Or a better title could be: Where did the sleep go? I know by now that the expression “Sleeping like a baby” is nonsense, but this month I have come to realize that toddlers hardly sleep any better. At least ours doesn’t.
In last month’s update I wrote how Maria now went to bed without fuss and only woke up once a night for a feed. Despite my banging on wood I am afraid I jinxed myself: We’ve been going through a rough patch what sleep concerns. It started with a few more night wakings, and we figured it had to do with Maria having a cold and difficulty breathing. But the number of night wakings increased, and soon enough she wouldn’t just go back to sleep after I fed her. She would cry again as soon as I put her down or – worse – start again 20 to 30 minutes later. As if that was not enough, she also started crying again as soon as we put her down for a nap and at night time. Sleep deprivation is no joke, and I was ready to sleep-train her (a euphemism for letting her cry) when suddenly, her sleep seemed to improve a little.
As of now, it’s still not perfect (last night she cried when we put her down and woke up twice for a feed) but it is so much better than it was this past month. I still think we might have to train her a little bit, but we’ll wait until Ahmed finishes his exams by the end of this month and is off for two weeks. Any tips and ideas are welcome. 🙂
Other than sleep, life has been pretty exciting with Maria. She now walks like a pro, which means she is discovering a whole new world. She is so proud of her new skill! (It wouldn’t surprise me if her sleep regression is a result of this new ability.) We let her walk as much as possible: at the playground, on the square, in the mall, in the library. The latter is located along the town’s main square. Sometimes, when we walk with her on the square, she decides by herself to enter the library and go to the second floor, where the children’s books are. She loves books and is crazy about elevators; she gets all excited when we take one.
Another thing she LOVES is water. Good thing we got a lovely pair of Jip en Janneke rain boots (a Dutch classic, pictured above), but we’re still on the lookout for a waterproof suit, so she can play with water even during these cold winter months.
At the moment, Maria has entered a new level of noisiness. I thought newborns were noisy, but I now realize toddlers are so much worse! She often screams and squeals for no reason, but has so much fun doing it. Or she thinks she has good reason to scream, which is whenever she wants something and cannot have it, or go somewhere (our bedroom or the bathroom) she cannot go. We try to distract her in such cases, a strategy that works sometimes but unfortunately not always. And when it doesn’t, it leads to those end-of-the-world kinda screams! The neighbors must think we are terrible parents…
After my parents left last month, we got back into the routine of attending different activities almost every day. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings we visit a Playcentre, where Maria can play her heart out; Wednesday mornings are for music class; Friday afternoons for SPACE, a program (Supporting Parents Alongside Children’s Education) for first-time parents and their babies. Other than that, we often go to a playground, walk in the park or the mall, go to the library, or play at home, though home seems to be the most difficult place for both of us at the moment.
Add to this the daily chores that need to be done, and our life is pretty full! But I enjoy most of the time and wouldn’t want to miss this period in Maria’s development.
However, we do look forward to the end of this month, when Ahmed finishes his exams, to enjoy two weeks with him at home before his second semester starts. We were hoping to travel to Australia, but lingering visa issues have made it impossible to plan a trip and buy tickets, so we might end up staying in the country. Perhaps we will rent a car and travel around the North Island a bit. We will see.