Thursday, July 18, 2013

Timing is Everything

I might have a mouth full of animal crackers and look all innocent, but - trust me - do NOT piss me off.
We got to Grenada just in time...in time to be safe from the most aggressive hurricane months, in time for Scott to report back to work and just in time for our perfect baby to turn into a little hellion.

This "phase" is a real bummer for a couple of reasons:
  1. Scott is reporting to work for the next month, which means I am left to fend for myself against the powers of our super-child without the support of another person.  It's really nice to have a partner to share in the "WTF just happened?!?!" bewilderment when your child has a meltdown for no particular reason.  Misery loves company, you know.
  2. We are now mere inches from our neighbors, so Isla's impressive tantrums echo down the docks for all to hear. "I swear, this has just started!" I say apologetically to those within earshot who, almost certainly, do not enjoy waking up from their mid-day siestas to a screaming child.  I know what they're thinking, "Sure it did." Then they give me the visual equivalent of a pat on top of  my low slung head.
The timing of this, in other words, is not ideal.

Up until the past couple of days, Isla has been - more or less - a perfect baby.  I can only admit this now in the midst of her "normal baby" behavior, but really, she was.  She would excitedly entertain herself for long stretches of time and crying was something that only occurred if she hurt herself.  She was happy, easy going, and slept like a champ.  Each day she took two naps at an hour-and-a-half each, and had a respectable 6pm bedtime.  This took a lot of sleep training in the early months, mind you (I can feel the "non-schedule" moms I know of out there rolling their eyes right now).  To get her to go to sleep, all I needed to do was sing her our little bedtime song at which point she'd reach up to me with her arms as if to say, "Oh yes, it's that time!", I'd lay her in her little bed, nurse her for a bit, turn on her musical seahorse, give her a pacifier and she'd visibly relax and look at me with eyes that said, "Okay mom, you can go now.  I'm off to sleep!" and off to sleep she'd go, all on her own.  No joke.  It was that easy.

This has all changed.  Well, the sleep part at least...

It's like something has clicked in her and she made the (horrifying to us) realization that she has opinions on things and can protest in the form of screaming.  I mean, wasn't this not supposed to happen until she was like, three?!?  We always comment that we think she's advanced (I know, I know, all parents say that - we do it jokingly... sort of) so we're left to wonder, "Is she passing GO and skipping right to the terrible twos at sixteen months??"  God help us.

Now, nap times are epic battle grounds that include screaming of the blood curdling variety.  No joke - she literally screams as if someone is poking out her eyeballs.  Again, we're seven inches from our neighbors so her "finding her voice" couldn't have come at a worse time.  And I know what is happening, we're transitioning from the blessed two naps a day to one, and it's not pretty.  I have known this day would come, but ignored the signs continuing to push two naps because "a well-rested baby is a happy baby" and, honestly, I loved those two breaks in the day.  But now I cannot ignore it.  The screams are a sign.  Our little girl is growing up and no longer needs sixteen hours of sleep in a twenty-four hour period.  The books tell me I have another month or two of this madness and the transition is not an easy one.  Sigh.
  
The other thing?  We lost her coveted baby doll yesterday.  For those of you who follow us on Facebook you have surely seen the photos of Isla with this doll.  It's just a tiny baby doll, a gift from a good friend, and the one and only toy item that - for some reason or another - Isla took to.  She carried it everywhere.  She introduced it to everyone she met, even strangers at the local food court.  It slept with her, napped with her, went on walks with her and did everything but swim with her.  She fed it at every meal and shared her sippy cup with it.  And now it's gone, doing rounds on the #1 bus route getting all nasty under the seats of one of the hundreds of local busses here in Grenada.  Bye bye, baby. (Yes, three more dolls have been ordered and will arrive with my sister on Monday).

When it rains, it pours.  And timing of life isn't always perfect.  This too, shall pass. (and cliches are helpful in times like these...)

But despite her nap time screams and sudden protests asserting her independence (which, truth be told, are kind of cool to see evolve), her smile still lights up a room,  her hugs and cuddles are epic and that precious little face makes it ALL worth it.  Screams or not - she's still perfect to us.  But probably not to our neighbors.

17 comments:

Neophyte Cruiser said...

Relax and enjoy Isla. Kid will be kids and a majority of people have more tolerance than new parents give them credit for. Those who don't, aren't worth knowing or worrying about. Once people see that cute little sun-tanned bean, they won't be able to do anything but enjoy her, screaming or not.

Beth DeMarco said...

We went through this with Frankie. For the longest time we would just put her down walk out of the room and and she would quietly fall alsleep and nap twice a day for hours at a time. But at about 16 months that changed. At this age, kids are afraid of missing out on things and don't want to be taken away from the action. It got a little better and the crying lessened, but hasn't gone away completely. And there are times that after a little crying Frankie doesn't actually sleep twice, but rather lays in the crib or just plays quietly in the crib. It isn't the same as a good nap but it's rest time for both her and us. This is just another transition phase and soon you may find that Isla is ready to reduce her naps to once a day. Our pediatrician was surprised Frankie is still taking 2 a day at 18 and still now at 19 months and warned us that is going to end soon. Just hang in there, it won't be like this forever.

B.J. Porter said...

The dread loss of that Special Animal! We went through that with our first child. That friggin' rabbit got left everywhere. It traveled back to us by Fedex and USPS when we were too far away to go back for it. And he used to hide the darn thing, I swear it seemed just to stretch out the bedtime by having to look for it. Eventually Bunny just vanished, we think left at a restaurant.

For my second the rules become hard and fast - the Lamb did NOT leave the car. She could bring it along, but it was never to go into a restaurant, store, etc. We still have it, though it's bit fragile and manky after all these years.

I can imagine the buses on island will pose a special challenge, and she's a bit young to reason with yet!

She will grow past this, eventually it will be replaced by sighs, sulks, groans and door slamming (if she has a door). That's one thing we learned - it ALL passes eventually.

Last Paradise said...

Aw hon... Part of me laughs and part of me cries, maybe because I am *still* in this phase with Lily (she is almost 2.5!!). The draaaaaama!
But it will pass. And one day you will look back and wonder where your baby went. Hugs to you during this difficult nap transition, one of the worst times ever, but it does pass! (We have moved into the one loooong nap every other day) with kids, it's always something new! Keeps you on your toes for sure.
Xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the terrible 2s. What we don't figure on is the 9 months of pregnancy plus 12 months equals 22months.so Isla is right on queue to be a terrible 2s child. My beautiful happy 1 year old went to bed a sweet darling and woke up a little hellion. And with Islas baby gone she must be beyond consoling. Monday won't be quick enough. This to shall pass.What it morphs into will be an aadventure in itself. Stay strong momma. Xocolleen Charlton

Lucy said...

Gosh, there are tricky new challenges at every stage! I have two daughters - the 2-year old is potty training at the moment and the 10-month old has just started crawling and is into everything. You deal with the current challenge and move on to the next without stopping for breath!

Did Isla's resistance to her daytime sleeps coincide with losing her baby? Maybe she'll sleep better once she's back from her little holiday on Monday! My elder daughter has to sleep with five sweet little soft animals (mouse, pig, lamb, 2 x bunnies). I took her to Italy last year and we lost Lamby. I then realised why people buy doubles! When I got home I ordered a clone of each animal and it proved to be brilliant having spares... Until she found the second set one day and now insists on sleeping with all ten! Drawing a line there though or it could get totally out of hand!

Alex (s/v Pesto) said...

As others already mentioned, it will pass eventually. Perhaps her transition may have been accentuated by the change on the daily routine (marina vs anchor) and the anticipation of Scott's departure. Over the years, my wife and i have noticed a statistically consistent correlation between the amount of our (business) travels vs our daughter's tantrums.
And regarding the neighbours, if they indeed need a break, Tobago Cay is a stone's throw away :-) ... Just relax and enjoy Isla's new phase. All the best, Alex (s/v Pesto)

Carl and Lisa Barlev said...

Oh dear! Sounds like my daughter! Her "terrible two´s" started at 15 months! She´s now 3 1/2 and we are only now starting to get a handle on her behavior. Isla has a lot of personality, just like my Ursa, you might be in for a rough ride!

Tytti said...

Need for sleep varies a lot. I think You are spot on that one nap is enough now. Maybe to bed later in the evening too?

My mom told that her psychology teacher prepared her class: "Sometime in the future we'll meet in a store and You'll have a toddler raging in a tantrum and I will smilingly observe how You deal with the situation". Most often best choice is to pick up the kid on shoulder and carry out of the situation. Some fool with the kids and amaze them by joining the tantrum.
In the worst situations it might help to think that in earlier days people used to have 10 children and a couple of cows to it ;). The elder kids can help a lot though.

Anne said...

Poor thing! My super mom neighbor told me to time that (new) one and only nap to lunch. Try to stretch her each day to lunch...even if it's at 11! Then start your nap routine and put her down. Gradually push lunch later and later until it's an acceptable time. In the meantime, make up for that early wake up from nap time with an earlier bedtime. Black-out her space to help that along. This worked for us and hope it works or you!

Paul & Terri said...

OH Brittany…what’s funny is, WE all knew this day was coming too. Any parent of grown children knows that one thing is certain about kid…nothing is certain! Just when you think your child is the best kid in the world they will prove you and the world wrong! However, you are doing most everything right and I say most because no parent gets it all perfect and those who think they do have the worst behaved kids! Scheduled naps and feedings are key and yes, we caught crap from our new age thinking friends about this too but we also woke up rested every morning while they looked like hell. The key is to start letting her stay up a little later and to be more active during the day. Plus remember, it’s HOT and you’re not wearing an overcoat on your rump! I am sure a lot of the resistance to nap time is because it’s uncomfortable and sticky. You might want to get into a routine of a nice warm bath for Isla just before sleepy time. As much as you think the neighbors are irritated, if they have had children then they most likely are sympathetic to your plight and grateful their kids are grown! Hang in there because this is nothing compared to what is coming. This is why there is no manual on kids, for if there was and you read it before you conceived, you would seriously rethink that choice! But in the end, they are truly a great gift to enjoy for a lifetime.
Paul & Terri

Marcus Valdes said...

Part of me wonders is it because all of a sudden less is going on during the day. Our daughter (turns 2 in a couple of weeks) still loves her naps and I'm convinced it's because it's her "me" time away from the two siblings.

Carl Lambert said...

As a confirmed bachelor with a "never own anything that poops" conviction, I have to say, to read your posts and see a glimpse of your life and the perfect human you created, I am [almost] sorry I never took the plunge. You show, through an honest portrayal, the wonder and joy that parents experience and the great love they have for their children above all else. You are touching people's lives in ways you might not expect.

boatbaby said...

It's called a phase for a reason, this too shall pass. One of the hardest lessons to learn as a parent is that you can not program your kids. They are people, and they have their own ideas, needs, interests which more often than now will not line up with yours. It's dizzying and amazing all at once.
Oh and funny that you like Weissbluth's book. He is my brother's partner, I mean they share the same pediatric practice in Chicago.

MMV said...

This too shall pass! 16-24 months is the hardest. Once she can more proficiently communicate her needs you will be back on solid ground. She is a fireball and a beauty. Roll with and enjoy the good times!

Windtraveler said...

Thank you all for the support. As if to spite me, Isla has gone right back to normal, two naps, no fuss, easy-peasy...it's like she can read my mind and was all "Okay, you wrote a post about me! I'll show YOU!!" but either way, if we have learned anything it's that this parenthood thing is an evolving process and our sweet babies are ALWAYS changing. It's a good thing and keeps us on our toes :)

@Carl - wow. your words just made my day. The fact that Isla has tugged at the heartstrings of a self-proclaimed bachelor means the world...i totally appreciate your choice though - this is not easy and it's not for everyone. If you are ever in our neck of the woods you are welcome to babysit ;)

@Boatbaby - Really!?! Wow. That is awesome. I seriously LOVE that book - it is pretty much the ONLY book I have referenced postpartum and it's worked wonders for Isla. She is a happy child and I attribute this to the fact that she is always well rested. I wholly subscribe to the belief that sleep is as vital as food and love for a healthy, growing baby. I totally drank that koolaide. What a small world. I suggest his book to every mom friend I have - some take it, some leave it - but it's made all the difference for us!

Christine said...

I'm so glad to hear all of this because -- I'll be really blunt -- I admire you guys from afar (here near Chicago) with heavy doses of envy; your lives seem so perfect and beautiful and deep down I just KNEW there had to be struggle somewhere (we're human, right?) and your post just perfectly captured the struggle we moms have with those WTF moments. I'm sorry you're on your own at such a trying time, and I feel your pain. Thanks for sharing the epic meltdowns. Even when Scott's gone, just remember, we're all right here with you...

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