My son will be 2 in a month. There have been several periods during this year span from 12-24 months where he has been difficult, fussy, and clingy. I would say these are wonder weeks, but the book stops at 13 months. In the back of the book, it does mention that children will still continue to have wonder weeks though out their childhood. It lists that toddlers will hit a wonder week at 64 weeks (~15-16 months) and again at 75 weeks (~18 months). I also think that toddlers hit an other wonder week around 22-24 months. I am going to discuss what was going on with my son during these developmental stages and I hope it will help you to figure out your own child’s developmental changes and needs.
Wonder Week 64 (~15-16 Months)
During this wonder week, my son was only saying a few words (5 words at most). His receptive language skills were decent, but we still have difficulties trying to communicate certain things to my son. He got easily frustrated because he did not know how to tell us what he wanted or he did not understand what we were saying or asking of him. His sleep prior to this wonder week was great. He slept from 8pm-7am and a 3 hour nap during the day. During this wonder week, my son started to wake a few times in the night and cry, wake up earlier in the morning around 6-6:30am, and his naps were disrupted by waking mid nap and crying or taking a shorter nap. He seemed to whine a lot more and just want me to play with him non-stop. His independent play was just not as good.
After the the wonder week was over, things improved. His sleep went back to 11 hours at night and 3 hour naps. He was not waking up randomly and crying anymore. His receptive and expressive language improved. He was able to follow several step command such as, pick up the cars, put the cars in the box, and then put the box away. He was saying more words and that made his ability to communicate his needs easier for him. He went back to contently playing with his toys solo and independently. He also had less tantrums.
Wonder Week 75 (~18 Months)
During this wonder week, he was horrible!!! During 17-18 months we was a wreck. His sleep went back to being terrible with multiple wake ups in the middle of the night and shorter naps. He was SOOO clingy and fussy. I could hardly get anything done because he just fussed and followed me all over the house. Again his independent play was terrible and he would cry for a great part of his independent play time. He still was not talking a whole lot at this point. He had about 1o words he could say, but that was about it. He also started to eat terribly and became very picky about what he would and would not eat. I was expecting my twins around this time too, so to be fair, I am sure that he sensed that something was about to change.
After this wonder week, Cooper’s language totally took off. He started to repeat everything we said. His vocabulary went from 10 words to who knows how many. It seemed he was saying a new word every day. He understood us even better and for the first time he was able to respond to simple yes and no questions verbally. This made our life so much easier and helped to cut down on the frustration Cooper was experiencing from not being able to communicate effectively to us. His fine motor skills also improve and was able to color easier with markers and crayons. He started to eat better as well. He was so pleasant to be around. He would play independently without complaint as well.
Wonder Week 22-24 Months
During this wonder week, again Cooper had the typical wonder week symptoms. Poor eating, poor sleep (but not as bad in past wonder weeks), poor independent play. But the most difficult symptom was tantrums. His mood would flip flop in an instant. He would go from happy to totally upset and crying. He had a hard time if he did not get his way right away. He also go frustrated when he was playing and something did not work out the way he wanted it to. He spent a lot of time in time out during this time period for tantrums or not listening to me.
After this wonder week, Cooper is back to being pleasant and easy to be around. He does not throw the same amount of tantrums. He is eating better, sleeping better, and playing better independently. The most noticable change his is language. He can now say simple phrases and sentences such as, “babies cry”, “brush my teeth”, “mama sit”, “help please”, “CooCoo (Cooper) downstairs”. This has changed the way he can communicate to my husband and I, thus, has changed his frustration level. Update: About a month after his 2nd birthday his language increase ten fold! He is talking in sentences, asking question, and is very verbal.
At every stage of these wonder weeks, something happened to my son’s language. I really think that his frustration, clingy nature was due to his frustration with language and communication. Once he was able to communicate better, things went back to a more simple and peaceful time for Cooper.