I have felt that all I have done for the past week is cry. Last week, my Elizabeth turned 20 months old and, almost simultaneously, learned how to climb out of her crib, an action borne out of her pure stubbornness about going to bed one night. She has also seemingly decided that bedtime/naptime is a mere suggestion, not a requirement. So, on average, I am spending forty-five minutes to an hour in her room each night, telling her to lie down every time she tries to stand up in her crib or even administering discipline when she actively and brazenly tries to climb out of her crib to go back to the living room. She’s already climbed out four times and come close to hurting herself, so we are endeavoring to train the behavior out of her if possible.
But, yes, with all of this comes extra weariness and being more wired for me, frustration and feeling inadequate to the task, hence the tears almost every day and sometimes multiple times a day. There’s also physical pain when my daughter fights me with all of her toddler hulk strength when she is feeling angry or obstinate, necessitating me to put her down in her crib rather than cuddle her at bedtime. And that hurts even more.
I have lost my cuddle time with my baby. She might let me hold her long enough for her to drink her sippy of warm milk but then she has begun to fight to get down and away, which means I have to put her in her crib and repeat “lie down”, that it is time to sleep. My girl is active, going all the time, so cuddle time is rare.
There has been a good development on that front, though: she will actually sit with me at storytime, not just run around while I read, and we have found her favorite book. Caroline Jayne Church’s Good Night, I Love You. Caroline’s children’s books are among my favorites and I want to collect them all for Elizabeth. I have Good Night, I Love You memorized, as Elizabeth insists on it being read several times before bedtime. I believe she has it memorized, too, as she knows just when to turn the pages and looks up at me right after I say the final lines of the book: “I love you. Good night.” She always has this big grin on her face when she looks up at me and I kiss her forehead or cheek.
So it’s been a week of growth and tears, and with today comes a refusal to nap and more attempts to climb so…I dare say: here we go again.