In infants, we often talk about “growth spurts”. These usually occur, in infants, at the age of 3-10 days, between 3-6 weeks, between 2-4 months, and at 6 and 9 months of age. The exact timetable is up to the infant. During these periods, the infant may wake more for reassurance, may stool and urinate more frequently, may grow in size/length/developmental ability, may need very frequent feeding and the infant has a higher need to be cuddled and loved.
We often talk about this in connection with babies. What our society talks about less frequently is developmental “spurts” in older children. The Gesell Institute talks about periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium that continue from infancy into adulthood. Every year in your parenting, there will be stages of equilibrium and disequilibrium.
Often the “symptoms” look the same – the need to eat and sleep more, possibly with more waking in children younger than 10, the growth and change in developmental ability (often AFTER the growth is complete…many children are more “clumsy” when they have had a sudden spurt in growth), and the child may need more emotional connection and nurturing.
It is a complete fallacy of our society, a fall-out of children becoming miniature adults in our society, that we tend to view four and five year olds almost as adults with adult regulation skills. We often forget children are growing and changing all the way through adulthood, and if we are lucky and honored as adults, we will keep emotionally and spiritually.
I think an important part of making peace with parenting is that children are always growing, always changing, always moving forward toward entering adulthood. The best we can do is provide a scaffolding for trust and connection, love and acceptance and good mental, emotional and spiritual health.