The Teething Toddle-Waddle Chronicles - LiveBlog at 1.5 years

Life with an eighteen month old.

For context, our entire household has been dallying with any variety of common viruses and the like for the last several millennia. Currently it's a cough that just won't go away. Before that, it was a stomach bug. Before that, some kind of cold.

In the meantime, Chaya has popped her first four molars, something a month or two in the making, but which seems to have really escalated in the last few days.

Also, she's a year and a half years old. So this is a warm up for the terrific twos.

And now, my approximation of a day in the life

12:30 a.m. -2 Wake up to miserable howling. Go into the nursery. Attempt all measures of soothing. Fail utterly to succeed

2:00 a.m. Send hubby downstairs and bring Chaya into bed.

2-4ish baby lays on your chest trying to get comfortable. Eventually crashes on your totally numb hand.

4-5:30 baby sleeps, occasionally rotating in a little toddler circle around the bed.

5:35 toddler stirs. Sits up says "eye" several times. Then "dog" and "nummy"

5:40 breakfast with daddy. Lots of vacant staring but toddler is in a sterling mood.

6:00 - Use bathroom upstairs and change into clothes while toddler runs around yelling PEEEE PEEEE

ok, time goes fuzzy around now...

6:15ish Liberate toddler of sleep sack

Unzip toddler's sleeper while she reads a book. Toddler runs around a bit. Howls when you take diaper off. Finds her naked reflection hilarious. Runs around more.

Follow naked toddler around the house with a wet wipe and fresh diaper.

Toddler yells DOOR to be let into first bedroom. Then baaabaaa as she identifies one stuffed sheep. Then MORE BAAA as she looks for the other sheep.

Wipe toddler’s folds  while she plays with one sheep

Follow toddler back into the stairway. While she is holding onto the rails, rush diaper up and around toddler trunk. Affix diaper slowly over several more minutes



7:00ish:

Toddler throws sheep down the stairs. Participate in long game of sheep fetch and toss. Toddler shrieks with glee for about fifteen minutes. Then runs in a circle, trips and begins howling.

Bring toddler back to the kitchen area and make eggs with one hand. Baby chants eeeeggg. Then naaaaaa (banana) and several rounds of mooooooore while you heat her oats

Set table. Dish out oatmeal. Chaya begins to whimper as she nears the table. She yells "ball" indicating she wants to sit on mommy's exercise ball. Bloody murder when mommy moves her to a chair instead.

Running to kitchen offer Chaya dates. No. Raspberries. No. Banana. Chaya yells more and stands on hey chair on resistance.

Give Chaya a spatula. She allows you to put get in chair. She throws the dates one by one to floor. Then begins sobbing again as you lay the tray out. Offer wooden spoon.

Chaya attempts to eat oatmeal with wooden spoon. Throws on ground angrily but accepts a real spoon and starts eating. Only after demanding Kuaaah, an uncooked squash, with which she plays for several minutes... before throwing it on the ground.



Chaya says egg. Throws some on the floor.

After eating most of her oatmeal, Chaya says "more!"

Bring over a tiny cup of almond milk and cups of rode krispies and cornflakes. Science experiments persist through a few more Tiny cups and spoons.

Once everything has been thrown on the floor and half an egg consumed, Chaya yells "out!" and then "stool."

8:00ish:

Time to play at the sink. Mommy rushes to clean and get some of the morning things accomplished while Chaya plays with two water bottles, all the cups and bowls, the sink strainer and a sponge.

Rush back to stool several times to stop baby from tumbling off

Toddler hands you a cup and demands "Nummy"

Nurse briefly as toddler thrashes and giggles and bites.

Ask toddler if she'd like to go to the store. She giggles and says STOH!

Tell her we need shoes and socks. Toddler finds sandals. Tempt her into socks. She runs several laps in her socks. Ask if she wants shoes or boots. She brings over shoes and then screams when you try to put them on her. Decide boots can go on in the car. Divert to finding coat. Chaya is now running around with the two sheep yelling baaabaaa. Sneak coat on. Ask about store. Chaya says store and car. Assume this implies assent.

Loop own coast over head, grab a bag of snacks, slip on shoes

9:00ish

Chaya yells "car" happily. Once in carseat Chaya yells "more, "unhappy with the ziplock bag you've offered her. Offer toys. Chaya throws them. Baby sobs so much that you turn around and come back in.

Chaya demands "giraffes". Sit get in her seat and put on YouTube video of high diving giraffes. Sneaky cut baby talons.

Continue looping the video while unloading dishwasher. Chaya demands various things from dishwasher. Drops them on floor. Leafs through a book. Freaks of the credits on the video roll.

Baby demands out. Nurse. Bite. Laugh. Repeat

Hold baby. Baby demands "more".

Offer raspberries. She demands "dog." Pull up puppy YouTube video and back in her seat.




She demands more. Give her a rye cracker and some cashews. She empties cashews onto floor and eats a raspberry. Demands pouch

Start making a refillable one, but demand is strong and strident. Give her a store bought Plum pouch. She has some then drops it down into her her seat and starts chewing on the bottom end.

Realize after you've taken her out of seat that she's upended the rest all over herself.

9:30ish

Upstairs to change. Several additional hijinks and rampant naked baby moments later, diaper is clean and new clothes worn. Chaya rampages through the rooms with dirty shirt on her head. She starts pulling books off shelf. Finds a pair of underwear from the hamper and entertains herself wearing it as a necklace while running laps around the bed.



Look at phone to see seven or eight new messages. Before seeing what they are, hear baby howling. Trip of some sort? The world will never know for sure, but she is irate!

10:15ish

Walk around kitchen holding howling toddler. Eventually sit down. Sure arches her back and cries a bit. Tried to walk behind and push you off. Then back to nursing.

10:20ish - baby is asleep.



Restlessly sleeping and blowing all chance of a nap later. Mommy goes all in and tries to hold really still on the hopes it'll last a while

Mommy's nose starts gushing snot.

Chaya cries. Goes back to nursing. Sleeping and nursing.

Mommy desperately tries not to sneeze out cough. Both feel urgent.

Chaya snorts and wheezes but continues nursing an arm around neck.

Curse the gorgeous sunny day streaming bright light into both faces.

Wish you could reach your drink. Or the pillow. Cautiously wipe noise.

11:19 well that's awkward. Still nursing, Chaya stands up into a downward dog nursing position. In a few more minutes, her eyes pop open and the nap is done.

As Chaya gets up and grabs her sheep, chug coffee, cough finally and blow nose. Chaya demands BAH (bathroom, not sheep) and tugs mommy upstairs.

Chaya huts door to bathroom yelling Nummy Nummy. Tugs at her clothes and mine. Apparently we are taking a bath (redacted for privacy)

12:15ish

Repeat the diaper and clothing rodeo. Put on Chaya's third pair of pants for the day after much wrestling and giggling on the bed.

12:45ish:

Take a walk.

1:30ish:

Give up on any semblance of normalcy or desire for healthy parenting. Serve “lunch” at the counter relying on the all mighty YouTube. Terrifying cartoons superimposed over nature footage pop up. Chaya eats more raspberries. A little bit of sandwich. A couple of triscuits. Not the ones with applesauce or almond butter.

Chaya demands to nurse then gets distracted by the cartoon, then wants the stool. Then wants to see the babies. Then nurse.

Chaya nurses for a few minutes, bites, laughs and tries to grab mommy's coffee. After another crack at going the store, Chaya brings over boots, puts on a hoodie and grabs an empty gum container to play with on the journey

2:00ish

Pick up Chaya and start out. Trip on a cushion, fall to knees, then topple and roll, landing on a shoulder with baby's head just shy of the floor. Baby considers her response, and then decides she doesn't care beyond a slight whimper.

Make it to the store briefly but find nothing you wanted. Give baby a sample of snap pea crisps and call it good. Pray toddler will fall asleep on the drive home. She yawns but decides to sing instead.

Follow toddler around the house trying to get her coat and shoes off. Eventually get to the basement door which is closed. Chaya begins to howl. Bring her to her room

3:00ish

Deep breath. Time to try a nap. Read, energies, song and sleep. But crying as soon as she hits the crib. Hold her again and let her nurse. She crashes. Sort of. Wonder if teething is involved given how uncomfortable this is. Hunch forward awkwardly and again try to mop up snot.

3:45ish:

Turn on the green ok-to-wake light awkwardly so that Chaya keeps that association. Chaya runs around, throws some books down the stairs, runs through the couch on the guest bedroom. Explores the basement.




4:30ish Gramma Pam blessedly comes to visit. Mommy rushes like mad to start dinner, clean up "lunch" and takes a couple of breaths. Chaya starts to feel her fatigue and demands to be held again.

5:45ish Dinner time. Daddy's on the the way home, but won't be here just yet. Chaya repeats a few science experiments, tosses her cup of rice against the wall with some MLB force, eats about 3 eggs, half a rice cracker, and a few peas. Then systematically discards the peas in a halo around her chair. Spends several more minutes pulling the straw in and out of her water cup.

6:15ish Chaya has thrown it all, started howling and yelling STOOL. Release her to the stool and hope Dadda will be home soon.

6:20ish Just as Chaya starts laughing like a hyena and tossing cups of water on the floor, Daddy's home! Mommy brings Chaya to Dadda, Chaya reaches for him, then - as per usual - pushes away from him indignantly. Then looks over her shoulder at him and starts laughing hysterically at her clever rouse.

6:30ish - 6:40ish Chaya is yelling NUMMY through her bedtime stories, She leaps from daddy's arms onto a nipple. Pops off exuberantly and yells DAH. Then crashes almost immediately upon moving.

...

And mommy forgets the rest, but I think it involves thanking god that tonight Chaya didn't bounce up and start crying after putting her down. And preparing for another long night that blessedly didn't come.

Mommy on the Move: Big Changes (maybe) and the brain that wouldn't die.

Enough about baby sleep. Actually - knock on wood - things have settled down a bit. Chaya still isn't sleeping as much as she needs (by which I mean she's still acting pretty tired), but she's mostly taking naps, and her morning wake up is closer to 5 a.m. recently.

But the course of true sleep never did run on pure Delta Waves.



Things I thought about instead of sleeping last night.

Background: Out of the Royal Cobalt Blue (or thereabouts) our realtor sent us a new listing yesterday during Chaya's afternoon nap. Some finagling over schedules (mostly baby, but with a twist of Superbowl Parties and rabid demand for viewings of the place) ensued. Before we knew it, we were turning around from our Saturday Starbucks date to sweep up the baby and head out on the road to Marvelous Mt. Vernon and its cabaret of curtilate curiosities. I am proud of my turnaround, rushing out to the car with pockets full of bells and books, and a purse full of baby snacks. I am also proud of Chaya's chill with the cumulative hours of driving and her inability to actually run around the house. 

We've seen some interesting places. A master bathroom facing out over a park through lofty oriels. M.C. Escheresque lodges. 

But this time, it was a hit. A large basement for our exercise equipment. Double car garage (holy moley). Beautiful kitchen. Great rooms. Nice bathrooms. Enough space, but not too much. Directly across from our favorite park. A six minute walk to the elementary school and quirky little grocery/taqueria...

And of course an exquisite view of (1) Little Mountain hovering over the mist like a Chinese painting, (2) the substation next door. 

That's actually a relief. It's pretty prominent in the view. We were wondering why the price was so low for the place. We're guessing it's related to that. 

And so, we've decided that the competition is heavy and we're ready to make an "escalating offer" - I'm not even sure our maximum price will be competitive, given the interest in the home and the Mt Vernon market. But it's still pretty exciting. And scary. And sudden despite some months of idly looking. 

Naturally, my brain had to weigh in. But only after bedtime. (I could barely keep my eyes open when we were watching youtube after baby bedtime, but put me near a pillow and BING)

1. That place is really nice. Wow. It's almost like it's made for us. Ok, wait, it's not actually perfect at all. Chaya's room would be right in between two bathrooms and it's all on one floor. So there's a likelihood that noise in the kitchen or the main room would carry far more. And when we have some guests over, that can be loud. I would miss having the bedrooms on a separate floor.

2. And while we're at it, moving? Chaya does not sleep well in new environments. It'll be a little different with all her stuff, but by all reports the sleep (that is just settling down again) is gonna be brutally. What do we do if she starts waking up at 3 a.m.? Ah lord, it was just a matter of time.

3. And I'll see more of Andrew. That would be nice. Though at this point, Chaya's getting up before him anyways. Now it'll be even earlier than him. So will he really see more of her? But maybe he'll be able to watch Chaya a little so I can gather breakfast while she's actually up instead of constantly trying to beat her ever regressing wake up? Or maybe we could have dinner a little earlier so at least she's getting enough rest. Earlier bedtimes do seem to yield slightly later wake up times (slightly) and longer night sleeps over all. But again. Moving? She'll never sleep again. She's always wanting to watch that video of the baby giraffe moving around. Wonder if I could sit her down somewhere and let her watch that while I get things ready. Where will that infantino seat go?



4. I'm starting to feel really out of shape - not moving much and mindlessly devouring all of Chaya's myriad snacks. I don't miss being super skinny, but I do miss having a more distinct waist and being genuinely in-shape. Just starting to run a little during the week. But if we move, we won't have those trails and that little route to Bloedel to run/walk with Chaya. Where will I run/walk? If it's too loud to get up and do things in the kitchen, should I sneak into the basement and run on the treadmill before Chaya gets up? YMCA? Don't they have classes you can bring 18 month olds too? Maybe I should sign up for one of those here. What about that toddler music class she's taking. I should sign up for that too. We're not gonna move within 6 weeks. But the 9:15 one with the scary bigger kids or the 10:15 one that's too close to nap time but which has all Chaya's friends?? Will she ever not be traumatized by the experience? Well we're not going to music class there if we move. Wonder if there's...

5. The library in Mt. Vernon isn't that good apparently. And there won't be Bloedel. There's Jungle Playground. The Kids Museum. We'll have to get a membership. Man are we ever gonna use our FIG membership if we live so far away? Costco membership. We'll have to get one of those again. Man, I'm gonna miss Freddy's. But there are some good stores. Chaya likes going "shooii" (shopping) in the morning when no other kids stuff is open yet.

6.  Oh man, it'd be cool to hang out with Claudia and Sebastian. We'll be a five minute drive from them. And I could help out with the new baby. Gulp, didn't I offer to watch Sebastian when Claudia's in labor? How will I watch two of these kiddos? Can I leave Sebastian in a room alone to put Chaya down for a nap? Just skip that nap? What if it's a long labor? Where will he sleep? He stays up really late. Will I have to stay up? Will Chaya? Seriously that's what I'm thinking about?? Focus, brain, focus.

7. Ok. I said I'd learn Spanish if we moved. How will I balance that with Chaya? Are there mommy and me immersion classes? Should I leave her with Claudia and do a summer program like that french one? How will that mix with my professional education? I wanted to be a GAL, but with all the recent Trumpism, I've wished I were an immigration lawyer so I could ride to the rescue. Is that something I could do? Knowing Spanish would be helpful. Isn't that all federal court? How the frig would i learn how to do that competently? Would an immigration lawyer mentor me? Can I really learn enough from CLEs and guesswork? And really I won't really know Spanish that well, ever. Too bad, that would be good even as a GAL in Mt Vernon... oh my god what am I gonna do with my life??? What preschool should Chaya go to?

8.  I have to pee again? Really? I can't possibly. What do I do on nights when I actually sleep?

9. Man, it's an extra hour back for Andrew. That's really huge for him. He's putting a lot on that hour. Time with Chaya, personal time, training time, time with friends, time with me... is he really gonna get all of that in there? What if we move and he's still unhappy? What if we spend more time together and we don't like it? What if the things we've been blaming on the commute - the little kvetches and inconveniences - are actually something else entirely? I don't want to move again!

10. Oh god, moving. There's so much junk in our house. I want to burn it all. Do I really need that Instant Pot? I've never used it. But I could get rid of my rice and slow cooker and just keep that? Will I ever be able to use the food processor with the kitchen being so close to Chaya's room? Infant carseat is still downstairs. And all those piles of toys and clothes we have barely used. I'm oppressed by my possessions.

11. If I fall asleep now, I'll still get a few hours of sleep. Andrew will be home, so I can do breakfast stuff while Chaya's playing with him. Except if he has to use the bathroom or something. That assumes I won't wake up as early as I always do (Chaya has to take after me in the waking up the same time regardless of bedtime thing, sigh). Or Chaya won't wake up at 4. Or I won't ... oh like I'm gonna fall asleep.

12. Huh, again? I have to pee again? But I think I was asleep for a while. Should I do the 9:30 or the 10:15 class? I want to see my friends, but I don't want Chaya falling asleep in the car after melting down at music class.

13. Will they take our offer? Will people want to buy our house? I think we should put the baby gate at the foot of the stairs. Huh, that will be harder getting to the car, going down those stairs. Where should we put the other baby gate? What about the big baby gate? The living room is pretty big. I think a table by the kitchen, then Chaya's. Maybe we should get low level shelves for all Chaya's stuff... where will the (etc. etc. etc).



14. It's still close to Bellingham, but it's further away. Will I still be able to visit? Should we change banks? Doctors? Pediatricians? Oh man, Chaya should see a dentist already. But maybe I should wait.

15. If I get some sleep now...

16. Maybe I should take a nap tomorrow. Naw, I'll be totally fine tomorrow. It's the day after the day I didn't get much sleep.

17. AGAIN?? Seriously! This is just habit isn't it? Or god, what if I'm pregnant. What if we move and I'm pregnant and we have to move when Andrew's on his ski vacation and I'm all alone and... seriously, no.

18. But if I were going to study immigration law, where would I start. Maybe I should write the Bar Association about how to get reinstated. I know I'd need malpractice insurance and an IOLTA...

19. Was that the baby? No. What time is it? Can I get up yet?

20. But seriously, do I really want that maternity dress in the closet and where would we put the tv.

...

Wish us luck. Whatever that means.


Shana-no-nap Sha-na-no-nap: Toddler Edition

I have to admit there are miraculous things about having a toddler. My dad says that watching the development - the wonder, the connections, the evolution of personality - of children as proof of the existence of god. I dig that. Chaya is a teeny tiny miracle. Every day, new words. New ideas. New discoveries. And a laugh that evokes the glee of angels.

But of course if the Devil did not exist, we would have to invent him. And the devil of all these amazing miraculous lurks in the tolls that all that cerebral legerity.

So we turn to our favorite subject - Baby Battle logs: Sleep Edition. 

Really, most of the other big battles have subsided for now. I'm off the medication and still nursing (constantly). Sure I guess discipline evolves. Self-care etc etc. But the primary primal babyness persists mostly only in the snoozy sleepy details. And to that I say, hats off, and ... 

...Well Weissbluth and Ferber and all the glories of sleep training, it was a good year. 

Thank you for the sleep in the nights, the eventual naptime peace. Thank you for saving my brain in a difficult baby time. But baby's sleep function has slipped out of whack again. 




Yes, I know, sound the threnodic theatrics. Baby sleep is back out of whack yet again. Seriously is it ever in whack? Really, truly, it was. Not perfect, but in whack anyways. But not so much recently. 

I feel like every week, we lose a little more. First there was vacation. Then sickness. Then the morning nap went away. Then for a while the afternoon nap got short. Mornings got earlier and earlier... 

Last week, it was doubly early wakings - somewhere between 4 and 5 a.m. We accepted them. We revised. This week, it's naps. Ouch. Naps. Not just "one nap." Oh remember when she refused to take her morning nap and we benightedly thought that was a sign of nap transition and hey that's kinda cool. Now it's her one nap of the day. In the last week, she has taken three out of seven afternoon naps. And one of those three, one only sort of counts. A few days ago, I aborted our nap routine, came downstairs for a while, waited for a bit and then tried again. Yesterday, she actually fell asleep nursing and slept in my lap (in the nursery, in her sleep sack... I guess it was peaceful?) Today - to confound everything - she fell asleep in her crib on her own.



Oh yeah, she also will deign to pass out in the car somewhere mid-morning. But only for a half hour. Like clockwork, her eyes pop open after that. 

I suck at sleep training. I can't even commit to not committing to it. Every third day I break down. Every morning, it's just too much not to take the beast on a little car ride for a break for the pair of us.  I know "the nap" will be a thing for anther year and I know I should invest in the future. But we are so tired sometimes. 

To cobble together a sleep schedule yesterday, it was (1) driving around for about fifty minutes in order to squeeze out a morning nap. I guess I should admit it was also just for peace of mind, because after straight days of skipping naps, my little toddler was friggin' insane and mommy was losing her mind and needed a peaceful moment listening to jazz and enjoying the sunrise; (2) the aforementioned nursing nap. I'm not saying I would like to go in this direction, but I found myself thinking how very much I envied those who could actually cosleep for naps. Sitting very still while my child slept on my lap was nice enough, but I would actually enjoy the cosleeping snuggles. And the rest. It set me back a while in terms of all the shit I do during her naps, but it was restful. I should also add that this has never worked before and I suspect she only took a nap this way because she was so sleep deprived. 


Otherwise, she wakes up at 4:30 (or 4:45 if she hasn't had a nap the day before... way to sleep in, I know). When we go through our normal nap routine, she seems kind of fussy but into it. When I start singing to her, she might fuss a bit more, but when I put her down it is complete meltdown. Occasionally I will leave, and she'll spend the better part of an hour talking and playing. Other times, she flips out so much that I end up going back in the room and just sitting with her whispering "it's nap time shhhhh" while she (then) alternates between fussing and playing. 

On the bright side, she is way easier to put down for bed on those days... not worth it. 

I do think that something else is still "up". Be it the rabid and rapid language development - she did rouse from her boob-snooze yesterday to stare into the distance and whisper DOG, before falling back into a slumber - or teething, or something to do with those rancid stinky farts she's been having after her illness last week... something. But it's also just the age where this happens. I know I am not alone with the nap strikes. I think our toddlers are unionizing and going global. And there will always be something. 

And although I keep thinking I can hack this somehow, I also agree that this may just be the "new normal" for a while and just to roll with it. We invested in something called an OK TO WAKE toddler clock. It's a little old for her, but basically it's a clock that has a soft nightlight during sleep time and a different light when nap/sleep time is over. The idea is that it's either nap/sleep or quiet time. Chaya does seem very aware of the light by the stairs and often will stir from a nap (back in the napping days) to look out her door and see if the light is on yet. Eventually, they sleep again I hear. So setting up some limits and starting to communicate the idea of "quiet nursery time" and "time to get up" is something worth doing while the naps go to shiznet anyways. 


​​
The new normal is kind of exhausting. I could use that naptime. If I get up at 4:30 I have just enough time to start breakfast and the like before the beast is up and demanding attention. We've agreed she gets up at 5:30, so even if she's up, I do have some time. At least I get some time if Chaya doesn't officially start flipping out (then I get zen time whispering "it's sleep time" in a darkened room). But I've lost an hour. She used to start waking up around 6 and play for a while after that.

If I'm committing to my sleep training, I may have some time during "nap time" while she plays and fusses in her crib. But I usually end up sitting in the room with her until the end of the arbitrary period. Or caving and ruining everything by being inconsistent whilst saving my last semblance of sanity. The naps she does take are a little less compensatory, since I spend much of them waiting for her to wake up. 

Since I'm getting up earlier, I'm getting less time with Andrew in the evening so I can go to bed earlier as well. 

Andrew misses a little time with me, but on net this new normal isn't quite the same wear and tear for him. He mostly gets to see Chaya more without much change to his schedule. Well, except waking up an hour earlier on the weekend, which is tough. I do appreciate that he's started watching her for an hour on weekend mornings so I can have some time on the treadmill (I'm gaining weight quickly, which is still healthy but eventually probably won't be - and I wouldn't mind staying in shape). And I've already told him that if - as it seems to be next on the list - her night sleep goes to crap, I'll be asking him to sit with her until she goes back to sleep. 





And yet, although I'm learning more and more the values of getting some momME time, the little beast becomes more and more amazing every day. Her vocabulary expands exponentially. Her dexterity improves by the day. And even the most baleful toddler snuggles are lightyears beyond the most rhapsodic Wagnerian embrace. 

And that sleep debt will eventually be made-gooded. I'm sure of it. I think that's what the teenage years are for, right?

Until then, snuggle into your beds and have a wonderful weekend sleep-in for me y'hear? And if you want to sneak into my house at "nap time" and start dinner/clean the toddlernado, I'm not gonna complain.


Mmmm mmmm Good Riddance Food: Molars are Dumb

Breakfast with a teething toddler (Almost-live-blog edition)



4 a.m. - baby wakes you up. Per all sleep training history, leave her to resettle.

But you're up, so go ahead and get started on breakfast. It may be your last chance.

4:30 a.m. - baby attempted to go back to sleep. It didn't work. She's howling. You know she's teething and that motrin only lasts so long.

5:00 a.m. - you've gone up. You've given her tylenol. Held her as long as it should take to kick back in. Nursed her because she's totally wired. Decide that sleep training is stupid when daddy is about to be up anyways and he's always looking a little forelorn when you insist we let her play upstairs when she's awake in time for his weekday breakfast (avoid making early risings a habit in theory... ah well)

5:30 a.m. - you've dressed. Toddler has nursed. She's sat awkwardly on your hip while you finish up breakfast.

5:40 a.m. - Daddy usually is down and eating by now. Figure it's ok to set up baby to have breakfast. Why not?

5:45 a.m. - Toddler is set up and howling at having been set down. Daddy finally emerges from the ether, which calms her for a few minutes. He says HIIIIIII CHAYA in an amused voice betraying his delight to see the little Miss. Mommy is not amused and points out this is not a good amount of sleep, and the baby is very grumpy.

5:47 a.m. - Daddy suggests that maybe this is just the "new normal."

5:47 a.m. - Bury Daddy's remains in the basement with his bikes. No really... Not really. Though I bet they sleep in jail sometimes.

5:50 a.m. - Daddy's almost done scarfing his breakfast. Chaya is nursing again.

6:00 a.m. - As mommy goes to put Chaya's milk&OJ back in the fridge, Chaya grabs it and angrily slurps half the cup.

6:40 a.m. - Breakfast part two, after some rambling around the house.

Timeless...

Chaya only consents to be put in her chair, after being supplied with a tupperware full of freeze dried strawberries. As the tray is set down, she yells NAH. Offer her banana. Chaya shakes her head. Then yells NAH again. She eats some strawberries, puts some strawberries in her oatmeal. You put the slices of banana that you'd offered her earlier in her oatmeal. Chaya tosses the the strawberries out of the tupperware. She then plays with the lid for several minutes.

Chaya pokes at her oatmeal. Finds a banana in her oatmeal and yells NAH. Reaches for your coffee. Howls like she's been stabbed, then shoves a strawberry in her mouth while pointing to her reflection in the window and humming DADADADA.

Move some of Chaya's egg to her tupperware. Chaya eats a few pieces from the tupperware.

Chaya throws some egg in her oatmeal.

Chaya throws one spoon on the ground and returns to the tupperware lid. She finds a nut from somewhere on the table (the inside of a peanut M&M) and chews on it for several hours before spitting it back out intact. Mommy goes and finds some pepitas, since she's eaten these before.

Chaya eats a pepita, and begins throwing the rest in the tupperware that used to have strawberry covered eggs.

Chaya tosses the entire tupperware of pepitas in the air. A shower of pumpkiney goodness falls upon the land.

Remove the oatmeal after realizing you're eating more of it than your stomach can take, and that Chaya is likely to throw it on the floor eventually.

Bring over the yogurt-PB-and-fruit smoothie bowl (fancy code for "random ass mush you threw together in the hopes she might be enticed to eat something other than dried fruit for every meal") you'd made earlier after Chaya loved a similar bowl in lieu of her previously planned dinner the other day. Chaya stabs at it with a fork, throws a few strawberries into the mix, and goes back to her tupperware lid.

Chaya yells NAH again. Ask whether she wants banana or if she's just telling you that it is a banana. She yells NAH, reaches out urgently, then shakes her head indignantly as you offer her a slice. She points to the area where other bananas are stored, indicating she doesn't want an old used banana.

Chaya grunts and points in the direction of your coffee. You offer her the banana again. Then a baby sized spork. Then a large spoon, which interests her enough to take a huge scoop of the smoothie olio and smear it all over her face.

Chaya waves the spoon around and drops egg on the ground in a 3:1 ratio to actually putting a few bites in her mouth.

Chaya starts crying woefully and tears off her bib. Then grabs some egg and shoves it in her mouth. She yells "EYE" and points at your face. You say "yes, eye" and point at your eye. She reaches for your eye in order to poke you in the eye while screaming "eye." She is dismayed that you lean forward, but not enough for her to reach you with her food-stained digits. Sobs. Then another strawberry.

Chaya grabs her milk, chews on the straw, and tries out the smoothie bowl as a trusty cupholder. Staring at you with a certain intensity, she bangs the cup on the table, spreading yogurty peanut-buttery goodness around the table. She then is "spent" and casually tosses the drink aside to the ground.

You decide that there's enough smoothie and oatmeal to last another day if you combine them. Also, Chaya likes moving things from bowl. So you bring the oatmeal bowl back out.

Chaya has no interest in mixing the two, but you go ahead and mix them anyways. You throw a few raisins into the smoothie bowl. Chaya grabs one. You mix the rest of the pepitas and errant strawberries in with the oatmeal.

After emptying half of the smoothie bowl into the oatmeal, you've refilled the bowl. You remove the smoothie bowl and take a few other things back to the sink as you get ready to clean up.

Get distracted by some notification on your computer. A few minutes later, you look back and notice that Chaya is now eating from the oatmeal bowl with gusto (and her hands).

Return to the table and drink some coffee. Chaya sees part of a banana and yells NAH! Then eats around it.

Chaya starts squirming and hooting. Remove the oatmeal and start spooning it into a storage container. Chaya picks up an errant blueberry from the oatmeal that was on her tray. Spoon a little oatmeal onto her tray directly. Chaya eats it. Continue spooning little drops of oatmeal. Chaya insists on having the large spoon. She stabs the oatmeal on her tray with it. Then eats some more. Then stabs. Then eats. Then gnaws on the spoon while pointing outside and yelling DAH!! Agree that dogs are outside sometimes, but probably not while it's so dark out.

7:15 a.m. - the velocity of food has increased, mostly towards the floor. Unleash the beast and bring her to the sink to "wash her hands." She plays with her bowls and the faucet for roughly fifteen more minutes, occasionally crying out in agony because of some imagined slight from one of the other dishes. Feel in her mouth to identify the big bulging molars poking through her gums. One is almost out. None of them are nearly close enough though. God, Daddy's right. This is the new normal.

7:54 a.m. - Chaya has done with the sink. You've removed her over-smock t-shirt. She's run around briefly and has located a bag of dried figs, which she proffers to you exepectantly. You give her a small piece. She climbs up. You give her a baby carrot that you were originally planning to eat. She takes it as you wander around the room holding her. She points into the fridge as you go to get another baby carrot. She yells NAH again, then shakes her head when you ask if she wants a banana.

7:57 a.m. - Remove a ziplock bag of squash bread you made. She points as you start to eat one. Give her the bread. She eats a small bit. Figure it's worth a shot and do the same with the egg. She takes a large hunk of egg from you, chews it for a while, and then spouts a fountain of masticated egg all over your shirt and floor.

And so goes the rest of the day...

*****



Snack

Began with lentil curls bought at the store. An experiment. One that didn't stick. Then she licks some celery dipped in peanut butter. Then half a fruit leather. Then another baby carrot. And a few bites of rye cracker. This was mostly to buy time, while putting groceries away, and less a concerted effort to feed the mad creature.

***

Lunch, which began with some pad woonsen jae (Chaya was having a serious noodle phase last week), sesame crackers and goat cheese, and a big bowl of green beans. Chaya ate the green beans, so more was made. And since Chaya was absolutely ambivalent to the noodles, except when mommy slurped some down and dangled them (which was funny but not enticing), the green beans were drizzled with oil to add a little fat to the mix.

Chaya ate half of the second bowl, making funny noises and showing off her burgeoning teeth in a green-speckled grin.

Then we ended up with Chaya (who was still breaking into howls at the indignity of her high chair) sitting on my lap, upending the bowl of green beans in front of me, throwing goat cheese all over the floor, and eventually growing compulsive about removing the sesame crackers from their container, breaking them and stacking them on the table. Again, eating every third cracker piece. Somewhere in there, she finished her milk, drank a fair bit of water, and threw aside her first milk cup when she saw I'd filled another already.

Lunch ended when Chaya turned around on the ball and started tearing at my shirt.

***

Snack after an unprecedented 2.5 hour nap

Chaya ate most of an almond butter sandwich, a small bowl of frozen peas, several raisins, and some puffs.

***



Dinner when Daddy gets home

Chaya tasted a piece of bread she had demanded from mommy, ignored her rice, eschewed her egg, drank all of her water (and then spends several eons removing her straw and poking it back into the lid), swilled half of her milk&oj, and maybe ate roughly half of a Plum Organic Over-priced-applesauce-but-toddler-won't-eat-regular-applesauce-or-much-else-from-a-refillable-pouch-so-lord-knows-what's-magical-about-this-puree-and-pouch pouch. She used the remainder of the pouch puree apple-sauce to finger paint all over the tray. Then she played at the sink for several hours while mommy feels that stupid couple of molars that are so nearly through, she can feel the indents and some serious sharpness.

***

Fell asleep easily.

Woke up at 4:30 a.m.

Begin anew!!

Swingin' Seventeen Month Old

Rules for "Managing" The Big Old 2-1 Nap Transition for your Fiesty Seventeen Month Old:





1. Be consistent. Set them down at the same time every day and avoid morning naps in order to help them reset their biological clocks and consolidate that nap.

2. BUT be flexible. The cumulative sleep debt will probably totally derail everything. So, you know, maybe it's better if you alternate one and two nap days.

3. OH AND, be rigid about the morning and consistent about the midday nap, but move bedtime around like crazy because there's nothing like an early bedtime.

4. BUT, it will probably lead to even earlier wake up times.

5. Hang in there.

6. Although, was your child really ready to drop that nap? If it's not working, man, why are you forcing this??

7. Never try a nap transition or make any changes to the schedule if your child is any of the following: teething, sick, just back form holidays or vacation, going through a developmental milestone, under 42 inches tall, warmblooded, or growing hair.

8. Do everything you can to avoid that sleep debt building up if child is (a) any of the above factors listed in number 7, or (b) making a nap transition. Oh yeah, and actually teething doesn't really disrupt sleep. Science said so. So I guess whatever. Your child is just a drama queen suckered in by old wive's tales and probably fake news propogated by 400 pound Russian trolls.

9. BUT don't fall back on any old sleep crutches under any circumstances.

10. There is ultimately one right way to do this. The other ways will just lead to months of agony. Go cold turkey. Maybe you alternate every other day or somehow otherwise wean out the morning nap. Or the afternoon nap. Or maybe you'd better gradually push the morning nap back by fifteen minutes very slowly. Or maybe you should stop trying this transition thing and try to put your child down earlier in the morning. Because you never know. In fact, just leave her/him in the crib for the entire day and the odds are that at least one nap will eventually happen.

11. Oh seriously, sleep training is basically child abuse. Co-sleep with your child according to her natural rhythms. I'm sure one of you is not at work at any given time of the day, right? Get a baby carrier that allows your child to be suckled to your breast at all times. Schedules are such an artificial trapping of modern civilization.

12. Oh yeah? Science says you're wrong! Circadian rhythms. Homeostatic sleep pressure. Peak melatonin. Delta waves... uh mumbo jumbo voodoo jujubees.

13. Science says your face looks like a gorilla and that you smell like two gorillas fornicating in a sauna.

14. Uh... you know science isn't actually an anthropomorphic being or deity right?

15. By the way, Math says your momma so fat that uh actually math isn't super quick on the badinage. But Math doesn't like you very much.

16. Well the feeling is mutual. You don't wanna hear what Anthropology has to say about you. Now back to baby sleep.

...

Anyways, so far I'm doing exactly what nobody recommends. During the week, Chaya passes out in the carseat on the drive home from some morning activity. It's one of those theoretically dreaded catnaps (meow - but no politically topical "pussy caps," because she's strongly against headgear). Usually between 15 minutes to 25. So, in theory these are supposed to be the absolute worst thing ever. Like they make it hard to fall asleep for a real nap, but they also aren't restful. Which  may be true. I don't know. What I know is she zonks and I push her nap time back a bit. And she takes a longer nap around 1 to 1:30 (her old second nap time, before she started needing more and more awake time).

Some days, she doesn't fall asleep in the car. Then I put her down for a nap at 12:00 or so. And hopefully she sleeps. If  not, or even if so, we hope to god there's chance for an early bedtime.

And, at least for this week, it didn't matter when I put her down or how much she slept during the day. She basically slept 10.5 hours. Except for the mysterious 10 hour Friday and Saturday mornings. Which isn't ideal. She was having a nice long spell of 11 hour nights. And when we put her down an hour early last night, it seemed to get her back to a nice meaty 11 hours (with her trademark 5:20 waking of course)

 But it is what it is. She's a toddler. It's not horrible. I do think the burgeoning molars have something to do with it, but who can say how much. At least the last couple of days, she's been waking up happy and not flipping her baby shiznet.



In the meantime Chaya is blossoming up all kinds of awesome language and understanding.

Here's a makeshift list of Chaya words:

Dah - dog, or really any four legged animal
Bu(unpronouncable noise)eh - bunny and/or any stuffed animals of indeterminate classification
Bay(unpronouncable noise)eh - baby, particularly the ones on her poster
Zhuu - shoe
Ni - knee
EYE - eye (often uttered while jabbing at somebody's eye and shrieking)
Nah - banana
hooohooohooo - monkey (well, "what does a monkey say?")
SZSZSZSZSZS - Snake
BAAAAABAAAA - sheep/lamb
Puuu - puff. Snack. She hasn't used this one as much recently.
Dadda - daddy, of course. Although sometimes she says variations which seem to mean something else.
Buuuh - Boot
Baaaaauh - Bath
Ouuuuu - usually "out" I think...



occasionally maaaahmaaah, but only if she wants something or is unhappy. Maaauuh -  usually means kissy noise.

Words I don't quite know yet, but which clearly mean something.

minamina
miiiimiiii
laddladdladdle




Words she especially understands and enjoys responding to:

eye/nose/mouth/knee/shoulder/ear/light/fan
mommy/gramma Pam/Grampa Ian
Dance
Jump
Shoes/socks
"take off ____"
"Put on ____"
"Sit down"
turn on/off the light
Want to go to the bathroom (which just means mommy carries her while mommy uses the bathroom, and Chaya makes the whole thing very awkward by not wanting to be put down)
"Wash your hands/the dishes"
"Where are/is..."
"Look ___ (direction)"
Outside
Walk
Let's go shopping
Would you sit down so I can put your shoes on?

...

Actually the list goes on to a pretty impressive extent. Thursday morning, I told her we were going shopping. She found socks. Then shoes. Then her coat. Then, while I was distracted, she brought me my keys, and my coat.

And she laughs when I tell her that I'm going to go to the bathroom.

**



And she is definitely starting to assert even more of her preferences, and testing boundaries. For about a week, Chaya insisted that I be the one to carry her upstairs for bedtime. This is despite her father always doing so.

And boy does she have preferences about which books she wants somebody to read to her (if she starts saying DAH, it means she wants the Dog book, of course). Which shoes. What utensil will actually induce her to decide to start eating. We've had a lot more mealtimes in which Chaya practices her throwing, bouncing, mixing, and smearing skills far more than any actual eating.




And she's growing a wee bit more independent. When we get to a slide, she can now climb up and slide down on her own. Not that she doesn't request assistance sometimes still, but often she'll take off as soon as we arrive. She's not quite gotten to reverse climbing the slides, but boy is she trying. And she's getting more proficient walking down stairs.

It's amazing to watch her grow and evolve every single day, in other words. It's interesting to watch the blend of growing independence and little twinges of separation anxiety. As if her desire to be her own person reinforces the existence of her support people.

And, it being well past 5:20 a.m., the baby is giving herself a minor tutorial on crib climbing. That terrifying transfer to toddler bed (and all the baby room-proofing that may ensue) looms on the horizon. But as a more distant likelihood. Probably something to save for that 18 month regression I keep hearing about.

As we truck on, we cross our fingers, continue removing potentially deadly and breakable objects from higher and higher ground. Anyone want any beautiful paintings or several pounds of books?

Happy Seventeen Sweet Chay-Chay. Pretty soon, I'll just be telling people you're 'a year and a half'

And then I'll be thinking you're a year or two younger than you are.

And then you'll be graduating from college. And then... well, I hope that then you'll sleep pretty well, but that will be kind of on you at that point.