Friday, September 20, 2013

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt, Ph.D and Frans Plooij, Ph.D

The Wonder Weeks
Hetty van de Rijt, Ph.D
Frans Plooij, Ph.D

Your Baby's Developing Mind: What a Wonder-ful World!
In The Wonder Weeks, you'll discover the specific dates during their first 14 months when all babies take eight major developmental leaps. And you'll learn how to help your baby through the eight great "fussy phases" that mark these leaps within a week or two. 
Wonder week by wonder week, you'll see how your baby's mind is developing. Now you will know which games and toys are best for your baby during each key week and how to encourage each leap forward. Calendars, charts, and checklists help you track your baby's progress-- and finally make sense of his fussy behaviour.
This is a baby book like no other. It will be your indispensable guide to the crucial "wonder weeks" of your baby's first year.

Rodale Books


Rosy's scrawlings on The Wonder Weeks
I'm writing this as a new mum with a 7 week old (tomorrow). You might think that I've had little use for this book yet, considering the age of my bub, but you'd be terribly wrong. This book has been the most helpful for me, and through me my husband, in knowing what's coming and keeping cool through the roughest times. While other baby care books spend all or most of their time on things like changing nappies and medical advice and methods of dealing with crying, this book has been the only one I've come across that's told me specifically why my bub might be acting as he does. And knowing why makes all the difference. It elevates my ability to relate from brand spanking new mum with no clue what to do but wrap, attempt to soothe and cry it out to responding to my bub's problems more directly. This started with knowing before he was even born just how he might experience the world. I also had a practical experience lesson during the pethidine drug trip I had to have for the pain that was making me want to throw up (I was c-ed for pre-eclampsia and his head not dropping and as it turned out this was an excellent thing as the cord was around his neck too). While under I heard light and saw music (which happened to be a Fats Waller track that was playing) and when in the recovery room I thought to myself that this must be a touch of the synesthesia that is mentioned to be the newborn's world before the first 'great' leap. The book and my drug trip helped me no end, I have to say. I could understand why my bub was the little dependent bundle he was and not just for the lack of knowledge and know-how. Understanding just what is and what changes and what is to come lets me and my hubby work out what we'd like to do in response before we're backs to the wall, fighting off the flood of screams, soiled nappies, snatched hair, sleepless nights, feeding problems and whatever else that comes along. Because, if you're new to this too, I can already say that the calm definitely comes before the storm and what you know as routine is nothing (or rather usable for that day and maybe, if you're lucky, a day or two to come). Chaos be a bub but The Wonder Weeks gives you a lot of very useful information to steer your collective life by. Instead of always feeling a step or many behind your bub's mood swings and mental changes you can now see those rough times ahead, have all your contingency plans ready, know when it is a good idea or bad to have your bub in someone else's care (mine becomes clingy and easily disturbed when he's otherwise unswayed by much and happy to adventure into other people's arms), know when it might be best not to go to that whatever as while it might be difficult at home it will be ten times more so away from home, when your bub is crying for new experiences rather than pain or tiredness, what sort of experiences might be wanted and so on. Some of the information may seem obvious, other bits you'll never have known or considered and more may be slightly different or N/A (as they say) to what you experience. And the times the growth spurts occur may vary too but if you read ahead this won't be an issue. My advice. As soon as your bub has passed a stage, read about the next and begin bracing yourself. Make that comfy spot on the couch, build yourself a castle, get as much organised beforehand as you can and settle in to being at your bub's moody whims for a while. Soon enough the calm will come and you can read on to the next step while you reclaim part of your life back again.
The Wonder Weeks is written for someone mostly mentally cooked (addle brained) but without condescending them. The layout is spacious, with lots of gaps, breaks in the text and large font for tired eyes. Still, the information is to the point and smoothly delivered. As mentioned, your experiences may vary but this book rarely guides you in how to as it focuses more on why and what. How you deal with the situation is largely left to you, which, I must say, suits my temperament as a new mum perfectly. I like to be able to figure it out myself and do things my way rather than always follow someone else's word. Why? Because me, my bub, my hubby, my surrounds, my supplies, my previous and post routines and my lifelines are all different to anyone else's. Obviously I need to get through my way. This makes The Wonder Weeks a far more useful baby book than most.
There are also notes from mothers (at least a few from fathers could have been included, especially father's on their own - the entire baby care industry and even parent health is very oriented towards mothers to the exclusion of fathers) that may come in handy for balancing your emotions and thoughts. For those who worry, self-analyse and generally tear themselves and their partners (if present) apart for it these notes may help bring a little peace. You aren't alone in your concerns and sometimes just knowing that and reading about what others have done to overcome certain problems will help. If, on the other hand, you're more headstrong, accepting of your own faults and/or have a little inner calm these notes can be skipped or read for the solutions as you please. No way of doing things is a problem although best not tear yourself and your partner (if present) apart as you are your bub's lifeline and best not lose your cool so much you harm your bub. If you think that's about to happen then follow all the normal advice and step away to get someone else's help. Every book and experienced parent and baby care pro will tell you that and that piece of advice is one to follow absolutely.

I'd recommend this book to: every new and some more experienced mums, dads and grandparents. I can even imagine this will come in handy to early childhood workers, older siblings helping to or in charge of minding their younger siblings and anyone else in close contact with a baby for a significant period of time.

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