Life with Norah these past four months (she is now 16 months) has been nothing short of remarkable, in good ways and some hard ones. I'll start with the difficulties, because that's a much shorter list.
The unwavering challenge that we've faced as parents since day one, that we continue to face today, is sleep. Right at her first birthday, Norah went from taking 2 naps a day, for 1.5 hours or so per nap, to 1 nap a day, that lasts anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours. I think 2 or 3 times we've actually gotten a 3+ hour nap, but generally it's right at 2 hours. This has made it easier to get out and about since we don't have to plan around several naps, but also results in some cranky afternoons because N hasn't gotten enough rest throughout the day.
And that's really not even the half of it. I can deal with/easily accept the fact that she's just a short napper. What I genuinely struggle with is that Norah still doesn't sleep through the night regularly. She has, and can. But it never happens on a regular basis. I'd say since turning one we average about 1-2 nights a week of "full" sleep. The other 5-6 nights include several wake ups filled with blood curdling screams and insistence that someone be in her room with her, or she be in our bed. And even when we cave out of pure exhaustion, those resolutions don't always lead to sleep.
We've tried the tricks, we've done cry it out, all of it. Some days I think this is just going to have to be our normal, some days I cry all night right along with her. I feel like in the grand scheme of things, this is a small issue. I try to stay positive and realize that this being my biggest issue in life is a really great life to have. Remember that is will pass one day. Even though that is the case, sleep deprivation for a year and a half has seriously messed with my patience, and overall disposition. I honestly feel sorry for Will sometimes because he travels for work so much and feels bad he can't be here to help at night, then he gets home and I'm cranky and sometimes resentful. Such is parenthood I guess and we know this is just a phase and don't let it ruin our days.
That is really the only challenge I have to report. Of course Norah tries my patience daily. Tells me no. Refuses her vegetables and sometimes meals all together. I can't get her to drink milk from a cup and she loves her paci more than ever. But these are par for the course and I love seeing her turn into a person with her own preferences, even if that means a lot of battles for this or that to get accomplished.
Now on to the good stuff.
I think my favorite thing about toddler-hood is the playdates. When I imagined being an at home parent, this is what I dreamed of. My daughter making friends, me bonding and sharing stories with other moms. Her learning to interact, share, discover new places around town, and get invited to parties where we can dress her up and help other families celebrate their milestones. We have been blessed with such a wonderful community of people in the same place in life as us. Neighbors, family, old friends, people I meet on the street... And I am only half kidding about that one! I've taken Norah to classes/story times at the library, a local school, a kid's rec center, The Little Gym, and have things scheduled in January - March at another school and then a church. Meeting new friends at these classes has been a God send and I can't wait to see who we meet in our new classes in 2016.
Piggybacking off of the above, we have loved all the new experiences. Whether just the two of us, with family, or with friends, we've tried so many new things in the past few months. Different play places, parks, splash pads, museums, restaurants, etc. It's clear Norah really enjoys certain things and I love being able to witness those loves with her.
I also love how determined she's becoming. This is a fun and also trying thing, but I count it as good. Norah LOVES Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and asks to watch it all day long, and can expertly navigate my phone to find the videos if I let her. She also loves shoes and brings me various pairs to put on her all day long. Usually dress shoes with sweats, cowboy boots with pajamas, that sort of thing. And she doesn't take no for an answer. She calls a few of her family members by name, and has her own language (verbal and non verbal) to get her point across. We are officially in small person territory and out of baby territory.
Every day that passes with this little one is different than the last. She loves her Momma just as fiercely as I love her, and I can't wait to see that love grow over the years. The adventure of life with this girl is truly the good stuff.