The Wonder Weeks app on my phone stopped at 18 months, which was a few weeks ago for us. In case you are wondering what the app is all about, it helps to explain more or less when to expect a development leap, and what to expect from it. It also gives some handy tips on what you can do to assist the toddlers through the difficult patches. I digress, when the app stopped I half assumed that the crabby, clingy, crying weeks where I wonder where my sanity went – would too. Separation anxiety hit us pretty bad last week, and let me tell you it’s harder than it sounds.
I mean how hard can it possibly be to have a little person need 100% of your attention 20 hours a day? Not that tough surely, you are a mom. You love this kid. He’s a part of you. Like a tail, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, under your feet. Muuuuummmmmmyyyyyy, muuuummmmmyyyyyyyyyy, I vaguely recall hoping for him to say mummy first. Ha! What a novice I was! Ha ha ha, I’m just kidding – well kind of.
This last phase cost me a lot of sleep. I’m not sure if he is having bad dreams. Or if his brain is working overtime and he’s just not able to go back to sleep. But hell, his sleeping has sucked. I’m talking every 15 minutes whether I am next to him or not. A lot of sleep, a lot of patience and some of my healthy hair colour too. Joh! Hello tantrums! Hello strange child throwing things at me? Where is my sweet boy?
The great news is it is just a phase!
It was just a phase and although we still have some clingy, sometimes over-the-top behaviour when he gets home at night, the night waking is over (touch wood!). Either that, or my body is too tired to hear him waking up next to me. The other awesome news is that this is a developmental stage and is apparently really healthy! I know, it doesn’t feel that way at all. However now that they are a little older, they realise more that you can go away from them. They know you will come back, but their understanding of time is limited.
This is most of the reason, the why – but also it’s just difficult on them as well. When I think of how the world gets overwhelming for me sometimes too, realising I’m not learning to understand stuff. The thick layering that is the systems, how things work, and and and – it must get pretty tough! Ah shame – my heart whines, and then my mind, my mind is like.. HUH? Tell me again, tonight at 2am when I haven’t slept a wink.
Daniel has gone from just words, to two-to-three worded sentences during this phase. It has been so incredible to see! This is by no means, is the standard, some babies get to this much earlier or later. I just noticed that around this time – his development has been immense! The Wonder Weeks app and knowing that although the phase is difficult, it’s also beneficial and has, helped me look out for these milestones.
I’ve read a few things that stood out for me in terms of tips for this difficult time. The biggest being to stay in your routine as far as possible. In other words, don’t make changes to adjust to the new phase, as far as possible. We kept bath times, and the bedtime routine exactly the same for the 2-3 weeks and he slipped right back into it after it moved over. I know that many children develop bad habits during this time hence the tip to stay in your routine. Other than that, get some rescues… for yourself. Sleep when you can. Eat what you like – because you need all the strength you can get and love yourself. Lastly but definitely not least – GET COFFEE!