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My big independent clingy little (baby) girl

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

My big independent clingy little (baby) girl

Alexis is going through the transition from "baby" to "child" so to speak. I am not entirely ready for this, yet with another baby on the way it's a blessing too. We have never really had to force any changes on her, they've all happened naturally with relative ease. Most of the time she is the one urging us to catch up to the developmental leaps she has already made in her mind. Her daddy and I are so proud of how well she is maturing and love witnessing her own little personality blossoming a little more day by day.

In the last month or so she has been weaned off the breast, started memorising actions to her favourite songs, had a big increase in vocabulary, started 'drawing' on paper with pens and pencils and started to recognise specific instructions from us. She mimicks what she sees us doing. She talks on the telephone. She blows on her food to cool it down. She puts patty cake papers in muffin trays. She mothers her dolls and bears. She fights us to sit on a normal chair at the table instead of the highchair. She wants to use a fork. She detests the pram, despises the cot and hates being held still. She begs to play outside. She walks away from me to explore. She whinges if I cut her food up too small or try to spoon-feed her. She picks and chooses what food she will eat. It is a mammoth task to change her nappy because she hates being still and wants to wipe herself. She is so independent and so grown up.

Yet at times she is such a little baby, so clingy and insecure. She still wants to drink milk out of a bottle not a cup. She still wants a dummy when she's tired. She still wants to know where her mummy is at all times. She still runs up for a cuddle. She still wants to sit on my lap while she plays with her toys. She still wants my attention immediately the second I try to go to the toilet or shower or have something to eat, or Alexis forbid I try to have a sleep. She still won't go to sleep for anyone other than me (including her father) unless she's in the car. She still won't sleep through the night and when she wakes she will only re-settle after a nice long cuddle with me.

I am so confused at the moment. I don't know how to handle her. I would hazard a guess that this is a normal part of development but I don't know what to do. I seem to spend most of my days chasing her and most of my nights wishing she'd leave me alone for five minutes. It's exhausting. I'm tired most of the time. I've been sick for months. When someone finally takes Alexis so I can have a rest I can't sleep because I am so used to having her around. So is baby Wormy, who kicks me like crazy whenever I lie down. I feel like a bad mother because I can't get Alexis to eat properly or sleep properly and I can't stop us from being sick all the time. She has horrible yellow runny poos which I assume is from the formula, but I'm not sure if I should stop giving her formula because she isn't eating properly.

We have big trouble getting Alexis to go to sleep. It's the one thing I wish we could change the most, but considering all she's been going through in her little world it's not so surprising that she doesn't want to stop to sleep. Every single moment is an adventure. Every single item is a potential toy. Anything and everything is to be studied, examined, felt, listened to, smelt, even tasted.  She is learning all the time. It must be exhausting yet she's so busy learning and having fun she really hates to stop.  We try to be as firm as we can at saying "it's bedtime now". This causes her to run as fast as she can and try to hide from us.  She doesn't understand how her parents can be so lame. :p   

We are trying to insist she gets a decent amount of sleep though, because lack of sleep takes its toll on all of us. We know that part of the reason she is so hard to settle is because she is overtired. I often miss her subtle signs of being tired because I am overtired myself. She has problems sleeping because she is sick and not eating properly but she doesn't eat properly because she is tired and sick but she is sick because she is not eating or sleeping properly.  It's a nasty circle and I don't know what the best course of action is.  

Sometimes it all seems so hopeless. I get a bad case of the "I'm a bad mum and a useless wife, I should go back to work and pay someone else to look after her" far too often. Sometimes it seems like everything is somebody else's fault and I just don't get a say in it (eg neighbourhood hoons, ambient light, door knockers, delivery men etc). Yet at other times, it seems like everything is falling into place and like I am doing well, or like easier times are ahead.  It's not at all uncommon for me to have all three trains of thought travelling through the giant tunnel that is my brain simultaneously.  

Last night Alexis slept in her very own "big girl bed" for the first time. I "slept" on a mattress beside the bed. She actually did really well, only waking briefly once or twice but woke up with a  coughing fit at 5am and we couldn't get her back to sleep until 9am. That said though, she was in there from 10:30 or so til 5 and thats a great effort.

Here is what happened. Corey and I put her new bedroom together yesterday while Alexis had a special play day at her grandparents' house. We had originally asked mum and dad to take her to swimming because Corey wasn't up to it and they offered to take her for a few hours so we could catch up on sleep. Both of us couldn't sleep though, so we decided to put her new bed together and set up her new room. I am so glad we did. 

The look on Alexis' face when we introduced her to her brand new room yesterday arvo was so precious. She was so proud of herself and displayed the biggest smile and "cheeky eyes". She wondered around the room pulling books out for her granddad to read to her. Once my parents left we played for a while, had dinner, then thought Alexis was ready for bed.

We tried to settle her in her bed but the only place we could put her monitor and night light (needs a powerpoint) was on her bedside table. She took a real interest in it, pushing the buttons turning the lullaby and light on and off for about half an hour. We started thinking that's what she had causing all the fuss about for months in her cot, she wanted to play with the baby monitor! By then she had caught her second wind and sleep was not an option. 

When she was still up a few hours later we resorted to taking her for a drive until she fell asleep then placed her in her cot. She woke screaming about half an hour later. She wouldn't resettle in my arms and the cries got louder when I took her towards the master bedroom so I thought I should try her bed. She snuggled in and went to sleep. Amazing! I slept on the mattress on the floor next to her, as I said.

Tonight (Sunday) Corey and I made a point of playing in Alexis' new room with her before bed. Corey set the safety rail up and taught her how to slide out down the bottom of the bed. He set up a new battery operated monitor with nightlight on her chest of drawers. He also set up an ipod dock so I danced her to sleep with music from her own ipod. Spoilt baby! She didn't put up much of a fuss when I put her down in her bed although I deliberately made sure she woke up enough to realise where she was before patting her back to sleep. I want her to know where she is because I am attempting to sleep in my room tonight.

It feels like her new room is so far away. I've peeked at her through the monitor a few times. So has Corey so I don't feel so bad. It has a night vision video camera so we were checking on her every now and then. We saw her wake briefly, rub her eyes, roll onto her side and go back to sleep. It was so cool. 

I really hope she likes her new room. So far so good. She loves playing in there, she loves the freedom, and her new bed is so comfy! Yes I've tried it, I had to test we put it together properly didn't I! ;) Nothing but the best for my big independent clingy little (baby) girl. 

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