There is an inside joke about Gavin and Gareth that has been going on since before Gareth was even conceived. When it became evident that Gavin was not at all interested in physical activities, I joked that Gavin would be the brains and that my second child would be the brawn. Since Gareth was been born, it appears that my little joke is becoming a reality. Gavin has been dubbed Aristotle and Gareth has been given the nickname Hercules.
From birth, Gareth has demonstrated a strong preference towards developing his motor-skills over other areas of development. He’s also pretty tough and strong with a keen sense for adventure. An apt depiction of him would be the time I saw him balancing precariously with on foot on the floor, another on the bumbo chair and half his body inside a toy box as he rummaged for a toy. He dives headlong off the bed onto a mattress without a care and barely whimpers when he grazes his cheek on the floor of the shower. Clearly, Gavin and Gareth are two very different characters.
If there is one cardinal rule for early childhood development, it would be to follow your child’s interests. And in Gareth’s case, it looks like sports and physical activities are his passion. When he was younger, I started doing some of the activities recommended in the book “How to Teach Your Baby to be Physically Superb“. We took a bit of a break when I could no longer get him to do the activities. For instance, one of the activities involve building up his grip until he can hang in the air holding onto my thumbs. We got to a certain point and then he would keep letting go of my thumbs. Being a large and heavy baby probably didn’t help much.
That was when I switched to water play since weight is inconsequential in the water. Gareth’s intense love for water made him a prime candidate for early swimming lessons – which I’ve been studying (read my notes) since I haven’t been aware of any local swimming programs for babies. The problem with the Doman physical development programs is that each part builds upon work done earlier. The programs begin at birth and if you didn’t start then, you need to start improvising a little.
So what are our programs for Gareth at 10 Months?
For now, we’re working on swimming and we did a bit of rock climbing at the playground last week which Gareth enjoyed. The Doman physical development program works towards having your baby hold his own weight while hanging from a bar or your fingers. Once he can do that, the next step is to work towards brachiating (swinging arm after arm on the ladder-type monkey bars).
Gareth is still cross-crawling (when the alternate arm and leg move together, e.g. left arm and right leg move forwards at the same time, as opposed to the lizard crawl where the left arm and left leg move forwards together) which is encouraged because it is supposed to help develop the corpus collosum – the band of fibers connecting the two halves of the brain.
Glenn Doman talks about physical development in the video below:
As for Gavin, what am I doing to help an almost 4 year old get interested in physical activities? Well, I’m still figuring that one out. For now, he enjoys playing with water, riding his bike (sort of), and playing at the playground. He’s definitely no sportsman, but at least it’s one step away from being too sedentary. The benefit of working on Gareth’s physical development is that it has helped to encourage Gavin to try more physical activities.
My intention is to get him started on Wu Shu. We’re looking at Wing Chun after being inspired by the recent Ip Man movies. Having done a belt in Wing Chun, I must confess I’m partial towards it as well. Being of Asian descent, I figured we kill two birds with one stone with this one – it’s a physical activity and it teaches him a little about his culture.