The Wonder Weeks: What a Difference a Day Makes…

Image representing the moment at which mother and daughter switch bodies.
My daughter has suddenly matured, seemingly overnight. But not to, like, Freaky Friday levels. Image from the 1976 Disney film.

I picked up a copy of The Wonder Weeks on the advice of some friends with kids. I haven’t read much of it yet, and even those who recommended it to me often did so with some reservations. But what I have read has been interesting.

There’s an Amazon Affiliate link at the bottom of the page, so if this piques your interest, please consider clicking through and letting me get a few pennies for your purchase. 

Anyway, the authors’ basic premise is pretty straightforward: there are certain periods of marked fussiness, sleep issues, etc, that for most children follow a pretty identifiable schedule in their early years. These periods coincide with major developmental milestones and shifts that your child is undergoing.

The authors identify 10 such periods during the first 20 months, and let parents know, to some extent, what to expect, and developmental “leaps” to look for. As a friend of mine with a two year said recently, sometimes it’s helpful to know why your kid is being a pain, and other times it’s small comfort.

The first “Wonder Week” is around five weeks. The baby is becoming increasingly aware of their surroundings. They’re likely to be fussier, clingy, and have trouble sleeping. After this fussy period, they tell you to watch for the baby to seem more aware and interactive. They may begin to smile, as well.

Well, around this Monday, a couple days into Week 5, Test Subject V started having trouble sleeping. She was fussier than usual, and during her evening fussy period, she was almost intolerably clingy.  Last week we made it through the night with only one feeding disruption, but that schedule was suddenly back out the window.  I wasn’t seeing any of these developmental weeks the book promised me, though, and I was about to toss it in the bin as more nonsense marketed at new parents.

And then, last night, Test Subject V went down early. Before midnight. And she stayed asleep until 6:30 this morning. Now, that alone is enough to have my wife and myself out on the porch in the 23° cold singing “Oh Happy Day.” Sleeping through the night, even for six hours or so, is cause for celebration. But. BUT. BUT. That’s not all.

The baby that woke up in my home this morning is not the baby that we put to bed last night. I mean, she is– this isn’t a changeling situation or anything. But her personality has radically altered, seemingly overnight. Suddenly, V is smiling. She’s playing with toys in which she has shown no prior interest. She used to track us with her eyes, but now there’s a new recognition in them when she does. When she gets fussy or upset, she seems far more manic– she wants results.

It’s amazing and eerie and awesome. Babies are so weird.

So I’ll continue to read The Wonder Weeks as V goes through the next few periods of fussing her way to a better brain, and I’ll report here how the book compares and contrasts with my lived reality.

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