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Watch Me Grow: I'm One-Two-Three: A Parent's Essential Guide to the Extraordinary Toddler to Preschool Years


Now in a three-part edition that incorporates the latest research on pediatric brain development, Watch Me Grow: I'm One-Two-Three helps parents in their decision-making by explaining how children experience the world during the wondrous toddler years.

In addition to offering the most current research on age-appropriate behavior and sharing parenting stories, this book also gives sound advice from an expert on child development. Using wisdom and humor, Dr. O'Brien gives parents ...

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Now in a three-part edition that incorporates the latest research on pediatric brain development, Watch Me Grow: I'm One-Two-Three helps parents in their decision-making by explaining how children experience the world during the wondrous toddler years.

In addition to offering the most current research on age-appropriate behavior and sharing parenting stories, this book also gives sound advice from an expert on child development. Using wisdom and humor, Dr. O'Brien gives parents and childcare providers a deeper understanding of the hearts and minds of their growing one-, two-, and three-year-old children.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
O'Brien, formerly director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Boston's Children's Hospital, and Tippins, a writer in the child development field, have reprinted their first two volumes (Watch Me Grow: I'm One; Watch Me Grow, I'm Two) and added a section for the 38- to 48-month-old preschooler to complete this set. Parents who derived help and comfort from the first two books will certainly enjoy this compilation. The authors combine the latest research in child development with an array of engaging and sometimes humorous child-rearing anecdotes (some from OBrien's own experiences with her twins) to make sense of the seemingly incomprehensible actions of a toddler or preschooler. For example, when a three-year-old deliberately misbehaves by eating cookies right before dinner, this child may actually be seeking reassurance that parental love is constant. O'Brien advises that when a child tests in this manner, parents should try to put their frustration with the behavior aside and provide their son or daughter with the limits they are seeking without anger. As in the first two volumes, O'Brien and Tippins discuss physical, cognitive and emotional development, stressing that children mature at different rates and their progress should be looked at individually. The strength of this guide lies in the author's ability to present children's actions and feelings from the child's rather than an adult's perspective. A clearly written, positive guide. Photos. (Dec.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Child development expert O'Brien, a consultant to the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, has combined material from two of her previous books (Watch Me Grow: I'm One; Watch Me Grow: I'm Two) with information on three-year-olds. Using the latest pediatric brain research, she aims to help parents understand children at a particular stage in development and from a child's point of view, so that the typical issues of willfulness, control, and emotional meltdowns are minimized while opportunities for teaching and closeness are maximized. Written in clear, nontechnical language, each section ("I'm One," "I'm Two," "I'm Three") is organized into chapters addressing the physical, cognitive, verbal, emotional, and social development of that particular age, as well as each age group's special needs for routine and limits. This book stands up well against such classics as Penelope Leach's Your Baby and Child. Recommended especially for early childhood development collections.-Kay Hogan Smith, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lister Hill Lib. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060507879
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/26/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 736
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Maureen O’Brien, Ph.D., is a recognized expert in child development and a research associate in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, a consultant to the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children’s Hospital in Boston and an adjunct assistant professor at Bentley College. A mother of twins, she lives with her family in Canton, Massachusetts.

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First Chapter

Chapter One

What I'm Like

At birth your baby's brain is one-fourth its adult size. By his second birthday, it will be three-quarters its adult size.

What a pleasure it is to see a child move from the nearly total dependence of his first twelve months toward a life filled with exploration, verbal communication, and active learning. Mom and Dad watch proudly as fifteen-month-old Philip sits on the floor of their living room, babbling happily as he plays with the plastic rings and spindle they gave him for his birthday. Over the past three months, he has learned to bang the rings against the spindle, pull himself to his feet so he can throw a ring to the floor, and then, when Dad picks up one of the rings, stagger over to try to take it from him. Now, as he puts the first ring on the spindle, then the next, Philip's smile grows in amazement -- and so do his parents'. He dares to reach for a third. Uh-oh. This one doesn't fit. Philip furrows his brow. He pushes, hard. It won't budge. Suddenly, to his parents' dismay, Philip lets out a yell and sends the toy flying across the room. It won't let me put the ring on! he's thinking. Bad toy! I hate it!

Such is the dilemma of the one-year-old--determined enough to know what he wants, but increasingly aware that he's not quite able to get it. No wonder the generally eager, sunny disposition of the twelve to fifteen-month-old begins to succumb to bouts of angry tears, yelling, and "acting out" more and more as he approaches midyear. Who wouldn't want to cry if his feet slipped out from under him every time he tried to run? Who wouldn't protest loudly if Mom disappeared for work with noclear indication of when she'd return? And who wouldn't kick and squirm if his caregiver pinned him down for a diaper change just when he wanted to chase the cat?

Being the parent of a one-year-old is all about reveling in those exciting periods when your child's physical and mental capabilities suddenly take a giant leap forward. It's also all about supporting him through the difficult periods -- the times when he knows what skill he wants to master (walking, asking for his blanket, putting on his shoes) but hasn't quite done yet. Certainly, there are plenty of rewards in store for you this year. During the next twelve months, your baby will begin to appreciate what's out there in the world for him: the colors of a flower, the pleasure of sipping apple juice on a hot day, and the joy of watching a bird fly. He'll discover the satisfactions of banging on the kitchen pans while you cook dinner, clutching a favorite blankie as he learns to lull himself to sleep, and eagerly climbing stairs, furniture, and even people. As he approaches age two, he will grow increasingly interested in others. He'll begin to learn how to converse with his caregiver, his grandfather, and the lady next door, and he'll learn to play happily alongside other children, even if he's not always directly interacting with them. His increasing social awareness will help him begin to sense other people's emotional states, learn to take turns (sometimes), and begin to control his negative impulses in ways that will encourage friendship.

Nevertheless, there will be times -- probably around the middle of this year -- when his whining, banging, or loud, repeated "No!" will baffle and discourage you. These negative behaviors are not a sign of naughtiness or rebellion; rather, they are natural expressions of frustration as your child learns to cope with a tidal wave of new feelings and developing (but not fully developed) capabilities. In fact, those times when your one-year-old seems to fall apart without any visible provocation are some of the surest indicators that he is developing at a healthy, normal pace. (It might also help keep things in perspective to know that, according to a 1986 study by T. Power and M. Chapieski, toddlers are told no every nine minutes on average.) By focusing on how to arrange and manage his environment so that he encounters as few no-win situations as possible -- by erecting a supportive scaffolding of predictable rules, practices, and routines -- you can help him realize his new goals in ways that won't overwhelm him, and that will help you maintain your own equilibrium as well. Fortunately, this is far from a thankless task. By supporting him in his growth, you'll have the pleasure of participating in his transformation from alert but profoundly dependent babyhood to the active, eager, increasingly independent state of early childhood. Best of all, by the time he turns two, your little one will be able to communicate his appreciation by telling you he loves you in his very own words.

A Baby's-Eye View

Where's Grandma?

"Beh!" Twelve-month-old Jeffrey points to the teddy bear in his toy basket and looks expectantly at. Grandma, who's baby-sitting tonight.

"Bear!" she responds with gratifying enthusiasm, picking up the bear and handing it to him. "Is this your favorite bear, Jeffrey? What's his name?"

Jeffrey doesn't understand the word "favorite" but is about to respond anyway, when abruptly the noise of a telephone cuts through the air. Loud!

Jeffrey claps his hands over his ears. The muffling effect intrigues him. Focusing on his hearing, he shifts his attention away from Grandma. Then the telephone stops ringing. Jeffrey looks up.

No Grandma. Jeffrey looks around, stunned. The room suddenly looks enormous. He feels chilled and frightened. Alone! Instinctively, he starts to crawl toward the doorway. At the door, he stands up and peeks into the hall. Grandma's voice! He can hear it! Too eager to try walking, he drops down again and crawls down the hall at top speed ...

Watch Me Grow: I'm One-Two-Three. Copyright © by Maureen O'Brien. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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