I’m sitting in semi dark, blackout blinds pulled down, lights off. It’s early on a July Saturday, it’s sunny outside (I think) but I need to stay in this gloom. Mr B is sleeping soundly next to me and the cat has found his spot in the nursery. And where is the baby at 8:00am on a Saturday morning? He’s asleep in my arms as I awkwardly type this blog on my phone. He’s had a rough night, waking 5 times screaming, not a whimper, not a gurgle, a blood curdling scream from the bottom of his heart. Mr B has helped me out and gone to get him and brought him to me all night. Not much but booby would comfort him, only mumma can help.
He’s dreaming now, I’m watching his R.E.M. Sleep and he smiles, little and often he smiles. He had just gone down for a very early morning nap and I was stealing some time to myself when another gut wretching scream came. I could have comforted him and laid him down again, it could be wind, or his teeth, or his nappy…. but it’s none of those, I know in my heart of hearts what it is. It’s leap 5.
Developmental leaps are not a modern invention, however our awareness of them has been heightened and brought to our attention through research and cult followings like ‘wonder weeks’. If you chat to an older generation about such specifics they will look at you blankly. But we millennials are the generation who need to know everything, we need to know what is happening and would quite like a scientific name or theory to explain everything. It’s the world we immerse ourselves in 24/7, if we need answers we just find them, we google it!
So you have googled it, you have downloaded the wonder weeks app. You take it all with a pinch of salt and pretend to be blase about the impending doom. You convince yourself that all babies are different and that your parents didn’t have a clue when these ‘leaps’ were coming so why do you need to know. You delete the app. And throw caution to the wind… then you download it again and change the settings to alert. Why, because we are the generation who need to know. We need our smart phones to guide us through. We cannot face it alone.
And why should we, just because they didn’t have clue about ‘wonder weeks’ in 1984 doesn’t mean we can’t embrace it. They also thought that popping a Moses basket in the back seat of a ford sierra that had no side impact protection while one parent had a fag out the window was ok too. But 30 years later things have moved on, we know more. And that’s a good thing.
So as I sit here in the dark, arm going numb so the babies head is nice and comfy, Mr B asleep next to me recovering from nursery to bedroom merry go round. I ask all the mummas out there to embrace your wonder week developmental psychological progression sleep regression phases. Google the shit out of them and read all the symptoms. Because it will make you feel better, it will make you feel more human, more patient and to be honest more of a kick arse mother. Because when your baby wakes screaming for 6th time you won’t think ‘what have I done wrong?’ You will think ‘I know what to do right!’ You will be able to comfort him that little bit extra, to show more love and understanding knowing that his little brain is having yet another huge leap. Don’t be fearful, don’t worry, don’t dread that time. Take that time to hold them a little bit harder and look for the good in the next stage. Look for the positives.
According to Wonder Weeks leap 5 we are entering the world of relationships. He will understand distance. Distance from us and distance from his surroundings. He will understand short commands, his speech will develop, he will start to pull himself up, he will show more appreciation for music and dance. He will miss us when we leave him. Ok he might cry more, sleep less, breast feed more and refuse solid foods. But that’s ok, because one day he won’t sleep in my arms on a sunny Saturday morning. And I will miss it, and miss the times he needed me. So embrace the leaps the cuddles and changes. Surrender yourself to the moments, count down the days until the leap is over and pop a bottle of something fizzy in the fridge ready for the end.