Monday, October 20, 2014

3 Weeks Old: Newborn Early Learning Program

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria's first time at the ocean. We visited at sunset to take pictures. She loved it.

Aria was three weeks old this week.

This is a summary of our week using the early learning / infant stimulation program outlined in How Smart is Your Baby by Glenn Doman.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Big brother loves to play with her. He, albeit unknowingly, gives her lots of vestibular (movement & balance) stimulation as well as language stimulation!

This week we sort of fell off the bandwagon when it came to Aria's early learning program. I mean, we still "did stuff". But it wasn't the consistency super-week I was hoping it would be.

In fact for half of the week she didn't even use her crawling track because it was... (cringe) full of clean laundry that never got put away. Whoops. So that is somewhat the sort of week we had.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria's 4th week

This is what our program looked like:
  • Visual stimulation: lots of high-contrast patterns to look at, well-lit rooms during waking hours, and stimulating the pupils with a dull flashlight
  • Motor: tummy time on parent’s or sibling’s chest, tummy time in crawling track
  • Stimulating the grasp reflex, babinski reflex, and startle reflex
  • Face to face conversation
  • Vestibular (balance) stimulation activities
  • Poem recited a few times (“One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door”)
And the new things added this week:
  • Started a new song: we're listening to Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46: Morning Mood (at bedtime and through the night, sometimes during naps)
  • Started showing simple black and white outline flash cards (stage II cards)

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Aria checking out her stage II flash cards, this one of a square.

Starting the stage II flash cards was something I was really looking forward to, but it was actually a bit of a flop. I mean, not completely: she checked them out for a second or two. But then she was more interested in going back to looking at things across the room, or looking at faces, and so on.

Then the next day I tried to show her another card and she gave it a quick glance but then wasn't interested. The cards are, I know, already too easy for her. Her vision has developed to the point where looking at super simple cards like that is way too easy, and she's on to bigger and greater things. Sigh.

So I am a bit disappointed that I missed the window of opportunity for these cards, but it's certainly not a great loss. I mean, her vision is growing! In leaps and bounds! That's the goal, right?

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Looking at checkerboard patterns

She still is very interested in these picture cards that I have above the bed. She really enjoys looking at the display while being held, or while nursing. These cards are actually meant for stage III!

But I decided to put them up long before she reached stage III visual development because they were still high-contrast and easy to see, so it couldn't hurt, right? I didn't want to wait too long and miss the opportunity. It happened with Damien, he grew out of things so quickly!

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Crawling track time

She also still enjoys her pictures in her crawling track.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Can you see the detail of my face, sweet girl?

Speaking of visual development, it seems like we've been getting a lot of smiles lately, and they are so often coincidentally close to being intentional smiles. That is, smiling at us.

This is a pretty big visual milestone, because it means that she can make out the details of our faces, something that very brand new newborns can't do (at birth, babies can see light and dark, then the next stage is seeing outlines, then finally, the ability to see details within an outline).

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
This particular morning, she was giving LOTS and lots of smiles to Daddy, first as they were sitting down, then after he laid her down too. It seemed so very intentional but the skeptic in me isn't sure if she's really developed this milestone so early.

Generally, from what I have researched, the "social smile" (smiling at someone in response to their smile, rather than just randomly), develops in most babies around six weeks old, although sometimes it can be eight to twelve weeks. So to possibly see very real evidence of the beginning of this development at only three weeks old is exciting.

Our visual stimulation program, albeit not always perfectly consistent, seems to be working!

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Pupils dilating & constricting in light

Speaking of our visual "program", we've been doing some more flashlight stimulations to strengthen her pupils, but I've been using my phone as a flashlight instead (using the light of the screen, not the "flashlight" aka camera flash because it is too bright).

It's much more convenient than carrying an actual flashlight around.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
At the Northeast Florida Fair

And more along the lines of visual development, this week we went to the fair, and boy was she alert! Now, the alertness was not so unusual, but what was funny was the way she was looking at me and for such a long period.

She was in her Moby wrap and lifted her head up to stare at my face for twenty minutes. She fell asleep and did this again later on into the evening. Perhaps it was the way the bright lights were illuminating my face, I'm not sure, but she sure was working hard on something to stare at me (and hold her head up!) for so long.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Napping a bit in her crawling track

Motor Program

For a little honesty, Aria did not spend a lot of time in her track this week. For the silly reason that I had a bunch of clean laundry in there that needed to be put away and procrastinated about it for days.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Laundry in her track

The good news is, on the days she did use it, she was actually getting quite a bit of movement. Several inches to sometimes over a foot, and she sometimes surprised me by doing so very quickly.

This was a problem because I would put something in one half of the track thinking that she wouldn't scoot that far, then she would end up scooting right up to it and start angrily crying because her head was stuck and she couldn't go any farther.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Holding up her head so high

This week she also started lifting her head quite high and turning it from side to side in her crawling track to look at both walls of pictures.

Her neck strength seems to get stronger and stronger every day, and it is so amazing to watch how motivated she is to grow and develop.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program

In other news on our program, the grasp reflex stimulations are still happening, and the babinski reflex stimulations. Not so much the startle reflex stimulations, except incidentally.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Doing a massage with lotion, in lieu of the hot/cold/pressure stimulations that are supposed to be part of stage II

I did not start any of the other Stage II activities besides the flashcards, and I'm not entirely sure that I will. I will write a separate post about this but Stage II is the "vital" stage that has the not-very-fun activities that will test your baby's response to life-threatening stimuli. 

Now it is really fascinating to see these responses develop, especially since it is something not present at birth. But unless your baby is brain-injured and really needs those pathways strengthened, I don't see the point in doing the stimulations daily.

If you have already witnessed that your baby has an appropriate response to hot and cold, pain, and loud (threatening-sounding) noises, which I have, I don't think that there is a need to further stimulate them.

3 Weeks Old Early Learning Program
Listening to music while sleeping

We started our first new song this week (we had been listening to the same song for her previous three weeks), and it was Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46: Morning Mood.

I have gotten better about playing it all night long, and sometimes during naps.

Resources used this week:

Free Infant Stimulation Kit for Glenn Doman "How Smart is Your Baby" Program


  1. 2014/11/02 at 9:20 pm

    She is definitely smiling at her daddy!! Experts can be so cautious they can’t even see a social smile when it’s right in front of them.

  2. 2014/11/03 at 10:41 am

    Ahh, she is so amazing, Liz. I loved the pictures. It’s given me a few ideas on how to do EL in an RV. We are selling our crawling track since Philip is outgrowing it, but when we have another baby, we’ll make a smaller one that will fit. I want a more colorful one like yours anyway. It’s awesome. :)

  3. 2015/01/06 at 9:53 pm

    Liz, why the same song, rather than a playlist? And why through the entire sleep time instead of at the beginning of sleep time? Also, why 1,2, buckle my shoe? I was leaning towards twinkle, twinkle/abc as my go-to, but curious about your pick. Is it to help with the math program later? Feel free to reply via whatever mode is most convenient. So grateful to know you!

    1. 2015/01/13 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Marlita, as for your song question, for me it’s just easier to do one song at a time because I can name the piece and composer when I turn it on and then just let it play. Whereas if it were a playlist, I would have to sit through the whole playlist naming each new piece as it came up, or I would just have to not name the pieces at all.

      I also like to play it on repeat while my babies are sleeping as background noise. Some people turn on white noise machines, I prefer classical music.

      The poems I selected are all from mother goose poems. No real reason for this other than it just seemed like a good place to get a good variety of poems. With Damien I had such a hard time picking the “perfect” poems that I just never even did the reciting a poem program with him! So this time around I let go of perfectionism and just picked a bunch of selections from mother goose poems to repeat. I figure the content doesn’t matter so much at this age and the language / interaction part is more important. Here are all of the poems I selected for the first year:

      Of course I will get around to blogging the whole first year curriculum soon but I just haven’t gotten around to finishing it up and posting it yet. These kiddos keep me busy!


Thank you for your comments!