by Jackie Bartlett
Last week I had a conversation with my mentor and colleague, and the subject turned to development. He said that development doesn't happen at a steady pace. Children develop for a while, then plateau until the next spurt. I was thinking about my own experiences watching children develop. The babies seem to have major developmental spikes all at once. It's like one day they are relatively immobile and the next they are movers. It's more than that, though. The fine motor skills seem to develop at the same time. Baby E reversed her rolling from belly to back, started using a pincer grip (thumb and forefinger) to grasp things, and made new vocal sounds all in the same day. It was mind blowing to see. Baby S has begun to roll from back to belly while also developing the ability to grasp objects and direct them with his arm and hands (we played a fun ball rolling game that he invented with his new skill).
Thinking about my own life, it seems that development as an adult happens all at once, too (though much less often than it does for babies). Things will be relatively stable and something will happen to change the way I see the world. I will struggle, and in the struggle I will find I am capable of developing new skills--a bunch all at once.
I am reminded of a Magda Gerber quote: "All children accomplish milestones in their own way, in their own time." I am noticing that often their own time is all at once.