I think growth spurts should come with a warning. Twenty-four hours before your child’s cells start multiplying in overdrive, you should get a phone call:
“Ma’am, I’m calling on behalf of the Growth Spurt Authority. We’re calling to advise you that in 24 hours, your daughter is going to start eating like a maniac. She is also not going to sleep so well for 3 or 4 days, so you may want to clear your schedule. She may suddenly hate bath time too. What’s that? You thought you were in the clear until she was 18 months old? That would be a negative, ma’am. Your daughter is experiencing the not-so-often-talked-about 16 month growth spurt. It’s not as popular as the 18 month spurt, and gets a lot less media coverage, but it sure ain’t pretty.”
See, if I had gotten the call, I would have been able to better prepare. I would have gone to the supermarket a few days ago to stock up on three times the norm of yogurt, crackers, chicken nuggets, apples, and noodles. But there WAS no call, of course, so instead I was frantically searching the cupboards and refrigerator last night for food while my daughter walked around the house in a zombie-esque state, screaming “nom nom nom nom.”
My daughter has been sick for the majority of the winter, so I’ve gotten used to having a toddler with a teeny tiny appetite. She’s been balking at the idea of breakfast, shunning snacktime, and discarding dinner on our dining room floor. I got used to having to convince her eat her food using tried-and-true methods, like applesauce thinly disguised as an airplane, or trying her food myself and showing her (in an overly animated way) just how delicious it is. Em would eat a few bits, and then she’d catch on to my trickery, and mealtime would be over.
So a few mornings ago, when Emmy subtly told me she was hungry by gnawing on my breasts for 45 minutes, I hesitantly offered her breakfast, guessing she’d turn away with a very definite “nooooooo.”
But wait! Nom. Nom. Nom. What’s this?! Nom. Nom. Nom. Breakfast was inhaled in a matter of minutes, without me having to make even one airplane engine noise.
I was thrilled. I thought Emmy was finally healthy again! She had her appetite back! Woot woot!
That afternoon I picked her up from my mother-in-law’s house. The minute I opened the door, Baba and Grampy screamed “she’s eating us out of house and home!” and listed everything Em had consumed during the day. It DID sound like a lot of food. Noodles, crackers, banana, yogurt, more crackers, cookies, a small baby elephant, 12 ears of corn, a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter…
Emmy ate her dinner that night without a fuss, but she didn’t really seem to be asking for more… until 11 p.m., when she cried out to be nursed, and continued to stay latched to me through the ENTIRE NIGHT. Not so much fun for Mama.
Yesterday at daycare she ate everything they put in front of her. Nom. Nom. Nom. She probably also stole food from her classmates when the teacher wasn’t looking. Em’s sneaky that way.
Dinner was a Bacchanalian feast. It started with chicken and cornbread, continued with crackers, then a fruit pouch, then more crackers, then yogurt… by the end of the evening I was just throwing whatever food I could find at Em, like she was a ravenous tiger and I was just trying to avoid being attacked.
Other sudden weird symptoms and behaviors have popped up that I also attribute to the growth spurt: Em’s language is developing at a warp-speed, she’s making weird growling noises that sound like a cat in heat, her sleep pattern seems disrupted, and she keeps saying the words “happy baby, happy baby, happy baby,” like she’s repeating a self-motivational mantra.
As crazy as these growth spurts are, they are also incredibly entertaining. It’s like watching the Discovery Channel only live in our living room. And if all these symptoms are just a part of her 16-month development, I can’t even wait til she’s 18 months old. I should probably start stocking the kitchen now.