Every two to three months, Noah and I get into a sweet little rhythm. Our routine is established. He knows what's coming, I know what's coming. We're both happy and pleased to be hanging out with each other. Our days feel effortless. (Okay, maybe not effortless. But the predictability goes a long way with me.)
This pattern usually coincides with an increase in sleep on his end. It's safe to say that sleep has been a struggle for us. Nighttime sleep, yes. But almost more so, daytime sleep. I think it's not an exaggeration to say that Noah has only taken the prescribed number of naps for his age, oh, 50% of the time? We will really struggle for a month or two and then have a little breakthrough and enjoy two naps a day for a good stretch. He'll catch up on sleep, and then go through some astounding mental leap and we will have to learn a new rhythm for this new baby with new skills.
The first few rounds of this, I just remember thinking, "Oh my GOD. This is what it's like to have a baby who naps. I should do all the things!" And then I end up napping when he naps for several days in a row, because keeping up with him is hard work.
After going through this pattern around 8-9 months, though, I was able to put two and two together and realize something was about to change. Sure enough, my sweet baby became mobile and life was never the same. I will say that every stage is progressively more fun, but it's hard for me to not mourn the baby stages we're rapidly leaving behind.
Today, we're a few days into what I can tell is the next round of development. I glance at the monitor and see my baby napping with his fluffy butt up in the air, and I tear up a little. Because you know what? Today is sweet, and I can tell it's all about to change.
For some reason, this approaching change has really been getting to me. Noah is much more steady on his feet these days, and he's getting brave. I can tell it's only a matter of time before he goes from toddling between people and objects, to walking full-time. I can also tell we're starting the slow transition from two naps to one.
Is it ridiculous? This is really hard for me. I have a lot of guilt around Noah's naps because I feel like I don't use that time effectively. Part of me says, "you only have one kid once. Enjoy the break! You won't necessarily get it when you have more than one." The other part of me is so confused as to why I have so much on my to-do list and so much theoretical free time each day. I could've been working out and doing Bible study every single day for the past year! Wait. He hasn't napped like this for the past year. But still, it's a guilt trip when he does.
I was catching up on Touchpoints this morning, and the 12 month segment said this, "Not all babies become independent suddenly and dramatically. But when they do, I am always glad to see it. This is another touchpoint and parents will come to see the progress it represents. Though it means the simple intimacy of the first year is changing and becoming more complex, the burst of autonomy is normal and healthy. A baby's struggle to express himself and to find out his own limits will go on for many years, reaching different levels and different ages... This surge toward independence and the negativism that accompanies it starts with walking. This marks a particularly intense touchpoint, an extraoirdinary growth spurt for the child, and a trying challenge for all parents... (At this time) the close interaction between motor achievements and emotional development becomes apparent... The drive to master standing and walking upsets all the daily rhythms. Two naps, which have been predictable before, become less so."
Noah's 8:30am and 1pm routine is certainly shaken up this week. But for once it's because he's sleeping more! This week, hee's not really ready for a nap at 1 if he actually slept until 11! So, deep breath. Here we go.