Breastfeeding, potty training, discipline tactics, motherhood in general. There’s an app for that. Apps that keep track of feedings and messy diapers and milestones. Apps that can be very helpful in the midst of those early days of parenthood when the hours run together and you truly don’t know what time it was when you last fed the baby.
And then there are the apps that you download (and pay for!) out of desperation – something to help you understand why the baby is crying nonstop, how she can go from zero to tiny little monster in a matter of seconds. She’s not hungry or wet. I’m pretty sure she’s tired, seeing as how I’ve been rocking her for approximately 157 minutes while she screams in my ear. But WHY. WHY won’t she go to sleep!? HELP ME UNDERSTAND!
Enter The Wonder Weeks. Yes. This is what I needed, right?! Something to clearly explain why my infant daughter was inconsolable at times. Something to help me understand her cues since she’s far too young to communicate them to me herself. I’d heard nothing but good things about the book and felt the need to pay the $1.99 to download the app on my phone. I plugged in Leighton’s information and was immediately greeted with what I like to call the Chart of Darkness.
You see, she had just entered a new “mental leap” and boy, was it going to be a doozy. We had barely even started this so-called leap and all I could see in my future were storm clouds. From the end of March until the beginning of May, my sweet baby was expected to be a little terror. That’s something like SIX WEEKS, people. Or if you’re dealing with a crying hot mess of a baby, it’s an eternity. The only glimmer of hope I could find was the single partly-sunny icon over the middle of May. But wait. Was this chart telling me that she was going to be in a good mood for a mere three weeks before another period of darkness descended upon us!? Say it ain’t so!
As the crying continued, I irrationally decided the app was absolutely no help. I didn’t need an app to tell me I was in the dark days. I knew it. I was living it. The app was on my phone approximately 17 minutes before I decided I hated it. I deleted it and it hasn’t made an appearance since.
Now, it should be noted that I don’t hate the people who have poured their life’s work into developing the Wonder Weeks because they’re wrong. No, I hate them because they’re right. So right. About everything.
If I were to download the app again, I would open it to see that baby face icon over the month of July. And you know what? We’ve reached the sweet spot. Just like the Chart of Darkness said. Leighton is happy, basically all the time. She’s sleeping. Actually sleeping. In her crib and everything. Can I get an amen? It was a long six months but we’ve finally turned a corner with this little girl and it’s glorious.
Until the next storm clouds come, I suppose. But really, it’s to be expected, right? In all reality, a baby’s first year is completely insane. I didn’t really see what the big deal was when each of my babies were born. The first two weeks were a cake walk! They eat, sleep and poop. That’s it.
The 2-week honeymoon quickly comes to an end, though. The babies realize they’ve been born, and they’re actually alive. They’re more alert and aware of their surroundings which requires more effort on mom and dad’s part to keep them happy. By 4 weeks, the sweet little babe is potentially a colicky mess – but don’t worry. It’s only supposed to last until week 12. They discover their hands and their toes and their voice, all of which completely jacks with their moods and sleep patterns because their tiny brains can only handle so much at a time and sleeping through the night is not one of them. Not even close. Throw a sleep regression and teething on top and you’ve got yourself a party. By the way, I’m a firm believer that all babies should be born with teeth. The act of teething sounds miserable to me, a full-grown woman, so I can only imagine how awful it is for a little baby.
Fast forward a few more weeks. Maybe the sleep regression as come to an end and perhaps the little cherub has sprouted a few new pearly whites. Or not. Because babies can teethe for months on end without producing actual teeth. Again, this doesn’t make sense to me, but I digress. You may get a month or two of peace and calm but don’t get too comfy. Before you know it, the baby is sitting, scooting, crawling and eating, going through growth spurts, getting more teeth. WHY do they need so many teeth!?! Oh $#!%, molars?! Ugh. Then they’re walking, talking and doing all the things.
In between the crying and fussiness is some pretty amazing development that our babes go through. Watching your child learn a new skill right before your eyes is honestly my favorite part of parenting. Seeing them catch on to something you taught them is downright awesome. Baby’s first year is a complete blur. It doesn’t necessarily get easier – it gets “different” but you adapt and survive – and it goes by entirely too quickly. Your best bet is to buckle up and (try to) enjoy the ride. There’s probably an app to help with that, too.