Review of Milestones and More by Penny Pohrer Schneithorst
By Chelle Dohrmann
Chaos EXCITEMENT. And Fear JOY. And Pain LOVE like no other. And before you know it…Bam! You’ve brought that little bundle of joy home. Now what?!?
As a new parent, I always seemed to have more questions than answers. And I’m pretty sure I was not alone in this. My questions went a little like this:
My 10-week-old eats 6 ounces every 3 hours - is this TOO MUCH?
His umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off yet…is this going to be permanent?!?
My friend’s baby got her first tooth at 4 months. My son is still gumming everything at 7 months. Is something wrong?
My son spoke complete sentences by the age of 2. We can barely understand any of the babble coming out of my daughter’s mouth…Do we need to get her therapy?
And this went on and on…I could have really used a book like Milestones and More, by Penny Pohrer Schneithorst and illustrated by Lisa Ober. This 114-page, spiral-bound book is a combination reference guide with average ages for developmental milestones, and a record-keeper for your baby’s own personal achievements.
The book is divided into sections (color coded pages for ease!) for various stages of child development skills (i.e. gross motor, fine-motor, language/social, and self-feeding/oral motor) as well as a variety of sections on other important topics such as nutritional guidelines, sleep requirements, immunizations, teeth eruption and shedding, among others. Each chapter begins with the average ages you would see particular skills in your children, followed by a couple pages for recording your own baby’s progression. Finally, each section ends with a page for “notes” where you can record any questions or other thoughts you have on a particular subject.
My two favorite sections are near the back – Growth Charts for Boys and Girls (from birth to age 20) and Some of the Most Common Childhood Conditions. Both of these sections can be referenced for kids of ANY age and I envision these pages being referred to repeatedly.
I don’t feel this book is intended to replace a traditional "Baby Book," although there might be some duplication. Allowing space to record your own child's personal milestones, as well as the final few pages intended for the inclusion of photos of your baby’s first 6 years of life DOES give the book a “keepsake” quality.
That being said, I find Milestones and More to be more of a handy reference guide, to be used as a “go-to” book for all those “silly” questions that pop in the head of virtually every parent. Its size (8 ¼” x 7”) is perfect for tucking into a purse or diaper bag to pull out at a moment’s notice. Schneithorst uses bullet points throughout to show expectations at each age level – this was nice as it kept the book shorter, full of a lot of great information that didn’t get lost in too much detail. Also, the skills listed are in layman, everyday terms, not something you’d find in a medical journal (ex: “3 to 5 years: Enjoys games that involve running …Freeze Tag, Duck Duck Goose…”; 21 to 24 months: Begins to enjoy puzzles.”) These are practical, everyday examples any parent would easily observe in their children.
The darling illustrations from Lisa Ober add just the right touch to the book without overshadowing the importance of the information. And the fonts used call to mind visions of children without making me think I’m reading a book for intended for a 2-year-old.
The author, Penny Pohrer Schneithorst, is a mother of four and a pediatric occupational therapist. Between her personal, professional and educational background, she brings a great deal of experience and insight to the book. Schneithorst makes the point very clear that every child progresses differently and the information found in the book are merely averages – she is not looking to alarm parents, but to provide information on topics every parent or caregiver is interested in for their children. For any serious concerns, she encourages readers to always consult with their pediatricians. And if you keep this book handy at all times and make notes throughout, it can be brought to all doctor appointments: all your questions and notations will be in one spot for discussion.
This is a fantastic guide, not just for new parents, but for ALL parents! Sure, there might be those that prefer the details and want the science behind the information, and if so, this is not for them. But for many parents, I think Milestones and More is a great guide to have on hand and would make a terrific gift for a new mom or dad.
Raising children is a daunting task for anyone. No one book will have all the answers. But it’s nice to have one that can help guide you through them! That makes this book the perfect gift – because it’s the gift that keeps on giving, for years to come.
Milestones and More is published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises LLC. The book has a cover price of $25.99 and can be found online:
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Chelle Dohrmann is editor of KidsOutAndAbout St. Louis.