Natural Cycles

Rocks have a cycle, water has a cycle, even energy has one!

Back a million years ago, when I had time to obsess over and read about every minute detail of my children’s development, I discovered a couple things. One was, there are very few developmental books that talk in detail about whatever the phase was that makes me want to pull all my hair out, take a Valium, hire a nanny, and retreat to a spa. It would have been helpful to read more about how to alleviate THAT. The other was that kids cycle every 6 months or so, depending on age, in and out of developmental milestones. Little leaps of progress, if you will. And that preceeding these miraculous developments (one day they can’t walk, the next they can outrun you across the park! One day they can’t say a word, the next they’re demanding colder milk and warmer oatmeal! One day they can’t lift their hands above their heads, the next they’re reaching out and grabbing for the car keys to take the ride out!) is a slump where they actually regress for a bit. They sleep fitfully, get whiny, become sensitive, and generally become a big drag.

I’m glad I read that, because it’s saved my sanity for the last 12 years. Whenever my kids become big drags, I repeat to myself, “It won’t last forever. And when it stops, they’ll do something amazing that they never have before!” I tell you, I’m always pleased with the end results. Even though my kids aren’t toddlers anymore, they still leap ahead in certain areas at random times. Just this year, in fact, I’ve watched them leap into doing the dishes without complaining, sorting and washing their own clothes (folding too!), and preparing simple meals.

It’s the ‘before the leap’ slump that kills me. Especially when all three hit it at the same time. Right now at any given moment, any one of my 3 will be slumping, whining, arguing with me, or even worse, crying for no apparent reason. (**edited to add sheepishly: this kind of sounds like PMS, actually…**) Chores and routines that are well established become unbearable. Apetites change, sleeping patterns shift, and I feel like I’m walking on eggshells during the day. Now, I’m a pretty flexible gal (schedule and eating wise, that is) so a lot of that is workable. But the WHINING! The CATERWAULING! The SLUMPING SHOULDERS and HEAVY SIGHS OF FRUSTRATION! It all puts me into an emotional straightjacket. Today alone I’ve seen all 3 of my kids crying at one point or another. One time because we ate all the oranges and didn’t have anything to make orange juice out of. One time because we were playing a game he didn’t like…and then he cried because we stopped playing the game he didn’t like to play another game. One time because my very strict schedule (yeah…this one…) was too constrictive.

Seriously.

I’ve had one or two do this at the same time, but not all 3 at once. I think I’m handling it well, but then again I did have a dream last night where I sent myself into space in a rocket. I ended up on Mars, and for the rest of my dream I sat in my rocket ship looking at the rocket dials but never moving to get out of my quiet little spaceship haven.

I’ll just wait this out, knowing it’ll end soon and who knows…maybe they’ll start speaking latin or something. It’d be nice if they started spontaneously solving math equations or writting a history thesis. Heck, even whipping me up a perfect belgian waffle every morning would make it worth it.

A mom can dream…

9 Responses

  1. Wow, I never knew that about the cycle – that gives me hope!! LOL at your dream :)

  2. Hmmm. I’ve never really thought of it this way before, but I have noticed a similar trend in my kids.

  3. I will so have to keep referring to this post. We are going through a stage that is making me want to move far far away from my child. The precious, beautiful girl is coming to tell me EVERYTHING. Even at 3 am she will come in & tell me that her sock fell off. URG!

  4. Ah, you give me such hope this morning. Perhaps there is indeed an end to the *eye roll* …”whatever”… *stomp stomp* response. I too will have to file this under my favorites because it just may save my sanity one morning. ;)

  5. the slump! This explains my little miss’s crappy sleep habit the past month…and lack of food…and consistent crying if you look at her the wrong way…maybe tomorrow it’ll be better?!

  6. Exactly! I always know some big jump is coming when they actually sleep for more than 11 minutes during the night and cry all day. My four year old has been like that lately – crying crying crying and then running upstairs to slam the door. THREE TIMES. JUST to be sure we heard how upset he is. ;) Multiple times a day. I fully expect him to be speaking German in complete sentences one morning! Hee hee.

    I bet all three at once is tough. Hopefully it is a big simultaneous jump and not that they are all three coming down with something. Winter is always hard though too – not as much time to just be outside in the sunshine running off all the energy and getting tons of fresh air.

    You always seem to have a handle on things and really be in touch with them and what they need, though. :)

  7. I’ve heard this before and must remember it now. Right now the two boys are ok, but my mom senses are tingling…change is in the air…

  8. Oh, that bit of info saved my sanity when my oldest was three-and-a-half! So true.

    So – why the schedule? I know compared to conventional parents, your schedule looks very free and open – but if someone is saying it’s too constrictive? Then it is to them, and it would be really valuable to take a look at that.

  9. [...] at everyone, “You are ANNOYING ME!!!!!!!) and I’ve been hoping this is just another downswing on her developmental cycle, to be followed shortly by amazing leaps in her [...]

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