The End of An Era

From Infant to Toddler

The Lillian on the left is what I gave to the daycare teachers 15 months ago. She was brand new and we hardly even knew her yet. Lilly’s teachers were essentially the same crew that Gabby had and I knew I could trust them with her, but it’s just heartbreaking to spend time away from a baby so new. She wasn’t sitting supported yet, she was still exclusively breastfed (but started bottle-feeding just prior to starting daycare). I don’t even think she received her second round of shots yet.

The Lillian on the right is what I have now. She is starting to use two word sentences, is the queen of “MINE,” she dances, and she demands specific songs from me at bedtime. Even though I took the time with Lilly to see her during my work day for close to the first 9 months I still feel like I missed so much. She has matured so much faster than Gabby did. She crawled sooner, talked sooner, tried table food sooner… We’ve been trying to hold her off from potty training for weeks because she is transitioning to the toddler classroom and I don’t want her to have too many changes happening at once.

With Lilly being our last baby, every milestone is a reminder that it’s the last first steps or the last first cheerios. It’s simultaneously so sad and so freeing to think that we are soon going to be parents of pre-schoolers – not babies. It’s the end of an era and the start of a new one.

Sleep Training… My White Whale

I was going to have my lovely husband write this post and then I realized that I would be doing you all a disservice by not admitting to the fact that at 2.5 years old, Gabby is still not a good sleeper. 

What would be more useful is the tale of how I screwed up her ability to sleep forever and what I have learned along the way. If it makes you feel better, Lillian is a fabulous sleeper, so if you screw up like I did, just try again with your second kid. The best thing about subsequent children is the ability to see you are not a failure of a parent, you just didn’t know what you were doing as a new parent. 
Because I was home with Gabby full-time for 7 months, I never put her on a schedule. I had no idea how, I tried a few times to just impose one out of nowhere and repeatedly failed. For a type A person, I am not good with routines. When I finally got a job after graduate school and Gabby started daycare, I begged them to help me get her on a schedule. At this point (I hate to admit), she napped sporadically and slept in our bed every night. She had never spent one night in her crib. BIG MISTAKE. 
Daycare got her on a good schedule but the pediatrician and my co-workers looked at me sideways when I said she still nursed all night at 9 months old. The doctor said there was no biological reason for her to nurse all night and since she was starting to crawl it was pretty unsafe to have her in our bed, so we did some reading on sleep training. 
We decided we would try a gentle approach where we would go in to soothe her at ever-elongating increments until she got over it. I lasted about two days before the hubs took over and I drowned out the sound by locking myself in the downstairs bathroom until she stopped. It took about 4 days and we were all good.
For a few months. Every few months ever since we have had to repeat the process. She does now sleep 12 hours at night but by 12 months, she was only napping sporadically and now she doesn’t nap at all on non-daycare days (because she hates me). 
So what have I learned? I started letting Lillian sleep in her crib at night starting around 3 months old. Newborns sleep better on their stomachs (which is why they love to ball up on your chest), so I put her to sleep on her tummy and flipped her over onto her back after a little while. I learned Lilly’s natural sleep schedule and then reinforced it. I learned to put her to bed when she was tired, which was for a long time 6pm. It was sad for me to come home from work and put her straight to bed, but we are now reaping the benefits. She is a great sleeper. 
The moral of the story? Do what works for you and your family. Everybody screws up. And if you screw up as bad as I did, you can always try again by having another kid!