Parents, grandparents, anyone with little ones in their lives – have you heard of the Wonder Weeks? It’s an app, book and parenting philosophy that refers to babies from birth to about 18 months, saying that little ones go through 10 mental leaps in their first two years of life.
If you have the app, plug in your baby’s due date – not birth date – and the app will calendar our when your baby will go through these leaps. The signs that baby may be going through a leap are the three C’s: crying, crankiness, and clingyness. Plus, poor sleep, sleepier, more of an appetite – and just plain acting like a completely different baby than you’ve known thus far.
The Wonder Weeks app has been spot on with timing for our little Leo.
A Typical Leap in the Barichello Household
To put it bluntly, each leap in our household has been a total shit-storm. The whole when-it-rains-it-pours cliche was created for baby mental leaps, I’m sure of it. Let me set the scene:
First, we get a call from daycare that sweet Leo has vomited or some other un-fun physical symptom that requires him to be kept home. After a couple days of rearranging work meetings and soothing a sweet, sick and miserable child, either Kyle or I (or both!) get the illness and are knocked down just when Leo is getting his strength and energy back. Just as we all round the corner to decent health, a new tooth starts stabbing its way through Leo’s gums and rocks his world. We all are up all night crying. Then, on the final day of this disastrous week, with the fever gone and the tooth fully in, the sweet boy clings to us and cries and wants to nap all day long. What is going on?
My phone vibrates while I give him a bottle. I check it and see the alert.
Leo is entering Leap 9.
Well, that explains it.
The leap notification comes as both a relief and a nightmare. It’s a relief knowing there’s a reason behind this change of behavior – there’s a lot happening in that sweet little head of his. It’s a relief knowing that whatever this is it’s truly a phase that comes with this leap. Knowing this fussy phase is validated and temporary helps me surrender.
>>When I see that Leo’s entering a leap, I love The Wonder Weeks book for getting all of the details. It explains what new developments are taking place in your babe’s brain and what new things you might see them doing as a result.
The nightmare is when the app shows that this leap lasts 36 days. That’s a helluva long fussy phase.
Leaps and Sleep
Surprise, surprise – poor sleep goes hand-in-hand with a mental leap. One of the characteristics of a leap is a change in sleep patterns. I laugh when I read this because poor sleep is nothing new, but the “change” is what’s frightening. What will this new pattern be?
>> Learn more about sleep expectations during mental leaps on the Baby Sleep Site.
For the last three months, sweet Leo has been surprising us by sleeping in until 6:30 or even 7. Albeit, this is after getting up a few times in middle of the night, but Kyle and I were all about this new pattern of baby boy sleeping in. We were finally able to count on our precious morning time to cherish our coffee while it’s hot, read more than a sentence, journal about our sleep deprivation, stare at each other, pet Yoshi, anything to help us feel centered and somewhat ready to tackle the day.
Want to take a guess at Leo’s change of sleep pattern in Leap 9? Our alarm clock is now a baby babble, 5:00 on the dot for the last two weeks straight.
He usually wakes up happy – thank goodness for that – and ready to party. We wait until his babbles evolve into a cry before getting out of bed and getting him out of the crib. Then, it’s go time. Change him. Feed him. Clean him. Chase him. Change him again. Chase him. Then soothe the three C’s: crying, crankiness, and clingyness.
We both try to sneak sips of coffee in between chasing the newly walking Leo. Kyle gets ready for work with Leo toddling at his heels, reaching up to be held.
“I feel like we’ve already put in a full day’s work and it’s not even 6am,” Kyle says before heading out the door for work.
Leo laughs his evil-scientist laugh, because he loves being part of adult conversations.
I usually take him to daycare at 7:00, but they’re open as early as 6:00…and Kyle’s right – we’ve already put in a full day’s work! By 6:30, I’m shuffling Leo in the carseat and we’re off to daycare without even having brushed my teeth.
We still have several days left of Leap 9 and then 1 more leap to go. After that, will there be any excuses we can blame when parenting feels like a bit much? When he rush him off to daycare before it’s even light out? Or does the crying, crankiness and clingyness magically go away after Leap 10?
Magical Moment of Leap 9
One morning earlier this week, Leo first woke up at 4am. I was relieved to get a full 8 hours of sleep (yes, we go to bed at 8:00 now), but he wasn’t going back down easily. At 5:30, I brought him out to the living room still in his sleep sack – Kyle and his mom (who has had the joy of staying with us during this leap of crack-of-dawn mornings) both passed him around and tried to soothe him, but he was reaching for Mama. Finally, I caved and offered Leo a bottle, and we sank to the couch. Kyle and Sharon sat on either side, and while Leo lay in my arms we adults all closed our eyes. A few minutes later, little Leo was sleeping too.
I was taken back to a year ago, Leo still a newborn and me still on maternity leave, when he’d nap in my arms and I’d alternate between reading my book and staring at his precious sleep-face. Now watching him sleep in my arms at 14 months, he has some of the same quirks – mouth open, deep sighs, placing his hand straight out as if to steady himself in his sleep. Suddenly, this leap is my favorite.