I'm really going to try to limit the amount of time I spending writing today because I have no idea how long Natalie is going to nap for. The last two or three days, she's realized she can get out of her bed and go to the door of her room and call for us. So, this morning she started that around 545. Yesterday's nap was only an hour or so long, and I believe Saturday's was about that long, too. So, I feel like I have very limited time to relax at all.
Things have been a bit rocky here. Thursday was the worst. Natalie had major meltdowns all morning long, including throughout play group. She was still getting over her cold, but we also weren't sure when she'd woken up and she had refused her morning snack. So, the conditions for her to freak out were prime. But just in general we appear to be hitting her tantrum phase. She is crying more easily when she doesn't get her way. She also kinda runs backwards to run into walls and chairs, hits her head on the wall gently saying ouch, and plops down on her bum. The crying is the worst of it, unless she plunks down out in the street. The problem is, once she is in that kind of mood, it seems every little thing sets her off.
She is definitly trying to excert her will more. She is asking to watch TV (Yo Gabba Gabba and Kuzco, which is Emporer's New Groove) all the time. She asks for MMs (M&M candies) at every meal and snack. Luckily, most of the time she doesn't freak out when she's told no, but its hard to distract her from wanting the TV when its right there in the room we play in. Playing music seems to help keep her happy in that regard, and yogurt covered raisins are a somewhat more acceptable substitute for the chocolate.
In general, she's just been harder to live with. Its harder to keep her entertained as she seems bored with all her toys. For example, she'll ask for me to open the play doh, then only play with it for a minute. She'll ask to paint, then be done after mushing a few blobs around.
But, what makes it more complex is that she is learning so much right now. She knows how to turn off her bed room light, so she will turn it off and climb on her bed saying nap, bed, sleepy or night night before we've put her in her pjs, let alone read her any stories. Or she will get frustrated using her utensils while eating. Her moving independently is the one that drives me most crazy. When she demands to be carried after just struggling to get down or half way up a flight of stairs. I don't want to carry her. I know she is perfectly capable of going up the stairs on her feet if she hold my hand and of course walking is nothing new, so it drives me crazy when she wants me to carry her around when I'm 27 weeks pregnant. The other thing that is a little maddening is wanting to hold our hands so much to walk distances that aren't really dangerous. Walking by adults she doesn't know well I understand, but demanding I take her hand while I'm sitting on the toilet so that I can be lead somewhere in the house is just ridiculous.
So, we are on rougher times here. Part of what makes me not feel too desperate is that I've read that its really now (18-24 months) that tantrums peak, not the infamous terrible twos. But also, there are still plenty of great things going on. Lots of new words to be proud of (Brocoli is Mike's favorite right now because of how cute she says it, but also new are dog sounds, hippo, bookmark, Kermit, remote, and some others). We read her this book of Bert and Ernie opposites, and she seemed to know more of them. She is recognizing letters everywhere, even if she doesn't name them correctly, she knows they are letters. And she is recognizing places, such as knowing which way the park is and trying to pull me that when we are headed to the library. Or getting angry when I pulled out of the play group parking lot without parking (because there were no spots). And she is still playful most of the time, singing and sharing food with us and her toys and giving us spontaneous hugs and kisses. And there are still good times with no tantrums or other upsets, such as this morning when we played with a huge stack of stickers and got through all of play group happy. Or yesterdays hour and a half stay at the park.
The weather is getting warm again. Its nice for it to not be rainy keeping us inside, but even when we were at the park yesterday and it was only 70-75 out, being in the direct sun standing around was too much for me. I continue to worry about making it through the summer. I know with Natalie dealing with the heat was the worst part of the pregnancy. And she does love to go outside. I just don't think I'm going to be able to take her out like she wants. Once we hit July walks are probably going to almost out of the question. Even in our back yard, there is so little shade and she wants me to be right where she is. I can see where she is most of the time, but worry what she is doing when I can't see her because there are a few places she could manage to get into trouble if she really wanted too.
So, Natalie has been in her room for almost half an hour now. She is banding on the wall, and maybe even the door, talking. Its a little maddening because she fell asleep in the car on the way home from play group. She only slept for maybe five minutes. I'm not sure if it was how warm the car was or because I let her snuggle her kitty. Maybe if I make a rule of no kitty on the way home it will help prevent this because she won't fall asleep as easily. At least she isn't crying or calling for me, but at the same time, I'm not sure how long I should let her go before I redirect her back to her bed. Will she ever take a nap if I just let her mess around? Recently going in to check on her has just upset her that I'm not coming to get her. She has gone to sleep, but it was crying to sleep after a good ten minutes of hard crying. Sigh. And I was so proud of her sleeping habits back when I read No Cry Sleep Solutions for Toddlers and Preschoolers about a month ago.