OK, I'm totally going to steal from BabyCenter.com for this post.
Most of the time when I get my weekly developmental updates from them (which I've been tracking since since week 3 of her gustational development) they are 'meh'. Sometimes there is useful information. Sometimes they kind-of hit on a trend.
Today, though, wow. Nail on the head. So for all the family looking for updates on the new things Gracie is going. This is it. Written so much mor susinctly than I ever could.
Your 16 month old: Week 2
Your toddler is learning which of her tricks get a laugh out of you, and which bring your disapproval. He's studying your reactions, so now's a good time to start teaching right from wrong by cheering on "good" behavior (picking up a toy and putting it in the toy box) and frowning on "bad" (throwing the toy across the room). And don't forget to watch what you say and do around your child: Imitation is one of the ways toddlers learn socially acceptable behavior.
>> This Week: Figuring out right and wrong, and toddler chutzpah (Below)
New this month: The toddler connection
Even at this young age, your toddler is learning that she is rewarded with positive attention — hugs, laughter, praise — when she behaves in ways that people around her think are "right," and that she is punished or ignored when her behavior is "wrong." (What may really amaze you is how quickly your intuitive toddler learns that to different people right and wrong mean different things. A behavior that might elicit a frown from you, i.e., pounding a toy on the coffee table or pulling the dog's tail, brings peals of laughter from an older sibling.)
The social interactions you're most likely to witness now are basic — waving, smiling, playing peekaboo, and following simple instructions — but these are all first steps in establishing her personal social style that are learned through imitation. A 16-month-old is also able to initiate displays of affection and he'll give back what she receives. If you show affection with hugs and kisses, she will likely, too.
Other developments: Developing self-awareness
A newborn isn't able to differentiate between himself and her mother or between himself and any object she sees. Tasting, touching, smelling, and hearing what's in the world around her are ultimately what help her understand that she is a separate being. At about 16 months, your toddler understands that she is her own person, but that she can use you as an extension of himself. For instance, if she sees a toy that she wants but can't reach, he'll push you toward it and gesture until you know she wants you to hand it to her. Or, she may not feel comfortable walking up a flight of stairs, but since he's determined to do it anyway, she'll grasp your hand so you can help her.
At this stage, your toddler knows she is powerful and she is the center of her world. She uses your attention and amazement and appreciation of her accomplishments to attempt even more. She wants to succeed at everything she tries, though she often won't. You'll catch her attempting to carry objects that are far too heavy or unwieldy for her to handle, but she'll be adamant about trying. Rather than help her, admire her chutzpah and let her cry out her frustrations when she can't do something; she'll keep trying and soon succeed.
Giving her opportunities to imitate you at work, such as "cooking" in a play kitchen since she can't really make you dinner, will help cut down on the frustration she feels about being too little to do some of the things she wants to do and will also build her self-esteem. Toddler-sized tool sets, little play kitchens, or grocery carts are great fun for 16-month-olds.
(Hmm... you know what, Gracie would absolutely love a kitchen set. Now where would it reside....)