She is able to grab and manipulate toys and food, and she practices these abilities nonstop. She has developed her pincher grasp, which she uses on toys, food and skin. Within the last month, she has finally learn to put toys in things, not just pull and dump things out of things.
Development Action: In order to master this to her parent satisfaction, the Pumpkin should learn to only pinch and squeeze her toys and inanimated objects and cease using this skill to injure her parents.

Competency: Communication Skills
Rating: Meets Expectations
Assessment: During this year, the Pumpkin's babbling has progressed to words, including dada, daddy, mama, ca (cat), bur (bird), gah gahr (good girl), hi, hiyo (hello), bah (bye and ball). The Pumpkin has also demonstrated some signs (dog, all done, more, bye) at times throughout the year, but does not use them consistently. The Pumpkin's best examples of this skill are her animal noises for lions, elephants, ducks, sheep, frogs and some others. She also excels in communicating displeaser through crying and joy through laughing.
Development Action: For the upcoming year, the Pumpkin should progress to using her words and signs more consistently, adding more words and signs to her vocabulary, and putting words together to form phrases. Also, better dictation and pronunciation truly show initiative and demonstrate a strong work ethic in this area. If she struly wants to excel in this area for next year's assessment, she will also learn to say "Mama, I love you" (saying that even one time to Mama will result in the highest rating possible).

Competency: Feeding Skills
Rating: Exceeds Expectations
Assessment: The Pumpkin latched on to her mama right away shortly after birth and has been an excellent nurser. Once solids were introduced, the Pumpkin took to them pretty quickly and has consistently demonstrated her aptitude and enjoyment for eating different types of foods. She is also able to communicate which foods she likes and dislikes, and she is always willing to try new things.
Development Action: The Pumpkin should learn to manipulate utensils correctly and to drink from an open topped cup without help. She should also continue trying new foods.

Competency: Self-Soothing Skills
Rating: Does Not Meet Expectations
Assessment: This skill has proven to be perhaps the most difficult skill for the Pumpkin, and is closely related to her Sleeping Abilities (see below). Since being pulled from the womb, she has been slow to let go of that environment. The Pumpkin has constantly needed both movement and to be held, especially in the early months. When she wakes up, she needs to be rocked or nursed back to sleep or she gets more and more worked up, which keeps everyone except the dog from sleeping. Also, she rejected almost all substitutes for mama and daddy to assist with soothing her, including the pacifier, thumb/fingers, lovey, and anything at all that mama and daddy could think of that might possibly work. She has only recently been able to calm herself down at all, and if she does not wake up fully, she is now able to fuss a little and get back to sleep.
Development Action: The Pumpkin's mama and daddy would like to see her be able to put herself back to sleep and even maybe possibly calm herself so she can get herself to sleep without being rocked or nursed. Mama and Daddy do not mind needing to pick her up when she hurts herself or is upset, but they would like her to not get so worked up simply because she doesn't get what she wants.

Competency: Sleeping Abilities
Rating: Partially Meets Expectations
Assessment: Through most of the year, the Pumpkin has not done well in the area of sleeping. She had trouble napping unless she was held for the first few months of her life, and she never got really good at taking naps overall. Although the Pumpkin did sleep through the night from 3 weeks old to 3.5 months old, this was due to being swaddled and (until 2 months old) being in a swing. Since she had trouble with her Self-Soothing Skills (see above) and has always been especially fidgety, she has been unable to get herself to sleep and was unable to stay asleep once she was too big for the swing and out of her swaddle. Between 3.5 months and 7.5 month, the Pumpkin's sleep (and her parents' sleep) became constantly disrupted. At the end of her first year, the Pumpkin showed incredible improvement, sleeping through the night almost consistently for a month, which gives her parents false* hope that she will continue to improve in this area.
Development Action: The Pumpkin should not only resume* continue to sleep through the night, but she should start waking even later, aiming for 7:00 or 7:30. In addition, the Pumpkin should work on falling asleep unassisted. Finally, she should transition from her two shorter naps to one longer nap at some point during the next year.

Competency: Displaying Emotions
Rating: Exceeds Expectations
Assessment: The Pumpkin is very expressive, ensuring there is no confusion as to how she is feeling and what she wants. When she is happy and having fun, she is quick to smile and laugh. When she is curious, she looks inquisitive while she investigates. When she is unhappy, she has the most amazing pout. When she is upset, her entire face and body crumble and the sobs rock the house.
Development Action: The Pumpkin should continue to express her emotions as she sees fit. Her parents would ideally like more verbal communication (see Communication Skills above) when something is wrong, and they hope to be able to reason with her some day to avoid some of the pouting and crying. But at this time, there are no action items.

Competency: Playing Skills
Rating: Meets Expectations
Assessment: The Pumpkin has developed her Playing Skills well during the year. She was able to reach and grab toys pretty early, which made for her first games. Prior to that, she did not play much. As she has gotten older, she has enjoyed games of chase, peekaboo, wrestling and climbing on and in stuff. She also enjoys playing with toys that make noise and light up. She has started to play with stuffed animals. Her favorite games for the past couple of months involve pulling stuff out of the kitchen cabinets.
Development Action: The Pumpkin should continue to enjoy playing interactive games and games with toys. Her parents would appreciate some quieter and less active games, but this is not required. The Pumpkin should begin playing a little more on her own so that her parents could do other things, like cook dinner or put away the dishes while she is around but not interferring. They do not think this is asking too much for the next year.

Competency: Cuddling Skills
Rating: Exceeds Expectations
Assessment: The Pumpkin has learned to give kisses and to give hugs. Although she longer likes to give kisses that much, she often gives hugs when she hasn't been asked. She is also extremely snuggly, especially after waking up. She is sweet to hold, when she is not squirming.
Development Action: In the next year, the Pumpkin should continue to give hugs, kisses and cuddles. In addition, she should learn to use loving phrases to go along with the cuddles (see Communication Skills above). This is an important and possibly life-saving skill that she should cultivate and use to her advantage. Her parents won't mind at all.

Overall Rating: Exceeds Expectations
Overall Assessment: Everything the Pumpkin does is just perfect. Her parents are proud of who she is and what she can do. In some areas, she seems to be ahead of the curve, and in others she is developing right on target. If she is not ahead or on target in a skill compared to other 1 year olds, than she is still just right for her. As a bonus, she is incredibly beautiful. All in all, the Pumpkin is the ideal child for her parents, and their expectations have gone out the window.

*The Pumpkin is apparently going through the 12 month sleep regression, so she is no longer sleeping through the night. But this didn't start until her birthday, so should not be included in her assessment--yet I can't not mention it. Sigh.


Londo said...

Daddy's Assessment reads somewhat more sparse:

Competency: "Saying Daddy with Great Frequency"
Rating: Exceeds Expectations
Assessment: This skill renders all other competencies moot.


nutmeg96 said...


Karen said...

What a fun post! I love that she's doing well in the hugs and kisses department. :)

Cloud said...

Very cute! She sounds like a wonderful little girl. If she learns how to sleep through the night consistently, perhaps we can arrange a visit so she can tutor our little Pumpkin.

And I am horrified to hear that there is a twelve month sleep regression.

Don Mills Diva said...

What a sweet post! Sounds like she's just about perfect - if only she would let mommy sleep a little...

Becoming Mommy said...

Just out of there any month not covered by a sleep regression?
The best we've managed is 3 nights in a row of sleeping. And then apparently back we go.
She does sound like a perfect little sweetheart though. And I agree...I Love You Mama, renders everything else moot.

ImpostorMom said...

ah yes the 12 month regression. I remember looking at pictures of boog from his birthday and thinking yup that was the last time he was happy for like a month. He's finally sleeping though, although I wish he'd sleep past 6.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

The whole post was SO SWEET, but Londo's comment put it over the top. Yay for a Daddy comment! (And a funny one at that!)

Shellie said...

What a fun post! She is so great. As for self soothing, we had it even worse. Look into other soothers that might help her along the way, it's hit and miss till you find what works for her, but think of all her senses and what things calm those senses for her, and as with anything we all develop differently, so some of us just take more time to get there.