You read all the books and were totally prepared for the poo and the vomit and the crying and the soft spot in their head… but still you keep seeing things that make you wonder:
Is my child normal?
Probably. Put plainly, your child is more likely to be normal than not – and by ‘normal’ I mean displaying behaviours that are common and not cause for concern.
Here are ten weird, annoying, frustrating, confusing and totally normal things about your child.
1. She bites you on the shoulder when being carried and held.
This can be due to teething (have you noticed your baby gnawing on more than just your shoulder?), or it can be just an experimentation with cause and effect. This is a good sign as it shows your baby is learning more about the way the world works and testing what your response to a nip on the shoulder will be. To avoid getting chunks taken out of you, respond by putting her down without comment. Test completed! Soon with enough repetition she will probably decide the outcome isn’t worth the biting.
2. Her head has become flat at the back.
This is most likely due to spending so much time on her back, especially since you will hopefully be following recommendations to sleep your baby on her back at all times. The flat head, or positional plagiocephaly, will usually correct itself as your child grows older and spends less time laying on the same spot. To help avoid and/or help correct the flatness position your baby’s head facing in different directions when she lays on her back, and lay her on her tummy during awake time for a long as she can tolerate.
3. He sleeps with his eyes open.
Your child is a zombie! But don’t worry, plenty of others are as well. The official term for baby zombie is nocturnal logophthalmos and while it is occasionally present in adults it is reasonably common in infants and most will grow out of it by about 18 months. There isn’t a lot known about how the condition arrises in infants, but it’s thought it might have something to do with the large amount of time babies spend in REM sleep.
4. She hits other children
While aggression shouldn’t be encouraged, it’s certainly a very normal part of childhood development. Hitting others can stem from frustration with developing communication and emotional skills, curiosity, and purely fun. Discourage it but don’t be concerned about it.
5. He eats dirt.
And insects and twigs and pebbles and anything else he can get into his mouth. This is just a normal part of his exploration of the world around him. While you should be careful to ensure he doesn’t put anything in his mouth he could choke on, a small amount of dirt will not pose any serious health risks and is very unlikely to become a long term habit once he has filed the information away under “gritty” and “yucky”.
6. He fakes coughing.
Clever little bastard. He’s only 9 months old and is figuring out how to get your attention. This is, again, more of the exploration of cause and effect. After seeing that his own or others’ real coughs get a reaction, and maybe special attention, he’s seeing what kind of reaction he can get. If you mimic the sound back to him he will enjoy the ‘conversation’ between the two of you and continue to cough to engage with you. Nothing sinister or unusual here.
7. She bangs her head against a wall or the floor.
This is more likely to be a form of self-soothing (like rocking) than a sign of physical or emotional discomfort. She may also like the rhythmic sound and be experimenting with the sensation. Don’t be tempted to put cot bumpers or cushions in the crib if this is where the head banging is mostly happening – these are far more likely to hurt your child than the head banging.
8. She walks on her tippy toes.
Though the exact cause of toe walking is still unknown it is not uncommon and most children have grown out of it by the time they are 5 years old. Unless your child is additionally displaying developmental delay there is no need for concern.
9. He said ‘Dad” before he said “Mum”.
This has absolutely no bearing on your child’s feeling towards either parent, or anyone at all. It is unlikely that “Dadadadadada” is even connected to her father in his mind yet. This sound is simply one of the easiest to say and is almost always the first, or one of the first, ‘words’ a baby will learn to say.
10. He plays with his genitals.
Again, this is once again a normal sign of exploration and development. In fact, even unborn babies in the womb have been shown to play with their genitals. Your baby probably plays with his hands and feet as well. He’s just touching everything he can reach and finding out about his body, which he’s just beginning to understand belongs to him as separate from you and the rest of the world.
You might also like:
- Parental Advisory: The Ugly Duckling (babble.com)
- Is my toddler normal? (madeformums.com)
- In-toeing and Out-toeing in Toddlers (yourfeet.co.nz)
- The hazards and benefits of eating dirt (aboutkidshealth.ca)
- Why do babies say ‘DaDa’ first? (modernmom.c0m)