Thursday, October 25, 2012

Changes Continue

As a parent I find myself questioning decisions. Big decisions. Small decisions. It's partly my personality but I think it's common for parents to constantly wonder if we are doing a good job. At the least we hope we aren't doing extensive damage to our kids, though I'm fairly certain that some of what I'm doing is affecting her for better or for worse. I am human, after all, and parents aren't perfect.

Ellie has experienced a lot of changes recently. A few short months ago a baby sister showed up. Then we said good-bye to diapers and started potty training. She's doing great with that and only had a few accidents while we were on our recent trip to Oregon. Since we've been home her only accidents have been during nap time. She's doing really well for a just-turned two-year old and I need to remind myself of that in moments of toddler tantrum-related exasperation. I'm very proud of my big girl and sometimes need to take a step back and realize she's a remarkable little girl who adapts rather quickly to life changes.

The two most recent changes happened on the same night, and for that reason might as well be called what it is: a parenting blunder. We took down Ellie's crib.  She seemed OK with this until bedtime when I also introduced her to a cloth pull-up instead of her regular nighttime diaper. As she realized her diaper AND her "big bed" were gone a meltdown ensued. Eventually we all calmed down and she fell asleep. She woke up at 1AM in the middle of her floor crying and traumatically upset. After several minutes I finally got her calmed down and back to sleep. I laid awake in bed for another two hours second-guessing this next milestone. 

"Are we pushing her too soon?" I asked Michael. I ask this at the beginning of every new change that leaves behind babyhood: weaning the pacifier, potty training, and now upgrading to a toddler bed. 

The next day she was excited to play a bit during nap time but eventually fell asleep. That night she had no problem laying in her bed. One day. It basically took her one day to adjust. Just like it only took a few days for the pacifier. And just like she adjusted to a new sister and potty training relatively quickly. I have to remember that Ellie usually has a strong, often emotional reaction to any new change. Routines are VERY important to her sense of security and well-being, but she also adjusts much more quickly than I expect.

We traveled to Oregon for a few weeks and we all shared a room. I was nervous for the girls to be in the same room because I didn't want them waking each other.  They both slept through the other's crying moments, including some deafening toddler tantrums at bedtime. We came home and the girls are now officially in the same room at night.  I still keep Hazel in our room for naps. They are doing great and this transition, though slightly forced on us because of our travel situation, has gone smoothly.  I should stop being surprised.

I am learning how part of being a parent is attempting, as best as I can, to be confident in my decisions and to go with my gut. I just blinked and my little baby Ellie has become a full-fledged toddler (we just celebrated her 2nd birthday!). She is funny, extremely verbal, intelligent, and a quick learner. She's fully potty trained (besides bedtimes), knows all of her colors and all of her alphabet letters. She loves to take care of Hazel and is already a proud, big sister.

I have several reasons to stop doubting how we're "doing" as parents, but I have a feeling that won't ever go away. Or maybe it will. But I doubt it. Probably. Yup. 

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