Understanding that all ‘at term’ human babies are born approximately nine months prematurely explains why it can be hard for the baby and for the parent at times.
I kept this awareness in mind when I read The Wonder Weeks, and its description of the first few ‘leaps’ that occur over the first nine months or 36 – 37 weeks demonstrates how much is achieved and changes over that period and how it correlates with the optimum time to introduce infants to massage.
The Wonder Weeks describe infant development in terms of giant leaps forward which are preceded by difficult periods and the three C’s: clinginess, crankiness and crying.
According to The Wonder Weeks authors “nature’s timing for developmental leaps is calculated from date of conception as each big change is linked to changes in the nervous system”. They also note that every child is different in terms of when the leap occurs but that achieving a developmental milestone requires and builds upon the changes that preceded it for example “a baby has to learn what her hands are for before she can learn to use them properly. Therefore, it is very important for her to get to know all about these ‘touching devices’.
In concluding The Wonder Years states that “every baby is ‘reborn’ ten times in the first twenty months, or the so called sensorimotor period. Ten times her world was turned upside down by a ‘big change’ in her brain... as the Colombian author and journalist Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote in Love in the Time of Cholera, people are not born once and for all on the day their mother puts them on to the Earth, but .... time and again, life forces them to enter a new world on their own”.