How do you decipher a toddler?

Our sweet girl seems to be having some set backs.  I know they are to be expected but our once great sleeper is having a tough go at the moment.  I don't know what to do to make it all better and I have a feeling that when I go back to work it is just going to get worse.  It is the worst feeling when you know your baby is not happy and you don't know what to do to fix it.

The last couple of nights have been kind of rocky and Chloe has wanted a bottle at both 11pm and 4am (she would have gotten up for the day at 4 if we had let her).  Tonight we kept her up a little later and fed her a big dinner of oatmeal, squash and apple/banana puree.  What everyone craves late at night right?  We thought with a full tummy she would sleep better.  After she had been silent for an hour I thought it was safe to check on her since I normally do this every night without a problem. Oh boy was I wrong, she was still awake or had woken back up and that was the first upset.  We got her back to sleep, watched a little TV then headed to bed.  I turned off my light after reading for a few and I heard a whimper.  OH NO!

OH YES!  The whimper turned into a cry and I could not ignore it.  So I got up to give her some comfort. She was fine in my arms but the moment I tried to set her down it set her off again.  I decided to try a bottle, no luck, she just wanted to be held.  So I tried bringing her to bed with us.  That is not going to happen she just would not settle down at all.  Jim needs some rest because he has a particularly rambunctious set of 1st graders tomorrow so I got up and decided that maybe we could sleep together in the rocker.

That started to work until Chloe decided it was time to get up and play.  There are too many little lights and noises in the front room.  I was still trying to get her settled when she head-butted me, hard, in mouth and I split my lip with a tooth.  It was not intentional but being that it was now very close to midnight and it really hurt, I started crying.  I decided to try the bed again and amazingly she laid down and fell asleep.  Unfortunately I am now wide awake, so I figures I might as well blog the whole experience.

I am getting more and more worried about going back to work as little things like this creep up.  I know she will have the best care ever while I am gone but I just hope that she understands that I will always come back and I love her very much.  I think she may be sensing some of my anxiety too, she seems to be extra clingy as well the last couple of days.    I wish I knew exactly what she was thinking and help her, but so far it seems to be more of a guessing game. I don't think that was in the manual either.  I think someone needs to rewrite the Chloe guide :)

I guess it is time for me to try bed again since it is almost 1am.


Oh, the great mysteries of parenting~ what is going on/what are they thinking? Anxiety, acid reflux, blood sugar, what???? Dori had a mondo-meltdown at bedtime last night and I could not understand her as she screamed for a long time. Don't will get easier before she's 5...but the what are they thinking question will still appear from time to time.

Hopefully you get a nap soon!
Jimh. said…
I'm sorry! I wish she would just go back to that wonderful routine she started with!
Anonymous said…
I'm sorry she is not sleeping well,Brandi said,Jesse had her up and down all last night maybe it is the moon, you just never know what is going on in there little heads,and I do know they can sense things that you wouldn't think of.Good luck tonight hope she will sleep better.
Aunt Carol
Lorrene said…
This is what I learned after having 3 of the little critters. If you are upset about anything and even if you think you are not showing it, they pick up on it and and react. I think they are so close/dependant on us at that age, they just pick up on our feeling.

That is my 10 cents worth(inflation you know)
jade said…
I fully agree with Lorrene, I also believe she senses all your anxiety about going back work You will be fine, look at Jim, he manages to survive the day without her... And if you just explain the fully detailed program of her days to come, including the mommy going away and coming back part, she will very quickly settle into the routine. The hardest part for me was when they would cry in the morning and/or ignore me when I came to pick them up again...
Wendy said…
Whatever you do, do not drastically change the routine. They thrive on the routine, even when you think they aren't. Our routine has always been snack, bath, turn soft music on, book, bed. We have rarely deviated from that routine in the three years we have had her. Some nights are better than others. Now if we can just figure out why she has started waking up in the middle of the night we would be good. The parenting questions never end.
Diane said…
My daughter adopted last August and although a wonderful experience, as the newness wears off and you learn them and they you, more and more insecurities and issues arise. Fist Sophie loved her bath, then seemed scared and hated her bath, now loves it again. At first she was a wonderful sleeper and then she began to have some clinging, crying, sleepless nights. When my daughter went back to work, she eased her into daycare gradually and it went well, but there are days when she has a complete meltdown. They are complex little people and it just takes a lot of love and patience. Hang in there, she is beautiful!
Kylie's momma said…
So sorry to hear your struggles, Been following your blog from rumor queen. Our DD is now 7 and we went thru some of this too. One thing we found VERY useful during the bottle years was Chamomile calm for kids. Nothing potent or bad but helps to calm their minds. Was recommended to us and worked so always like to share the idea. We had some intermittant night terrors or just waking up for no reason and needing to be held. The chamomile wasn't a cure all but I know it helped some. I know it's tough and I was a 1st time new mom too 7 yrs ago. I would just keep telling myself in the dark of the night "I'm not the 1st person to do this...and repeat" Hang in there it will all seem like a distant memory someday. your DD is BEAUTIFUL!
Hugs from Kylie Mei's Momma in MT.
Hui Mei a Guixi sweetie
Gotcha day 8/04
denise said…
Oh, sleepless nights are so hard! I'm sorry. And the worry isn't easy either. Parenting is complicated sometimes and adoption just adds another dimension (I'm assuming, anyway).

I guess I'll echo what a couple others have said: routine in general - and at bedtime in particular - can be so reassuring. My daughter always has a small snack, puts on her jammies, brushes her teeth, reads a story with daddy, and then prays with us before going to sleep. We do that exact routine every night, even if it's late because it helps her settle down and sleep.

You're doing great at this parenting thing. I pray that both of you will have a smooth transition back to work :)
I'm convinced that deciphering an upset toddler is one of the most difficult things anyone has to go through.
Maddie would sometimes develop sleep issues and at first it seemed like it was out of the blue, but we would find out the reason later.
There were times she was growing and extra hungry, so we fed her more before bed, but it only made her uncomfortably full. Sometimes it was because of our stress level, sometimes she was cutting teeth. She also went through a few times where her stomach was upset because of the teeth coming in...Gripe Water (sold at Walgreens) helped ease that though.
For now, hang in there and keep the coffee close.

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