Surviving the first twelve months with a baby is no easy feat. Parents should be handed a free vacation after the twelve harrowing months of sleepless nights, spit ups, crying, biting, and heavy eyebags
Now that the first twelve months are behind you, will there be more of these nightmares? Of course! The first year was but a mere taste of things to come. Mwahahaha!
Don't worry. We're just kidding...sort of. The truth is, things should get physically easier after the first year once the baby hits all the general milestones like learning how to walk, hold their own sippy cups and feed themselves finger food. And oh, not to mention they will have a somewhat clearer picture of items that they shouldn't put into their little mouths. No more worries about the baby munching on lizard droppings and tiny ants... omnomnom.
So what is it that our babies should have mastered by the twelfth month? Should they be able to command the wind and the rain? Should they be experts in AI programming? Or perhaps even hold a doctorate degree in philosophy? Oh no, that is still a long shot. We'd be happy to see them even graduate high school in one piece. Here we have compiled the top twenty things the baby should be doing by the time they turn one. And ...... drumroll, please.
20 Say 'Mama' or 'Dada'
Ahhhhh...the sweet sweet sound of 'mama' and 'dada' or 'papa' or whatever you have taught your little munchkin to say over the past twelve months. By now they should be able to recognize who their caretakers are and link them to their names. So be ready to hear the little one utter mum and/or dad when they look at you lovingly with arms wide open.
If however, they are still unable to put the dots of who is whom together, then you might want to try teaching them. Perhaps there are too many people in the household who care for the baby, hence making him or her confused. But generally, each and every child will have a favorite person and will normally be able to address that person by the age of one.
19 Be An Expert Crawler
By one, the baby should also have almost explored every nook and cranny of the house (unless of course, they live in a mansion then that would be another story). The point here is, the child would have mastered the art of crawling and as with almost every little being, they will be curious about almost everything and would love nothing more than to touch and explore whatever they can get their pudgy little hands on.
So expect to empty your wallets for baby playpens, safety gates, door latch protectors, corner bumpers, cabinet safety locks, etc. By this time, your house would be so accident-free that anyone could walk around with their eyes blindfolded and not worry about getting hurt at all.
18 Learn To Stand
Some kids should also be able to stand on their own by now. While this does not apply to every child (some toddlers...yes, they are no longer babies) master the art of the two-legged stance at a slower rate. A pediatrician once said, "It matters not when they can stand so long as they do it within the first 18 months of life". So no worries if your child still prefers to sit on the bum or crawl on all fours.
If however, your child can already stand on his or her own (albeit not very steadily), then you might want to record it in video for memories' sake. And then you can go awww watching the video sixteen years down the line when your now teenager would have grown roots on the couch. "Mum! Can you get me some soda?" or "Mum! Flip on the TV will ya?" with the remote just barely inches away from them and you being in the bathroom.
17 Gain 3x His Birth Weight
Right about at the age of one, your baby's weight would have tripled from the time he or she made their grand entrance into this big bad world. Technically, the growth chart for their weight should be an exponential curve from their first to the twelfth month, after which it would level off slightly (their weight gain should slow down once they start walking and become more physically active).
So start saying goodbye to your baby's chubby cheeks after they blow their one-year-old candle. You'll be missing them soon.
Do not worry too much should your baby's weight not catch up with their peers. Some babies just grow at a slower pace. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise eventually caught up, didn't it? Not saying that the baby is a tortoise...although he or she would probably look extremely cute cosplaying as one. It's the metaphor we are referring to. Also, if you're baby's weigh were to be alarmingly below normal, the pediatrician would have informed you already. So there, don't worry. Be happy.
16 Eat With His Hands
Babies love food. They practically go gaga over them. Even more so if they are finger food. There's just something extra delicious about food eaten by hand. And so by the twelfth month, your baby would have mastered the art of eating with the fingers. Sure, things might get messy. In fact, your dining room/kitchen might look like an aftermath of a tsunami.
There will be many days spent in the kitchen, cleaning up the baby food that was thrown and splattered all around, but hey, at least the baby had fun right? Right? Just keep telling yourself it will be worth it in the end. They might be making mess now, but in actual fact, they are practicing fine motor skills by eating with their hands.
15 Use Her Finger To Point
Many things would peak the curiosity of a child and naturally, when they see something of interest, they would inevitably want to share the discovery with you. They won't be able to talk yet, hence there won't be an "excuse me ma, would you please turn your head thirty-five degrees north and feast your eyes on the blue mockingbird?".
Of course not. We'd freak out if they could talk like that. Instead, they would most likely raise their arms and point at the object whole making an 'uh' sound. To help them with their speech, you could try to hold a simple conversation like, "oh yes, Mummy sees a bird...a bird!". This, in turn, will encourage them to continue to be observative and learn new words.
14 Talk Gibberish
Baby talk....that gibberish language that no adult can understand. It is the child's way of communicating with the adult (or at least they try to) by mimicking adult speech. The only problem here is babies have an extremely limited vocabulary, with lots of pauses in between and often simplified versions of what we say.
Instead of saying, 'Hi mummy, you look gorgeous today ', it could turn out like this 'mama... ma...geh..geh...'. There will be a lot of repetition in their speech but that is normal. By the time they turn 3 and yap non-stop, you'd wish they had never learned to talk.
13 Turn The Pages Of A Book
Babies love books. The adrenaline rush of seeing something different every time they turn to the next page can be extremely exciting for them. Also, being able to turn a page or two makes them feel like they have accomplished something.
While they might not be able to turn the pages of a novel without tearing it, they should have no problem turning the pages of a children's book (with thick pages or cloth material for an easier grip). So don't be shy, invest in children's book and encourage them to read. Cultivate in them a love for reading and you will reap the fruits of your labor (yes, we say labor since it will take weeks if not months to get them to prefer nooks over smart tablets) in the future.
12 Be An Expert Climber
Ever watched Total Wipeout on TV? Well if you haven't, do not fret because your house will be turned into a real-life obstacle course for your child. They would have climbed onto the couch, crawled over the dog, dangled along the table, scaled the heights of the fridge -- you name it, they would have climbed it.
Basically, by the age of one, almost every furniture in your household would have been climbed over. Just watch out for sharp edges and corners and make sure they do not fall headfirst from whatever furniture they are climbing on. Some parents watch over their little climbers like a hawk, others opt for a more laid back "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" approach. Whatever your views may be, know that you should at least keep an eye on the baby, especially when they climb onto items that are unstable.
11 Start Copying Mommy
Babies learn by observing others. They will especially pick up actions or gestures that we tend to repeat either consciously or unconsciously. So by one-year-old, the baby turned toddler might be able to shake their heads and mimic mommy's "no-no" with a wag of their own fingers.
Others might learn to make a cheeky face that you to usually pull in front of them. Some might even pull tissue papers and try to wipe the table like you always do. So set a good example. No nose digging in front of the kids. Or wiping your snot on your shirt. You never know what attributes they might pick up from you.
10 Understand Simple Instructions Like 'No' And 'Yes'
Research has found that 'yes' and 'no' are the two most common words used by parents on their kids so it is only natural that they quickly learn to understand how profound those words are.
Mummy doesn't look so pleased when she says 'no' so that must mean she doesn't approve of me eating the bugs on the floor. Daddy says 'yes' when I wobble over to peek at the tablet and shows me all the colorful videos in it before he tiptoes away for thirty minutes of alone time in the bathroom. For them to be able to understand a simple yes and no does not mean that they will obey though and this is where the headache comes.
9 Test Your Limits To The Max
As mentioned previously, your child would have started understanding more and more things by twelve months of age. That being said however, your child is now in the 'curious' stage whereby they would deliberately do things (like throwing food, cups, utensils on the floor, poke the dog's ears, pull big brother's hair and maybe even bite your shoulders) that would literally annoy the heck out of you. While their actions are deliberate and all planned out (masterminds, those little ones), they mean no harm.
They only want to see your reactions when they cross the line. Think of it as their not so little and not so adorable experiment. Indulge them for the next few months of this phase, and you will be wishing they had remained like this when they truly start rebelling in their teens.
8 Say 'Milk' or 'Mum Mum'
The need to feed can drive a person to do things that he or she would normally not be able to achieve. It could also motivate coming of age babies to mouth the essential words that represent food to them. The need to be able to verbally inform you of their desire to feed is so substantial that they might even learn to say ' milk' or 'mum mum' or any words that they associate with food even before they learn to mouth 'mama' or 'dada'.
Such is the power of milk and purees. So don't be surprised when one day while they point to their milk bottle (or your boobies ) and go 'mum mum' aka 'feed me now hooman!'
7 Explore His Surroundings
Being naturally curious, our babies would love to explore their surroundings. They would crawl, drag their butts and literally wobble their way all over the house just to see, touch and sometimes even taste every single object they can lay their hands on.
During this time, it would be best to baby proof the house and especially install socket outlet covers lest they poke their little fingers into the electrical outlets and electrify themselves. They would be especially interested in switches, wanting to press them on and off repeatedly. Also, anything that clicks or moves (like the fan, toaster, fridge) would likely draw their attention. Hence the key to surviving this stage is to baby proof everything.
6 Stack Or Take Things Apart
By twelve months, babies would have turned into demolition kids with a specific obsession for takings things apart or even pulling things out. Give them a tissue box and they could spend the whole afternoon pulling out the tissue papers and tearing them into little pieces. Or shove your handbag in front of them while you do some tasks and it could keep them occupied for a good half an hour while they dig out every card, penny, and lipstick you had long forgotten about.
If you're not one to invest in stacking boxes like me, why not head to the kitchen cabinets and have them play with plastic containers instead. Babies love stacking things and you could even have them sit with you at the dressing room while they pull out all the line from your drawers. It would undoubtedly be messy but at least it would keep them occupied while you get some things done.
5 Sleep Slightly Less
At birth, babies usually sleep 18-20 hours a day and would slowly wean off their sleeping beauty syndrome as they grow older. By the time they become one, they would only need to nap around twice a day (if you're lucky) with an average of one to two hours for each nap and should usually sleep through the night.
But do not fret if you have an extremely active baby who seems to sleep less. Perhaps they still wake up one or two times at night and would rather hold a baby talk with you instead of going back to sleep. So long as they meet the average growth requirements then you have nothing to worry about (no, the growth of your eyes bags don't count).
4 Eat Solid Foods
Having grown at least two front teeth by the age of one (actually they should have around 6 to 8 baby teeth in their mouths by now), our babies (regardless of their age, they will always babies in our eyes) should be able to start chewing on solids like buns, soft cookies, yoghurt puffs, rice, cakes and even some fruits.
Their love for food knows no bounds at this age and this would be the best time to introduce all different kinds of food to them. Tantalize their taste buds with healthy wholesome meals, indulge them in your favorite cakes (just lay off the carrot walnut cakes for now) and chicken chunks. Have them fall in love with the juiciness of peaches and cherries. Create in them the foundation and love for fruits and vegetables and you'll not have to worry about them shoving their faces in the Big Mac every day when they hit puberty.
3 Hold His Sippy Cup Himself
The kiddos love it when they get to play grownups, combing their own hair (who cares if they are still bald), eating by themselves (let's just close an eye to the hurricane of a mess that they make in the process) and also drinking by themselves from a sippy cup.
Remember the look of pride and joy on their faces when they hold the cup gingerly in both hands and pop the sippy tip into their mouth. Their heads will arch all the way to the back (putting shame to even gold medal gymnasts) before taking a few big gulps of water or milk. At times there might be drool and spills but hey, they're still learning. What, did you think we drank with poise when we were just one year old ourselves? We probably made our own parents cringe at the memory of us drinking. Heh.
2 Have A Favorite Toy
Everyone has a preference of some kind, be it food, color, clothes, car, etc. The same goes for our kids. They will have a particular liking for one of the toys you or a friend or relative gifted them. It could be a big fluffy rabbit doll or a small palm-sized monkey. Some even have an obsession with baby bolsters (they won't let you wash it, uh uh honey, don't you even think of sneaking them into the washing machine cos it ain't ever gonna leave their sight).
Still, others might prefer something more solid with sounds and lights like a mini toy boat or a plastic house with lights and sounds. Whatever the item is, help them take good care of the toy and keep sanitizing them. It will do them a lot of good in the long run.
1 Walk Without Your Help
A majority of toddlers would have mastered walking by themselves without any aid, albeit in a wobbly way by one year old. Put them down on their feet and they will roam the whole playground, garden, and even shopping mall.
Others might walk a few steps, turn their little heads to search for your approving smile before gingerly taking a few more steps. The less adventurous however would probably just walk one or two steps before sitting down on their butts with outstretched arms signaling for you to carry them. If your child is still unable to walk by themselves at one, fret not.
Many kids don't learn to walk independently until they are about 18 months of age. As my pediatrician once said, "So long as they learn to walk before the age of two, you shouldn't worry. In fact, it might be better that way. You won't have to worry about chasing after them every day". And that is one heck of a truth.
References: MomJunction and Wikipedia.