So about that nap strike… It seems to have become a staying asleep at night strike as well. On Monday night in particular, we had a perfectly ordinary night and the bedtime routine was smooth as molasses. At 7:30pm on the dot, I put a very asleep thirteen month old down in her bed and headed off to the world of adults only relaxation. My stay was cut short, however, when not fifteen minutes later that same thirteen month old popped up with those big, bright eyes and enthusiastically squealed: “EEEE!” I went in to her room and it was quite obvious that she was not going to be sleeping any longer. She was ready to play, and play she did until 11:30 when she finally went back to sleep.
I’m glad to know that periods of increased wakefulness and activity are common in young children who are busily perfecting a new skill or reaching a major developmental milestone. I’m also thankful to have been reminded by a good friend today that “everything is a phase.” So, so true. There will undoubtedly be plenty of opportunities for adults only relaxation, and for uninterrupted sleep in the future, and so we embrace the place we’re in now … or at least do our best.
Aside from the minimal sleep, it has been a perfectly ordinary week around these parts. Annabelle, having learned the full power of her recently discovered signs, is now spending much of her day directing her very own parental orchestra. “Milk,” she begs. Then, moments later: “water!” Still not satisfied, she moves on to “food,” and of course no day is complete without a “book,” which of course must be read a few times to get the full effect, and so she asks for “more.” I won’t pretend I don’t find myself a bit worn out here and there, but it’s absolutely worth the trust and understanding we’re developing. I love that she knows that she can come to me for the things she needs and wants, and that I will respond. Naturally, I’m not always able to give her precisely what she wants at the exact moment that she wants it – milk while driving the car is particularly challenging – but that’s all part of the learning process, too.
Speaking of books, my goodness does this child love them! She has gone from becoming bored by the third of fourth page of most any story, to asking to hear the same one half a dozen or more times in succession. She really seems to enjoy the flow of the words, often nodding her head in time with them, and she enthusiastically joins in with a bit of movement. She throws her arms in the air just before I get to the word, “up” in books, which is awesome not only because she has developed a connection with that word and the action that goes along with it, but because she has also clearly memorized portions of her books, since she does the motion before I reach the word. She also had her first visit to the children’s area in the library today, where she thoroughly enjoyed pulling every board book off the shelves (I replaced them in order, of course!) and gleefully throwing herself face-first onto the super neat cushions on the floor. I can’t believe I waited so long to take her there!
There have not been any truly large changes this week, but I am noticing subtle signs that my toddler is growing up. I seldom have to clean the floor along with the table after dinner, for example, and even the table is considerably less messy after a meal than it used to be. I am no longer permitted to remove snacks from containers, as that is now the job of the extremely independent girl who is to eat them. I’m still there spotting, but I rarely get to help Annabelle climb down off the couch, and she even gets out of our bed when she wishes now. I don’t apply soap to her skin in the bathtub anymore either; a squirt of foam onto the edge of the tub is enough for her to painstakingly apply to her entire torso, neck, and chin with one fingertip.
Of course this new independence does not always mean less work for me. It also means a lot more squeals of frustration. A lot more throwing up of arms and squishing up of faces. It’s really tough when you know precisely what you want and how to communicate it clearly, yet still find that you’re unable to have it. I suppose every new stage comes with its own challenges as well as its own joys. I’m learning and growing right along with my girl.
|10 month old Annabelle at the park
with her bestie
It has been a mostly at home week for us, since Annabelle had her first stomach virus over the weekend. With all of the runny noses that have come along with being a family under the weather, the babe has begun to imitate nose blowing. You see, I’ve been using baby washcloths to wipe noses, including my own and now, when I give one to Annabelle in the bath, she immediately puts it to her face and makes a nose-blowing sound. It’s exciting to see her beginning to notice what things are for, and to imitate various actions. Instead of waving her hair brush around and hitting things with it, for example, she now actually puts it to her head as if to brush. I suppose this is the time to really start watching what I do in front of her, lest everyone learn of all my bad habits by observing Annabelle!
More and more, Annabelle is showing her love of one special friend. She will take an interest in anyone who shows an interest in her, but her buddy Hunter has really come to mean a lot to her lately. He is several months older than she, but they share similar interests (blocks, rifling around in kitchen cabinets, exploring new places, and milk, for example) and when we get together, both children grin the moment they catch sight of one another, wave, and eagerly approach to say a proper hello as soon as possible.
We’ve been trying out a brand new and rather radical concept around here. Maybe you’re familiar with – I hear they call it a “schedule.” Until today, it was going quite well. It involves getting up earlier, however, and that has made this mama rather tired, so we crashed on the couch around 5pm today and as a result, Annabelle was up until after eleven o’clock. Of course it’s not hard and fast, because I’m just not the hard and fast schedule type, but we are trying to work toward a consistent routine that takes place at roughly the same time every day and hoping that will make for more peaceful sleep for all. The biggest change is that we’re trying to eat dinner by about six (instead of seven or eight) and then immediately start the bedtime routine so that Annabelle is down by sometime between seven and eight. It did seem to be going quite well until our extra nap threw it off today, so we’ll see!
The babe is also honing her skills in the climbing department. One of her favorite things to climb onto is the part of the bathtub that you can see behind her in the photo on the left – that, the dishwasher door (when it’s fully open), and the shelves that house her things are daily conquests. Next, I suspect she will learn how to climb down from these great heights.
Music continues to delight Annabelle, and calms many a storm during car rides. I am a bit embarrassed to publicly share the songs that have become her favorites, but I really do want to remember and be able to laugh about it with her later, so I’m going to do it anyway. One thing I have realized since becoming a mother is that a lot of the music I enjoy is much more objectionable than I thought. I think that words have only so much power as we give them, but at the same time, I don’t want to be the mom whose kid teaches all their friends four letter words at play group, so we may need to find some more kid friendly music soon. For now, however, the songs on the following list can soothe Annabelle in a matter of seconds, but only these particular songs.
1. Rootbeer, “Pink Limousine“
2. Tim and Eric Awesome, “Sit on You“
3. Weezer, “Buddy Holly“
4. Soulja Boy, “Turn My Swag On“
5. Wiz Khalifa, “Black and Yellow“
Yes, I’m serious. Yes, I know. Numbers 2, 4, and 5 are all her daddy. I try to get her to listen to public radio like a good nerd’s daughter, but it just does not have the same effect and sometimes you have to go with what works.
And that, my friends, is what’s new at our house, but that’s enough about us. Tell me, what’s new with you and yours this week?
|Goofing off late into the night|
I have been fortunate enough to stay relatively well-rested during much of my first year as a mom. That’s not to say that I have not known exhaustion, because believe me — I have, but I know that it’s normal, and I do my best to push through it, knowing that rest will eventually come, and come it does.
This has definitely been a pushing through kind of week, however, which is why I have been absent from the blog world for a few days now. You see, life, or at least sleep, as we know it, has been turned upside down. Annabelle has yet to settle into the mythical “sleeping through the night” pattern, and really that’s okay with me. On an average night, she sleeps anywhere from one and a half to three and a half hours on a stretch. Thanks to bed sharing and nursing, this has never caused much of an issue for me. In fact, once I’m in bed, I hardly notice her waking. She lets me know she’s hungry, I help her get settled into nursing, and we both fade back into dreamland. No big deal. I don’t think her or my eyes even open most of the time.
Lately, however, our dear girl has little to no desire to ever go to bed! Instead of nursing herself to sleep sometime shortly after her bath, she nurses and then pops right back up again to play. And play. And play. For the past several nights, we have finally had to give up and take her to bed with us, rather than getting her down and having a bit of time to wind down before going to bed ourselves. I had come to rely on having a few hours after she goes to bed to write, read, and catch up on mom things before I join her. Of course I love time with my girl, but I also need a bit of time to regroup before I hop in bed at the end of the day and prepare to do it all over again. For the past week or so, I have had to find different ways of regrouping that do not involve being alone, because the lack of nighttime sleep has not been made up for at nap time. Quite the opposite actually.
I am so very thankful, as I have been many times in the past year and surely will be again, to know that this, as with many other perplexing infant behaviors, is normal. It’s funny to think that I spent twenty some odd years avoiding anything and everything that was considered “normal.” I considered the word itself an insult. Suddenly I, like many new parents before me, want nothing more than to hear, “it’s normal.” That simple phrase can put all our worries to rest. When it comes to sleep, one baby’s normal is not the same as another’s – there is a wide range of “normal” sleep patterns.
The issue at hand now seems to be that Annabelle has mastered walking and moved on to running, while at the same time refining her motor skills at a very impressive speed. As I am learning is often the case with children who are in such a stage of rapid development (within the already rapid stage of development that is childhood), Annabelle appears to be driven to practice these new skills as much as possible, and that drive has been overriding her need for sleep this week. I trust that she will settle in, yet again, to a more balanced routine in the next several days. Why? Because that’s what babies do. It’s normal. All routines are subject to change, as the infants themselves are constantly developing and changing.
So I may be a bit sleepy and disjointed for a few days, but don’t worry: it’s normal.