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Jane Yee: Wondering about wonder weeks

Jane Yee
Supplied
JANE AND VICTOR

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For the duration of my pregnancy I scoured the internet on a daily basis, trying to absorb as much information about the little person growing inside me as I could. I would live in anticipation of Thursdays so I could tick off another week on my journey towards motherhood, in turn granting me permission to read the next installment of the many week-by-week pregnancy guides I was following.

I avoided reading too much about the actual birth experience because part of me (rather a large part of me) didn't really want to know what I was in for. I familiarised myself with the basics and let my midwife and antenatal classes fill in the gaps, and then I figured what would be would be. And it was.

By the time the baby actually surfaced, I had done very little (read: no) research into what lay ahead. I had focused so much on my pregnancy that I didn't stop to think there might be things about life with a baby that would be useful to know ahead of time.

Perhaps I imagined I'd have loads of time to pore over books while my newborn slumbered sweetly in his Moses basket, or even while I was feeding him in the wee hours of the morning. HA! Or maybe I didn't bother because deep down I knew you could read a whole library of books and still never be truly prepared for sharing your house with baby number one.

At any rate, when Victor arrived I found myself with about seventy million questions, so I made friends with Google and cherry-picked excerpts from my previously unopened stack of baby books.

Using this cramming-during-the-exam method I've managed to muddle through okay, and I now have a vague awareness of a whole bunch of baby experts - past and present. Some are legitimate trained specialists while others seem to have appointed themselves as authorities on babies. My list includes Tracy Hogg, Dr Sears, Annabel Karmel, Richard Ferber, Sharlene Poole, Dr. Spock, Gina Ford, the chick from Blossom and the Kelly behind 'Kellymom'.

I'm now adding Frans Plooij to the list. I have no idea how to say his name, and I am not completely across his theories of 'Wonder Weeks' but from what little I know I'm starting to think he's onto something. But first, let's rewind...

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Early on in Victor's life I noticed a lot of online discussion about Wonder Weeks, and I turned to my new bestie, Mr. Google. From what I could gather, and please excuse my simplistic overview, 'Wonder Weeks' is a term Plooij uses to describe specific unsettled periods that exist independently of physical growth spurts. His theory is that these fussy periods indicate the leaps in mental development that lead to a baby mastering new skills.

I was intrigued and downloaded the Wonder Weeks app for my iphone. I tried reading about the background to Plooij's theories, but didn't have the patience to get through more than a few paragraphs. Instead, I skipped to the provided chart that indicated when I could expect my baby to get all grouchy-pants. I took one look at that sucker before deciding I wasn't going to subscribe to that Wonder Weeks stuff. There were way too many storm clouds on the forecast and I didn't like to think I was staring down the barrel of that many fussy periods, so I filed Wonder Weeks in the ignorance-is-bliss part of my brain and promptly forgot all about it.

Until the weekend just gone...

Look, I'm going to have to stop there for now. I'm writing this at 11.18pm and I can barely keep my eyes open so it would be great if you could remain perched there on the edge of your seat while I go to bed. I promise I'll follow up with part two of this (let's face it, kinda boring) tale before the weekend.

In the meantime, tell me, how much reading did you do (or are you doing) to help you with this raising a baby lark? Have you found any literature particularly helpful? Have you found any to be a load of tosh? Or are you marching to the beat of your own baby-raising drum?

- © Fairfax NZ News

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