Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wonder Weeks

Not that we have much free time for reading, but I came across a book that is really helping me understand what Daniel is going through. It's called The Wonder Weeks: The Most Important Developmental Weeks In Your Baby's First Year by Dutch married couple, Hetty Vanderijt, Ph.D and Frans Plooij, Ph. D

In a nutshell, two neuroscientists have done some research showing that just as a baby as physical growth spurts and milestones, he (or she) has neuro spurts and milestones. And just like baby gets fussy and has sleep patterns interrupted during physical spurts, he has the same thing with these neuro spurts.

What is helpful for me to understand is why the baby is so fussy during this times. Basically, what happens is that each milestone represents a new paradigm in his thinking, so his brain has to rewire everything he's learned so far to fit this new paradigm. For example, at 19 weeks (approx), baby learns the concept of events. Events in this context means that things happening in a series make up a whole. For example, we see someone waving their hand, baby (before this milestone) thinks, "Oooh! the hand moves!...Oooh! the hand moves!" After the event, the baby thinks, "Someone is waving at me." So the brain (usually at night, when there is less stimulation) has to go back and look at everything else he has been exposed to and decide what other things are events. Think of how you feel after a busy brain day, and you'll feel a little more compassion for that cranky baby at 3am. (At least, that's what I tell myself!)

Anyway, the book is organized into each event, at weeks 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, and 55. Each chapter is pretty thorough but very readable, with the following sections:
* the week's fussy signs
* quotes from parents in this stage
* My Diary (a checklist of things to look for)
* how this leap may affect you (as the parent)
* how your baby's new skills emerge
* the magical leap forward (what it looks like when the baby has accomplished the big task of the stage)
*what you can do to help
* games to play this wonder week
* top toys for this wonder week
* after the leap...

I've just gotten into it, but really like it so far...

You can find a good summary of all the stages here.

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