Your baby vs. baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper

So I read in a Canadian study (here) that caregivers of toddlers feel much less comfortable / aware of math milestones and development then they do literacy milestones.  Experienced caregivers were much more likely to present math ideas earlier, but even they weren’t exactly sure what was appropriate when.

This made me all angsty – until I realized that I, too, have NO FREAKIN’ CLUE as to what those developmental milestones were either.  Doh.

It also made me think about my mother, and how she is convinced (as are so many grandparents) of the burgeoning genius of her grandbaby.  A genuine baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper, if you will.

This thought, combined with some trolling across the web looking for baby milestones led to the following comparison.  (And yes, it might be time to switch to the decaffinated, hallucinogen-free coffee.)

Numbers: between 18 & 24 months, babies usually begin to recognize number words, but don’t really associate these words with any particular quantity.  Some babies might be able to distinguish the meanings between 1, 2, and many. baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper gave his first lecture on the analysis of complex numbers at age 20 months.
Operations: between 18 & 24 months, some babies start to grasp that if they have 1 of something, and get another 1 of that same thing, now they have 2 somethings! baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper developed a new method for indefinite integration by parts at 17 months
Geometry: between 12 & 24 months, a baby usually understands that a hidden object hasn’t disappeared and can be recovered (aka object permanence). They also can usually complete simple 2 or 3 piece puzzles, or replace a part on a toy (say, a wheel) when they see it removed. baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper not only completed a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle at age 22 months, he did it without the box. In 3 hours. Without drooling on a single piece.
Measurement: between 12 & 18 months, a baby can adjust its reach and grasp based on predicted distance to and weight of the object.  They don’t, however, understand that one object broken into lots of little pieces hasn’t grown in size. baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper still isn’t convinced of the need to actually touch anything. He’s working on developing levitation via telekenesis. Less germy.
Time: between 18 & 24 months, a baby just begins to learn sequence of events (first lunch, then nap).  Duration of time is a concept that develops over the next several years. baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper laughs at your time, and has 2 words for you: Space. Time. Continuum. (Sheldon, that’s 3 words… oooookay. We’ll pretend it’s 2 words. Stop crying.)
Categorization: between 18 & 24 months, some babies learn to group objects by familiar categories (hard vs. soft) or arrange a few objects like blocks by size. baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper gave himself a migraine trying to arrange his toys based on their molecular similarities. He’s gone to have a binky and a nap now.

(Many thanks to the pbs.org child development website for the milestones.)

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2 Comments on “Your baby vs. baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper”

  1. Laurie says:

    This is great!! Poor baby Dr. Sheldon Cooper. So maybe my grandson isn’t a genius but I’m sure he’s off-the-charts fun! Don’t you find it amazing the number of math concepts these little guys have by the time they are two?! So what is the math concept they are using when they put objects in the most unusual places–i.e., can of beans behind the couch — hmmm, not categorizing….


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