Monday, May 20, 2013

Mama Monday: The Wonder Weeks

Have you heard of the book The Wonder Weeks by Frans X. Plooij and Hetty van de Rijt? I think it has been the most helpful parenting book I've read (and I've read quite a few).

The general idea of The Wonder Weeks is that there are ten age-specific periods of intense mental development in the first twenty months of life. During these periods of development, babies are fussier and often show regressions before new skills emerge.

I first picked up The Wonder Weeks when Cal, who is normally a pretty easy baby, was acting completely out-of-control, not sleeping, fussing all the time, and refusing to eat. I'd read about the book in passing on the blog Chronicles of a BabyWise Mom, and knew the gist of it. I started wondering if maybe Cal's odd behavior was related to these so-called "Wonder Weeks." I looked at the table of contents on Amazon and sure enough, Cal was right in the middle of one of these fussy periods. I knew I had to get my hands on the book as soon as possible.

A grumpy Cal around five weeks old (another "Wonder Week"

Now Cal is in week 26, another fussy period (the second for which I've had the book). Some of his "symptoms" have been night-waking, early morning waking, random fussiness and crying, and lack of social interaction (if you know my son, you know that ordinarily he is very social). Supposedly by the end of this week, he will be aware of "the world of relationships," and will be well on his way to developing skills like crawling, putting items in boxes, and sitting up.

So how does this book help? Honestly, it is mostly informative, but just knowing that there is a reason for the madness helps so much, as well as the fact that the fussy periods do end (although the one I'm in can last up to five weeks -- it's been three so far and I'm hoping we're about done). In addition, it cites other mothers' experiences and lists games and toys that will help the baby develop their newfound skills.

While I've definitely been known around my house to refer to the fussy periods of the wonder weeks as "Hell weeks," knowing more about them is so helpful -- I can't imagine how crazy I would be feeling without them. (And Cal is a really good, happy baby, so for those of you with colicky babies, I salute and admire you (and will probably join your ranks with one of my children someday)). I can't recommend the book enough! Apparently there is also an iPhone app. I don't have a smart phone so I haven't tried it out, but it might be more accessible than a thick parenting book. Have any of you heard of these wonder weeks and had experiences with them?

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