Are you wondering, WHY IS MY BABY SO CRANKY ALL OF A SUDDEN? WHY WON’T MY BABY STOP CRYING ALL OF A SUDDEN? WHY WON’T MY BABY SLEEP ANYMORE, EVEN THOUGH HE/SHE PREVIOUSLY WAS SLEEPING GREAT?
For those of you who’ve been down this road of having infants, you may or may not have heard about ‘The Wonder Weeks’. These are often referred to as periods of your child’s first two years of life where they go through significant developmental changes, called “leaps”. I came across this research when K was just an infant and she would suddenly become extremely clingy, would cry excessively, and her sleep was all over the place. I knew that there had to be some logical explanation as to why some days/weeks were FAR worse than others. Many people enter these phases and blame growth spurts (can also align with a wonder week), or teething, or gas troubles, etc. I’m not the kind of person to just assume, so I needed some answers. After hours of conducting my own research, I was repeatedly directed to the same book/website. The Wonder Weeks.
After reading all that I could find online, it became abundantly clear that this all made SO MUCH SENSE! So basically what happens, for those who have not heard about these weeks… there are certain phases during the first two years of a child’s life where they make incredible changes in their development. For example, one day, a baby can not grasp a toy in their hand, and the next day they can, then a few months later they can move this toy from one hand to another. All of these developmental changes are so incredibly insignificant to us as adults. We don’t even think about doing something so simple…however, babies have to learn how to do EVERYTHING. These changes occur on very specific timelines. So there are phases… a period of 3-6 weeks at a time where during that phase the child will likely learn how to accomplish a series of new and exciting tasks. To me, this stuff is incredibly fascinating!
I have come to learn after two babies, that the accuracy of the wonder weeks is FREAKY!!! Soon after B was born (around week 5), we entered into the first wonder week. I knew the signs, and I was prepared for it! I downloaded the wonder weeks app, and sure enough according to the chart, we were just beginning a new leap. Suddenly, this ginormous infant (B was a BIG baby – read my first post if you must know more) wasn’t just glazing around the room, he was looking directly at me. He could see me, and touch me. Simply amazing! Having armed myself with knowledge of what to expect, I knew that it would be a relatively short blip on the radar, and that soon enough we’d be through this developmental leap and things would get better again. Sure enough, it did. For several more months, a new leap would begin and end without fail. I’ve been watching, and comparing every little detail with the information linked to The Wonder Weeks, and it’s truly unbelievable how accurate this stuff is.
Yesterday, I received my “leap alarm”. This is the warning sign that a new leap is set to begin, and today was the day. We have just entered into Mental Leap 7, Sequences. I’ve known it was coming, and I’ve been counting the days… and to be honest, I always expect that I won’t actually notice anything significant on the day the week is expected to begin. It NEVER fails….today B has been incredibly clingy, crying a lot more than usual, and is super cranky. He screamed going down for his nap this afternoon, and that’s not typical anymore. If anything he’ll fuss for 2-3 minutes and be out. No, today was a wail. After some extra comfort and cuddles he went to sleep…but I know that he’s going through a leap, so I don’t hesitate to give him the help he needs to get through it.
According to the chart, this developmental leap is a bit of a doozy, lasting around 6 weeks. Usually the first week or so is the toughest, and then again towards the end. What helps me to get through these leaps now is knowing the changes that take place. Knowing that these periods of craziness are for a reason, and it’s actually a REALLY GOOD thing to have happen. I try to think about how much must be going on in those little brains, and how overwhelming it must be at times to learn something so new… I mean, I remember learning how to snowboard and after the first time out I cried and told my Dad I never wanted to go again. I hated it..because I couldn’t do it. Now imagine trying to learn how to pull yourself up into a standing position for the first time, or eat a piece of cracker that you watch others around you do, but can’t comprehend HOW. It’s much easier to sympathize knowing what’s going on, and watching how each milestone is reached. Is it really challenging, and frustrating? YES! I’m not going to lie… wonder weeks are REALLY difficult to get through, and often I feel EXHAUSTED once they are done. However, it is sooooo worth it to see your child learn how to accomplish amazing things, and develop both mentally and physically.
If you haven’t heard about the Wonder Weeks before now, I strongly encourage you to read up on them, and maybe even download the app. Just search “The Wonder Weeks”. I’ll also go on record to say that I am by NO means an expert on this topic, and I certainly don’t credit these developmental leaps to every fussy period of my child’s life. Yes, teeth happen, and illness, and growth spurts…. so please, use your judgement and don’t just take my word for it. 🙂