THE baby is the latest development of the process of Life ; he is a product of the history that has passed and he will make his contribution to the history yet to come. A realisation of some of the implications of this fact is of fundamental importance in securing a proper understanding of the personality development through life.
On the physical side the facts are now well established. Life first began on this planet many hundreds of millions of years ago. In its original form the living matter probably consisted of microscopic single cells of jelly-like matter living in the sea. Over millions of years a slow progress or evolution occurred. This was the development of multi-cellular forms of individual units of living matter. The increase in size of the individual unit produced an ability to maintain life in more complicated conditions. The adaptation to varying conditions was improved by a system of nerves sensitive to stimuli and quickly producing the appro- priate movements of the body. The co-ordination of more and more complex nervous activities became located in a central nerve system, the spinal cord and the brain. As the millenia marched by in their hundreds the brain slowly increased in the complexity of its functions until it reached its highest stage in the present human species.
Every living creature, except some very minute forms of life, began its separate existence as a fertilised egg. It has been found that during the growth in the egg the embryo shows a general ” recapitulation ” of its evolutionary history ; that is to say at an immense rate of change the embryo passes through the phases of its racial history. For example the human embryo in its very early stages has definite gill-slits typical of the stage of evolution passed in the sea, and quite late in its development it is a hair-covered creature as were its remote forest ancestors.
In accepting this fact of recapitulation, which has been established by the science of embryology, one would expect to find some similar recapitulation in the development of mental qualities. The fundamental aspects of the mind, the most primitive parts, should be adapted to survival in conditions that obtained scores of thousands of years ago. The growth of the mind should involve modifications of old functions, and the development of new functions, to fit in with conditions approaching more and more closely to modern times. At full maturation of the mind, should this be achieved, one would expect to find it perfectly adapted to the present world and its immedi- ate trends of progress.
Thus there is no more affront to human dignity in the mind passing through lowly (and to us brutal) phases, to grow to a more perfect instrument, than there is in the fact that during our own early bodily development we all passed through stages of very lowly structural types. To ignore these primitive phases is foolishness, and to condemn those passing through the phases because they do not fit in with our more matured standards is an act of injustice.
The investigation of the primitive layers of the mind originated with the genius of Dr. Sigmund Freud and his technique of psycho-analysis. Professor J. C. Flügel in his book ” An Introduction to Psycho- Analysis ” refers on page 108 ” to the doctrine of Recapitulation . . . to which psycho-analysis has given valuable support on the psychological side.” Dr. C. G. Jung, who was an early collaborator with Freud, but later developed somewhat different and wider theories, believes more than this; he considers that the individual has, stored in his mind, unconscious memories of his racial history. What is meant by ” unconscious ” is made clear in later parts of this book.
Another matter that must be borne in mind is the effect of growth and the biological flow of development. With the growth and changes of the body and brain the range of capabilities is increased. For example at birth the baby’s eyesight is only partially developed, and it is not until he is several weeks old that his eyes will follow the movement of a bright light. During the early months of life objects outside a range of six or seven feet are not appreciated, and it is not until the age of about five months that hand and eye movements are co-ordinated ; for all these preceding months the exploration of surroundings with the hands has been without the guidance of sight. Again, at the proper time in relation to bodily growth, the baby will first stand and later begin to walk. These actions do not need to be taught, but they appear at the biologically correct time in relation to the baby’s physical growth. In fact it should be noted that teaching a baby to stand or to walk (as distinct from giving assistance to its efforts) are offences against the bodily well-being of the infant.
Mental growth follows a similar biological flow which is the same in pattern for all humanity. The phases may differ between individuals, being long enduring with some and short with others, of strong impulse with some and weak with others, but they occur with all normal persons. In the training of a child it is grossly unfair to seek to force developments before the passage of time has brought the correct conditions, but to give help and encouragement at the right time ensures effective and happy results.
Having dealt with these necessary preliminaries we can now proceed to consider the usual development of character of a child, born into the ordinary civilised European type of family, and following the general path of development. This proviso is necessary because the family life, and the methods of training children, differ greatly in uncivilised parts of the world and this affects the child’s development ; for instance, the Manus in New Guinea have a system of child care that ensures his affections are primarily centred on the father, and that the child is always capable, self- confident, and free from the inferiority feelings and complexes that often affect the child reared in a civilised European type of home.
The newly-born baby has only two innate fears : of loud or sudden noises, and of being insecurely held. The infant has no appreciation of itself as something distinct from its surroundings. He has two impulses : one is to suck to obtain nourishment, and the other is to cry when hungry or in discomfort.
The awareness of being alive only exists when there is a stream of sensation or of thought. Thus ” alive- ness” in its simplest conscious form consists of sensation. The baby first actively collects his sensa- tions of the outside world through his mouth while feeding, and these sensations give a sense of pleasure in addition to the satisfaction of hunger. The infant soon finds that this pleasure can be secured, apart from the act of feeding, by sucking his thumb or a crooked-up finger. The expression on the face of the baby shows what pleasure and contentment can flow from this stream of sensation, Psycho-analysts refer to this stage of life as the ” oral phase.” The impulse is to explore all that can be handled by putting it to, or into, the mouth. With growth the range of sensation expands, and the kicking and rolling about of the baby after the first few months of life undoubtedly give additional sources of pleasurable sensations. The range of capacity for expression also increases. At about six or seven weeks of age the baby will demonstrate its pleasure by smiling.
At a very early age the baby has the capacity for learning by association and forming what are known as ” conditioned reflexes ” or ” conditioned reactions.” If his life follows a regular pattern then two events occurring together in time will become so closely associated in the mind that one event will prove a stimulus to the other. Cleanliness is thus very easily established in the child by suitable treatment. The baby very quickly appreciates the tonal differences between praise and blame. Thus, if he is praised and petted when his excretory functions occur at the proper times, he can be trained to habits of cleanliness very early in life. On waking for feeding, and after feeding, the baby should be held seated on his little pot ; appropriate noises can be made to encourage excretion, and due praise be given when the action is performed.
Some people will assert that this early cleanliness cannot be secured, and so the following quotation from ” Psychology and Psychotherapy ” (page n o ) by Dr. William Brown is given : ” Suggestion works from the very first days of life. Modern nurses know that babies, two, three or four days old can be trained to
good habits. . . . One can train a baby less than a week old to habits of cleanliness and as a result the
excretory functions will be carried out automatically, under fixed conditions.”
Association also has a powerful effect on other habits of the baby. If he finds that the response to crying is always a satisfaction, say in being rocked or nursed, then the child will become one seeking the maximum pleasure by crying and securing attention whenever he is awake. At times the baby must be allowed to cry without any attentions resulting, in order to prevent his acquiring such an association, the formation of which would prove exhausting or difficult for a mother who has family cares.
Regular attention at the proper times makes a happy and contented baby. Spoiling by attention at all times not only makes a difficult baby but also starts an undesirable behaviour pattern. We all know the grown-ups who have the reactions of annoyance, sulkiness, or temper if their wants do not get immediate satisfaction. If, owing to illness, a baby has required special attention over a long period he may have inevitably formed an association between crying and attention ; once health has returned this association must be broken by allowing the baby to cry when he really does not need attention, and soon a desirable behaviour pattern will be re-established. Character formation, and the creation of a healthy mind, begins from birth, and the early months and years of life are of tremendous importance. This will show more as the book progresses, but it is worth emphasis at this early stage.
During the first year of life the baby grows rapidly in intelligence and soon he begins to distinguish things and persons. The stages of development with age are given in the conclusion of this chapter. At present we are concerned to note that the infant comes to attach special importance to the persons who minister to his needs and pleasures, primarily the mother or the nurse
At about the age of ten months the baby realises the pleasure-sensations that can arise from the acts of excretion and the relief sensations that follow. At this early age the sole motive in life is the seeking and obtaining of pleasure-sensations, and so the child is impelled to the act of excretion when it will give the maximum pleasure. This means that he does not function with regularity at the desire of the mother
(or mother-substitute such as the nurse), but becomes irregular and dirty in his habits.
The degree of distinction that the baby has come to appreciate between himself and the outer world has another significance. The child regards his excreta as a part of himself, and therefore as something precious and interesting. He desires to play with his faeces and, following the oral phase impulses, to put the material into his mouth. This seems most horrible and unnatural to grown-ups, but not to the child. Moreover smells that the grown-ups have been educated to regard as offensive are not so regarded by the yet uneducated baby.
The psycho-analysts refer to this second stage as the ” anal phase ” of development. This uncleanliness, and these inclinations, are naturally objectionable to the parents, and it is necessary that some form of correction be applied.
One method for stopping the behaviour is by punish- ment and fear. The child is forced to give up his pleasure as the consequences are too unpleasant. The mental force or urge that inclined him towards these gratifications is prevented from acting and becomes ” repressed.”
Undesirable behaviour patterns can be cured by a much better method. During the months of love and care from his mother the baby has developed an emotional feeling towards her. As the infant grows in intelligence, and is more often awake, he desires to have the sensations of comfort and happiness experienced when the mother can be seen or heard. Inevitably the baby has also learned that the mother cannot always be present, and that when displeased she may express her displeasure by withdrawing her presence.
The result is that when the baby appreciates that his mother dislikes his newly-found pleasures he finds it necessary to make a choice. Shall he continue the habit, and lose the happiness and pleasure that arise from the pleasant emotional relationship with the mother? Or from fear of this loss, and from a positive desire to conform to the desires of one for whom affection is felt, shall he forgo the new pleasure and conform to the usual requirements of cleanliness ?
The result is that the baby gives up this particular gratification of the senses, this acting on the pleasure- principle, for the sake, in part at least, of an emotional relationship to another person. This sacrifice of an instinctive pleasure for the sake of another person is the first, and a most essential, step in social adapta- tion. In this behaviour another factor is involved. The energy of the instinctive drive is re-directed and used in favour of pleasing the mother by cleanliness in behaviour ; a cleanliness that is now consciously directed and not a mere habit ingrained by association. It is necessary to recognise, however, that there is a great difference between the baby functioning when he is held out at certain fixed times, and the voluntary control of the bowels, or the bladder, when there is a natural internal stimulus to functioning. The capa- bility of willed control of these functions is not usually obtained until the child is about two years of age. It is therefore unjust to blame the child if, owing to failure to hold him out at the regular time, or to pay attention immediately to the warning sounds he makes, the child does not control the function.
It will be appreciated that there is another possibility. The mother may express such a profound disgust at the behaviour of the child, particularly if he is found mouthing his faeces, that the baby receives a severe mental shock. The consequence of this shock can be that the baby loses his dirty habits, but the instinctive energy associated with this impulse is not re-directed into habits of cleanliness, but it is ” repressed.” This is undesirable, as will be explained later. Moreover an impression will have been made on the young mind that a natural function and its product can have some unknown, but very real, horror ; a very wrong and undesirable impression for anyone to hold.
All children pass through this anal phase. As it will often coincide with the troubles due to teething the irregularity may often be wrongly ascribed to this cause. When the general training of the infant has been good, and the emotional relationship to the mother or mother-substitute is well-founded, the transition may take place in a very short space of time and may register no significant impression on grown- ups. The importance of this adjustment as the first sacrifice of personal pleasure for social reasons has been mentioned. The phase is one that in the interests of the child should be handled with care. When the impulse is strong the child must be given time to express his impulse, and then to make his choice based in part on affection. A misplaced pride in the child, or zeal in quickly changing his behaviour, may be nearly as objectionable in its consequences for the child as the ” cure ” by fear or by ” horror-shock/’
The terms ” drive,” ” force ” and ” urge ” have been used in reference to the impulse to secure anal pleasures. Just what the nature of this energy may be is unknown, but its effective existence in the mind is beyond doubt. The power behind these instinctive drives must be expended, either in getting the particular gratification, or in some other act in relation to the gratification, if mental health is to be obtained. Strangely enough an acceptable outlet for the drive can be something that is the direct opposite to the impulse, as for example cleanliness and tidiness in place of dirty habits. If the impulse has its outlet its energy is exhausted. But if no outlet is provided the force seems to be dammed up, and, peculiar as this may seem, it appears actively to seek for some suitable type of action by which it can be relieved or exhausted. This peculiarity when instinctive urges are suppressed by conscious effort, or repressed by forces which drive the urges out of the conscious mind, will be discussed more fully in Chapter VII.
When the baby has made the emotionally based re-direction of his anal impulse then a part of the energy is used to keep the memory of the impulse and its pleasures from the mind ; the rest of the energy finds a satisfactory outlet in habits of cleanliness, tidi- ness and other activities in life. The range of other outlets or ” sublimations ” of the anal instinctive energies that are considered to exist by the psycho- analysts is surprisingly wide, but need not be discussed here. A list is given by Professor J. C. Flügel on page
n o of his book ” An Introduction to Psycho-analysis.”
When the anal phase has been passed, owing to repression or to re-direction of the energy, it may happen that the fear that caused the repression is removed, or the emotional relationship on which it was re-directed may be broken. In such a case a regression may occur to the anal phase until conditions again produce repression or re-direction. For example a child that has been cleanly in an Institution for fear of punishment is likely to regress to dirty habits on adoption. In fact the first evidence of his forming an emotional relationship to his adopted parent may be a reversion to the pleasures that have been fear-repressed He can then proceed to the happier solution based on affection. When during the 1939-45 War young children were removed from home to stay with foster- parents in safer areas they often developed ” dirty habits ” for a short time. This did not necessarily mean that the children had not been properly trained at home, but that the emotional basis for restraint had been removed.
With, or shortly after, the anal phase another instinctive urge also appears. Pleasure is gained from destructive activities and cruelty ; the infant will destroy his toys and be deliberately cruel to animals or to other children. The expression on the baby’s face shows what intense pleasure he finds in these activities. The psycho-analysts refer to the anal- sadistic phase which occurs usually when the infant is between the ages of one and two years.
From what was stated in the early part of this chapter it will be realised that this destructiveness and cruelty is one of the primitive phases of the mind. It is a form of assertion of the power of the individual on the outside world. Cruelty seems very shocking to many people in this world of to-day ; but as Professor William McDougall indicates in his book ” Frontiers of Psychology ” the general humane spirit has only established itself within the past few centuries. The Roman child at the amphitheatre who said ” Oh, look Mamma, that poor lion has not got a Christian ” was probably considered a nice and clever young thing. Bull-fighting and all-in wrestling show how closely pleasure and cruelty can be associated in the mind of modern humanity.
The destructive tendencies are a part of the normal flow of development and usually pass away in time, giving place to constructive efforts and intelligent curiosity. For a proper shaping of the character the phase must be lived through, and not be quickly suppressed, or it may remain as a fixed longing in the child instead of changing in the normal life develop- ment into a wish to make things. The following quotation from Dr. D. W. Winnicott in ” The Mind of a Growing Child,” edited by Viscountess Erleigh
(page 62), is relevant : ” The play of a child with other children (or alone) is of the very greatest importance with regard to future health. Remember that the child benefits most from play that is invented by the child and not by grown-ups. Toys should be cheap. Destruction of toys in infant play does not lead to an increased desire to destroy. It has the opposite effect.” The natural flow of events is from simple destructiveness to pulling to pieces to see the ” works/’ and then to an appreciation of the ” works ” and so to constructiveness.
One characteristic of the childish mind is that it does not differentiate between thought and deed. If a small child has had hostile thoughts or wishes directed against some animal or person, and that animal or person comes to harm, the child is likely to attribute this to his own thoughts. This may give rise to satisfaction in the thoughts of power, or it may lead to a feeling of guilt. The feeling of guilt can be dangerous to the health and development of the child. It may lead to self-punishment such as head-banging or skin-picking, or to anxiety states and a fear of loss of love of the parents, with the consequent excessive clinging to the mother and fears if she is out of sight. It is a shocking occurrence when ignorant, and maybe well-intentioned, people play on these weaknesses of the child’s mind by attributing to behaviour of the child some accident to, or ill-health of, a pet animal, another child or a grown-up ; for the child will not only associate the consequences with the behaviour, but also with his thoughts and wishes, which may have been more drastic than the actual deeds.
This sadistic phase may be repressed by fear, or follow its normal biological flow of change to con- structiveness, or its rate of change can be speeded and directed by the mother into the paths of curiosity, constructiveness and pity. As with all instincts it may be too completely and violently repressed, producing a distortion of character, such, for example, as the individual whose life is warped by a horror of cruelty and a fear of inflicting pain. Some measure of this aggressive instinctive force is required to give the child the energies to combat the difficulties inherent in life. Moreover with a change in circumstances a regression may occur, as with all instinctive phases of life.
In passing it must be noted that the securing of pleasure from cruelty does not pass so quickly as the destructive tendency. Parents and others may quite easily be shocked when otherwise charming children are found to delight in pulling worms to pieces or stamping on insects or inflicting pain on larger animals. To be excessively shocked or to punish the child severely is to be unjust. One should remember that many a a headmaster who castigates pupils for bullying is one who himself finds pleasure in hunting and shooting. Occasions of cruelty should be used to inculcate the sense of sympathy, but this should not be done in so forceful a manner that guilt complexes are created. In older children this sense of sympathy can be emphasised by suitable punishment.
The sadistic phase is inevitably associated with a growth of fear in the mind of the child. He realises that others may have hostile feelings of a similar nature. This may lead to ” nervous ” symptoms such as screaming and crying fits, temper tantrums, night fears and bed-wetting. Sometimes it may be ex- pressed in bodily conditions such as flatulence, acidosis, vomiting and diarrhoea. The cure is to ensure that the baby receives the care and affection he desires and needs, though of course without excessive petting, fussing or disturbance of the proper routine of his life.
These phases of mental development seem to be serious matters to the grown-ups. Actually they are just a part of the normal biological development of the infant and they fit into the stream of happiness and contentment that properly fills the baby’s passing weeks and months.
The infant has now grown to the toddler and gained immensely in intelligence, knowledge and experience. He has realised that it is good to please his parents and others to whom he feels emotional relationship, and who expect him to behave correctly. But when these persons are away the child has no conception of being good just for the sake of goodness. He then obeys his own impulses and does what he believes will give him pleasure. His intelligence and experience will limit his behaviour. For example, the normal child, having once poked at the beautiful fire with his fingers, will never do this again ; failure to profit by experience is a sign of some mental defect. Thus a little child who takes what has been forbidden by the parents when they are not present is not ” stealing/ ‘ but behaving in a manner natural at his age. The child has not yet a developed conscience nor has he formed a moral background which forbids pleasure-giving actions when the parents are away. These qualities only develop later ; one explanation of their development derives from the solution of the instinctive problems of the next few years of life.
Those who desire to be just to little children should therefore moderate their reactions when the unwatched child is ” naughty.” The youngster is not naughty but natural, for to be naughty means to know one is doing wrong. Some expression of displeasure is necessary for the education.of the child, but severe displeasure is unjust and may be damaging to the mental growth of the child. The proper atmosphere required is that the child should regard grown-ups as persons who are loving, helpful and trustworthy ; it is a very painful shock if they are found to be unjust, and it can create a harmful mental background.
During illness or when we meet with difficulties in life there is, in all of us, a tendency to return to infantile ways of thought. So a reversion to earlier types of behaviour in a child who is in poor health should not occasion distress. An outbreak of bed- wetting, destructiveness, sudden temper, head-banging, nail-biting, and the like is most probably a symptom of some difficulties or conflicts in the child’s mind. It may arise, for example, from some real or imagined act of injustice, or from a natural jealousy when much of the mother’s loving care is suddenly diverted to a newly arrived sister or brother, or to a husband who has returned after being long away. In such cases a gentle and understanding enquiry will, after perhaps a little delay and difficulty, bring the problem to light, and with careful explanation the source of trouble can be removed.
There is one influence which is always affecting the child, and one that is usually not appreciated by adults. This is the mental state of the parents and of other grown-ups in contact with the child, and the general home atmosphere. Children in some manner appreciate the feelings or state of mind of others with- out its being expressed in words or conscious gestures. So if the father or mother is worried or unhappy this affects the child’s state of mind ; pretence that things are all right does not succeed in decreasing but rather tends to increase the mental tension of the child, and if necessary it is far better to give some simple explanation than to leave matters vague and fearful to the childish mind. A baby may be restless and irritable when nursed by one person, and then become immediately quiet and happy when nursed by someone with a serene and placid mind. A cynic said that speech was invented to disguise our thoughts and intentions. Such deceit does not succeed with the child. His primitive and valuable appreciation of the mood and feelings of others has not yet been atrophied by reliance on the spoken word.
To conclude this chapter on the growth from baby to toddler it will be useful to give a brief summary of the capabilities at different ages. The individual child may be precocious or delayed in its development ; if he is precocious this should not be exploited by ” showing off ” the infant or yet further encouraging him, or harm may be done ; if the child is somewhat delayed in his development this need not be a matter for concern unless the development is specially slow, and if this is suspected a doctor should be consulted.
Within a few minutes of birth a baby may indulge in thumb-sucking. Thus while thumb-sucking will later be a habit derived from the pleasures of sucking this cannot be the complete explanation. The newly- born baby also shows a throw-back to racial history, for it has a remarkably strong hand-grip so that it can actually support its own weight. This ability quickly passes. Its evolutionary importance can be seen in the baby monkey who from birth must cling to its mother’s body.
After the first day the baby may smile after feeding, or if tickled under the chin. This facial expression is, therefore, innate and not learned. At first the eyes are apparently not very sensitive, but after the first fortnight of life the baby may deliberately gaze at bright objects. Moreover his crying at this age may be accompanied by tears.
By the age of one month the baby will have different types of crying such as those expressive of physical pain, hunger or general distress. He will also have developed an appreciation of voices, and the mother’s voice for example may stimulate him to suckling. He can lift his head occasionally.
At about six or seven weeks of age the baby will deliberately smile to signify his happiness, and he will also begin to experiment by making varied vocal sounds. He will also find joy in waving his arms about while lying on his back. By ten or eleven weeks his contentment will be expressed by babbling and cooing noises.
When about three and a half months old the eye- sight has come more under control and the baby will follow objects with his eyes and delight in the game of ” Peep-Bo.”
During early life the head is too heavy for the baby to hold it up. By the age of four months the bodily and muscular development is such that the infant can hold his head erect and can sit up with the support of a cushion. His physical development now permits rolling movements of the body as a means of progression and then crawling. His mental development means that disappointment and frustration can be felt, and they will be expressed in the natural emotion of anger.
At four and a half months the memory has developed so that distress may occur when strangers are present, or if familiar persons present an unusual appearance, as when wearing clothes that the child has never seen. With this degree of memory comfort is derived from the presence of familiar persons.
A most important stage of life is reached at the age of about five months, as the baby is then able to co-ordinate hand and eye movements. Prior to this there has been no relation between hand and eye move- ments, and the baby has been, in a sense, blindly exploring the world by touch. Once this stage is reached the infant finds immense joy in playing with his hands, though he is not yet able properly to grasp
and handle objects. His pleasure in rolling and creep- ing around is increased and this activity is well developed by five and a half months. An interesting feature is that some children, in place of crawling on hands and knees, use a quadripedal method of loco- motion . . . they walk on hands and feet.
By the age of six months memory may have developed so far that the baby will recognise himself in a mirror.
He will also take some interest in other babies and small children. The physical development will be such that he can sit up for a very short time. He can clutch at a ring, but has not yet learned to grasp ; this will come about a month later. At seven months the baby can roll from his back on to his stomach, and at seven and a half months he can sit alone and steadily.
The mental development of man owes very much to the superior manipulative powers given by using the fingers and the thumbs. Recapitulation and the biological flow of change is well shown in this aspect of the baby’s growth.With the young baby the single hand grasp is by the massed fingers folding over and pressing objects against the palm of the hand, and this occurs at about eight months old. The nature of the grasp changes with the lapse of time and the refined method of grasping, using the fingers and the thumb, is reached by the age of about twelve months or somewhat later.
At nine months of age the memory may have reached the stage when a picture of a cat is recognised. The infant will now use the vocal noises of ” ma-ma ” and ” da-da ” and will associate them with the mother and father, but if the baby uses even one or two other words at this age he is precocious. The child will understand a number of words, but will not use them. The average age for the first truly spoken word is ten months, and at twelve months the vocabulary is likely to consist of two or three words. The baby’s awareness of people has increased so that jealousy and defiance may now appear.
By the end of the first year the bodily activity will be such that climbing up stairs gives great joy and standing up is a source of happiness. Walking is likely to occur soon, the average age for this achievement being thirteen to fourteen months. When a child is not taught to walk but, at the right time in respect to his bodily development, first walks by himself his joy in achievement is very great. It is a triumph that brings him great happiness until, very soon, walking becomes a mere routine.
By the age of thirteen months the infant may recognise pictures of familiar animals in all positions, which is a great advance on the recognition of simple pictures.
By the age of a year and a half the baby will have about nine words in his vocabulary. If, however, the baby has found that he can secure his desires without the need for talking this development may be delayed ; but if so when talking does begin it will be at a some- what advanced stage and it will progress rapidly. At the age of two years the toddler will be speaking in childish sentences and have a vocabulary of about two hundred words. By the age of three he will be speaking normally and have a vocabulary of about nine hundred words. This is the ” why ” age when the child keeps on asking one question after another, and when learning the names of things or new words gives great delight. One more comment must be made. By this age the child may have shown that he is naturally left-handed. If so it is a grave mistake to seek to force the child to become right-handed. The effect is upsetting to the mental development of the child and stammering and ” nervousness ” may be the result. When the child is older he can be encouraged, as a game, or an achieve- ment, to seek to become ambidextrous. He should never be taught to regard left-handedness as a fault or defect ; but rather to regard it as a special advan- tage towards securing ambidexterity later in life.
J. Guilfoyle Williams, 1948