Where did my sweet baby go? Wonder Week 64 / Mental Leap 9
Sometimes your toddler's proverbial sh*t hits the fan. It happens. It's a confusing time for them, and there is a myriad of reasons why. They can't speak proper English, so they can't express themselves clearly. They're little bodies are in massive growth mode - and that can be pretty painful.
Enter The Wonder Weeks.
Much like WebMD - where you need only consult when a puzzling or painful ailment has struck your otherwise healthy lifestyle - the Wonder Weeks book and app are a major. unlock. for baby parents everywhere. Just go ahead and buy the book now so you can reference it when that aforementioned sh*t hits.
For all you uninitiated parental units out there, The Wonder Weeks is a genius body of research detailing eerily similar characteristics among children at certain weeks of age. The research outlines key milestones – called "Mental Leaps" – where baby’s brain is developing a new skill or competency.
There are TEN mental leaps your baby will go through in his first 20 months of life. A few will pass so subtly you may not even notice. Others will hit harder. Like midweek through week 64...
When the inevitable fussiness sets in, you will first blame yourself... then you'll get smart and consult TWW and you'll instantly feel good about yourself.
It's not you, it's him! He's cranky because he's trying to learn a new skill.
It makes good sense, too. Do you remember when you learned to drive, or first learned to use a new operating system on your computer? You didn’t catch on right away, and you got frustrated when you didn’t know the right button to push or lever to pull. You hit your keyboard, didn’t you? You yelled at your driving instructor/dad, yes? Well then, you have a good idea of what going through a mental leap is like.
The thing is, babies can't use their words or change their behavior the way adults can, so you'll need to step up your parenting game. It's important to know how to usher those helpless little beings through these phases and into the next, cheerier chapter!
Let’s take Baby Shane. At 64 weeks post-due date, he is A-N-G-R-Y. All the time. He can't sit in the same room as me and not shriek/wail.
I'm not kidding, you guys. He sounds like he's badly injured. My willpower is weak, so obviously I pick him up... at which point he chills for four whole seconds then proceeds to wail and head-butt me. It's rude.
At first, I worried. Does this have something to do with how he hit his head the other day (because some dumb-ass mom left him on the couch unattended and he dove for the coffee table...)? Yikes.
Then I remembered – Wonder Weeks! He could be going through a "thing" right now. I consulted the interwebs, and sure enough as the sky is blue, here we are: mental leap #9.
And suddenly, I feel smart. Resourceful. And most importantly, not terrible.
Three kids in and you'd think I'd be a Wonder Week pro by now. But oddly enough, this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to consult the book with this kid. He’s been a relatively easy baby, luckily for us. I guess God knew how tricky three could be… so he went easy on us with Shane.
Anyway, we’re right at 64.5 weeks, and he is just getting started on a brand new competency, “the world of principles.” Essentially, he understands the concept of routine – he learned that in his last leap – and is beginning to use this knowledge to toy with manipulation.
I.e., if I scream like I’m dying, Mom will pick me up.
Or if I push Parker in the face, maybe she’ll go away.
If I shove food in Mom’s mouth, she’ll laugh, but if I throw it on the floor, she’ll get mad.
It’s all in good learning, right?
I'll admit, this is a frustrating phase. I can’t wait until Shane returns to his easy-going, giggly self. It sounds like we have about 3.5 weeks left to endure. In the meantime, I'll play along, just as the book instructed. I'll reinforce the good behaviors and ignore the bad ones. I'll tend to his needs yet not let him control me. I'll give him just a little more attention than usual and hope he stops head-butting me... wish me luck?
Anyhow, I can’t recommend The Wonder Weeks highly enough. It’s pulled me through the hardest of times with all three of my kiddos. This is one parenting book you’ll want to scoop up right away, and quite frankly, I think it's the only one you'll need to carry you through babyhood.
There's an award-winning Wonder Weeks app, too. Take my three bucks, give me my peace of mind.
Good luck, fellow mamas.
- Mama Kate