During the first few years of life, the child’s environment has to be constantly modified to support his changing needs. The first twelve months weren’t such a challenge: mobiles gave way to hanging rings, then a few toys at ground level to encourage rolling over, followed by rolling objects to encourage crawling. A bar offered opportunities to pull up and cruise, and a push cart provided the necessary stability to encourage walking.
Now Zach is just shy of 14 months old, walking steadily, and not the least bit interested in toys. His one goal in life these days is to imitate EVERYTHING we do. He wants to brush his hair and teeth, pour out his potty, hold his fork, use a dustpan and brush, toss veggies in the soup pot, dig in the dirt… If we do it, he wants to do it, too. He is being driven to become a human being “of his place and time”; his focus has narrowed from “I want to do what others in my species can do” to “I want to do what others in my social group can do”. His hands are constantly at work, exploring, discovering, comparing.
It’s becoming more challenging to meet his needs, simply because he wants to participate in every facet of our lives! The areas I’m focusing on right now are:
- Care of self: setting up a small table and mirror where he can brush his hair and make sure his face is clean;
- Food preparation: giving him opportunities to scrub vegetables, peel fruit, and transfer chopped veggies into a pot;
- Gardening: establishing an outdoor environment for independent work with water, soil, and seeds.
In the next few weeks I’ll post pictures of our progress. If you have any experiences to share with other readers and me, please add them to the comments!