We all have bad days. For me personally, it happens about once a month for a week. With my son, we have outbursts around meal and sleepy times, but all day during his half year horrors.
I have no idea why, but it seems that around the half-year mark, Vic becomes a grumpier unsympathetic version…
This half year ugh has a name: disequilibrium. This was the subject of our first parent education night at preschool last September and for me, it was worth the year’s tuition.
In a nutshell, kids go through a period of disequilibrium around their half birthdays. Usually it manifests in some sort of developmental regression. They might become suddenly clumsy, have speech trouble, or uncooperative behavior. Depending on the child’s temperament, this can be very mild or more extreme.
Looking back, I can see it with Jacob, but very mild. He will trip more and stutter a bit, and that’s all.
Cody? Whoo boy. Hitting, whining, tantrums, high drama and low cooperation. However, having a name for this has helped immensely. It gives me a little more patience to help him through this period of development. I also find that it helps to try and find ways to connect with him one on one. I take him on errands so we can have alone time and try to remember to wrestle with him to connect and expend energy. Lately, when he starts to really lose it, I scoop him up into my arms, even as he resists. He cries out, “You don’t WUV me!” And I tell him each part that I love: “I love your ears, I love your neck, I love your eyebrows…” At some point he calms down and starts pointing out the parts I’ve missed, or bursts into tears and lets out whatever emotions he’s stored up.
It helps to know that this will pass, and that while there is a spectrum, all children experience these periods of disequilibrium.
This is something more parents should discuss with each other, more books should cover, and more early childhood/pediatric specialists should point out.
I was fortunate enough to belong to a play group where most of the other kids were at least 3 or 4 months older, so the trend was easier to spot, but I didn’t know there was a name for it until today.
This is a normal developmental occurrence that will make you feel crazy if you don’t see the pattern.
Meltdowns and mini rebellions are a lot easier to weather when you know they’re cyclical.