We are now fully immersed into the sixth mental leap. I should be happy that my baby is making a mental leap into the world of categories but already I am feeling tired, frustrated and emotional.
It doesn’t help that these leaps coincide with what appear to be periods of teething and that during the first week of this leap, I’ve started making tentative steps to returning to work by organising some KIT days.
I’m not ashamed to say that I am feeling completely overwhelmed and frightened by the thought of returning to work. I have currently been out of the workplace for a little over 12 months and when I return full time it will have been close to 16 months. (I was off sick for a couple of months during my pregnancy).
I always know when Dexter is starting to enter a mental leap. He begins playing with his hands, holding them up in front of his face and staring at them in amazement. Then, things start going up a notch. He stops looking at me. He wants to be in his own world and doesn’t want anything to do with me. Or, there’ll be times when all he wants is me. He will sit quietly in my lap while I sing or read and just want to be held.
The most frustrating part of the leap is the crying. The tears come and nothing can solve them. He doesn’t want to be held, he won’t sleep, he’s not hungry and he seemingly hates me. It’s devastating. It almost makes me think that it will be a relief to return to work; but then I remember his face and his usual sunny disposition and feel guilty.
The last mental leap we went through was long and hard. Towards the end, I had forgotten my lovely boy and only knew this whiny, cranky baby. It left me wondering where I had gone wrong, to raise such an unhappy creature. Then, one afternoon he woke up at 2pm after a nap and the Dexter I could barely remember was back. I can’t even explain it. Since then, we’ve had five or six wonderful weeks together over December and January, but now a mental leap has returned and along with it an impatient, teary and ignorant baby.
I know I have to hold it together to help him through this. I cannot lose my patience and I have to take it when he is struggling out of my arms and refusing to acknowledge my existence. I am angry though. Angry that my last few weeks with my baby have to feel like this. Why does nature put us through it? I spend the long days with him wishing for them to come to an end because they are so exhausting. I then spend the evenings feeling sad and guilty; missing my little boy like crazy, wondering why I wish them away.
Every nap I will be waiting. Waiting to see if he wakes up from this dark cloud that has shrouded him. Waiting for my little boy to come back.
You can learn more about mental leaps on the Wonder Weeks website.