Why I Love the Wonder Weeks

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Have you heard about “wonder weeks?”

Someone I follow on Instagram posted something about the usefulness of The Wonder Weeks in her relationship with and understanding of her little girl, and so I looked it up. Wonder weeks are the periods of fussiness all babies go through as a result of their (develop)mental growth, and the hard weeks (or days) are signs of progress.

Let me tell you about ours. For the last three days, Wilder has refused to sleep much, eat well, or lie down on his own. He’s started screaming (yikes!) and, if he does accidentally start to doze, he wakes up half an hour later, angry that he fell asleep. He won’t take his pacifier for more than a minute at a time, and he’s just generally been fussy.

It sounds stressful—and it has been—but my understanding of what a wonder week is has changed my entire outlook on this stormy period. At around seven weeks, Wilder began his second mental leap into the world of patterns. As I read about this leap, Wilder’s fussing, clinginess and constant need to nurse made sense. I also received a few tips on how I can help him—and the rest of us—cope with the few days this second leap will last.

According to The Wonder Weeks website:

Parents can use this understanding of their baby’s developmental leaps to help them through these often confusing times in their new lives. You will better understand the way your baby is thinking and why he acts as he does at certain times. You will be able to choose the right kind of help to give him when he needs it and the right kind of environment to help him make the most of every leap in his development.

I’m pretty skeptical by nature, but I’ve realized this isn’t voodoo magic. It’s really helpful, evidence-based research that’s compiled into chunks manageable enough for this often-exhausted mom to read and benefit from. I’ve got the app, which I’d recommend—it gives you a calendar of your child’s projected leap dates, ways you can help your baby through the leaps, and insight as to what’s actually going on in his or her brain at that time.

For someone like me, who really benefits from understanding the “why is this happening?” as much as the “how can I make it better?”, it’s invaluable.

Here’s The Wonder Weeks website if you’re interested in finding out more. I can’t vouch for anyone but our family, but I really recommend checking out the app, at least, if you have or are expecting a baby.

So, I know this may sound like an ad. I promise; I’m not getting anything out of this post. I just found it to be an incredibly helpful reminder of the developmental importance of the “bad days” I thought were never going to end. I hope it’s as encouraging to you as it has been to us!

Have you heard of wonder weeks? Have you used the app or book to help you cope with your baby’s developmental leaps?

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

Here’s our Christmas  New Year Valentine’s Day card (if you want to know the truth, I actually ordered these cards—although not this design—in September 2013. Something about having a baby and sending holiday cards without him on them just didn’t seem right!)

Hope you spend a day full of showing love to those around you!

A Snow Day

Yesterday was the first day we’ve been outside to play in the snow all winter! It’s been bitterly cold—too cold to be outside, even—and we haven’t had much snow until recently. Shep and I bundled up and burned off some of our energy, thankful that we’ve been in the 20s for the first time in weeks. He loved trying to eat the snow and falling face-first into it; I loved that we could finally be outside! We’ve had a spiking case of cabin fever for about a month, so this thaw came at a desperately needed time.

We’re anticipating temperatures in the 40s and 50s in the next few days, so I’m going to post these pictures before there’s no snow left!

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And even though Wilder didn’t get to go outside with us, he seemed perfectly happy napping in our warm house until his brother and I came back inside to play with him.

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Celebrating Sheppy with The Sesames

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Instead of having a big birthday party for Shepherd’s second birthday, we decided to do something fun and low-key together—just the four of us—that Shepherd would love. With a newborn, and trip planned close to Shepherd’s birthday, it was becoming stressful to me to coordinate (and, if I’m being honest, all of the details, like invitations and decorations, mean nothing to him!). So, when I saw a commercial advertising Sesame Street Live’s upcoming performance in Lincoln, I knew going to see his favorite characters would be a perfect way to celebrate our soon-to-be two-year-old.

The performance was almost three weeks before Shepherd’s big day, and we’d been building up Sesame Street Live all week. We told Shep we were going to meet Abby, Elmo, and Cookie, and he always looked at us blankly with a matter-of-fact “no” when we mentioned “The Sesames,” which is what he calls the Sesame Street Muppets… it was adorable! It was also a little unnerving; we weren’t sure how he’d react to life-size characters, and I could just imagine the worst-case scenario of him screaming in fear next to a six-foot Elmo.

We talked the day up a lot that morning, too… we gathered all of Sheppy’s “Sesames” and watched a couple of Sesame Street clips online. He wanted to bring Abby and Elmo with us, so we gladly brought them along.

Turns out, he absolutely loved the show. The storyline we saw was the “Make New Friends” story; it was about an hour and 45 minutes long with a 15-minute intermission in the middle. Lucky for us, the families behind and in front of us left at intermission, so we got to put all of our coats and gear in those seats and let Shepherd dance in the aisles. It was great to be in an arena full of toddlers, because we didn’t fret at all when Shepherd got antsy, accidentally kicked a seat back, or wanted to stand up.

Shepherd had no trouble paying attention to the whole show; the dancing and singing entranced him, and he loved the double-sided Elmo/Cookie Monster balloons. By the time the show ended, Shepherd was starting to fall asleep, so our plan to get pizza afterward didn’t happen. Instead, Aaron took Shepherd to get a balloon, and on the way back to our car we stopped for a few pictures in front of the show’s trailer.

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I’m so glad we went this route for Shepherd’s second birthday party. It was a fun, relaxed and all about our (almost) two-year-old. We’ll be celebrating him again on his real birthday in just a few days, and I will have a post of the month-by-month pictures I’ve been taking for the last two years. I’m so thankful I get the privilege of being this little boy’s (and his baby brother’s!) mama.