The turbulent leap 4

It’s January and the first month of the new year is under way. For me, Annique, this means my maternity  leave, which I also extended with parental leave, has come to an end. Time to get back to work and expand my range of conversation topics beyond just feeds, naps and dirty nappies… And of course, with perfect timing, leap 4 and the four-month sleep regression were right around the corner!

Juna laughs, Juna cries

Hello mood swings! This new leap indicator was immediately noticeable from day one. In the past, Juna had enjoyed the playpen and playing with Miss Roos, but now everything loses its appeal after five minutes. She kicks up a fuss and screams her heart out, then calms down when you give her a dummy and is happy for a while. However, the smiles don’t last long! Juna keeps an eye on my every move and once I’m out of eyesight, she starts to wail again. When I come to the playpen again and talk to her, she starts to smile, gets excited and has a lot to say for herself.

New Skills unlocked

Very soon during leap 4, I noticed that Juna was really coming along in leaps (no pun intended :D) and bounds. She discovered so many new things so quickly and her list of skills is getting longer by the day.

While it’s mainly been her fists going in her mouth since leap 3, she’s now showing a clear preference for her thumb and is getting better and better at the thumb-sucking technique. Sometimes her index finger also disappears up her nose while sucking her thumb, which looks so incredibly cute!

Her ‘vocabulary‘ has also got a substantial upgrade. At first, Juna was only uttering short sounds, she’s now babbling away happily. If I ask her ‘can you tell me more?’, then she talks for ages, then stops to think for a while before launching back into a barrage of babble. Sometimes she stops for a bit and looks expectantly at me for an answer to her latest speech. She’s then all smiles when I reply to her and then give her another chance to respond to me.

Fascinated by hands and feet during leap 4

One of the skills gained in leap 4 is that your child becomes fascinated by their hands and feet. It took Juna a while, though once she managed to reach her feet, she hasn’t been able to leave them alone. In the playpen, on the playmat, on her changing mat and as soon as you open her sleeping bag, the feet go into the air and she grabs her feet straight away.

It’s so cute to see how proud she is when she grabs her toes. She’s so enthusiastic and it always seems like her feet have a life of their own!

The first signs of rolling over

During this leap, I particularly noticed that Juna became interested in everything happening outside her view. For example, at first, her white noise machine with the red light was at the top of her bed. However, during leap 4 I’ve managed to get her to fully stretch out in bed, at which point she looks up and sometimes likes to talk ceaselessly to the bear next to it (usually at 3 a.m., thank you sleep regression! ) She doesn’t yet seem to know how to roll onto her belly by herself, but she’s getting very close.

On her playmat, she needs very little help: her little legs go up in the air and she drops over onto her side. With a bit of help and encouragement, she rolls onto her belly and gazes open-mouthed at all of the wonders of the world. It’s really something to see how quickly our little one’s neck muscles are developing. Just two months ago, I had to support her head at all times and in many different ways, but now she stares confidently in all directions as though the world has always looked like this.

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Leap 4: level complete

I was prepared for everything, as I’d regularly seen parents describe leap 4 as ‘pretty tough’. This in combination with the four-month sleep regression definitely played its part. Though after the rain comes the sunshine! Having said that, I think that all in all, leap 4 was far more sunshine than rain.

Juna is walking her own path and noticing all the changes at her own pace with mama and papa by her side to make sure she gets plenty of good old-fashioned rest, regularity and routine in order to discover the ever-expanding world out there.