For the past couple of months, when people have asked me how old Tonji-kun is, I have been saying “a year and a half”, much to the displeasure of Dorami-chan. She thinks by rounding up his age I am creating unreasonable expectations for his behaviour in public. But by the checklist for 18-month development recently published by the Ontario Medical Association, Tonji-kun can hold his own with the average 1.5 year old:

The Enhanced 18-month Well Baby Visit

From the Nipissing District Developmental Screen (TM)

By 18 Months of age, does your child:

1. Identify pictures in a book? – He has been doing this for a while. Latest ones include “hoshi (star)”, “ha wo migaku (brush teeth)”, “mikan (orange)”, “momo (peach)”, “saru (monkey)”, “hebi (snake)”, “ari (ant)”, “hasami (scissors)”.
2. Use familiar gestures? – He uses as much sign language as we can teach him. Latest sign: “budoh (grapes)” – pretend to build cluster on back of wrist with fingers of other hand.
3. Follow directions when given without gestures? – He has been doing this for a while. For example, after his nightly bath, I can ask him to turn the bathroom fan on and the light off.

4. Use common expressions? Yes, his latest one is “Neh (“Eh”, or “Isn’t that so”)?

5. Point to at least three different body parts when asked? Yes, he knows “atama (head)”, “me (eye)”, “mimi (ear)”, “hana (nose)”, “kuchi (mouth)”, “te (hand)”, “ashi (foot)”, “heso (bellybutton)”, “oshiri (bottom)”.

6. Say 5 or more words (words do not have to be clear)? – Yes, some new ones are “toto (totte = get that)”, “itai (ow)”, “meh-meh (baa-baa, sheep)”, “moh-moh (moo-moo, cow)”

7. Hold a cup to drink? – He has been doing this for a while, and doesn’t spill very much any more.

8. Pick up and eat finger food? – He has been doing this for a while, and he has impressed strangers with his use of a fork and spoon.

9. Help with dressing by putting out arms and legs? He has been doing this since last month. Now he recognizes different articles of clothing and what is expected of him (e.g. shirt has sleeves to put arms into).

10. Crawl or walk up stairs/steps? – He has been doing this for a while – he can go down stairs also. He recently did his first dengurigaeshi (somersault).

11. Walk alone? – Yes, he prefers to, and often in his own direction.

12. Squat to pick up a toy without falling? He has been doing this for a while

13. Push and pull toys or other objects while walking? Yes, he has been doing this since the summer at 12 months, when he was helping to dig and rake in the garden. Now he is pushing a broom inside and trying out his father’s hockey sticks.

14. Stack 3 or more blocks? Yes, but if it is a stack somebody else built, he will knock it down.

15. Show affection towards people, pets, or toys? Yes, he doesn’t have a favourite toy yet, though. He has already kissed a girl at playgroup!

16. Point to show you something? Yes, he has been doing this since 12 months.

17. Look at you when you are talking or playing together? Yes, especially if he wants you to do something for him.