NOTE: I have been MIA for quite some time now. Amidst sonny’s school break, tons of art and craft projects, family functions and the general holidaying mood, the urge to even look at my computer (leave alone type in a few words) had happily receded to the back burners of my blissful leisurely existence. Now that the school break is over and the last-minute frenzy to get sonny’s homework completed is gone, I look at my semi-abandoned laptop and suddenly the need to type in a few words resurfaces. So here I am back from my brief (?) hiatus talking about a “chaotic event” which turned my life topsy-turvy during the last week, for about 4-5 days. It’s called a “growth spurt” in children.
Growth Spurt in Young Children
When our son was an infant, growth spurts were easy to predict thanks to tonnes of readily available information detailing the weeks when it was supposed to happen (on an average). I could mentally prepare and brace myself for those cluster nursing sessions beforehand – with Netflix movie marathons, comfy bed, and the steely resolve to ignore each and every housework. The predictability gave me a little edge over these otherwise draining and difficult days.
But as a child grows up and becomes a unique individual, so does his growth spurts turn unique and morph into erratic events, specific to him and him alone. There are no warnings regarding when he will be in the throes of a growth spurt. Or even whether there will be any distinguishable growth spurt at all.
For a while, our son grew physically and skill-wise in a linear fashion without any marked growth spurts. And I assumed that they were a thing of his infant past. Turns out I was wrong! Growth spurts are still very much a part of his life, and probably will continue to be so as long as he is growing.
In case you are wondering about the tell-tale signs of a growth spurt in your school-going kid, here are a few pointers that I have noticed for our son and which I believe are common to all:
1. Constant Hunger:
This is, of course, the most obvious sign of a growth spurt. Even children like our son who tend to run away at the mere mention of the word “food” suddenly find themselves in the clutches of severe hunger pangs. “I am hungry. I want to eat something.” becomes their mantra day in and day out. They drag you to the kitchen and demand that you cook their preferred dishes. Or even help themselves out of the fridge and pantry as you stare at them in disbelief! Grocery runs in the middle of the week become necessary as you run out of several essential food items all at once.
2. Decrease In Picky Eating Behavior:
Constant craving means that your picky eater stops being picky for a while. On the contrary, he becomes quite open to trying new things with gusto. Things that he used to find inedible (aka “yucky” “phew-ewe” “stinky” etc. in kidspeak) in the past become new favorites. For example, our son devoured four bananas in a day (over and above his usual meals, snacks etc.) during his last growth spurt. It has to be some kind of a Guinness Book record in our home for sure! Ordinarily, he detests bananas or for that matter any fruit which is not in juice or milkshake form.
3. Increase in Whine Factor:
A growth spurt brings in an increase in the whine factor. You start encountering more meltdowns, irritability, and mood swings in your child than usual. The smallest of things trigger the “Hulk” in him and you find yourself walking a tightrope around your child, fearing the next sudden outburst for no apparent reason. Can’t unfasten his water bottle lid or put his shoes on? He will cry his lungs out. Try giving him a helping hand? He will cry his lungs out….well you get the picture, don’t you?
4. Potty Training Regression:
If there is one thing that alerted me to our son’s growth spurt, it has to be a pee accident that happened last week while he was fast asleep (Although, at that time, I assumed he was coming down with some virus!). Our son has been potty trained for a really long time now, so I cannot even remember the last time he had an accident. And here he was, with no change whatsoever in his routine (that could explain the regression), sleeping soundly on a very wet pee-soaked bed. And when I woke him up from his deep sleep, he was so shocked. He said, “I am sorry I made a mess on the bed.” so many times that I felt terribly bad to have woken him up! So yeah, growth spurts have a way of making children regress in their potty habits. Thankfully though, it’s mostly confined to pee accidents and resolves by itself as soon as the growth spurt is over.
5. Need For Extra Sleep:
If I have to pick two major highlights from last week, they have to be our son’s marathon eating sessions and his, equally, marathon sleeping sessions. First, he ate like crazy, then whined for a while and then fell asleep. And he slept like a log for hours at a stretch. Our son hasn’t been napping in the afternoon for some time now and here he was falling asleep long before I could even clean up the table after a meal! So yeah, the second major tell-tale sign of a growth spurt is the need for oodles of extra sleep.
6. Schedule Troubles:
You guessed it. With food and sleep being the only two things on your child’s mind, all other activities go for a toss. Chaos reigns as you have no idea what to expect next. There is no set time when your child will eat, bathe, play, sleep, and so on. The only way you can prepare for this is to ensure you have stocked up on ready to eat (and reasonably healthy) food items or have done the prep work for dishes that will take you ten minutes or less to cook once your child is hungry and demands to be fed. Rest, leave it up to your child to lead you, because no matter how good you are at planning, you cannot chalk this one out.
7. Sudden End To The Chaos:
A growth spurt ends almost as suddenly as it begins. After the child had eaten and slept like crazy for a few days, he goes back to his normal routine automatically. And you are left scratching your head and wondering “What the hell was that about?” till you realize his clothes are a tad snug than before and nothing quite fits right anymore.
So there you have it, some signs of a growth spurt in a school going child. Did I miss any? What signs did your child exhibit during his/her last growth spurt? Don’t forget to share!