Sleepy Sixteen (and 3/4) Says Bye Bye Baby

Our dear manic pixie dream bae is a baby no more. Ok, technically she's still kind of babyish. And she's just learning the word BAYBAY, which seems to include herself and all pictures of babies and toddlers on her poster.

... But she has truly wiped away the last vestiges of babyness in my eyes. This is truly and surely a toddler in all sense of the word. Her receptive language has exploded, and she is developing new words every day. Sometimes I wonder why she keeps yelling DAH when I get to the the fridge and after she's demanded her twentieth NAH (banana) of the day. Turns out actually she's pointing at the cow on our yogurt container. Because dogs and cows are the same thing in her world. In toddle-waddle land, snakes say SSSSSS, monkeys hoot, lambs go BAAAABAAA, Dogs arf arf (as do ducks, apparently); she dances when you say the word; bellies/eyes/ears/noses/mouths are all things that can be pointed out and pounded; brushes/hats/sunglasses/necklaces/socks/gloves/shirts come on and off and are used in some semblance of their appropriate usage; everything has crayon/pen/pencil/paint marks; color matters; everything is made for stocking and throwing; nothing is funnier than having mommy throw a towel over your head before you take a lap around the kitchen shrieking; and nothing is more worthy of a tantrum than mommy misunderstanding your direction to throw that towel over your head and instead thinking you wanted to play the "blow your nose" game you were playing two minutes ago.

In my toddle-waddle land, it's normal to find toy boats in my bed, half gnawed NAs in my purse, and my keys in the empty puffs container somebody retrieved from the recycling and relocated to the laundry hamper. And ... nothing else. To find nothing else anywhere ever.

And the progress and perils continue on.

Sleep... it could be worse. It was markedly worse this time last year. I hear it might get worse again. So far, we will definitely embrace the term "regression," though. Whether it's teething (it's never teething, but still, maybe it is - girl hasn't finished off her incisors yet, but I swear I can feel a swelling where a molar might be and when she's actually opening her mouth in the carseat, I swear I see an incisor poking through), upset stomach, nap transition, cognitive milestones, early 18 month regression... it definitely is a throw back to the olden days when she didn't nap quite so well.

Baby finally has bedhead!!

I hate to even invite destiny's contradiction, but so far she sleeps mostly ok at night. Mostly.

Ok, there was last night where she started howling after I put her down and Andrew spent a half hour holding her until she'd gotten drowsy enough to let him put her down again. And the fact that she woke up early this morning.

 Yeah, she's been waking up early quite consistently. Really, she's been pretty much getting up before 5:30 even on days where she goes down later). If she's been awake too long before crashing, she also tends to wake up vexingly early (10.5 hours instead of 11, or even 11.5 if we're really making up a bad nap day and managed to get to bed early enough).

But mostly naps have been the massive problem. Her second nap - when it was a second nap - usually got longer to make up for a missed or truncated morning nap. Her sole nap looked to be doing just that the first few weeks. But now, not so much. We've had naps ranging from an hour and ten minutes to forty minutes. Which is brutal on both ends.

Sleep never really recovered from Thanksgiving. There was a brief interim where she was starting to recover from that awfulness. Then the first nap died. Then two weeks of what seemed like promising transition. Then train wreck sleep debt regression. I tried going back to two naps a few times. Every once in a while it works. Sometimes early in the morning. Sometimes - like the last three days - she passes out in the car at some totally random time and I rush to Tetris the hell out of our usual schedule. Eleven o'clock nap for twenty minutes aaaaaaaand... GO!

There are the occasional long naps. My standards have changed. That first week or two, I was ok with an hour and forty, but was hoping for two hours. Now I'm relieved at the 45 minute mark, then again at the hour mark, then again at the hour and twenty. If she makes it past that, I guarantee that I've done nothing all nap time except stare at the monitor waiting for her to stir. She does stir. Usually every 40 minutes or so, but on those blessed days, she lifts her head, rolls over and sleeps some more. Of course on the longer nap days, she's often grumpy as all get out when she wakes. But it's random. And hard to predict.

And no matter how they configure, I want to think I've figured it out. Was it not giving her dairy at lunch? Was it a double dose of tylenol and motrin? Was it a little nap in the morning followed by a later sleep? Was it an earlier naptime? A later bedtime? Getting out and being really active? Staying chill so she doesn't get overtired? Was it the red underwear I was wearing that day? But if anything suffers from a severe replication crisis, it is the sleep schedule of a sixteen and a half month toddler.

My current theory is that she is best being awake about 5 hours in the morning and 4-5 for the rest of her day. Which is awkward for two naps. But requires some pretty long over-stretches with one,  given she sleeps 11 hours at night at most and doesn't take long naps. So in my desperate attempt to make sleep better in the face of a thousand confounding factors, I may try putting her down for a morning nap much later in the morning and then seeing what to do about a second afternoon nap.

And I swear that was a flash of white I saw in her gum when I momentarily got a glimpse. Girl is very protective of her mouth, despite loving to shove a hand straight into anyone else's.

 I only manage to get her teeth brushed, by allowing her to "help" with the dishes. She could live at the edge of the sink. We got her a little ladder to help her wash her hands. But then she started grabbing dishes. Sometimes the sponge. And it's not nearly as disasterously messy as I'd imagine. There's usually a tantrum when we finally relent on poor Mother Nature and turn off the faucet.

But, yes, sleep. By the time we figure this all out, of course, we'll probably tank it all and officially move. That's right MOVE!

We have officially embraced...

MOUNT VERNON, WA as our Grand Compromise/Happening Place for the Wrights to be.

No, nothing tangible yet. Apparently real estate (in the off season and right now and right where we want to be) in Mt. Vernon is pretty much hotter than a ghost peppers smothered in wasabi. Several times we've resolved to look at a house that just came onto the market; several times, said house has gone "pending" by the time we see it. But we are keeping on keeping on. Andrew spoke with our mortgage guru and we're good to borrow copious amounts of debt should we so desire. We're working on pre-approval so we can pounce on the perfect house as it comes up.

We're giving our Real Estate agent plenty of run for his "I work in Bellingham, but for you, we can look around Mt. Vernon" money. Between me, my dad, Andrew's mom, and several Zillow/Realtor/Trulia type sites all on the alert, we are constantly flagging things.

And we're getting some good practice with our carseat naps, albeit not so often on our treks down there, yet. Perhaps today. Perhaps... perhaps... Chaya will nap on the drive down and we'll coax a decent afternoon nap out of her. Perhaps whatever caused the nocturnal meltdown last night won't recur tonight. But I count on nothing. Except my maternal drives to protect the beast and my sweet, sweet baby-daddy.

Godspeed all!

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