Toddler Batteries

Today was a really good day. You know why? Because I painted for three hours straight. It was dreamy. I love our new one-long-nap-a-day routine. It’s not like I’ve got Baby Bug on a rigid schedule, it’s more like I’ve got my expectations in line with her inner schedule. It took me a while to get here (and I’m sure I’m jinxing it by writing about it) but it sure is nice.

The trick to this new routine is to read Baby Bug’s low battery symbol correctly. When she starts getting cranky, her battery symbol is blinking. It’s a warning. But it doesn’t mean to put her down right that minute. It means I have about an hour left to go.

Toby hates this low battery stage. Baby Bug is cranky and cries at every little bump and scuff. If you take a crayon away from her, while she’s coloring a masterpiece on the wall, all hell will break lose. She’s just generally a crank to be around. But it isn’t worth putting her down yet because she will fight a nap like getting a tooth pulled. She’s just tired enough to be cranky and sour but not tired enough to think of sleep as something that will probably feel good.

Toby always asks me, “What’s wrong with her?” (as if I have some great motherly wisdom that knows all). I try to explain to him that her mood is directly related to where she is in her nap schedule. This is where I break out the graphs and charts…

TERROR TODDLER CHART

When she first wakes up she’s a little grumpy because she wakes up slow. About half an hour later she’s the sweetest baby ever. She laughs and plays and smiles at everything. This happy fun stage lasts for about two to three hours. Around that fourth hour, she starts to be a pessimist.

Putting flash cards in a box suddenly become incredibly frustrating and the baby that used to “try, try again” now wails and throws the cards on the floor in disgust. She doesn’t want apple juice or orange juice and when you tell her that it is NOT cookie time, she’ll throw herself on the floor and bemoan the weight of the world. The fourth hour toddler is not a fun toddler. She’s a pain in the neck.

However, if you can wait out that fourth hour, the fifth hour is divine. She wants to cuddle. She wants to read stories and sit in your lap. She wants to sing and before I know it she’ll start fingering her pacifier and rolling around on her bed (she takes her nap on the futon—the crib days are gone). Two minutes later her eyes are closed and she’s fast asleep without a whimper of resistance. I can put up with an hour of pessimist baby for this.

Not every day but lately she’s been taking longer and longer naps. The other day she slept for four hours straight! I think she’s growing. Sometimes, I swear she’ll wake up looking taller. She’s getting to be such a big girl.

little miss picnic

This picture was taken half an hour after a two hour nap. You can almost see the fully charged green battery symbol on her forehead.