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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Wonder Weeks

This book was given to us by a friend of my husband's, and she touted it as lifesaving to her. I was sold because both authors are academics, and you know I dislike anything that isn't evidenced-based. Apparently The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooij is quite the hit among the mommy set, of which I am not one of their traditional members. 

Becoming a new parent is one of the strangest experiences, and I tell people all the time that no one was more prepared to be a parent than I was. A sample of my credentials included approximately 25 years of child care varrying in ages from newborn to high school, approximately 14 years of teaching ages toddler to graduate level, two Master’s degrees and a doctoral candidacy in Educational Psychology in which one of my foci was human development. I know my stuff. 

So when I tell you that becoming the parent of what basically amounts to a potted plant was one of the strangest and difficult things I’ve ever done, I can’t imagine how bad it must be for people who have never even held an infant. When we checked out of the hospital, the discharge nurse was talking to me about diapers when I cut her off and said that I have decades worth of childcare experience and I can change a diaper. I need guidance on how to turn a baby into a bigger human without losing my mind. She didn’t have an answer to that but was clearly happy that I knew how to fasten a Pamper. 

All of this to say that at first I relied on this book like it was the Bible. I mean, not entirely, but I did use it and appreciated its presence in my life to create a bit of predictability and stability in an otherwise chaotic and unpredictable moment in our lives. Those first few leaps that the authors discuss were not just important but were also markers that we were surviving and watching our boy grow. I didn’t follow their advice for games and activities and such because it just wasn’t necessary for me, but I was thankful to see them in there for parents who genuinely have no idea what to do with their babies. These leaps happened fast and furiously for the first nine months or so, so having this guide was vital for our sanity. 

As my son has gotten older and the leaps have gotten longer and farther between, we haven’t really needed the guidance as much. Once he hit six months or so he enetered my wheelhouse of knowledge and I was able
To better understand where he was and where he was going. But man, were those first few months something. I’m grateful that we had this on hand to serve as a guidebook for an otherwise confusing and fraught experience that comes with absolutely no instructions. And even when you find some, most are crap. Not this though. 

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