The infant I observed is named Tessa. Tessa is a 7 month old caucasian female cared for by her married mother and father. They are a middle class family living in a spacious bi-level home. Tessa's mom is a stay at home mom while her father owns his own auto mechanics business. Tessa is their first and only child as of right now. Tessa's family has an English Setter named Bonnie who loves to play with Tessa. Observation Demographic Information: I observed in Tessa's home at 12:00 on Tuesday, March 13th. We were in the living room for most of the observation, but we went outside to the park towards the last twenty minutes or so.
In the living room, Tessa and her mother were on one couch while I was sitting across from her on the other couch. Her father was at work. The weather outside was absolutely beautiful. Since I know Tessa and her family, I didn't stay solely as an observer the entire time. I was able to talk to her mom and I was able to play with Tessa quite a bit. Play by Play: For the majority of my observation, we were all in Tessa's living room. Her living room consists of a sofa, loveseat, television, and pictures of their immediate family and other family members all around the room.
Since there isn't a lot of furniture in the room, it's extremely spacious, and provides lots of room for Tessa to crawl and play. When I first got to Tessa's house, she had just woken up from a nap. You would think she would be a little tired and loopy, but she was wired and ready to go! Her mom had mentioned to me that she just mastered crawling and can't seem to stop. When I first got there, I said hi to her mom and then held Tessa. We walked into the living room and that's when I handed Tessa back to her mom. Her mom and I just casually talked throughout the entire interview.
For the first few minutes, Tessa was content with sitting on her mom's lap and just hanging out. Her mom was bouncing her a little bit so that way Tessa wouldn't go stir crazy. After about ten minutes, Tessa got fussy and wanted to be put down. At that moment, that's when her mom brought up how she loves being able to crawl and how it was a new thing to her. Right when she was put on the floor, Tessa crawled right over to me! I gave her a big smile and was so excited for her! When she saw my smile, Tessa smiled and tried to grab the couch cushion I was sitting on. It looked like she was going to try and stand up, and she did indeed try.
When I looked at her fingers while she grabbed the couch cushion, I noticed she was not grabbing with her thumb. That's when I realized that she hadn't mastered the pincer grasp yet. She tried to stand herself up but got very frustrated because she couldn't seem to get her lower body to follow her upper body movements. I was trying to encourage her to come up to me on her own, but it wasn't working out. After I saw her get frustrated, I picked her up and her fussing stopped. There were toys next to me on the floor so I grabbed one that looked like some type of rattle.
As I showed her the toy she gazed at it with wide eyes and then took it from me. I looked at the way she held the toy and noticed again how she wasn't grabbing it with her thumb. She shook it, transferred it between both of her hands, and really just loved looking at all the cool things on the toy. After another ten minutes went by, she got bored of it and threw it on the ground. After she threw it she started grunting and getting fussy, so I put her back on the ground seeing if she wanted to get the toy or just crawl around. It turns out that she just wanted to crawl back to her mom.
After she made it to her mom's couch, she was able to sit up by herself. Her mom also had toys by her, and gave one to Tessa to play with. This toy was one of those toys that you have a block in a certain shape and then you try to put the block into the same shaped hole on the box. Tessa grabbed the star shaped block and just banged it on the box. She continued to do that with other shaped blocks as well. Tessa continued to play with these blocks for the next twenty minutes. Since the weather was so nice, we went outside for the remainder of the interview to a park right down the street.
I sat Tessa down in her stroller and her mom pushed her down the sidewalk in it. I was trying to watch how Tessa was looking at all of the things around her, but she had a stuffed animal bear in her hand that had bells on it's neck, so she was extremely enticed in shaking the bear to make the bells ring. We got to the park and put Tessa in one of the baby swings. Tessa showed her sense of body control by being able to keep her head and neck up while she was swinging. She was laughing and smiling the entire time. She seems to be an extremely happy baby!
At one point she was waving her arms at me and also other people who were walking by. I decided to play peek-a-boo with her while she was swinging. Her mom was pushing her in the swing from behind while I was pushing in front of her. Every time she came towards me in the swing, I would uncover my face from my eyes and she would laugh. When I would push her back, I would put cover up my face again. She was loving it! The time came where I had to go to work, so I had to say goodbye. Tessa's mom was planning on meeting friends at the park with their babies, so she continued to push Tessa on the swing.
I stopped the swing and gave Tessa a kiss on the cheek, and said my goodbyes. What I was thinking: I was focusing on Tessa's hands and the way she grasped her different toys and even the swing at certain points. Since my topic of interest was motor development, I also watched how she crawled and her body control. I thought Tessa was showing me a lot about her fine motor and gross motor abilities. However, I did notice that Tessa's cephalocaudal direction wasn't yet mastered. I noticed that while she was trying to stand herself up when she crawled towards the couch I was sitting on.
What I was feeling: I felt like a researcher! It was cool to be able to notice things that Tessa was doing and to be able to relate them to things we went over in class. I thought back to when we watched movies of Professor Mulcahy's daughter and were able to depict the different fine motor topics we were discussing in class. I felt accomplished that I was able to see Tessa replicate key points in our discussions about crawling and the way infant's hold different objects. I felt confident that after my observation with Tessa, I was able to write a lot about her motor development.
What the caregiver was thinking: Since I know Tessa's mom, I feel like she thought it was just an ordinary day hanging out with me and Tessa. There were times where I had to write things down about what Tessa was showing me, and I think I could see her mom trying to see what I was writing down. As a person in her situation I would probably do the same thing. However, she didn't ask me any questions about what I was writing down. The conversations we had throughout the interview were just regular, personal conversations that we have daily.
I feel like she thought it was a nice day to hang out and focus on Tessa and what she was doing. What I learned about my topic: Motor Development entails fine and gross motor skills. I found this great article titled "On the Move" and it was saying how if certain infants aren't crawling at the designated age, and are instead scooting or dragging their body around, that it's okay. It stated that when an infant starts to crawl, as long as it is using both sides of their body equally, it is strengthening the muscles it will need when he begins to walk. I thought that was pretty interesting.
I used our class #15 power point on motor development quite often. I would look at the fine motor skill and gross motor skill age and skill chart, and look at the skills that the infant is supposedly supposed to master at that certain age. I was able to match Tessa up with the appropriate skills, and was able to see why she has not mastered the other skills yet. My last source that I used was an article titled "Learning to Crawl. " This was a longitudinal study discussing the effects of infants' age, body dimensions, and experience on the development of crawling.
This study showed how half of their babies crawled on their bellies and half of their babies crawled on their hands and knees, and this had no effect on their later ability to walk. I thought this was extremely important because a lot of parents get afraid that their child isn't doing certain tasks "the right way," and that if they aren't, they immediately assume that they have some type of autism. This article was a perfect depiction of how that isn't exactly true.
Questions: I didn't have many questions going into this observation since we covered a lot of my questions in class discussions. One question that I do have though is does extremely late motor development lead to walking and running problems for the infant in the future? I know my articles stated that it was okay for infants to not be exactly on track, but what if the infant doesn't even start to crawl until after they are a year old? Does that mean they will also take a longer time in learning how to walk? And if these answers can be discovered, does this effect the infant's ability to walk in the future as a growing toddler and child?