The past few days were rainier and colder than the bulk of this January, but still warmer than one would expect for winter. We managed to get Rebecca out of the house several times — always a goal during my wife’s days off.
(2 images after the jump)
We ate out a few times, because Rebecca really enjoys the atmosphere and new people she sees at restaurants. At the McDonald’s Playland (indoors), she always meets a new kid or two and interacts with them. This time, she met a boy slightly younger than her who was sitting at the table like a big boy and eating a cheeseburger. She was impressed and confused by this. But they spoke the same language and both liked chewing on straws.
Yesterday, we went to Lions Club Park for the first time. It’s actually the closest city park to our house (about six minutes away), but since the construction of the playground equipment in our neighborhood, we haven’t used the city parks very often. My wife and I had driven through the parking lot once before Rebecca was born, just to see what was there. The park grounds include playground equipment, baseball and softball fields, a “family recreation center” (gym / fitness center that costs money), a water park (costs money), walking trails, and more. We went for the playground equipment, since it had warmed up to 65°F or so yesterday.
As we approached from the parking lot, we saw this sign:
The part that jumped out was “for disabled children”. Oops. Were we supposed to bring a non-disabled child there? Or is a 15-month-old considered “disabled” when compared to a 5-year-old kid? There was no one checking to see if the kids were less able than usual. And the children we could see playing there didn’t appear to be handicapped in any way (no wheelchairs or head gear, lack of climbing or running ability). The equipment didn’t seem tailored to children with disabilities; it appeared to be normal playground equipment: swings, slides, stuff to climb on or under or through.
So we approached anyway, and let Rebecca play. She had a great time, and interacted well with the other children. The funniest moment was when she was climbing the stairs of the large play equipment; she prostrated herself in front of one step (apparently just out of curiosity), but there was an 18-month-old boy behind her. He assumed she was helping him climb the big steps, and used her as a smaller one. Several adults lurched forward at once, some telling the boy not to climb on the girl, and others telling the girl to get out of the boy’s way. We all had a good laugh.
But the boy kept going up the steps, found the tall spiral slide and promptly went down it. Rebecca saw this, and became curious. She made it to the top platform — about six feet, and found the entrance to the spiral slide. My wife had darted up the steps in the meantime and hesitated between holding Rebecca back and letting her go.
Rebecca caught my eye over the edge of the slide, and raised her eyebrows questioningly. I could tell she wanted to go down but was apprehensive. She waited for my okay. I told her, “If you want to go, it’ll be okay. ” I assured my wife that I would be at the bottom. Rebecca hesitated a few more seconds, then sat down and slid. She came out the bottom end of the slide like physics told me she would, and her smile was bigger than physics.
We let her play until she started slowing down and staying still. This is usually how we know she’s run out of curiosity and/or energy.
After leaving the playground area though, she wanted to wander around in the grass. We waited on the sidewalk for several minutes. Finally, I went over and pointed out Mommy, showing Rebecca how far she’d wandered. She immediately began trotting toward Mommy.
The title of this entry reflects two major hurdles we’ve cleared, and one aspect that’s gotten worse.
For the past several months, I’ve mentioned several times that Rebecca has had trouble in three areas: eating, napping, and sleeping at night. Well, she’s solved the first two.
Eating solids is no longer a hassle or a chore or a fight for any of us. She eats her oatmeal, her yogurt, her jarred baby food, etc., without complaint, and usually in amounts close to meal size (for a toddler). She also eats off our plates at lunch and dinner, trying new things regularly: pizza, chicken, rice, vegetables, pasta, and more. When Mommy’s at work, Rebecca wants bits of whatever I eat — usually cereal or leftovers.
She’s fully changed over to one nap a day; usually 90 minutes. (Sometimes up to two hours, but always 70 minutes or longer.) She’s even gotten to the point where I don’t have to rock her to sleep or convince her. She’ll just come to me, climb into my arms, and go to sleep. I don’t use the baby monitor anymore. I lay her down on the futon in her room and leave the door slightly ajar. When she wakes up, she comes out of the room on her own.
But night time is still a struggle, and it got worse over the past few days. She’d improved to sleeping for 3-5 hours at a time, but now is back to waking up every hour. Occasionally, one of those wake-ups is a full one — she’s wide awake and wants to play. Anymore, the only sound sleep she gets at night is from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. or so.