I've been mentally thwarted lately, stalled out, stuck in limbo.
It's been a difficult transition for me, letting go of the infant phase yet again, moving forward into more unknowns with Abby, and so many familiar and unfamiliar places with her younger siblings all at once.
I know that the growth has been gradual, the progress steady, but the realization and and acknowledgement of it all- that has been sudden. Sudden, and impossible to deny. To make things all the more difficult, Mia seems to have come to some sort of epiphany herself, some hyper-awareness of her level of independence, and now she appears to want some of that old dependence back. The trouble is, the dependence she wants revolves around the daytime sleep that she needs, and I haven't a lot of flexibility in that area.
I feel that the problem is two-fold in that she's finding it necessary to make adjustments to her nap schedule, and at the same time she's feeling some anxiety about leaving me (and whatever else that life has to offer that awaits her beyond the bars of her crib) to take a nap at all. It's left me in a bind because not only do lengthier waking periods between naps make it difficult to actually fit in two and still have a willing participant in bedtime, continuing on with two naps has meant twice the battles throughout the day to get her snoozing at all.
My reluctant solution has been to force her towards one nap a little sooner than she is perhaps quite ready, and it's really been no easier, but it's hard to consider turning back now.
The real kicker is that she can just barely almost make it to lunchtime before entering full-on overtired mode, so if she would just sleep one hour longer in the morning, we'd have it made. We'd also finally have all three waking up at around the same time, instead of having to cater to our little early bird for awhile before really starting the day.
Of course, the problem still remains that she hasn't yet gotten it in her head to make that one nap count. In fact, she's been cutting it shorter than her first nap used to be, likely due to all the stress that has been preceding it. And the stress, the tears... They're getting to her, they're getting to me. I'm questioning nearly every decision I've made with her in the last week or so.
I'm feeling a little lost.
As I nursed my deliriously exhausted little one to sleep this evening, I let her go on and on and on. Even as my own head began to nod and I jerked the both of us out of slumber on a few occasions, I lingered. She needed me for just a little longer, and in the moment I clearly recognized how dear the temporary reality was, how consciously I should cherish it. The day is not long ahead of me that she will walk right out of my grasp on two steady legs, hardly taking the time to look back and make sure I'm still behind her. I need to hold on to the little bit of baby that she's got left, especially when she's begging me to do it.
The question is how to keep a hold of her, and keep a hold on the rest of my life at the same time.
Eventually, the time came to put her down, and I did, to the soundtrack of whimpering despair. She cried briefly, but did not fight me, and had quieted before my feet reached the bottom of the stairs.
I'm left to wonder yet again how she will fare in the morning, how I will face the next day with her, when progress seems so slow in coming. I'd be all too happy to let her stay a baby a little longer, but baby or not, she's got to nap, she's got to sleep.
Perhaps tomorrow will be the day. Until then, I'll be waiting, and doubting, and hoping all at once.