Urgh. As if growth spurts weren’t enough…
I quite recently learned the term ‘wonder week’ through my daily incursions into the baby center community. As parents, we all know that growth spurts are going to happen. We also pretty much know when they’re going to take place. They are easily recognizable by the fact that baby’s eating pattern changes and s/he starts to eat more often and by the fact that they seem to outgrow their clothing overnight (yeah, my little dude is now sporting 3-6 to 6 month clothes).
However, it seems that they also go through wonder weeks which also happen at predictable intervals. As I understand it, a wonder week is comparative to an intellectual spurt. Remember the week my son discovered his hands, began using a social smile and started really cooing seemingly out of nowhere? That all happened because some intense cerebral connections were being made. Of course, just as a growth spurt has its hardships, wonder weeks have theirs too. Now, remember how in the post previous to his developmental milestone post I was going crazy because my son was not acting like himself? At first, I was convinced that it was because of gas. But now that I’ve reread the post, I know it was due to his brain getting wired up for his next abilities. Namely, his change in attitude meant a wonder week was happening.
So, what are the signs that one needs to look out for to spot these imminent developmental bounds? Well, first there’s your child’s age. In their book “The Wonder Weeks” authors Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooji claim to have identified ten of these brain rewirings. According to their research, these happen during roughly the fifth, eighth, twelfth, 19th, 26th, 37th, 46th, 55th, 64th and 75th weeks of life. Then, for each week the authors list a few behaviors that can help parents realize that their baby is going through one such leap. In the case of my son, who is getting ready to getting into the week of “smooth transitions”, ten behaviors are listed:
- Cries more often: This is definitely the case with my son these days. For the past three days, in fact, he has been really whiny and has been spending more time crying than usual. He also starts crying more easily.
- Wants you to keep him busy: Oh yes! When he’s awake, I pretty much have to either have him in my arms or really actively play with him ALL THE TIME. Whereas he used to be able to play with his foot piano for a good half-hour alone, he now starts to fuss after five minutes if I’m not sitting next to him chattering with (or rather to) him and cheering him on.
- Loses appetite: This doesn’t seem to be the case with my son. If anything, he wants to nurse a bit more frequently, but he’s still nursing for about a quarter-hour each time. I have, however, noticed that he is more prone to falling asleep at the breast.
- Is more shy with strangers: Definitely! Actually, I would say that he is more shy with anyone that isn’t his mom or dad. His grandparents learned that the hard way yesterday when they came to visit then babysit him in the evening and he was whining, crying and fussing every time they held him. Poor them!
- Clings more: My son, clingy? Oh yes! It’s cute, I’ve noticed that he’s recently taken to wrapping his left arm around my neck when I burp him now. He also wants to spend more time in my arms during the day.
- Wants more physical contact during nursing: This is definitely happening also. When I nurse him on his Boppy, he generally has both hands on either side of my breast. Sometimes, he’ll get really squirmy, but will calm down if I hold his hand. When I nurse him lying down, he will hold his own hands and will keep eye contact with me until he’s done.
- Sleeps poorly: Last night was good. It was a typical “wake at 2am then at 7am” night. However, the three previous ones were grueling as he was waking anywhere between 4 and 8 times. Mommy had some serious bags under her eyes. Nap-wise, it has also been harder recently. It takes him more time to fall asleep and he’ll sleep for shorter periods.
- Sucks his thumb, or does so more often: Though my son hasn’t found his thumb yet, he does need to suck more often. He’ll be sucking on his hand more frequently and seems to need a pacifier more often these days.
- Is less lively: This isn’t really the case with my son.
- Is quieter, less vocal: I have noticed this, but not to the extent of some of the other signs. Though he interacts less (smiles and coos) he’s still VERY vocal about his crankiness! 😀
A trying as these weeks are, I know that they pass and that everything falls back into place quickly once they’re over. Plus, now that I know about wonder weeks, I’m excited to see my son’s new skills.