I’m not quite sure how I stumbled upon concept of The Wonder Weeks, but when I was a first time mom, it was an invaluable resource to me. Hellobee wasn’t around when my daughter was born, so I didn’t have the tools that exist here on this site now. I was also the first of my friends to give birth, so I didn’t really have “a village” I could turn to for support, advice, and camaraderie.
The concept of The Wonder Weeks helped normalize a lot of things for me. It made me feel secure knowing that the “low points” I was experiencing with my child was all part of her development and growth. I turned to their book time and again every time I suspected something was off with my girl, and sure enough… she was usually fussiest around one of the wonder weeks.
What are the wonder weeks? They refer to the weeks in our children’s life where they are the most fussy because they are about to take on a huge developmental leap. Can you imagine if all of a sudden what you thought was your reality was no longer true? Pretend to be in a baby’s shoes – one day you think you’re attached (literally, physically) to your mommy and nothing can separate you from her, then the next day it dawns on you that that was never the case at all! How scary! However, after each new revelation, our babies adapt to their new normal and things are calm again. That is, until the next big leap. I’m pretty sure we go through something similar as adults every time we’re forced to undergo some big change in our lives.
The 10 Big Leaps are (I included the month for easy reference):
Wonder Week 5 (1 month) – The World of Changing Sensations
Wonder Week 8 (2 months) – The World of Patterns
Wonder Week 12 (3 months) – The World of Smooth Transitions
Wonder Week 19 (4.5 months) – The World of Events
Wonder Week 26 (6.5 months) – The World of Relationships
Wonder Week 37 (8.5 months) – The World of Categories
Wonder Week 46 (10.5 months) – The World of Sequences
Wonder Week 55 (12.5 months) – The World of Programs
Wonder Week 64 (14.5 months) – The World of Principles
Wonder Week 75 (17 months) – The World of Systems
Every leap consists of similar signs. Your baby will be extra fussy, more clingy, and become a not-so-great-sleeper. A wonder week can last anywhere from a few days to 6 weeks!
I haven’t delved into the book as much as a second time mom. It’s only recently that I looked it up again, and coincidentally, my second born is right smack in the middle of Wonder Week 46! I was wondering why he’s been extra clingy and dependent on me lately. It’s so unlike him.
As much as I liked knowing what to expect as a first time mom because it helped me get through those difficult periods (it was nice knowing there was an end in sight), not knowing what came next was a refreshing change this time around.
By not focusing on regressions and wonder weeks, everything blurred into one. It’s allowed me to be more present. I’m not in a constant state of mentally counting down the days until a wonder week is over. I’ve learned from the first time around that parenting isn’t linear. I’ve chucked the phrase, “it gets easier” out of my vocabulary. It gets easier, then it gets hard, then harder, then easy again. Each stage comes with its own set of challenges. If we were to plot our highs and lows, it will never look like one straight, clear path. It will look like a series of peaks and valleys with periods of calm in-between. Having that expectation in mind has really helped me be patient in the present.
Either way, I think the wonder weeks are a useful tool, and helped me feel not so alone when difficult times hit because I knew I wasn’t the only one going through these things.
Are you currently experiencing a wonder week? Do you prefer to plan and anticipate developmental leaps, or are you the type to go with the flow?