Communication at Eight Months

Having done the baby stage once, I was expecting to enjoy watching my daughter grow up, but perhaps not be quite so amazed by it as the first time around. My son at this age had my complete and undivided attention. I would sit and play with him and watch him, waiting eagerly for him to pass objects from hand to hand, swallow his first bite of finger food, pull himself up to standing, take his first step. My daughter does have an audience (her brother loves observing her and will keep me updated on her activities at the top of his voice), but life is much busier. I noticed that she was passing her spoon from her left to her right hand while in the middle of mopping up spilled milk, fielding requests for a fourth helping of Weetabix and trying to finally squeeze in a moment for a cup of tea.

“Hey!” I thought. “When did she start doing that?”

Was the Toddler doing eyebrow shaping at this age?

Was the Toddler doing eyebrow shaping at this age?

Perhaps because I don’t have the time to be watching and waiting for each milestone, she amazes me more. Every day I am startled by what she is capable of. I keep thinking: did the Toddler do this when he was her age? It seems very advanced.

She was eight months yesterday, and what I am most struck with is how well she can communicate with us. Yesterday at lunch time, the Toddler and I invented a new game to play with her. It is called Hands in the Air! We both stick our hands in the air and start waving them about, looking expectantly at the baby. She beams at us. Her breathing quickens with excitement. Then she lifts up an arm and flaps it up and down, looking from me to the Toddler. “I’m joining in!” her proud face is saying.

It occurred to me, as my son and I were sitting there with our hands in the air waiting for her to follow suit, that this is also her first experience of peer pressure.

Babies are of course well versed in expressing both displeasure and joy. When she sees her brother first thing in the morning she will screech and wave and kick her legs with excitement. If he hugs her a bit too forcefully (eg: puts her in a headlock) she will exclaim in protest. If I don’t keep her highchair tray supplied with titbits and her spoon loaded with food she will shout and cry.

But her communication is becoming more subtle as well. She is choosing what she wants to eat. A piece of banana she will fall upon with ravenous gusto. I put a piece of pepper in front of her next. She examines it. It is not yellow, therefore not a banana. She doesn’t even pick it up but turns back to me, waiting for something better. I put a piece of cheese down. It is yellow, so she picks it up and tastes it. She pulls a face. This is not banana! She throws it on the floor and turns back to me, now giving me a frustrated shout. Her little hand reaches out to the rest of the banana, which is lying in front of me.

I am constantly amazed at what she can communicate without words.

Yesterday she was sitting on the floor while I hung out the washing. She got a bit fractious, so I sat down next to her and we looked at a soft baby book together. It had a fluffy bird that you could hide away in its nest, and we played peekaboo with it for a bit. “Oh hey!” I thought as her hand went to the nest after I’d hidden the bird, “She is learning about object permanence.” When she seemed happy again I stood up, intending to go back to the washing.

From the floor I heard a friendly screech. I looked down. The Baby was beaming at me, holding up the book towards me with both hands. “That was fun!” she was saying. “Can we read it again?”


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25 responses

    • Really quite remarkable! Just in the few days since I wrote this she’s started to wave as well. It’s going so fast it’s making my head spin!

  1. Great to get them into books so early. I remember taking my son to a health visitor weaning session and she commented that I must already be reading to my child, because he knew how to follow a book (in this case a weaning leaflet) with his eyes even at that tiny age.

    • I found I was doing less reading with my daughter than I did with my son when he was this age – less time maybe, or forgetting she is old enough to enjoy it. So of late I’ve been trying to make it more of a thing.

  2. This has brought back so many happy memories…isn’t it amazing how you can communicate with a baby (and they you) without words? It is something that evolves so naturally, mother and baby in fine tune with each other, that it isn’t often that you stop and notice. I’m glad you did and wrote this, as it has really reminded me of how in tune I was with my girl and boy. I’m also glad you wrote this, as it is helping to distract me from those bids to write….;) Lovely lovely post x

  3. Oh Judith, this was just so lovely to read. I agree with you wholeheartedly about some of the milestones happening before we realise with subsequent children. My 2nd does things and I have that when did she learn that moment too. In some ways though, it’s even more exciting for them just to surprise us x

    • Yes, I do like the surprise element, almost more than the long awaited for developmental milestone. I was remembering the other day how I’d get quite bored with playing with my son, that as he was awake for longer I’d despair at how to entertain him until his next nap. But with my daughter time just speeds by.

  4. I am loving this post honey, i am the same with Joshua as life gets far more complicated and busy. I love the wave your arms in the air game!

    Thanks for linking up with #magicmoments

    • Yes, good point, it is very hard as well. Time dragged a bit with myfirst, but I look back on those early days of watching endless television while cluster feeding in the evening and they already seem so far away. Almost feel nostalgic for them. Almost.

  5. Can’t offer anything from my own experience Judith but it’s lovely reading your accounts of your kids growing up!

  6. That’s a gorgeous ‘magic moment’! Isn’t it funny how we hang on every goo and ga from our first, yet the second seems to go by unnoticed and all of a sudden they are walking! I think girls are also better ‘communicators’ in general than boys. Lovely that she reached up to you!

    • I have heard that girls develop from the inside out and boys from the outside in. As a general rule, of course, with the obligatory exceptions. 🙂

    • I know, it’s so lovely to see how their communication becomes more subtle and expressive day by day. My 2 1/2 year old now treats me to blow by blow accounts of our arguments after the fact… (“And S *not* brush teeth. And Mummy cross. And S lots of cry.”)

  7. How absolutely lovely, it’s so hard to fully focus on everything they do when you have two – completely understandable that this is what happens. A great magic moment with the book at the end :). Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

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