Monday, January 10, 2011

The Wonder Weeks, and other reads

Photobucket In my last recommended reads post, you may remember I alluded to a book I've been longing to read.  Well it came just in just before the holidays.  And now I'm pleased to discuss, drumroll please ... The Wonder Weeks.  Phew, now that we have the fanfare and hoopla out of the way, I should probably just come out and admit ... I didn't really like this book.  At all.  In fact, I didn't even both finishing it.  But that was partly because I needed to get it back to the library before we left town.

What I do want to say is that I think the information in this book is invaluable and downright interesting.  But I think you can find everything you need to know right here on this handy chart the authors provided and by surfing around their website.

Basically, the books states that there are 10 developmental leaps in a baby's first 2 years, that these "leaps" are predictable based on your child's age (or due date) and that you can expect your baby to be very fussy or "off" during the days/weeks leading up to each leap.  The book (and the webpage) offers a short explanation for what occurs during each leap, and how you'll know when it's occured (i.e. what your baby will be able to do differently).  The book also offers suggestions on how to cope with these fussy periods, which I found to be repetitive after the first chapter or two.  And firsthand stories/quotes from parents going through these periods (which I thought were a bit scare tactic-esque, but that's just my personal opinion.)

All that to say, I think these people are legit!  This book has been recommended on several different blogs and message boards I read, and I know lots of other moms have found it to be true in their childs' lives.  So I was anxious to test out the whole Wonder Weeks theory on my own child.  And by "test" I mean "wait and see."  I didn't have long.  Jude turned 34 weeks 11 days before Christmas.  Which, according to the chart is right around when things get stormy (that's what the rainclouds mean) leading up to Mental Leap #6 (37 weeks):  The World of Categories.  Remember how I mentioned that he was being extra fussy recently?  Hmm, that might be an understatement.  Jude went through two weeks where he would cry/scream/yell/gag whenever I put him down.  Even if Jon was holding him and I was standing right there.  I not only had to stay within his sight, but also within his short little arm reach.  It was beyond frustrating.  Jon and I were starting to get a bit batty by the end of the day.  When things are going well it's easy to forget how much a crying baby can wear on your nerves.  Well, let me tell you, after last month WE REMEMBER!  The only time he wasn't fussing was during naps and nighttime sleep, which remained virtually the same and which I found quite surprising.  He was also excellent over Christmas, but I think it was because there was so much going on and someone always ready to entertain him. 

Now obviously I read the book and knew what to expect, and I'm sure there's some psychological term for that (like the placebo effect??), but it really did seem like he was dealing with uncertainty regarding new changes in his body (I know it probably sounds strange to talk about an 8 month old like that, if I could think of a better way to rephrase it I would!!).  He wasn't acting like he was in pain or physically bothered, and his crying was more of a "I just want to be near Mommy because I'm so unsure of things right now" kinda thing.  So I went with it.  I gave the theory a shot despite concerns over whether or not Jude was getting "spoiled" or if he was picking up whining as a skill.  And I think that's the big benefit of this book/chart/webpage - to prepare you for what's to come so you don't freak out when it happens.  Because, I'm happy to say, it's all over.  Just this past week (37 weeks, just like they said) he's back to his old self - happily playing on his own or, even more gutsy, with his big brother.  And for the most part, fine with being apart from Mommy. 

And also, just like they said, he's acting a bit more methodical.  One example the book mentions is that you may start noticing yor baby picking up specks off the floor and "examining them studiously."  This is very much Jude right now.  He seems to have grown up so much in the past few weeks, and just yesterday he devoured an entire pancake ... without any teeth!!  According to the chart we should be expecting another fussy period in about a month or so.  It will be interesting so see how this one pans out!

Photobucket I ran to the library quick before we left for our big Christmas trip to pick out some books for the drive.  I found 6 interesting reads ... and ended up only finishing one of them.  Yes, my eyes are bigger than ... my calendar?  The one book I read, and I'm so glad I did, was Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food.  This is the one that got my healthy eating wheels spinning.  And not that it was a bad thing, because I really liked this book.  First of all, Pollan is a journalist.  I just love books written by journalists.  I think they're fast, witty and well-researched.  And lest you think he doesn't know what he's talking about, he does.  The dude has his own garden!

Anyway, his whole premise (and many of you have probably heard this before) is:  "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."  I also liked his suggestions for shopping, like stay to the edges of the store.  Don't buy anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.  Don't buy anything with more than 5 ingredients or with ingredients you can't pronounce.  This book not only got me thinking about pursuing a more whole-food, less-processed diet, but also about the whole "nutritionism" movement that has taken place in the last few decades, and which really hasn't made Americans any more healthy.  I've never been much interested in those kind of foods that brag about being low in fat or infused with extra calcium, simply because I've carried over the "healthy" = "bad tasting" equation from childhood.  But now, when I think about how the fat content in these foods is reduced or picture scientists in lab coats injecting calcium into my favorite condiment, it gives me the shudders. 

This book made me want to be a more thoughtful consumer.  Now begins the long road to get there.  Baby steps, remember?

Photobucket I would be remiss not to mention what's hot in Jack's personal library right now.  Mainly because he makes it so obvious.  We are going on one week now that he has asked me to read "Think" (Oh the Thinks You Can Think) for every naptime and bedtime.  This was a gift from a friend when Jude was born, but like I mentioned before, Jack assumes all of Jude's personal belongings.  And poor Jude is too young to realize it.  Surprisingly, despite reading this day in and day out, I'm not quite tired of it ... yet.  Thank you Dr. Seuss for somehow mastering a child's love for repetition with a little spontaneity and creativity.


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Every once in a while I'll take both boys to the thrift store to check out the bookshelves there.  It's probably the only time I venture out with both kids by myself anymore.  And it's a super cheap way to grow our book collection.  We've found some real treasures there, including this little number that Jack calls "Gigga Baby" (Baby Giggles).  This is a simple board book that, in my opinion, might be a tad young for Jack but for some reason he loves it, especially the page where it talks about picking your nose.  He always looks at me and smiles when we get to that one.  I like this book for the photography, I love looking at baby photos and these are really well done! 

Well that's all we've got to in the past month and a half.  The holidays obviously stole some time.  But considering the long, cold winter we have ahead of us, I'm envisioning many snug nights poring over new books!

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