Two of Baby’s beloved routines changed this week. She’s quite the trooper and dealt with them incredibly well. But it was definitely a rough week for her.
First, she moved to a new level of her tumbles class. Since September, we’ve been going to classes at JW Tumbles. (If you have one near you, I highly recommend the classes; they have the perfect balance of focused, teacher-led actives and free play.) Since September, she has run around with her fellow Wobblers – kids ages 10-18 months. She learned the order of activities, looked forward to circle time, and only got out of the swing when the ball pit was brought out. She ‘made friends’ which, for a toddler, means she recognized seeing the same kids week after week (and for me means that I learned all of the kids’ names). This week, she moved up to be a Wiggler. Wigglers are kids ages 1.5 – 2.5. They are older – some much older. Many activities are the same but they are led in a different order. I imagine it must give her a feeling similar to the one I feel when I walk into a new grocery store. The bread and milk are still there but they aren’t in the right place and the people are all different.
Then, even more traumatic, we took away her bedtime bottle. Yeah, at 19 months we are a little late to the bottle elimination party. We started a few months ago but Baby is very specific about how her liquids are delivered. She is adamant that water comes out of a cup and milk comes out of a bottle. It seems so weird that someone who has been on this Earth such a short time can develop such strong beliefs about anything.
Her milk intake had already decreased significantly after we took away her afternoon bottle and we didn’t want her diet to loose milk completely. But after days of nighttime wakings due to poopy diapers, we seemed to be at an impasse. And so, last Friday night, she drank her last bedtime bottle.
They say bedtime routines are important for babies. I think they are just as important for parents. For nearly 19 months, we had a well defined bedtime routine with well defined roles. I’d take Baby upstairs to get changed into pajamas while M would tidy up downstairs (when I was breast-feeding) or heat up the bottle (when breastfeeding stopped). Then we’d read a book (or two) before one of us would stay and do the pre-bedtime feeding. Somehow removing the feeding, made us all unsure of what we were to be doing. Without a bottle to heat up, M didn’t know what to do with himself while I got the pajamas on. And after stories were done, neither of us knew what to do next. None of this helped Baby who wanted either milk or to go to sleep.
But tonight, I am cautiously optimistic that we may have figured out a new routine and bedtime is on its way to becoming once again one of the more enjoyable parts of the day.
Transitions are hard for everyone. As the parent, you want to help your baby through them but sometimes you aren’t even sure yourself what to do. But I try to keep perspective and remember that we’ve already made it through quite a few transitions in Baby’s short life. There is always an awkward phase, a period of adjustment, before things settle into a new normal. This is perspective I need to stock up on, as with potty training, giving up the pacifier, and who knows what else ahead, transition is going to be my new routine for a while.
In spite of the transitioning, we had a pretty good week here. A few highlights to remind me why I love this baby phase:
I was more girly-girl than tomboy growing up, but I never really loved ‘doing hair.’. I could barely figure out what to do with my own locks, let alone help a friend with theirs. For months now, Baby’s hair has been poking her eyes and while I want to wait a bit longer before cutting it, I also wasn’t really looking forward to styling it. Then, last weekend, she sat on my lap as I dried my hair. When I was done, she was content to continue organizing my make-up drawer so I took advantage of her relative stillness and pulled the hair on the top of her head into a ponytail. M loved it and Nanny and the neighbors all complimented her. Today I felt even braver and attempted pigtails. The first attempt resulted in a part that looked like it had been done without the benefit of sight. But the second attempt was nothing short of adorable.
2. Sleepy cuddles
This week, Nanny shifted the girls’ nap times back and hour (yet another transition! Poor Baby!). It seems to be working well; Baby is tired when nap time rolls around now and goes right to sleep. But when she gets tired, she starts to get cuddly. She asks to be picked up, which on its own is quite normal. But once I have her up, she rests her head on my shoulder. Notable because of the rarity of such an action from my little bundle of energy. And hands down one of the best feelings ever.
3. Simple pleasures
Springtime always leads M and I into the alluring, though rather false belief that we are natural gardeners. We go to the nursery, ask for advice on what to buy, think seriously about the proper mix of flowers versus non-flowering plants, and carefully choose flowers of complimentary colors. Then we bring them home and dutifully water them… for the first week or two. As summer drags on, we return to our normal routine of feeding and watering only those organisms who audibly request sustenance.
In the midst of this year’s gardening extravaganza, Baby found a new favorite activity: ‘helping Daddy water the plants.’. This involves lots of shrieking and dancing while the hose covers the flowers, and Baby, in a light refreshing mist. Five minutes later, the flowers are watered and Baby is soaked right down to her diaper and grinning from ear to hear, her big beautiful eyes sparkling behind the drops of water dripping from her eyelashes. The pure joy I see in her face makes the not insignificant clean up work (stripping off drenched clothes, finding a new outfit halfway through the day, re-doing the aforementioned pigtails) more than worth it. I think we might do pretty well at keeping this year’s garden thriving.
Ahh the joy of 19 months.