My baby book

-Meera Patel

Table of contents- 4 stages of development

  1. Prenatal
  2. Childhood
  3. Adolescence
  4. Adulthood


1. Germinal stage- This is the first 2 weeks where the baby is only a zygote.

The germinal stage begins with conception, when the sperm and egg cell unite in one of the two fallopian tubes. The fertilized egg, known as a zygote, then moves toward the uterus, a journey that can take up to a week to complete. Cell division begins approximately 24 to 36 hours after conception.

2. Embryonic stage- This is between the first 2 weeks and the first 2 months where the zygote further matures to become an embryo. The beginning of the third week after conception marks the start of the embryonic period, a time when the mass of cells becomes a distinct human being.

Around the fourth week, the head begins to form quickly followed by the eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. The cardiovascular system is where the earliest activity begins as the blood vessel that will become the heart start to pulse. During the fifth week, buds that will form the arms and legs appear.

By the time the eight week of development has been reached, the embryo has all of the basic organs and parts except those of the sex organs. It even has knees and elbows! At this point, the embryo weight just one gram and is about one inch in length.

3. Fetal stage- This is from the 2nd month till the birth time where the baby is known to be Fetus. The early body systems and structures established in the embryonic stage continue to develop. The neural tube develops into the brain and spinal cord and neurons form. Sex organs begin to appear during the third month of gestation.

This stage of prenatal development lasts the longest and is marked by amazing change and growth.

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Where my ice cream obsession comes from?

My mom as such didn't have a fascination for ice-creams, but when she got pregnant with me, she craved for a lot of ice-creams. And here I am, the sweetest tooth you could ever come across!


  • NEONATAL REFLEXES- Babies are born with a unique set of reflexes that can tell a physician about their health and development. As soon as within the first minutes after birth, nurses and doctors assess these reflexes to determine a baby’s gestational age.
  • grasping/palmer reflex- The palmar grasp reflex appears at birth and persists until five or six months of age. When an object is placed in the infant's hand and strokes their palm, the fingers will close and they will grasp it with a palmar grasp. The grip is strong but unpredictable; though it may be able to support the child's weight, they may also release their grip suddenly and without warning. The reverse motion can be induced by stroking the back or side of the hand.
  • rooting reflex- The rooting reflex is present at birth and disappears around four months of age, as it gradually comes under voluntary control. The rooting reflex assists in the act of breastfeeding
  • sucking reflex- It causes the child to instinctively suck anything that touches the roof of their mouth, and simulates the way a child naturally eats
  • Swallowing reflex- The suck-swallow reflex is a vital part of the feeding process of infants. Pressure of an object against the roof of the mouth triggers the sucking reflex. Infants will often suck any object, such as a finger, which touches this region. When feeding, the sucking reflex draws milk from the breast or bottle. As milk enters the mouth, the swallowing reflex initiates. The two reflexes work together, allowing the infant to swallow milk while simultaneously sucking to draw out more.
  • Babinski reflex- The Babinski reflex occurs after the sole of the foot has been firmly stroked. The big toe then moves upward or toward the top surface of the foot. The other toes fan out. This reflex is normal in children up to 2 years old. It disappears as the child gets older. It may disappear as early as 12 months.
  • Moro reflex- The Moro reflex is an infantile reflex normally present in all infants/newborns up to 4 or 5 months of age as a response to a sudden loss of support, when the infant feels as if it is falling. It involves three distinct components:
  1. spreading out the arms (abduction)
  2. spreading the arms (adduction)
  3. crying (usually)
As a child, I had grasping reflex, swallowing reflex, sucking reflex and moro reflex. (pssss. I didn't cry okay?)
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Temperament is a general term referring to individual differences in behavior tendencies. Both genetic and environmental influences on temperament.

There are three basic temperaments seen in children

  • The Easy Child - these children show regular eating, sleeping, elimination cycles, a positive approach response to new situations, and can accept frustration with little fuss. They adapt to change, such as new food or a new school quickly. They show a good mood most of the time, and smiled often. Most of the problems reported with these children resulted when the child was placed in situations that required responses that were inconsistent with what they had learned at home.
  • The Difficult Child - these children show irregular eating, sleeping, and elimination cycles. They displayed a negative approach response to new situations, for example frequent and loud crying or throwing tantrums when frustrated. They are slow to adapt to change, and need more time to get used to new food or people. Most of the problems reported with these children centers around socialization patterns, expectations of family, school, and peer groups.If pushed to become immediately involved in a situation, these children are more likely to exhibit loud refusal and sometime oppositional and aggressive behavior.
  • The Slow-to-Warm-Up Child - these children show negative responses of mild intensity when exposed to new situations, but slowly come to accept them with repeated exposure. They have fairly regular biological routines. Problems with these children vary depending on the other characteristics they show.

"But I wanted to shut the door!"

One time we were getting late to see someone and I was 2 and a half years old. As soon as I got into the car, mom shut the car door for me. That's when the story begins. I really wanted to shut the door and so I threw a tantrum. I got out of the car and started crying out loud, rolling under the car (imagine my mom's dilemma!) and my mother's scolding wouldn't make a tad difference! Mom says that went on for about an hour before my tear ducts went empty. I was usually not a very aggressive child, I was a very happy child on the contrary. I don't think it's an experience she'll ever forget that!


A strong bond between the primary caregivers and the baby.

As a child, I grew to be most attached to my mother. She was a friend to me when I was a kid. She would make me things and take me places, I would trust her the most and have the best time with her.

But what is 'imprinting'?

Imprinting occurs in animals and humans, in the first hours of life. The newborns bond to the people it meets at birth and begins to pattern its behavior after them. This is often called bonding, and it in simple words is the relationship between the newborn and parents.

As a kid I had an attachment to a soft toy dog. I still remember how it looked like a black lab. I used to make it drink water (literally get poor soft toy's mouth all wet and floor all watery!) And thought of it as my protector at night.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive Development is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology that focuses on a child's development in terms of information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and other aspects of brain development.

Jean Piaget believed that 'one's childhood plays a vital and active role to the growth of intelligence, and that the child learns through doing and actively exploring'.

According to him, there were quite a a lot of stages in a child's cognitive development.

1. Sensorimotor stage (0-2 years)

During the sensorimotor stage infants learn mostly through trial and error learning. e.g, sucking, grasping, stepping, etc. Children learn that they are separated from the environment.

As a kid, mom used to bring me a lot of puzzles. And as soon as she found me mastering one type, she'd bring another that is slightly tougher than the last one. This should have helped me develop my learning of where things go.

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-physical development

Within about 6-8months, I learnt how to sit up for several minutes without rolling over. My first tooth was around the same age. My first steps were taken at the age of 12 months.
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-language development

My first word was 'ma-ma', mom said it was around the age of 2. According to her I would make funny faces and that's how I communicated. If no one was around, I would make keep on saying 'ma-ma' loudly. Furthermore, I would say bits and pieces of words like, 'eat eat' and she would know I want more food. I would say very few words like 'go, eat, peepee, that,etc'. That's what telegraphic speech means. Talking in short word language which is understandable.

2. Pre-operational stage (2-7 years)

children in this stage do not yet understand concrete logic, cannot mentally manipulate information, and are unable to take the point of view of other people. It is sometimes subdivided into two smaller stages, the symbolic function and intuitive thought stages. One of the key features of the preoperational stage is that it marks the time that a child starts to acquire language.

Children also have trouble with logic and abstract thinking during the preoperational stage, because so much of their knowledge is perception based.

For me, my elder cousin brother used to trick me into getting the smaller piece of chocolate. He's still paying for that.

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Conservation task

3. Concrete Operational stage (7-11 years)

During this time, children gain a better understanding of mental operations. Children begin thinking logically about concrete events, but have difficulty understanding abstract or hypothetical concepts.One of the most important developments in this stage is an understanding of reversibility, or awareness that actions can be reversed. e.g, a child understands that a favourite ball that deflates is not gone but can be filled with air again and put back into play.

This is the time I found out my cousin brother was cheating and taking the larger pieces of chocolates. I didn't share my food again with him for a long long time.

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Lev's Vygotsky's theory of the Zone of Proximal Development-

Lev Vygotsky's views interaction with peers as an effective way of developing skills and strategies. He suggests that teachers use cooperative learning exercises where less competent children develop with help from more skillful peers.

When I was a kid, the person who influenced me the most was my mother. Her influence was rather positive but I remember her to be my foremost influence.

4.Formal Operational Stage

During this stage, the person will demonstrate ability to critically analyze situations taking into consideration reasoning and argument. This stage is also marked by being able to demonstrate ability to think in more abstract terms.

  • Adolescent egocentrism: Adolescent egocentrism is teens' and older tweens' belief that others are highly attentive to their behavior and appearance.
It is in parties where I get my egocentrism running through my veins. Getting dressed and putting on make up is a part of it.

  • Personal fable: The personal fable is the adolescent's belief that he or she is highly special and unlike anyone else who has ever walked the earth.
When I was feeling low one day, my mom told me that I was special and that was when I was 11. It took me a year to see the reality.

  • Imaginary audience: The belief that a group of followers exist who constantly watch and judge their every move.
On stage or off, whenever I'm dancing even for my pleasure, I always seem to have a feeling of 'imaginary audience'.

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1. Authoritarian- Authoritarian parents have high expectations of their children and have very strict rules that they expect to be followed unconditionally.

2. Permissive- Permissive parenting is sometimes known as indulgent parents. Parents who exhibit this style make relatively few demands upon their children. Because these parents have low expectations for self-control and maturity, they rarely discipline their children.

3. Authoritative- This style of parenting is sometimes referred to as "democratic" and involves a child-centric approach in which parents hold high expectations for their children.

Children raised by authoritative parents should to be more capable, happy and successful according to me.

Personality development- Erik Erikson

  • Identity vs. role

During adolescence (age 12 to 18 yrs), the transition from childhood to adulthood is most important. Children are becoming more independent, and begin to look at the future in terms of career, relationships, families, housing, etc. The individual wants to belong to a society and fit in. This is a major stage in development where the child has to learn the roles he will occupy as an adult. It is during this stage that the adolescent will re-examine his identity and try to find out exactly who he or she is. Erikson suggests that two identities are involved: the sexual and the occupational.

I always faced difficulty in choosing my occupation and switched a lot until I finally found out what I really want to go into i.e., business. I do have a lot of times where I actually think about my choices and see if they are actually mine or are they what I've grown to adapt and think they're mine.

  • Intimacy vs. isolation

Occurring in young adulthood (ages 18 to 40), we begin to share ourselves more intimately with others. We explore relationships leading toward longer term commitments with someone other than a family member. Successful completion of this stage can lead to comfortable relationships and a sense of commitment, safety, and care within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing commitment and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of love.

I recently moved in with my cousin sisters and realise how close I've become to them. And even though I was used to staying without them, now it is so difficult! I often winder how my relationship with them is going to look like when we grow up.

  • Generative vs. Stagnation

Generativity the concern of guiding the next generation. Socially-valued work and disciplines are expressions of generativity. By failing to achieve these objectives, we become stagnant and feel unproductive. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of care.

In this stage I expect to be settled and preparing my children(if I have any) for what they might experience in their future. I would raise them in a way where I teach them how to be responsible gradually and not through pampering them.

  • Integrity vs. Despair

As we grow older (65 years and over) and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and are able to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life. Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom enables a person to look back on their life with a sense of closure and completeness, and also accept death without fear.

I want to be a successful person by the time I grow old. And by that, I mean be a successful entrepreneur. I would then like to relax and travel to places I always wanted to go to. If I am not a successful entrepreneur I would definitely not live in regret because I would know I tried my best.

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