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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Oh Man ... (SAHD Redux) 

Evelin is in the midst of a two-conference in Annapolis (she's able to come home each evening, thank goodness), so I'm a SAHD again ... and, at least today, not a very good one.

Things started off pretty well: Evelin didn't have to leave until Celeste was done with breakfast, so it was just some playing and reading, walk up to the dry cleaners, and then to playgroup. As opposed to last time, when there were more dads than moms there, this time I was the only one with a Y chromosome who wasn't in a diaper. For me this wasn't a problem, expect a few of those diapered guys were quite interested in the big bearded fellow.

When Celeste and I got there, T--- (a month or so older than Celeste) started by just tossing a ball to me, but it progressed to me not being able to sit down without his running over with a book or something to sit in my lap. Celeste wasn't too keen on this. I tried to get her to share, but she wanted to push him away; at least it didn't escalate to the crying and screaming it did a few weeks ago when L--- wanted to sit in Evelin's lap, much to the consternation of Celeste. And, as more little fellows arrived, there were a few that just wanted to hang by me or bring me things, or whatever. Sometimes Celeste didn't mind, especially after some of the kids she's more fond of arrived, but other times it did bug her.

(Fast forward to tonight, as I was putting her to bed and talking about her day the way I do, I asked Celeste if she had fun with daddy at playgroup and she, in a very agitated manner, shouted "No!" I don't know if it was just the interaction with other kids that bugged her, or if I did something else that embarrassed her — and don't I have at least a decade until I have to worry about being that embarrassing.)

Anyway, after a little more than an hour, Celeste moved over to the door and started waving good-bye to everyone, so I gathered her coat and we headed out. Apparently, she was just tired of playgroup (Evelin says an hour is a typical amount of time for her to want to spend there) because when I asked if she wanted to turn on to our street to head home or to keep walking though the neighborhood, she pointed straight ahead.

After our walk is when the day started to turn sour, at least for me. We got home and Celeste had a little lunch (she'd been snacking on apples and cheese for much of the walk) and I went to put her down for her nap. It was about 11:30 a.m., her typical nap time, and she wasn't quite giving me her standard sleep cues, but she was acting a little tired. She went down quietly, but she never went to sleep. After about a half-hour or so (and a quick lunch on my part) of listening to her roll, talk, shout, jump, etc., I went up and tried "nap buddy"-ing with her in my and Evelin's bed. After about a half hour of her sitting up, rolling around, and bloodying my nose with a well aimed squeeze, we got up and wrote off the idea of a nap entirely.

Yesterday, Evelin had a similar problem with the midday nap: Celeste wouldn't go asleep until later in the afternoon, while in the car, when Evelin was giving J--- a ride to the airport. Given that and today's nap problem, I was starting to have some panicky thoughts about what if she's shifting to an only-sleep-at-night mode; she's too young to give up napping, but she did go to only one nap a day long before the books said she should.

So without a nap, we did some more reading and playing, and then headed off to The Mall. Celeste said she wanted to go to the National Air and Space Museum. For the entire ride downtown, she was looking around, pointing at buses, flipping through a book, and signing AIRPLANE when I'd ask what she wanted to go see ... and then, as we're backing into a very convenient parking spot on Madison Dr. NW, she starts to nod off. The only thing I can do is give up the spot and to keep driving.

I ended up heading to the National Arboretum, figuring it was on the way home (in a roundabout way) and I could drive slow through the grounds to kill time while she slept. It ended up being a 40-minute nap (she awoke near the Gotelli Collection of Dwarf and Slow Growing Conifers. After she woke up and I explained where we were (and why we weren't going to see any airplanes except those visible overhead), we got out and walked around the National Herb Garden, the koi garden (Celeste did some excited signing of FISH when some of the koi surfaced near us), and the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.

Celeste started getting cold (and a little peckish), so we headed back to the T.R.U.C.K. for a snack. I put her in her carseat and climbed in the backseat, closed the door and then remembered that we'd engaged the childlocks back at the end of 2005. (Evelin ran in to the same situation earlier in the week — at least it was easier for me to climb into the front seat than it had been for her ...)

Once we got home, Celeste and I had a bit of time to play and read and have some dinner before Evelin got home, but, man, was I off. Celeste hadn't given me any of the downtime (or much time to deal with some work things) that I'd expected and my brain was rapidly turning to mush. Thankfully, she has gotten better at playing quietly and reading to herself, so those moments when I was approaching my wits' end, Celeste was able to immerse herself in her books or something until I could pull myself back together. The funniest bit was when I would try to lay down on the floor for a moment, Celeste would quickly run over and try to pull me back to an upright position, lifting me by my hair.

When Evelin got home, I tried asking her what she wanted to do for dinner, since I hadn't had the chance to make the pizza I'd originally planned to make, and when she started asking me questions all I could reply with was "my brain no think good." We ended up with takeaway from Franklin's (including a growler of Twisted Turtle Pale Ale to help my head screwed back on tight ahead of day two of Evelin's conference tomorrow ...)

Going to bed tonight, we ended up letting things shift back nearly and hour later than normal. Celeste was down around 8:00 p.m., which may be for the best with Daylight Savings Time approaching, but I think we're going to have to work at figuring out what's going on. Perhaps her nap/sleep times are shifting (she does seem to be sleeping later in the morning), and we'll need to adjust to/for that, but the troubling thing is that her sleep cues are either changing or she's figured out how to hide them.

Just so long as she keeps taking at least one nap a day ... I don't think we can deal with a newborn and a toddler who doesn't nap ...

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