Thursday, May 5, 2011
Attention! New moms who feel insecure because their babies are happy and independent one day, and fussy and restless the next, please go buy The Wonder Weeks right now. It will save you a lot of, "What happened to my cherub?" and "Am I doing something wrong?" and "Is this just a phase?"
A "wonder week" is a period of developmental growth in an infant, where they're learning an awesome new physical or mental skill. Right before they've mastered this skill, they undergo growing pains in their brains as they struggle to figure it out. That week can be hellish for babies and parents. Many babies become easily frustrated, unable to settle down for sleep, too distracted to nurse (or wanting to comfort suck all day long), etc. The book calls it the 3 c's- clingy, crying, cranky.
|Sisi and Grandpa, at 3 days|
Just last week, my little burst of sunshine was putting herself to sleep in her crib with a smile and a few coos, napping for 2 or 3 hours at a time, entertaining herself all day long, and in general making this motherhood thing wayyyyyy too easy. In fact, our running joke was to look at her and say, "Oh, I forgot you existed!" And I'll admit it, I got a little cocky. I thought I had her all figured out.
Hip hip hooray, like clockwork, at exactly14 1/2 weeks, my little textbook baby started acting funny. She started hating to nurse and she acts like I'm torturing her (the last time this happened was wonder week 12.) She's been moody and hyperactive. Today it got worse. She screamed when I tried to put her into her crib to fall asleep on her own. I had to rock her for every nap, which I thought was history. I feel like she's regressing, and it gets me down and makes me insecure about my mothering.
Then I take a deep breath and reread the chapter of Wonder Weeks about "wonder week 19", which actually begins around 14 or 15 weeks, and lasts through week 19. It's an intense but exciting period, where she'll learn to roll over, respond to her name, pass toys between both hands, even recognize words. She'll really be a skilled little person. In fact, she's already begun turning book pages, sticking toys in her mouth, and is trying with all her might to roll over and crawl, getting nowhere by the way. It's quite adorable.
I know once her little mind and body mastered these skills, she'll be my little cherub again. It takes a little faith, but I know this will pass. She'll be occupying herself with her new abilities, and we'll be able to say, "Oh, I forgot you existed!" again. Just kidding!
With babies, it really is all about phases. Luckily, the phases aren't as random as they seem. There's a reason for all the madness. You can't cure your little one of these phases, just help them get through these storms as smoothly and quickly as possible. And I do believe Siena needs extra loving and cuddles and patience and grace as she struggles within herself. She's just a baby, and the world is so overwhelming, especially with mommy and daddy doing obnoxious kitschy-coo in your face all day and blowing raspberries on your tummy. Come to think of it, Siena is pretty darn patient with us :)