The general character of the baby's hand docs not change substantially during the first year. The fomis arc still squat, square, and fleshy, with little strong delineation between forms. Both dorsal and palmar sides of the hand are palpable and chubby, with dainty shell-like fingernails. Yet the hands of a one-year-old child have begun to move with more certainty— probing, seeking, feeling. The hand is the first form to project into and explore an unfamiliar world.
The (wo-year-old child is not quite an infant anymore. He has become physically active, emotionally responsive, and playful, expressed in the exuberant, alert movements of the hand- The hand at left is flexing from the wrist inward, fingers extended, while the hand below is reaching and searching. The hand is still soft, with chunky finger pads and fleshy palm and fingers, but note the lengthened palm. It's losing its baby puffmess. the fingers are a bit longer, and it generally look* more autonomous. Proportion* ally, the whole hand from palm base to tip of middle finger is about the length of the adult hand from palm to the crease of the first digit of the little finger.
The hand of the four-year-old seems superficially to be an enlarged version of ihe two-year-old hand. It is still fleshy and delicate, with rounded forms. However, the four-year-old is no longer an infant. Finger junctures have more firmness, tips arc more spatulatc, and muscular pressure can be asserted. Certainty and control are all new qualities which mark the maturing abilities of the child. The size is now from palm base to the crease of the first digit of the long middle finger of the adult.
The hand of ihc seven- to eight-year-old child is characterized by a leaner aspect throughout. The stubby, chunky look is gone. The fingers are longer; the skin is still smooth, but tougher; the tips are tlatter; and the nails are stronger and more durable. Knuckles no longer sink in dimpled recessions, but are clearly evident. The wrist and arm shank are taut and competent and have lost their baby softness. The hand is active and full of fantasy, releasing feeling and exhibiting heightened finger dexterity. The child at this stage will reveal a wide sphere of physical activity, reveling in acts that are vivid, imaginative, and pragmatic. Compared to the adult hand, this child's hand will measure from the heel of the adult palm to the second digit of the index finger.
ELEVEN TO TWELVE YEARS Joined with a body that is wiry, active, flexible, and full of energy, the hand of the pre •adolescent shown here has a lean, muscular palm, more evident knuckles. the presence of tendons on the dorsal surface when the hand is active, and a thicker, tougher skin quality throughout. Bonv wrist eminences are beginning to emerge (although the carpats have not yet reached mature ossification), and the fingernails have become tougher and more durable. This hand is becoming one of exactness, vigor, and control. Proportionally, it measures from the adult palm heel to the crease of tte second digit of the middle finger.
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