|I might have a mouth full of animal crackers and look all innocent, but - trust me - do NOT piss me off.|
This "phase" is a real bummer for a couple of reasons:
- 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.
- 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.