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Jane Yee: Wonder weeks won me over

Jane Yee
Supplied
JANE AND VICTOR

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Right, so where were we? Ah yes, I was busy not paying any attention to all this Wonder Weeks stuff because I didn't have any room in my brain for new theories. 

And I especially wanted to close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and sing "la la la" when I realised the Wonder Weeks wanted to tell me exactly when my baby was going to be grumpy and that those spells could last for weeks at a time. I didn't want to live in anticipation of my boy's next unsettled period, that didn't sound like fun at all.

Plus I figured it was all a load of rubbish to be honest. Just another 'expert' cashing in on us naive new parents who are naturally eager to learn as much as possible about their little babies.

At the end of last year things were going pretty good with little Vic and I figured I had finally nailed this raising a baby thing. Aside from a patchy few days when he cut his first two teeth in December, he was the model baby. Our serious little grump had disappeared and made way for a fun loving, happy little guy. He was social and adaptable, slept brilliantly and ate well.  

Then, out of nowhere, it all unraveled. A few weeks ago my big eight month old started behaving like a little baby again. He became clingy and grizzly, he started waking several times during the night again and he wanted to feed more often. He went back to throwing tantrums when we changed his nappy and he lost his mind whenever I walked out of the room. For the first time ever he started being difficult at mealtimes.

It was during this fussy period that I was noodling around on my phone and I stumbled across that forgotten Wonder Weeks app. I decided to see if Victor's current regression happened to fall in line with a Wonder Week. Sure enough his unsettled behavior coincided perfectly with one of Plooij's predetermined stormy periods. But I still wasn't sold, because little Vic had a massive top tooth threatening to cut, and I figured that was the cause of this bump in the road.

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Then that tooth came through. I praised the Lord for his mercy and prepared to go back to normal life, because last time he'd cut teeth he was instantly happier. But this time the grizzling, the waking and the tantrums didn't stop. So I recalled my praise to the Lord and instead started asking him "whhhhhhhyyyy?"

My biggest concern was the sleep regression; getting up to Victor in the night again was turning me into a zombie. I was struggling to get through each day, and I genuinely feared that he'd never sleep through the night again. Ever! I know that sounds very dramatic, but remember that I was running on empty so I had a bit of the crazies going on.

Then on the weekend everything changed. Little Vic slept through the night for the first time in weeks, and hasn't woken during the night since. He said his first word "seh-ya" (his BFF is our dog, Stella, you see), used his thumb and forefinger to pick up raisins for the first time, clapped for the first time and waved for the first time. He also stopped being so frustrated with his inability to crawl and instead began to actually enjoy rolling and shuffling around. This kid pretty much doubled the number of bullet points in the 'skills' section of his CV overnight.

The amount of progress my son made over the weekend was remarkable. It's like he's a different kid. Not only is he honing new physical skills, but I can tell by his behavior that he's locked down a few new mental skills as well. He will turn towards the dog if we say, "where's Stella?" He stops whatever mischief he's up to when I tell him "no" (for now). He knows that when we laugh he should repeat whatever funny thing he's just done to elicit the same response.  

It's amazing and frightening at the same time - our boy is growing up so fast! All of these physical and mental developments happened off the back of a two and a half week rough patch that was right on schedule with Frans Plooij's Wonder Weeks theory. It seems there may be something in this concept of predictable fussy periods preceding mental and physical leaps after all.

So I concede... Mr Plooij, I am now a reluctant believer. Once again, and not for the last time I'm sure, my son has made a fool out of his dear old mum.

Have you read about Wonder Weeks? Have you noticed any major mental or physical 'leaps' in your baby after particularly fussy periods?

- © Fairfax NZ News

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