Infancy refers to a child’s age between 0 to 1 and toddlerhood refers to children between 1 – 3 years of age (Barker, 2001). This stage of a child’s development consists of rapid development of motor, sensory, cognitive and emotional self. It can be divided into many stages which are physical growth, gross motor growth, fine motor growth, vision, social, hearing and speech development (Barker, 2001).Infancy mostly focuses on motor and physical development where as this development further branches out within toddlerhood to develop a child emotionally, cognitively and socially as well. This stage coincides with the sensorimotor stage of the cognitive development stages described by Piaget who characterizes this stage as the time when the child discovers himself and the environment around him and is surprised to see that things in his environment like his parents or his favorite toy still exist even after he has been physically separate from them for some time. This stage of the Piaget’s 4 stages is known to be terminated when the child develops his language. (Tuckman, 2010)
Biosocial Development: I was born on April 27, 1988. At the time of birth I weighed 7 ½ lbs and was about 20 inches long. I was an utter delight for my parents and a new beginning to their lives as I was the first child to be born. My motor reflexes were perfect at the time of birth and as my mother recalls I was quite fond of suckling and made the suckling sounds even when I was lying in bed myself. This is a part of rooting and suckling reflex that develops in a child in its first 4 months. My mother mentioned with great joy the pleasure she felt when I would grab her pinky finger tightly each time when she lay me down to feed. This is the grasp reflex that is part of the motor development in infancy. The first time my parents saw me, I had my eyes wide open and was staring at them blankly. They remember my face as extremely pink and so were my mouth and gums. My eye colour at first was slightly darker, which lightened up a little more in the following months.
Cognitive Development : I starting walking at an early age of almost 11 months and my parents told me that when they used to make attempts at making me stand, I would try to do the same with my doll. My favorite piece of toy was a bowl and a spoon that would bang together the whole day but still knew by the age of 8 to 9 months that they were ment to feed me. This is part of understanding of functional belonging, an important part of cognitive development. When I was an year old my mother had taught me how to imitate a lot of animal sounds which she believed was an intelligent achievement on my part.
Psychosocial development : since I was the first child to be born I played mostly alone or with my parents. Although in my 2nd year of life my mother recalls taking me to a nearby recreation centre where all the kids would play together and mothers would sit and chat. She says I was more of a sharing child then being possessive as opposed to postulates regarding the first born who tend to be more selfish. Even in crowds I always preferred to play alone with utmost concentration. I was a loving child who loved to hug and kiss but was a little wary of strangers. Although I was less fussy but when in a bad mood would through a tantrum over small things.
Early Childhood (2-6)
The early childhood stage is sometime from the toddler. When the toddler begins to realize the environment around him that’s when early childhood begins. According to Piaget the early childhood stage matches with its 2nd stage known as the pre operational stage. At this stage children become more vocal and attach certain syllables to their objects. Although at this stage children have difficulty in understanding the concept of time and perceive that the people listening to them would see things only from their viewpoint. Much of their thinking is fantasized and even the real facts are twisted to better suit their own ideals in their heads.
Biosocial Development: I was a quick talker and began using full sentences by the age of 3. I was pleased to have guests over and was talkative infront of them. I had a baby sister when I was two and used to overly shower her with kisses and hugs. I was supportive and caring for her most of the times. I was assigned a certain amount of chores during this time which I did happily. I made my first best friend during this time her name was Lisa. I was very close to her and avoided much crowd of friends. My activities usually focused on role playing or quietly playing with the toys in my room. I was not an aggressive child or overly sporty. I was neither shortest nor the tallest in my class infact was of average height and average weight. I became a quiet child by the age of 5 when my 2nd baby sister arrived although my teachers complimented my parents often over my confidence.
Cognitive Development: I started my schooling at the age of 5 but before that my parents had taught me a lot of things at home. Like the names of many fruits and vegetables, some nursery rhymes, name of animals, sea animals and a lot of other things. I was confident enough to display my intelligent skills infront of others too. I was good at counting and counted almost everything in the house. I knew the basic colors and related them with the things I used to wear. My mother especially emphasized on my desire to wear things of the same color most of the times.
Psychosocial development : the birth of my two sisters one at the age of 2 and the other at the age of 5 played a big role in my psychological maturity as I learned to be responsible and independent from a young age. I carried out instructions much better after the age of 3. The first year after my sister was born I was more prone to tantrums as my parents recall and it alarmed them at times if the mood swings were due to the new member in the family. I became less social and less appreciative of guests and strangers during that period but by the age of 3 and a half it improved as I became more and more as my mothers helping hand. By the age of two, I had a brand new sister. By the age of five I had a second sister.
Middle Childhood (7-11)
Middle childhood or preadolescence is the time period between the end of early childhood to adolescence. The onset of puberty marks its end.
Biosocial Development: my weight increased considerably which became my major concern till I was atleast 10 years of age. Although it still did fall in the category of average. I grew my hair slightly long then before and loved to comb and style them. i was of average height in my class and over all had average loooks.
Cognitive Development: I started to concentrate more on my studies and became a bright student. I remember being thrilled with learning new things in my textbook and then implying them. this interest of mine collides with the industry versus inferiority stage defined by the Erikson’s developmental stages (Berger, 2008) which describes an ability of a child to persue quests and adventures and to discover new things. I was fond of fairy tales and a lot of my dreams and perceptions were consisting of these fairy tales.
Psychosocial development: the most prominent feature of my psychosocial development within the middle childhood was the birth of my baby brother who was the fourth child to be born into the family and the first boy. Although my parents still remember me as being more obedient and engrossed in my school work during this time but my memory recalls this period of great emotional turmoil which made me to stay aloof and quite lonely at times. My two sisters were also good friends of mine along with my best friend Sharon who I had befriended from the middle childhood to my high school years. We were inseparable and our play mostly included excursions in the outdoors. My brother did not play much of a role in my social life as by this time I had my own friends and did not share in the responsibilities of the baby in the house.
The theories of development and growth include the ecological systems theory, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Erik Eriksons theory of psychosocial development and many more. Each one describes an aspect of development like cognitive, behavioral or psychosocial through the different ages of development and mentions the changes normally exhibited in a child during these stages. All these stages can be analyzed and witnessed when one looks at their own lives and try to find these attitudes and characteristics within ones own self. The ecological system theory was introduced by Urie Bronfenbrenner who presented with different types of environments and how they can affect the psychological development of a child. This environment has become part and parcel of a child from birth till death. His publications defined these systems and the interactions within and outside the systems. (Bronfenbrenner, 1979)Erik Erikson’s theory was much inspired by Freud and he combined the two to yield a set of tasks that one needs to fulfill, in order to make a challenging life for himself (Wood SE, 2006)(4). Erik’s theory of these different crises that can lead to development of a human can also be seen within my different stages of development, especially in the middle childhood. Also the biological development of the human body correlates well with all the psychological changes that display themselves within humans. Like the infancy is characterized by a more right hemisphere of the brain growth followed by the growth of the left hemisphere in the toddler stage (Schore, 1994). The right hemisphere is dominant in features like emotions, relationships and feelings. These are the characteristics that define a child during infancy when forming a bond is a crucial step towards emotional relationship of a child and a mother. The left hemisphere focuses more on logic and verbal development due to which during the toddler years children become more developed with trying to bring forth their own ideas in a logical manner and clear words.