This is a review of the book The Wonder Weeks by Hetty Vanderijt and Frans Plooij. It's a book that I've had recommended to me on more than one occasion. After visiting the book authors' website, my curiosity got the better out of me and I purchased a copy. You can also read DoryDoyle's review of the Wonder Weeks mobile app on her blog, Doyle Dispatch.
The concept of wonder weeks is that babies go through certain mental development periods – referred to as wonder weeks – and parents can make transitions easier by understanding what the baby is going through and how to help. In the first one year of life, babies will go through 8 wonder weeks as listed below
Week 5 – The world of changing sensations
Week 8 – The world of patterns
Week 12 – The world of smooth transitions
Week 19 – The world of events
Week 26 – The world of relationships
Week 37 – The world of categories
Week 46 – The world of sequences
Week 55 – The world of programs
Each wonder week signifies a mental transition or leap for the baby and is preceeded by a fussy phase and ends with a cheerful baby once the transition has been made. In the chapters dedicated to each wonder week, the authors explain the mental development the baby is going through, the fussy signs to expect, how the leap will affect the parents, baby's new skills that will emerge post-leap and what you can do to help.
The “What you can do to help” sections were my favorite.
In reading this book, I had a lot of “ah ha!” moments. It was like getting a peek at the world through the eyes of my baby and understanding the overwhelming sensations that cause babies to become fussy and cling to mommy sort of like an anchor. Understanding my role as a stabilizing force in what is a period of great and scary change for my babies gives me a lot more empathy for them. I also used this book as a rough guide to determine the best toys to buy and interactions to encourage for my twins based on their mental stage.
Here's an excerpt from a post I wrote on my blog regarding my daughter's development according to the theory of wonder weeks:
Wonder Week 37 is called “World of Categories”. This is where children are able to understand that particular things belong together. An example the book gave that really stuck with me was children understand something like a striped cat, a yellow cat, a spotted cat are all cats. It took a while, but one day I just noticed that Sugar really demonstrates this in her choice of toys. She always likes to hold a toy in each hand, but guess what? It always has to be two of the same toy in a different color. It's 2 links, 2 balls, 2 weebles, 2 tamborines. Never 1 of each.
If you do not have any real interest in human psychology, this book is not for you. If you've ever looked at your infants and wondered if they've been body-swapped with angst-filled teenagers, this book is for you. Do I love this book? Absolutely. It's awesome and strongly recommended for any parent interested in not just the what, but the also the why of their babies' moods and phases.
Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice. She blogs about her twin parenting experiences at mytwintopia.