Friday 17 June 2016

TODDLER: The dreaded Wonder Weeks thunderstorm...

Over the past few weeks Isabella's behaviour has been getting increasingly challenging. The tantrums, though I know are relatively mild, have become a daily occurrence and the general whining has been seriously hard at times. I then remembered about The Wonder Weeks app I had downloaded when Isabella was a little, much more manageable, baby. Back in those days we always knew when a thunderstorm of development was brewing and I prepared myself for a tough few days by organising to meet our NCT friends.
For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about when I say 'thunderstorm', The Wonder Weeks is a book/website/app that identifies the approximate time your baby will go through a developmental leap. It tells you the new things they'll learn, what their behaviour may be like through the leap and how long it lasts for. You input your child's date of birth, so the timings of each leap are personal your child. We've always found it pretty accurate and it was always reassuring to know that Isabella's behaviour was challenging because she was learning exciting new skills and that it wasn't because I was being a bad parent who didn't understand their child! However as Isabella got older (around 7/8 months) we stopped looking at the app, her challenging behaviour seemed to disappear and I simply forgot about The Wonder Weeks completely.

That was until she hit 13 months and the challenging behaviour returned with a vengeance, along with the fear of the 'terrible twos' were making an early appearance! The majority of the time Isabella is a loving little girl who enjoys reading books, playing with her toys, splashing in water and going on the swing. However, every now and again she throws her head back and screams at the top of her voice! The most common time for this to happen at the moment is meal times, she's fiercely independent so if we dare try and help her she lets us know she's not happy about it. She can feed herself and that's that, no need for our help or guidance. Sometimes if we even walk near her highchair she throws her spoons down and arches her back, which can be exhausting on those hard parenting days. I look forward to the day I can explain why/how/who/what/when because at the moment she doesn't understand why she can't do something and that's hard.

Walking is another area that has been both a blessing and a nightmare - it's so lovely watching Isabella walk around, I could burst with pride! On the other hand now she doesn't want to be in her pushchair/highchair/car seat for any length of time, she doesn't want to spend hours cuddling on my lap...she wants to walk everywhere because that's her new skill. We've adapted our typical family days out to visiting place where she can walk to her hearts content, we try to keep shopping trips to a minimum (gone have the sneaky Costa trips while she was sleeping in the pushchair!) and have the lifesaving LittleLife Bee Daysack with Rein to keep her safe at all times. But despite all of this she still wants to walk more! I understand that she wants to practise her new skill and of course I want to support her as much as possible, but after a rather stressful 'picking everything breakable up from the shop shelves' shopping trip I've come to realise that in reality we can't let Isabella walk everywhere we go. We'd never get anything done!

After a month or so of this behaviour I suddenly remembered The Wonder Weeks app...low and behold Isabella had been on a developmental leap, the Principles Leap to be precise. When her behaviour had been the most challenging she had been on the thunderstorm, thank goodness. Well thank goodness in a way, at least there is an explanation for her behaviour but I am aware that this is probably the beginning of an increasingly challenging time in being a parent and bringing up a toddler. It's been more important than ever to focus on the positives and just get through the hard parts of the day. I take my hat off to stay at home mum's, my days at work are honestly a breeze compared to my days at home. My job is relatively stressful, but it's so easy compared; I honestly see my working days as my days off now (seriously never thought I'd say that). Which do I prefer? Of course my days at home with Isabella, but there's no denying that its testing, exhausting and plain old hard at times.

As I write this we have 18 days left of this leap and then a big long stretch of sunshine, which I will appreciate more than every before. It's our time to starting parenting, rather than just caring for Isabella and I'm equally excited and nervous about this next journey.

Do you have any tips for surviving/dealing with these hard 'thunderstorm' parenting days?

Feel free to leave a comment :)

Helen x
Pick N Mix Fridays


  1. I hear you. We've had it pretty lucky, compared to a lot of other toddlers we know, but there's been a lot more resistance to being helped (and a lot of screaming when we try to wash her face). These are the things which help with Matilda: factoring in an extra ten minutes of getting ready time so she can try to put her own shoes on (she doesn't manage but she's calmer for having been given the chance); always saying " you need to go in the buggy/high chair" so she's forewarned that we're about to do something to her ("let's go!" or "dinner time!" is not enough); pretending she has a choice about things ("would you like a fresh nappy?"); and giving her alternatives/compromises ("you can't empty that whole cupboard but you can take out the plastic bowls" "you can't bang things on the TV but you can bang them on this cushion" etc). But that's just Matilda - I know every toddler is different! If all else fails, remember: there's only one more leap to go!

    1. Oh, and making her feel helpful ("could you get your shoes?" "can you put this in the bin?" "could you stack your plate on mine?" etc).

  2. Great honest post. Do you find it affects Isabella's ability to drop off at night? My lo isn't walking yet but trying and some nights we get shockers where she simply can't switch off. It's so tiring! ESP when you are up at 5 and she won't sleep till say 8.30! Madness ! One day it will ease up ;)

  3. I still remember the 'I do it myself' days when everything had to be done by them in slow motion no matter how big a rush I was in ;) I look back now though and I miss those days a bit. It goes way way way too quickly. Thanks for linking up lovely to #PicknMix

    Stevie x

  4. We also use the wonder weeks app, and are currently going though a leap so totally feel you! I remember the one you're going through now and there is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise you!!! xx

  5. I absolutely lived by the Wonder Weeks app and recommend it to everyone. I couldnt believe how spot on it was but better still, it really helped us to appreciate the leaps and developments our little one was going through. It genuinely is a tough life for a baby and toddler! #PicknMix


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