Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Object Permanence

Way back in my childhood education class in college I learned about the idea of "object permanence."  It is the developmental milestone when babies learn that objects exist even when they cannot see them.  I hadn't thought about object permanence until a couple of weeks ago when I read an article about babies developing separation anxiety  around 8-10 months and how it corresponded with object permanence (hard to be mad mom isn't with you if you don't think she exists).

Xander has understood the concept for a while.  He knows that if he pulls the blanket away during peek a boo, I will be underneath.  He also knows he can crawl to find me if I put him in the hall and go into a bedroom.  I decided to make a game of it, though, to see how strongly he understands the concept.

I grabbed two bowls and a biscuit.  He LOVES those Gerbers biscuits, but they are so incredibly messy that he doesn't get them often.  I showed him the bowls and put the biscuit underneath one, letting him see where I put it.

After a little bit he moved the bowl and got the biscuit.  I let him eat some and then did it again with the rest.  He got really upset with me for hiding it again.

The second time took him longer to get to the cookie.  I also had to show it to him a few times to remind him it was there.  I think it was just because he was unhappy that I didn't immediately give it to him.

He eventually got it, although his face still shows he is not thrilled with me. 

Happy to be eating it again.

I hope to play this game a few more times, so that eventually he learns to look.  Someday I want to be able to hide an object without showing him.  Then I could use different colored bowls or cups and direct him to find it under the "blue" one, or some other adaptation.  We just have to work our way up to it.

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