Months 7 & 8
Senses: A lovey rules just about now -- the familiar feel and smell of a treasured blankie or teddy is reassuring.
Body: Your baby gets up on his hands and knees, rocks back and forth, and may even crawl.
Brain: Your infant has a crude understanding of cause and effect -- for instance, if you let go of something, it will fall.
Communication Skills: He responds to his name and probably looks up when you say "No!" Time to start setting limits, Boss. Your baby also whines when you take away a toy or (more likely) a forbidden object.
Aww Factor: He shows enthusiasm and excitement when you begin playing with him.
Fave Toy: Pots, pans, cell phones, remotes -- all things adult are the rage.
Playtime: Peekaboo. He's probably been playing this game for several months, but now he initiates the whole process: covering himself then uncovering himself and acting hysterically surprised.
Months 9 & 10
Senses: Your baby is very interested in touching different textures -- make sure there's nothing hot or sharp in her way, then let her explore.
Body: She pulls up to a standing position and may begin cruising along furniture.
Brain: Around 9 months, separation anxiety gets stronger (prepare for clinging) as your baby begins to distinguish between familiar and new people.
Communication Skills: Your baby will start to sound out consonants like p and f.
Aww Factor: She realizes she's the one in the mirror and smiles at herself.
Fave Toy: The contents of your low bookshelves. She loves dumping stuff on the floor.
Playtime: Hide-and-seek. Crawl out of baby's sight and then pop out -- she'll giggle like mad!
Mealtime: She's ready to experiment with feeding herself, so give her finger foods like Cheerios and tiny chunks of apple.
Months 11 & 12
Senses: Your baby's very interested in different scents, so introduce him to a sweet flower or the whiff of freshly baked bread or cut-up lemon.
Body: Prepare for a workout. Your baby will start standing alone for a few moments (before getting freaked out), then take his first step, his second -- his one-thousandth.
Brain: He understands symbolism: He realizes "mama" stands for you and pointing means "get me that, stat!"
Communication Skills: By his first birthday, your baby has a couple of words down and is officially the boss of you. He responds to simple directives like "Wave bye-bye."
Aww Factor: Chances are "mama" and "dada" were among his first words -- yes, you rock!
Fave Toy: Musical instrument. Greater motor abilities and control mean your little one is ready to bang a drum, shake a maraca, or tinkle on a xylophone.
Playtime: Dance party! Your baby can move and groove.
Mealtime: If at first you don't succeed.... Keep offering foods he spat out the first time. Research shows it may take eight to 15 exposures until a baby likes a new taste.
Sources: Catherine Forestell, PhD, research associate at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia; Susan Hespos, PhD, cognitive psychologist at the Infant Cognition Lab at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois; Andrea Thau, OD, spokesperson for the American Optometric Association; Mark D. Widome, MD, professor of pediatrics at Penn State Children's Hospital.
Copyright ? 2007. Reprinted with permission from the July 2007 issue of Parents magazine.