It all started when Chloe wouldn't fall asleep until 4 AM. No, take that back. It all started with a cupcake. Yes, it must've been the cupcake. Or the toddler bed. Or the weening of the pacis. At this point, it's hard to remember the chain of events, because all I know is that it's all been a blur. A long, hellacious, life-teaching, lesson-learning blur.
It was a valley.
Weening the girls from their pacis was not that bad. Not that bad at all. It took about a week for them to realize that they weren't coming back, but they survived. With a lot of tears and weeping and wailing, they finally understood...pacis are for babies. But like any good addict Stella has stolen a couple of sucks off a helpless baby's paci here and there. Chloe has been a champ. No looking back for her.
And then we switched Chloe to her toddler bed. And she totally rocked it. No problem at all.
Until the cupcake. That stupid, stupid cupcake.
Chloe loves a cupcake. She has maybe had a total of three or four in her life, but she sees a cupcake and immediately starts singing "Happy Birthday" and goes into an ultra-concentrated inhalation of the cupcake. If you want to see a 2-year old focus for more than 30-seconds, give Chloe a cupcake.
On this particular day, Chloe was treated to a cupcake at lunch. And then we went home for naptime. (Consequently, this was also the day that Stella brought me my empty cup of coffee asking so sweetly for, "more coffee. more coffee." I could've died. She drank an entire cup of [cold, don't worry] unflavored, black coffee.)
I went to put the girls down for their naptime and Chloe freaked. The sugar surge was too much for her to lie in a bed, and close her eyes, and take her normal 3-hour nap. She made the bold choice to not nap and she made it very clear to me that she was going to win the battle. And I made it very clear to her that I was more stubborn than she, and that a nap was in her future. By 4 PM, after 3 hours of putting her back in her bed 1,876 (I counted) times, I gave up. She won. And her nap didn't happen.
And it didn't happen the next day.
Or the next day.
Or the next day.
And I thought I was going to die. Chloe won. I lost. And I felt like the worst mom on planet Earth.
And here's a little warning for you. Don't post queries about other children's nap habits on facebook unless you want to crawl into a cave and not merge until your children are in college. The question went something like this..."Fellow moms, when did your kids drop their afternoon naps?" And the responses went something like, "My kids are perfect and they nap 8-hours a day, and sleep 12-hours at night-We've never had a problem with our little angel-Perfection is my kid's middle name." Don't get me wrong. Some comments were funny and some were really helpful and encouraging, but I still felt mortified that my child was THE ONLY child not taking their afternoon nap. Again, I was searching for that cave and I felt really, really down.
I decided I needed to toughen up. The next two weeks were rough. It was a period of trial and error. Of stubborn-ness on my end that the Supernanny would be proud of. I deserved gold stars for the sleepless nights, the bedtime battles, the laughter, the tears. The strange events--A night where Chloe stayed up until 4 AM, 3 puke episodes not induced by sickness but 1.)a chip 2.)motion sickness in the car 3.)crying. A nearly 18-month old that has decided to do everything her older sister does, which means that I now have two daughters in their terrible two's. A horrible scratch on my eye (hence, the glasses in the pics). Of almost being late to work to work a couple of times. A morning of showing up for work, realizing that I had my husband's keys and not my keys to open up the gym. A portion of that morning was also spent with my daughters coloring behind the front desk in their pjs, because of scheduling confusion. And all in all, amongst other random events that I probably can't remember, it was a blur.
But the good news is, I survived. And more importantly, my eye is much better. Joke. My daughters made it through. And I believe that we are the better for it. We are back on track and things are slowly but surely returning back to normal. Naps are back. Good night's of sleep are back. I have learned that I'm not perfect. And my children aren't perfect. And while I always try to do my best, even my best efforts at times will not do. Kids go through stages. And it's the stages that are so trying, but ultimately so precious. And I know that I will look back and laugh, heck, I'm laughing now, but I know that I will miss this time. And I know this because through the whole experience I would tell my mom, "I'm not going to survive. They are going to kill me." And she would just laugh. She laughed because she has been there and knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
I've never been one to sugar-coat parenthood, but I've learned that lending a little bit of honesty about the trials and rewards of being a parent is important.
If someone is in the valley, tell them that you've been there; tell them that you are there.
And laugh with them.
Because in the end, we all need a little encouragement and a lot of humor.
So if you are in the valley, my advice is this. Just go with it, do your best, be stubborn, follow your own instincts in spite of anyone else's opinion, steer clear of facebook, know that things will get better...and ultimately, take a picture of yourself while you're in the valley, with your hair a mess, sans makeup, sans shower, your eye scratched, in your dorky glasses with your daughter behind you, naked no less.
Because it's the times that aren't perfect that mean the most.
And keep walking through the valley. You'll eventually make it to the other side.