The Wonder Weeks: Leap 10, AKA, the final frontier

Over the summer (while on my bloggy break), Little Miss completed her tenth and final Wonder Weeks Leap.

It felt so momentous. After sixteen months, we had finally come to the end of our Wonder Weeks journey.

What the hell was I going to do without the app!?

But before we get too caught up in the wasteland of leaplessness, let’s quickly cover off what went on in Leap 10.

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Defiant in Italy: I will not go to bed. You can’t make me! Just let me master this step and then I can make my escape…

Sadly, Leap 10, ‘Systems’, hit the weekend Little Miss and I went to Italy to visit my dad, during the heatwave (38 degrees and counting), in a house with no air conditioning or pool……..

Having mastered ‘Principles’ in Leap 9, Leap 10 is all about your toddler’s choice. Choosing to be good, helpful, gentle or rough, patient… or not. And as you progress through Leap 10, your toddler basically learns (chooses) that the only system they fancy abiding by is “the system of me“.

In Leap 9 she realised Daddy and I were different people, different entities. In Leap 10, she masters the concept or ‘you’ and ‘me’, ‘us’ and ‘them’ and boy did Little Miss roll with it. The word, “mine,” came pretty quickly and she would actively exclude either the Other Half or me depending on the activity and her mood.

So how would I sum up Leap 10?

I’m pretty sure all Little Miss thought was, “I WANT POWER!”

But let me elaborate;

  1. Me and my body
    – I have control over my body and things around me.
    – I can do it myself (Little Miss made this clear at every opportunity – and still does).
    – I have my own will (I think Little Miss discovered this one a bit earlier than Leap 10).
    – I can decide for myself.
  2. Naughty at will, just for kicks (tick…)
  3. Your child can console (pleasant silver lining to this leap that actually shone through pretty early on as Little Miss ‘pat pat pat’ – even if aggressively – when we hurt ourselves or appeared sad).
  4. Understands the concept of the extended family and asks about Grandma/Grandpa (yep).
  5. Understands rules of what belongs to whom (and ignores them…..).
  6. Creates drawings that represent something in the real world (this has only just recently appeared at 20 months – they look nothing like Daddy, but she insists that’s what she’s drawing).
  7. Shows an impressive increase in language comprehension and starts to speak more (/ talk back).

And shock horror, but what does the app say? We must all know it by now… There’ll be more crying, more clinginess and more crankiness.

Yippie.

Interestingly, the app also notes that toddlers may have nightmares from this age. Depending on what you read, this could be disputed as apparently they don’t have the imagination until much later for nightmares. However, I disagree. I think Little Miss does indeed have nightmares and since around sixteen months. Whether it’s based on something she’s seen that or imagination is a different question, but we had many nights with Little Miss screaming like I’ve never heard before, gripping your clothes when you went through to her and then screaming again, tears streaming if you left her. That to me could only be explained by nightmares.

The app also warns;

The conflicts and arguments are more intense than ever during this fussy period.

Alas, I can confirm. Little Miss became more like Little Madam, and though on the whole her usual pleasant temperament has returned since then, there is a definite Little Madam streak to her now that wasn’t there prior to Leap 10.

And that’s it. We’re done! The Wonder Weeks is no more for us.

Since it ended, I have missed it. I’ve felt a bit lost at times if Little Miss is having a particularly bad day or week. I find myself reaching for my phone going to check if she’s started a leap then remembering that won’t be the case. She’s just being a toddler.

But we’re muddling through. She’s started nursery, which has helped use up most of her excess energy, meaning our time together is usually more enjoyable as she’s no longer bored with me.

But still, if anyone has any recommendations for books or guidance through the fast approaching Terrible Twos (a step by step guide like The Wonder Weeks would be preferable if possible), then please do let me know. I’m all ears!

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.
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The Wonder Weeks: Leap 9… AKA Purgatory

The blog has been quiet for the last week or so because I’ve been furiously house hunting & prepping for & attending three job interviews.

And dealing with the baby from hell thanks to Leap 9.

Never have I been less mentally prepared for an interview in my life.

One morning last week, she screamed, writhing & rolling around on the floor, sobbing her heart out for nearly an hour and a half. She had had her MMR the week before as well, so it could have been a reaction that; but the truth is, I don’t really know.

If I went near her, let alone tried to touch her she just screamed louder & crawled away from me distraught. Eventually, this ended with us both crying on opposite sides of the room. By the time my mom arrived at midday, I was a frazzled mess, in no fit state for an interview. And I can confirm, I did not come across my best…

We’ve also had more night wakings in the past couple of weeks; a few nights Baby Girl has had us up for three, even five hour stretches. She only settles if in our arms, which as we’ve been so successful with gentle sleep training, we’ve been loath to do. But my god, when you’re that tired & after that long in the dead of night, no doubt having woken up all the neighbours, the silence that comes with sitting in an arm chair with a toddler in your arms is too great. Even the OH – a diehard sleep trainer – gave in a few nights just to stop the crying!

I’m not usually one to be negative on the blog. Who wants to read about the miseries of parenthood – experiencing them for yourself is bad enough! And if I am, it’s usually in a  light, let’s-find-the-laughter-instead-of-the-tears kind of way.

But the truth is, even just writing this, I feel quite emotional at how difficult the last couple of weeks have been.

It’s been really tough. No, scratch that. Leap 9 has brought with it some of the hardest days of parenthood to date. And last weekend my mom actually had to take Baby Girl to her’s for 24 hours while we had a break as I was nearing my wits end, my patience shot & my energy levels nearing zero; the OH could barely function at work on how little sleep we were getting.

This weekend, we’ve had a busy one. We were at a friend’s house last night for his birthday. We took Baby Girl with us & stayed the night so we could enjoy the evening not worrying about dashing home to relieve a baby sitter or grab last tube.

And she has been a dream, charming everybody at the party, going to sleep on time & pretty much sleeping through. You wouldn’t believe she was the same child.

The Wonder Weeks app tells me we still have fourteen days to go until the end of leap 9 but tentatively, I wonder (hope!) if we might be starting to regain some equilibrium as Baby Girl begins to get a handle on her new skills.

But what is Baby Girl learning? Leap 9 opens up the world of ‘Principles’ to Baby Girl. She’s no longer a baby, getting a grip on the world around her & mastering the previous leaps fully.

Leap 9 allows her to;

  • Play with emotions, facial expressions & behaviour. (Tick… What a joy…)
  • Wants to do things by herself. (Yep; if I touch her spoon during mealtimes it’s met with screams & her throwing her bowl on the floor. Good times! There’s that wilful personality shining through… Sadly only myself to blame for this one.)
  • ‘Playing house,’ pretending to clean or take care of her toys.
  • Thinks ahead & makes plans
  • Temper tantrums & nagging to get her own way. (Oh yeh; Baby Girl has reached this stage in a big way.)
  • Understands the concept of ‘mine & yours’ (the trick is getting her to share…)
  • Starts negotiating & bargaining
  • May have irrational fears

Leap 9 is the penultimate leap in The Wonder Weeks. I can’t believe it. It feels like only yesterday I downloaded the app! There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

And then I realise that she’s only fourteen months old and we have toddlerhood, childhood & the teenage years yet to go…

That light is dimming somewhat…

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

The Wonder Weeks: Leap 8

We really need to stop organising holidays during leaps. How haven’t we learned this yet!?

As I mentioned the other day, we were staycationing at my in-laws’ this week while they were away. And last Saturday, not only did our holiday begin, but also Leap 8. Oh yippee…

By now, we know the signs. Baby Girl is fussy, clingy, whingy, nothing’s right, often she goes off her food & sleep patterns go awry… It’s a real joy.

The Wonder Weeks app states:

Again you will see the same leap behaviour as before but in a subtly different way. Your child will still be clingier while making this leap and will still protest when you leave. But now, it is somewhat more sophisticated because your child wants to be in control…

What it should really say is:

With just three weeks until your baby’s first birthday, Leap 8 is the unofficial initiation into Toddlerhood. Brace yourselves. Because shit’s about to get real. You thought the last year was tough? You ain’t seen nothing yet…

Leap 8 is all about programs; recognising that a sequence of events (Leap 7) is classed as a single event (a program). The app’s example is washing dishes:

  1. Put dirty plate under the water
  2. Move sponge over dirty plate
  3. Place plate in the wrack to dry

= Washing the Dishes

Apparently your baby “loves to help you with such tasks,” which the Other Half is very excited by as he rather enjoys cleaning & he hopes to pass on such traits in Baby Girl. (Odd ball, I know.) I on the other hand am not so excited as this means I’ll actually have to do the dishes & the dusting. Woe is me.

After Leap 8 Baby Girl will be able to:

  • signal she wants to go out by bringing us her coat & hat
  • grab the clothes she wants to wear today
  • put things back in the closet where they belong (Hallelujah! Definitely no signs of this yet though.)
  • choose a CD to listen to (as we don’thave CDs in our house, I’m interested to see how this may manifest itself… Tap the icon on the iPad?)
  • can ‘make a drawing’ if you show her how to use a pencil and paper
  • gives Dolly a bath
  • invents imaginary ways in which she drives a car (again, as we don’t have a car this isn’t something she sees very often. I wonder what this means for this skill. She already loves pushing the pushchair around herself, either with me holding her or just round the hall on her own!)
  • examines how Mama & Daddy complete a program such as cooking, eating or putting on make up.
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Now I can be just like Daddy!

We are now officially role models. Everything we say (damn… oops…) and do, Baby Girl is watching closely to learn from. Playing with ‘real items’ such as a tea set, pretend knife & fork, baby’s vacuum or other items she may recognise from around the house can apparently help her piece all these programs together.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve already seen the fruits of Leap 7 coming together. She now holds her toy phone to her ear or more adorably, when I answer the phone, her hand flies to the side of her head to copy me, even if she’s not got her own phone to hand! She’s able to use a spoon herself, though messily & is really into the pointing. In particular, she points at the snack drawer a lot…

So to encourage Leap 8’s skills, this weekend I’m buying a baby sized broom. If she loves household activities so much, she might as well be of use in the meantime.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

The Wonder Weeks: Leap 7, AKA, slap in the face

I’m having flashbacks to the nightmare that was Leap 4.

Only this time, Baby Girl is 9 months old, has even stronger lungs to scream with, is sick if she cries for long periods of time & is able to stand. Which after bedtime is how we find her probably 50% of the time, holding onto the side of her cot like the world is coming to an end. Which pretty much kills even the tiniest hope that she might just fall asleep unwittingly.

Leap 7, ‘Sequences’, is a biggy. It’s all about understanding & mastering a flow of events. For instance:

  1. grab handles of sippy cup
  2. lift sippy cup
  3. bring spout to mouth
  4. suck water, quench thirst

IMG_0098.PNGAs I mentioned before, we’re still struggling with this particular flow of events. It’s not so flowy.

The Wonder Weeks says:

…Your baby will keep an eye on you more, stay close to you, and will regularly come to… “refuel” mommy or daddy…

But let’s not pussyfoot around. Leap 7 is unusually bad. I pick her up, she pushes me away. I put her down, she hugs my legs & whimpers. She’s gone off her solids, has upped her milk content again, she doesn’t want to fall asleep on her own… It goes on.

And the cherry on top? Baby Girl started a week early. So we weren’t mentally prepared. And we were ill & not on best form to deal with it. But I’m looking at the in app calendar & thinking ‘this leap apparently goes on well into January… How will we cope?!’.

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The exciting part, however, is what this leap will help her master. For example:

  1. Answers simple questions like, “How big are you,” by raising her arms to indicate size.
  2. Points to things, people or animals if you ask her to or points where to go
  3. Tries to persuade you to help her with things she could have done without
  4. Imitates two or more gestures one after the other
  5. Tries to put on her sock on her own, but fails

These feel like huge milestones in comprehension & communication. We’ll get genuine feedback to what we’re saying, showing us she understands some basic language. (I would put any amount of money on the fact that ‘No’ still will have absolutely no effect. She’s her father’s daughter!)

The pointing has already started, mainly pointing to her sippy cup during meal times. (Which she then opens her mouth & tilts back her head like a baby bird as if to say, “I’m not doing it. You do it!”.) But it’s definitely a start.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

The Wonder Weeks: 8 months & Leap 6

Last week, Baby Girl turned 8 months. I know! I couldn’t quite believe it either.

My days swing between Baby Girl happily playing on the mat while I potter around & chasing her round the apartment, making sure she doesn’t get hold of anything she shouldn’t.

Last week, she discovered the Xbox. When you turn it on, the ‘X’ flashes white with a ‘bee-bee-boop’. I basically watched Pavlov’s dogs in action as she pressed it again, & again, & again, & again… & again. (There’s now a box in front of it.)

Two months since those first tentative shuffles she’s a demon crawler. She’s never happy being still. I turn my back for one second & she’s off round the apartment playing hide & seek. The other day, it went suspiciously quiet & looked up from preparing her lunch to find her gone. I searched the whole apartment (which really isn’t big enough for her to get lost in) before finding her trying to climb in our shower. In the dark.

And six weeks since I first balanced her standing against the chair, Baby Girl is now pushing herself up onto every piece of furniture and padding along from left to right whilst holding on. I can’t believe how fast she progresses. She’s never content with just learning a skill but always looking at what the next step is (quite literally!). At the moment, she’s falling over & bumping her head more than ever as she now tries to let go of the table/sofa/shelf/our hands & stand on her own, but of course her legs just crumble beneath her.

She also has two new favourite games. One, make a dash for the dishwasher as soon as you open it & try to climb inside. Two, chase the vacuum round & try to sit on the nozzle at the front. This is making chores somewhat slow going.

Baby Girl is early for a lot of these skills (cue proud Mama moment). Yet she still has very few fine motor skills. She can’t hold her bottle or sippy cup, she can’t clap & still sometimes misses when she goes to pick a block off the top of the tower. Fine motor skills don’t help her get where she wants to go (i.e., all the way over there, or over there, or back over there) so she seems to have very little interest in fine tuning them.

With month 8 comes the end of another Wonder Weeks leap. Luckily, she hasn’t seemed as phased by this as some of the others (I shudder at the memory of leap 4!) Leap 6, ‘Categories’, is basically her clicking that a cow is not a kitten. She’s transfixed by the smallest details & beginning to categorise everything around her. This leap’s to do list is as follows:

  1. show that she knows some words (‘water’ & ‘all done’ are starting to have a response. ‘No’ still elicits nothing but giggles.)
  2. make it clear she finds something dirty, e.g., by sniffing (not yet)
  3. imitates adults (tick)
  4. recognises herself in the mirror (has clicked if you’re in the mirror, you’re actually behind her. Don’t know if she’s clicked the baby is her though)
  5. can really exaggerate her moods (tick)
  6. plays peek-a-boo by herself (tick – adorable)
  7. challenges others to play a game (tick – usually peek-a-boo)
  8. calls for a song, e.g. by clapping (no, because she still can’t clap!)
  9. begins to practice crawling (yeh, we’ve got this one down.)

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

The Wonder Weeks: 5 months & Leap 5

Baby Girl is now changing visibly every day, learning something new, trying something new, surprising us (& herself) all the time. Last month her personality was really beginning to shine through.This month, it’s all about physical ability.

SONY DSCBaby Girl is rolling left, right & centre now. And for the last two weeks or so is already starting to show signs of crawling. When lying on her tummy, she kicks up onto her knees & pushes forward, sliding her face along the ground. (She’s not quite mastered lifting bum & head at the same time yet.)

She also sat up on her own the other day for the first time. She was sat in her bouncy chair & sat bolt up right. My heart was in my mouth as she nearly toppled the chair forwards. So that’s that then. We officially can’t turn our backs on her at all.

Alas, with month five comes Leap 5. 30 days of cranky, confused, overwhelmed baby. Oh goodie. So how do we know Leap 5 is under way?

Leap 5: reaching for Ewan the Sheep in her sleep

Leap 5: reaching for Ewan in her sleep

  1. Cries more, more often or longer. Tick. (Sad face.)
  2. Asks for more attention. Tick. (Tired face.)
  3. Sleeps less or worse and eats less. Thankfully, not sleeping less. No more sleep regression! Hallelujah! But yes, we’re struggling to get her to have a full feed.
  4. Protests & fusses when changing their diaper or clothes. Yep.
  5. ‘Talks’ to her teddy looking for comfort. Yep, she shuffles up the cot to Ewan & often falls asleep holding his foot. Utterly adorable.
  6. Has mood-swings.
  7. Is not pleased with many things. Her dad said this & the mood-swings is just her becoming a woman & nothing to do with Leap 5. The cheek!

And what is Baby Girl mastering this time?

  1. interested in people who ‘act differently’ to ‘normal’
  2. immense interest in details, eg, zippers, labels or stickers.
  3. lifts things up to see if anything is below
  4. tries to untie laces
  5. throws something to see the content
  6. puts food in the mouth of others
  7. makes connections between words & deeds
  8. blows air
  9. protests when parents walk away
  10. imitates sounds with her tongue
  11. standing up with a little help or pulls herself to an upward position

Not all of these are obvious to us yet but will become so over the coming month(s). However, Baby Girl definitely loves a label – whether it’s a muslin or a stuffed bunny, she finds that label & chews it to death! She’s throwing things all over the place too; whether it’s to discover the contents I’m not sure. Seems more like a game of how-many-times-will-Mama-pick-it-up to me. She’s also just started blowing raspberries this week & howls if she’s left alone in a room.

Baby Girl’s been ‘standing’ & taking her own weight for at least a month. My arms are getting stronger by the day as often she refuses to sit, lie down, do anything but stand on my lap. So in short, she’s raring to go.

"Ooooh! Labels"

“Ooooh! Labels”

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

4 months

The last 3 weeks we have seen a huge amount of change in Baby Girl. Suddenly, she can hold a toy & grasp at things; she has favourite toys; & she has the most infectious hearty little giggle.

Baby Girl’s new favourite game is Peek-a-Boo with a muslin. Every time we whip the cloth away we’re met with delight & a fresh set of smiles & giggles. So naturally, her dad & I love this game too.

She’s also started rolling over – quite a big milestone for littl’uns. She’s always enjoyed her tummy time (she can now push right off the ground) so had incentive to master the rollie-pollie. But now keeps flipping herself when we put her down in her cot to sleep. & as you can see, her new skill is really helping with day to day tasks as well…

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Apparently one of the big abilities that comes with the horrendous experience that was Leap 4 (cue despair & tears upon memory…) is that Baby Girl responds to her name. So far, we haven’t seen this, but we have noticed that if we call to her, she looks around to find us. So this seems a very good step in the right direction.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

The Wonder Weeks: Leap 4’s a bitch

A month or so ago, I wrote how Baby Girl sometimes struggled to settle for me as the smell of milk was confusing for her & my sneaky ways to trick her into sleeping. Another Mummy-blogger commented that soon enough Baby Girl would only settle for me & to enjoy the freedom (& non-aching arms) while it lasted.

Well, with Leap 4, that time has come. Sadly for me, it’s while we’re on holiday. A time I was looking forward to having her dad here to help all day & night. Baby Girl cried for an hour this afternoon as he tried to get her to nap. As soon as I came & relieved him, she calmed. Same last night at bedtime. Same all week.

She doesn’t always go to sleep, however. She sits on my shoulder, sucking her thumb, staring endlessly into space. No amount of facing a white wall or shielding her eyes seems to help her nod off. My right shoulder is killing me. And her dad is becoming increasingly irate that he can’t give me a break.

What’s more, she’s unable to sleep through the night with the heat & wakes up at once or twice thirsty. Not quite what we’d expected, but at least I’m endlessly swaying looking out over the Provence hills instead of East London apartment buildings. And the sunrises are beautiful. Yes. I’ve seen a few of them.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

Professor X’s latest protogé

Baby Girl has just entered Leap 4 of the Wonder Weeks, in which she puts all her skills from Leaps 1-3 together & becomes a much more interactive little soul. It’s also 35 days of a grumpy little baby. God help us.

I was reading the new abilities she’s mastering to her dad & he asked why this would make her grumpy. ‘Because she might be a bit overwhelmed by her new skills,’ I replied.

‘Like X-Men.’ He said. Completely straight faced.

And so it’s dawned on me. This is the level I need to discuss all things baby on & I’ll have his full attention. So, Baby Girl is now the latest member of the X-Men crew.

We’ll call her Scream.

Mutant ability: ear piercing cry that shatters glass & bursts mere mortals’ ear drums & stops all living creatures in their tracks.

NB: Baby Girl’s dad has requested I note he’s not an absolute nerd. He’s not even really into comics. Just films. And X-box.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.

App Review: The Wonder Weeks

Blurb: a calendar explaining your baby’s development based on 30 years of research. Talks about developmental ‘leaps’; eg, leap 1 is a baby’s senses becoming heightened outside the womb; leap 2 includes eyesight & hand recognition. The Wonder Weeks system uses by your due date rather than birth date so if your little one was prem or quite late, it doesn’t affect the result as your baby’s development won’t have changed.20140428-031036 pm.jpg

From the writers of the best selling book The Wonder Weeks

App Store: £1.49
Google Play: £1.25
Worth it? Every penny.

Thoughts: *****
Very clear, easy to understand & is spookily accurate. So much so, I’m convinced Baby Girl reads each leap ahead of time so she knows what to do & how to act. I cannot recommend this app enough.

The app charts how the leaps may affect your baby’s mood – will they be overwhelmed? Or maybe they’re happy as a clam because suddenly they can grasp that toy for themselves. You can also chart multiple babies at one time.

The Wonder Weeks have also introduced the Leap Alarm; an email service reminding you the week before your baby starts a leap.

You can read our full experience of The Wonder Weeks (so far) here or each leap specifically below:
Leap 4: Events
Leap 5: Relationships
Leap 6: Categories
Leap 7: Sequences, AKA a slap in the face
Leap 8: Programs
Leap 9: Principles
Leap 10: The World of Systems

The information in this post was updated in April 2016. 

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WONDER WEEKS. WE JUST REALLY LIKE THE APP. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN.