Oh little bear, sometimes you break my heart, and my sanity. I love you so damn much it hurts, but this last leap has been so testing.
Having a 15 month old, I’m pretty used to these mental leaps, growth spurts, the testing times. But this recent one, has brought me to tears, mentally & emotionally exhausted me & wondered ‘what the fuck even is this?!‘ We are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel, ’cause we all know we get there somehow right?! But one thing is for certain, while I was struggling to figure out why my toddler just wanted to bite me, push the boundaries, and whinge more than Bing Bunny does in the space of an 8 minute episode, I knew it would be over soon, and gosh did I wish I drank more wine (it was most certainly needed).
What even is a ‘leap’ you nonsense woman?
First off, I recommend that any parent dowload the Wonder Weeks app, get the book, the journal. Any of it, just DO IT (you’ll thank me, I promise). So yeah, leaps are stages that babies & toddlers go through, it is when their brain is learning and processing new information. The book/app explains it much better than I. But honestly, it is so helpful for wondering why that one week, is your child being a bit of a pain in the ass. The leaps are all separated into the weeks your child would generally be learning and processing a specific handful of information.
Do Not Be Fooled By this Grin…
We got through the majority of them like nobody’s business. People would comment how their child is being especially difficult, and it more often than not, would be linked to a leap they would be experiencing at the time. We just giggled a little and though ‘oh bless them, I’m so glad we haven’t had much difficulties so far’. HA HA HA HA HA, I can hear psychology laughing in my stupid, teenage skin filled face. These last 5 and a half weeks have been so confusing, stressful, testing & exhausting. I can hand on heart say I saw a side of my child I wasn’t sure was my favourite at all.
We were met with teething (as always), refusing to go to sleep, not napping in the day, trying to bite out of frustration, climbing everything & laughing when told ‘no‘ (also crying when he then figures out he can’t actually do or get where he wanted to), being clingy & following me everywhere & the mood swings. Oh, the mood swings. As you can probably tell, it was all sorts of crazy. I just wanted to get out of the house, with or without him. I needed air, I had cabin fever, we were both going stir crazy. And I knew that getting him out, would help just a little (until he realised he can both; turn around in the pram, particularly when we’ve stopped and make it super difficult to get him into his car seat by going stiff, holding onto to the top of the car like he was being arrested & taken away, and throwing himself back out at whoever is nearby). But I was faced with major anxiety. I didn’t want to go out on my own. I didn’t want to go to places I knew I would be being stared at. “What if he acts up while we’re out? Everyone would seriously be giving me the eyes”, “She can’t even control him and he’s 1 years old, what the hell?!”. Thanks for that btw brain.
On a more positive note, he started to copy me hoovering and took the nozzle and hoover piece off me whenever I detached it from the hoover (this was followed with a scream the house down episode whenever I asked for it back), he learnt to eat better with cutlery and now tries so damn hard to use them at meal times, he has climbed everything he possibly can (and moved items so he could climb other things, I guess you could say he learnt to problem solve *eye roll*). He also showered me in hugs and kisses as always and I still treasured every moment he was pleasant and lovely to be around. I was ever so grateful for having work to go to, just to get out for a breather.
A Moment Being Pleasant.
There were times when I felt like I couldn’t cope, I wasn’t a good enough mother, I was failing. I wasn’t sure what else I could do with him, I read the app and the book for tips on how to encourage positive behaviour and get through this. I kept telling myself over and over that this was developmental, it won’t last forever and he’s trying to learn so much. But I felt sorry for myself too. I couldn’t help it. I was being pushed as absolutely far as I could go without shouting or losing my rag, to then be treated with 30 seconds of quiet time, a kiss and a cuddle. I felt like I was dealing with a 13 year old, not a 13 month old.
You know, I’ll probably forget this in a few weeks/months. I’ll forget how things were and how darling yet frustrating he was when he’s running around and showing me how brave he is on the big slide at soft play, whilst my heart aches. I won’t remember. It’ll all be long forgotten, as were the newborn days when he was just so tiny and vulnerable and needed me for every little thing in his life to grow & develop & become the character he is.
But for now, Leap 9, you have a lot to answer for.