I’ve talked about the Wonder Weeks before, but I’m here to talk about them again because I think every parent should be informed about these mental leaps that all babies take from time to time.
Aiden just finished going through the 6th mental leap around week 37. Aiden started this around week 35; it’s common for them to start the fussy period around week 34. I can always tell when he is starting a wonder week because his sleep tends to get pretty spotty. Naps are shortened and we wake up several more times during the night. During the day, he is likely to be more clingy and fussy.
The 6th mental leap is about categories. Aiden’s new skills were the following:
- Shows that he knows some words
- Imitates adults
- Recognizes himself in the mirror
- Exaggerates his moods by being excessively happy or sad/mad
- Claps hands and opens and closes fists to show others that he wants something
- Started standing by himself for brief periods
- More distracted than ever breastfeeding
Other than the wonky sleep and fussiness/clinginess during the day, Aiden showed the following signs:
- Nightmares – I think his broken sleep was partially due to a few nightmares. He would be asleep but slightly crying.
- Extreme moods – He was the happiest baby (especially towards the end of the leap when his new skills were mastered). He smiled and laughed all the time. He would also follow this up with being really unhappy about diaper changes and going into the carseat sometimes. He was also teething, so that also played a part in this.
Here are the things I did to help him with this transition:
- Talked to him a lot. I did this before, but I really made an effort to tell him what everything was that he was looking at and explain lots (as much as you can to a 8 month old).
- Gave him lots of time to experiment with different objects.
- Read picture books more often because he was more interested and I could almost watch him think and process what I was saying.
- Being consistent with him. We took the Love and Logic Parenting Class and have a good system in place for letting him know what is naughty such as playing with electrical outlets and other hazardous things and being too rough with Otis. We simply say “uh oh” every.single.time we don’t want him doing something and very slowly I can tell he’s starting to understand that when we say that, he’s supposed to stop.
I promise you that if you look into your child’s uncharacteristic periodic behavior, you’ll find that it’ll correspond with a mental leap. It has been dead on for each time. There are obviously other reasons that they behave differently such as physical growth spurts, teething, sickness, etc., but these helped me to understand and accept that we just aren’t going to get good sleep during this time and I need to pay extra close attention to consistency with naptimes and have extra patience for the fussiness/clinginess during the days.
Have you ever heard of the Wonder Weeks?