Let me preface this all with a little something. I’m a huge believer that kids are on cycles. Call it hippy or weird or maybe it’s actually all very scientific but kids go through these up and down phases and I truly believe, based on my experience with my two boys, that it’s all connected to growth hormones.
And boy do we have a lot of them. (Thank you, Grandad).
In general, L has handled his well. The kid, from the beginning, has been happy go lucky and pretty level in terms of his mood. B, well, he’s a bit more…..intense. When his growth spurts hit we tend to guard our very souls. Just recently we combined that special treat with L growing as well. In the thick of it all I honestly questioned if I am failing as a mother. What is going on with them? Ah yes. How could I be so naive.
To any other mothers questioning the same, I thought I’d provide you with a handy check list. These are my boys symptoms of a growth spurt, both physical and mental, which almost always seem to go hand in hand:
- Regression in speech. This is obviously related to the younger years but you’ll be going through your day thinking ‘woohoo! My three year old can clearly express themselves!‘ And then all of a sudden you find yourself saying ‘I don’t understand you‘ over and over and over again. Which is really weird, because I was able to a week ago.
- Falling over. Yep, both my boys. They will just randomly…..fall. Walk into walls. Hurt themselves excessively. It’s like their brain can’t process the extra inch or two the body is working on.
- Sleep is interrupted and out of routine followed by excessive amounts of sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzz’s for days.
- Food: not really interested, pickier than normal followed by literally eating ALL THE FOOD ALL THE TIME.
- Emotional. Oh dear Lord. My goal is to not even make eye contact with the three year old. Who knows WHAT is going to set him off. And then there is L, who was bawling crying because he didn’t have gym at school on a specific day. This was precisely at the same time we needed to leave for the bus and B was throwing a tantrum on the floor over a sock being weird.
- Odd decision making. Like, even more than normal for a 3 and 9 year old. It’s like you can see that their head is literally not screwed on right. For example, I’ve told L over and over to come home directly after he gets off the bus. Twenty minutes later when he was not home, I drove over and asked him what he was doing. He looked at me blankly and said, ‘kicking ice.’ WHAT? I can’t even process you right now.
- Physical. Even more so than normal. And MEAN. Oh so mean. B came out of preschool the other day while his teacher’s gushed over and over ‘he’s such an angel!!!!‘ He then walks up to me and just whacks me in the stomach. WHAT? WHY? NO.
And then something amazing happens…their little brains and bodies aline and bam, you’ve made it through. It literally is all sunshine and roses. The preschooler is speaking clearly and saying things like ‘I love you, mom.’ L is walking home, without falling(!), right when he gets off the bus. We are all
eating inhaling dinner together and sleeping nicely. We’ve made it through another one, and have a good five pounds and 2.5 inches combined to show for it.
Growth spurts can happen at any point thanks to the growth hormone commonly referred to as HGH. In the research I’ve done, many agree that the 1/2 years are the stages when kids go through periods of moodiness, negativity, or “disequilibrium” meaning, where they attempt to make sense of their rapid growth spurts. Researchers at the Gesell Institute of Human Development say these are normal, and they tend to happen during the half years until age 6 1/2 (beginning at 6 months) and then tend to occur during the odd-numbered ages (ages 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15, for example).
So what does this all mean? Well, if your boys are anything like mine, growth hormones are real. They have serious effects on behavior, mood swings, eating, balance, etc. And when all is said and done I’ve come to sort of adopt this motto to get through it all: it’s not you, it’s them.
You just keep mothering the same. You are doing nothing wrong. They are making sense of their actual growing brains and bodies and it’s all trying to align just right. Keep up with the consistent discipline. The consistent kindness. And just for fun and confirmation, get out that measuring tape.
I’m guessing on at least another inch, or two.