Last Month's Wow:
The Power of Comparison
Learning about comparisons and polarities—big/little, long/short, more/less, first/last—is a big jump toward mature executive functions. Notice the connection between two-word phrases and comparisons.
The Wow of Now:
Transitions and Tantrums
Baby's “now” brain is gradually morphing into a “now-and-then” brain. Conceptualizing the idea of “later” means baby is learning about waiting. Sometimes, transitioning out of something they want to be doing before they are ready can cause frustration.
The Wow Ahead:
When to Potty Train
Understanding that feelings can be comfortable or uncomfortable unlocks the world of “interoception” (paying attention to what’s going on inside you). Included in interoception is recognizing the feelings and sensations associated with toileting.
Up until now, baby has existed in “survival brain”—where the choices are now or not now. The big WOW here is the concept of later. Baby learning to wait or to pause something they are enjoying relies on their ability to imagine a future. Just like way back up stream, when baby began navigating space, and the idea of the ball behind the chair was linked to separation anxiety, they are now learning to imagine time in the same way. So, fittingly, transitions can trigger similar anxieties, resistance, and frustrations.
Baby’s day is filled with mini transitions, from getting out the door or cleaning up after playtime, to taking naps or going to bed for the night. Little ones can struggle with having to stop what they are doing to do something else. Transitions call on the executive function skills we’ve talked about before—visualizing, working memory, inhibitory control, and attention—to challenge baby’s powerful feelings of independence and exploration, which can lead to an increase in tantrums.
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