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Emermouse
10-28-2013, 05:30 AM
Hi, I'm working on a sequel to a novel I've written. In said previous novel, I had an infant character age from newborn to six months old. I manage to deal with that by finding a few websites on infant development and being generally vague about how much time had passed.

But in my sequel, a year has passed and said infant is now an eighteen-month-old toddler and I'm stuck because I haven't been around many children that age and I've never had a child that age. I do know that at 18 months, the child is walking (many times running because it's a short step from "Baby learns to Walk" to "Baby Learns to Run") and talking but I'd like to know more about language skills at that age (so I can make her babbling read true) and maybe more about motor skills. About all I know about toddlers is that they are whirlwinds of destruction. Can anyone help me out?

cornflake
10-28-2013, 07:52 AM
Hi, I'm working on a sequel to a novel I've written. In said previous novel, I had an infant character age from newborn to six months old. I manage to deal with that by finding a few websites on infant development and being generally vague about how much time had passed.

But in my sequel, a year has passed and said infant is now an eighteen-month-old toddler and I'm stuck because I haven't been around many children that age and I've never had a child that age. I do know that at 18 months, the child is walking (many times running because it's a short step from "Baby learns to Walk" to "Baby Learns to Run") and talking but I'd like to know more about language skills at that age (so I can make her babbling read true) and maybe more about motor skills. About all I know about toddlers is that they are whirlwinds of destruction. Can anyone help me out?

This just varies so hugely - have you tried a general 'What to Expect...' book?

There are kids who use complete and even complex sentences (I no want milk; I want juice!) and are very articulate. There are kids who use simple sentence construction by 18 months (Doggie nice!). There are kids who are using single words, naming things, communicating ideas, etc., and kid who haven't really started speaking. There are kids all in between all of this. Stuff like whether the kid has siblings, what the kid is exposed to, does during the day, etc., will likely impact language development and acquisition as well.

StormChord
10-28-2013, 03:55 PM
When I was that age, I was speaking, but not coherently. I was also walking - actually, I was running - and had a tendency to climb on things as best I could.

Beyond that, google is your friend.

LA*78
10-28-2013, 04:15 PM
I have 3 kids. Neither of my boys really spoke until they were 2.5yrs. My daughter was using 2-3word statements by the time she was 18mths, and had quite an extensive vocabulary. Really there is no standard.

IClaytonR
10-28-2013, 05:08 PM
huge variation. I second the suggestion of What to Expect the Toddler years.

wendymarlowe
10-28-2013, 10:24 PM
My younger daughter is 16 months right now (older one just started kindergarten). I know the problem - even in four years, I've forgotten what stages hit when! Things we're dealing with now:

- walking well and running some, but can't jump yet (that should come at ~18 mos). Still falls down on uneven ground.

- can finally do stairs alone, although not 100% safe from falls so we do have to keep the baby gate up.

- some kids are climbers; others never bother. My older one wasn't interested, but this one brought me a handful of oatmeal this morning (ewwww) from her sister's breakfast - one of these days I'll remember that she knows how to climb onto the kitchen table . . .

- language development varies widely, but 18 months is plenty old enough to be speaking single words or two-word sentences, especially if this is an oldest child. My older one had a dozen words at that point, although she abandoned them all for "that" and pointing once she figured out that was easier :-P My 16-month-old right now is babbling and saying "mama" and "dada" but that's about it.

- illness - if the kid is around other kids at all, even just storytime at the library or in the nursery at church, they'll be bringing home a lot of viruses. And since you can't really give them anything except Tylenol at that age, they're going to be stuffy and grumpy and snotty a lot of the time.

- potty training - there's a window at around 18 months where kids are first interested in learning how to potty train. A small minority figure it out. The rest lose interest (or the parents didn't catch their chance) and will get potty trained between age 2 1/2 - 3.

- 18-month-olds generally have one set of molars in the back (one on each gum) and their front 2-4 top and 2-4 bottom teeth. No more dietary restrictions except for peanut and shellfish products (generally the advice is "don't give them until the kid can tell you their throat is itchy"), and even that is relaxed some if you have no family history of allergies and you have older kids who are not allergic. Choking hazards are still a problem - hot dogs, grapes, raw apples, etc.

- most 18-month-olds will weigh around 25-30 pounds, give or take a few.

Hope that helps!

wendymarlowe
10-28-2013, 10:33 PM
To answer the language question more specifically, the progression generally goes:

1) completely random sounds (birth)

2) only sounds which exist in the caregivers' native language (~6 months)

3) repeated syllables like gagagaga or buhbuhbuhbuh (up through the age you're looking at and beyond, sometimes)

Actual language varies a lot, but the order of steps is usually the same for neurotypical kids:

4) Mostly babbling but a handful of nouns (milk, mama, dada, ball, no, all done, etc.) which are only understandable to the primary caregivers

5) Much wider vocabulary, including verbs, but still single word sentences

6) Two-word sentences (want milk, byebye dog, no nap)

7) More complex sentences (mama want go eat, kitty go byebye car)

8) Sentences start including filler words and proper plurals (lots of doggies!)

9) Understanding of "I" versus "you," conjugating verbs

Takes a lot longer than you'd think to get to those last steps :-)

ETA: my undergraduate degree is in developmental psychology, specifically how kids learn, so this isn't entirely gleaned from parenting :-)

Debbie V
10-29-2013, 03:23 AM
The American Academy of Pediatrics book Birth to Five Years also has a great section on the age.

A lot of things depend on whether the toddler has older kids to copy and whether the parents have as much time to be hands on. Often a first born is watched every second and is distracted from those things like climbing. It's not that they have no interest, it's that they have less opportunity and can easily become interested in something else. (My husband and I were literally known to point at something and say, "Look, a distraction.") The attention span is nil.

However, older siblings and their friends are more interesting than any brief attention from mom and dad. And if mom has to stop to tie sister's shoes, the younger sibling had sudden opportunity for trouble.

This age is also the lead to the terrible twos (which do not always strike at 2). The toddler is learning autonomy and the word no.

jaksen
10-29-2013, 05:13 AM
I have a fourteen-month old grandson and he can walk, run, climb stairs and has a vocabulary of about 20 words. He understands 'NO' but will smile at you and do it anyhow.

His older brother, on the other hand, wasn't walking until almost 14 months, so there is tremendous variation. But for a range of when kids do what when, there are excellent resources online and in your local library.

Or make friends with someone who has an 18-month old and observe.

cornflake
10-29-2013, 06:13 AM
The climbing thing is individual too.

I remember a story Matt Damon told on some talk show, just because it was funny - about his brother's kids coming to visit. Damon has three young girls, like toddler to young elementary school age. His brother has two or three boys in the same range. The brother and kids came to visit, Damon let them in to the apt., walked off to put coats down or something and came back to his daughters, staring in wonder at a nephew, who'd scaled the floor-to-ceiling bookcase and was clinging, like 9' in the air.

I remember he said he just stood there himself, because, he said, if they lived in that apt. for 1000 years, not one of his children would ever have thought to attempt that and within 2 minutes of being in the place, the other kid went right for it and he had no clue what the hell to do (like whether it was safer to tell him to climb down or try to go after him or what).

Sunflowerrei
10-29-2013, 09:01 AM
My oldest niece is 5 now, but she was talking pretty well by 18 months in full sentences. Her younger sister (3 now) didn't talk as much, but she liked to throw things on the floor and her favorite word was "No!" My nephew was babbling a lot at 18 months, but only a couple of real words, and starting to run and liked to climb stairs by himself, but he didn't like going to the next room, for instance, without somebody behind him or near him.

Katrina S. Forest
10-29-2013, 12:22 PM
Shortly after turning 1, my toddler burst into tears when you told him no. (He didn't fight you on whatever you said no to, just cried that you did.) Then around 18 months, he realized he could say it back.

Toddlers are old enough for time out (1 minute per year of age), although it was usually a last resort for us when distraction/verbal warning/everything else didn't work. We did make him sit on his own (as opposed to holding him there), but he only did that consistently after several lengthy battles of putting him back every time he got up.

Toddlers are the center of their own little universes. Anything and everything only exists in terms of how it relates to them and they'll often assume you know what they're thinking/looking at. A toddler might see a big ball, point and yell, "Big!" and leave you wondering which of the half a dozen "big" things in the room they're referencing. There's no articles in speech. Usually you'll get a single noun. Sometimes you'll get a verb, but almost always in the first person present tense. (ie "Dog! Dog run!") The first adjectives my son added to his vocabulary I believe were size and color. He learned red and blue pretty quick -- other colors like pink, brown, black, and white came way later.

This is a little journey entry I wrote on my toddler's speech around the 18-month mark if it's useful:

http://katrinasforest.blogspot.com/2013/10/jt-flashback-1-18-months.html

Niiicola
10-30-2013, 05:43 AM
This is an over-generalization based on my two kids.

Hanging out with a roughly 1.5-year-old is not unlike hanging out with a very drunk person. Similar motor skills, lots of falling down, unintelligible speech, angry yelling when they don't get their way, etc, etc.

They have very short attention spans. Are you eating one thing, but decide another thing looks tastier? No problem, just spit out the thing you were eating -- yep, right down the front of your shirt -- and put that new thing in your mouth. Whirlwinds of destruction is absolutely true. They are all about taking things apart, pulling things out of cupboards and drawers, dumping things out, pouring liquids. So. much. energy. My son is 16 months and is just now starting to run a bit. He can't jump yet, but does this wonderfully hopeful thing where he swings his arms up into the air and lifts up onto his toes, but doesn't budge from the ground.

Some don't talk at all yet, and some (like mine) will have a lot of simple words and also do entire monologues in gibberish. It has the exact cadence of correct sentences, just not the words to fill it all in.

They are exhausting creatures. But luckily very cute.

ETA: You might also do a Youtube search for 18 months old. I bet there a ton of home videos marking milestones.

wendymarlowe
10-30-2013, 09:45 AM
My 16-month-old is adorable when you give her three of something - she picks up one in one hand, another in the other hand, then sees the third so she puts one down. Sees the one she just put down and has to put one of the other two down to pick it up. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

(Even better when it's food, because she's learned that her mouth is a convenient third storage facility. We can get her to eat almost anything by presenting her with three of it and then one at a time after that - she keeps transferring each bite from her hand to her mouth so she can pick up the amazing! new! one in front of her!)