How Do You Move a Toddler to One Nap?

So, posting the other day made me realize how much I miss using this space to connect and solicit advice from all you wise people. Weirdly, doing that on Facebook or Twitter just seems so impersonal and strange to me, even if I "know" most of those folks.
But here, it seems right. 
So I leave you with a question. Not sure who "you" is anymore, considering I'm never here, but I have a question and I'm putting it out into the universe. 
How can I transition my 15-month-old to one nap? 
Here's her rough schedule: Goes to bed at 8:30(ish)p.m., wakes at 8:30 a.m., takes morning nap at 11 a.m. and an afternoon nap somewhere between 3 and 4 p.m. Both naps are about an hour each.
This was working fine, until about a month ago, when she decided to screw with me and stop taking one of those naps every other day, then all weekend, and then for a week and a half straight. She's refusing to sleep, but not taking it well.
Yesterday morning, she had a meltdown at Puppetonia because they put away the bubble machine. It was right around 11 a.m. — her usual nap time. She's overly sensitive around that time and will cry and scream at the drop of a hat. 
So why not just keep her on her normal, two nap schedule, you ask? Because lately, when I put her down, she suddenly has no interest in sleeping. She played in her crib for 45 minutes when we got back from said puppetastrophe, finally fell asleep at noon, slept until 1, and then never slept again until bedtime. By late afternoon, she was insane in the membrane, because she needs more sleep.  
I'm really happy with bedtime and wake time. 
What I'd love is to consolidate her sleeping into one longer afternoon nap, but how exactly do I do that with a child who has a mind of her own and doesn't respond well to being forced to do ANYTHING? 



So much for writing more often. This girl started walking at ten months, and somewhere along the way, decided that sitting down is for the birds. She has no interest in doing anything that requires pausing for more than 30 seconds, unless she's eating. Her appetite so far (fingers crossed) has been a godsend.
But you guys, she doesn't stop moving EVER. So with work and chasing after Stella and all the other things we have to do in the span of a day, something had to give, and unfortunately, it was this happy space right here.
I'll try to come back from time to time (not that anyone will be waiting for me at this point) but I'm going to stop making myself feel guilty about it, because, well, it's so easy to make yourself feel guilty about a million other things (the massive bump on her forehead from slamming her head into the coffee table last night, etc.).
In the meantime, I'll share some photos from her first birthday party a few months ago. She's now 15 months! I know. But. It's never too late to see pics of a feisty little cherub in a yellow dress, is it?


When Should Baby Stop Drinking Bottles?

So in about a week, Stella will be ONE. She walks and "talks," even if most of it is gibberish and her main goal in life seems to be trying to get to the kitchen as fast as she can to stick her hand in the cat's food bowl.
It's disgusting. And hilarious.
Twelve months seems to be the milestone when babies transition to toddlers and a lot of those baby rules loosen or go out the window entirely. We haven't followed everything to a T (gasp! - there is a blanket in the crib) and I realize all babies develop at their own pace. But for the most part, I've paid attention to average milestones and listened to the doctors about where she should be, developmentally, each month.
I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around when and how to start implementing certain things.
For example, at her 10-month visit, the doctor said I should be preparing her to be done with bottles and formula by 12 months, replacing them with whole milk in a sippy cup.
I'm fine with the whole milk part. In one of the many topics I had really wanted to post about but never did, I stopped breastfeeding at 8 months (at that point, I was supplementing anyway). So, transitioning her to organic cow's milk or goat's milk was something we were anxious to do. The doctor said we could start putting half in her formula bottle at 11 months, so I started mixing in goat's milk a few weeks ago after reading about how it was generally easier to digest than cow's milk. Stella had a sensitive stomach the first few months of her life, so I figured I'd go the easier route. If I tried to give her goat milk by itself, however, she'd totally refuse it.
When I tried cow's milk, she was all over it. As long as I warmed it up a bit in a cup of hot water, she greedily sucked it down, so when the last container of formula was empty, we didn't look back.
The problem is, she refuses to drink it in a cup. She loves her sippy cup, but only for water. So now, she has an 8 ounce bottle of whole milk in the morning and at night. I give her a few ounces in a sippy cup in the afternoon, but after one sip, she slaps it away dramatically. I've tried giving her the same kind of cup she drinks for water, and I've also tried giving her a different one with a straw that I only offer to her with milk. She won't drink it either way.
I'm not too concerned about this, because I know a lot of babies that still keep their morning bottle at age 2, but I'm just wondering if she'll EVER drink it out of a cup. Plus, I don't want her to develop any dental problems at a young age. Any advice on what to do?
Also, this baby cookbook I've used often over the last six months shows photos of 12-month-olds eating little finger sandwiches and big apple slices. She eats pasta and mozzarella chopped up into little pieces, but for the most part, she's still eating a lot of purees. Should I stop worrying about her choking and let her sink her teeth (she's got 8 of them) into a sandwich?
Any advice from you wise mamas out there is appreciated, as always.

*Vintage milk truck photo via Jalopy Journal


so....THIS is happening


There's snow everywhere in our hood, as a result of that blizzard, which I refuse to call by that lame, fake name the Weather Channel created so they could "catastrophize with greater ease," according to my wise friend, Paula.
I got home late tonight and couldn't find parking, because most people here take public transportation into the city and just have a car for fun weekend trips and are not planning to move said cars ever, or at least until spring. I finally pulled into a space that half blocked a driveway and I get a text from C, responding to my earlier question, "Are you home?"
And then tears started streaming down my face, in the darkness of my car, which I had just parked on a dirty snow mound, partially blocking a driveway.
Let me explain.
I've been working my ASS off lately and I find myself constantly guilt-ridden about missing little and big things with Stella. 
I'm lucky in that my job is pretty flexible and that I can technically work from home. But, the news business is stressful...there's always a daily crisis and there are a million and one meetings/assignments that take me away from home during the day.
The truth is, I couldn't wait to go back after maternity leave. Most people whose kids had colic know what I'm talking about. E calls it PTCS - Post Traumatic Colic Syndrome.
But then there are those moms who will say over and over again, "Don't you wish you never had to leave?" and if you don't 100 percent agree, it makes you feel like a bad mother. That's the worst feeling ever, particularly if you love this tiny little person so much, you're genuinely concerned that your heart might explode.
After some unwarranted self-bashing, I decided to give myself a break. (Truthful posts like this one certainly helped.) I'm doing the best I can over here, so shut up people who feel like everyone in the universe is the same and should thereby have the same exact feelings after giving birth to a child!
But now, it's different. Now, every time I have to leave, I'm sad, because she's giggly and smiling and pointing to her belly and feet and saying C-C-CAT and B-B-BUD (bird) with such effort and enthusiasm.
And today, she took her first steps —with the babysitter. The babysitter, who is super loving and affectionate and whom I have come to love like a member of my own family.
But still, couldn't she have waited until I got home?

Note: She's only taking little independent steps here and there, not full-fledged walking. Literally, baby steps.


Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit Collection

I never thought I'd say this, but I may need someone to block Baby Gap from my work laptop, or else I'll spend all my money on the entire Peter Rabbit collection. And then I'll continue to complain about how I never manage to save any cash and it'll be my fault we don't get a house, and Stella will grow out of it in like, three days.

I usually don't go for the super girly stuff, and luckily, there are a bunch of great options out there that don't involve tulle and don't make your kid look like she vomited Pepto all over herself.

Maybe because I love Beatrix Potter and I'm quite fond of bunnies in general, I'm in love with these sweet, whimsical pieces. They're feminine, but subtle. I think I have no choice but to buy this dress for Easter, but how can I live without this shirt or these pants? And that adorable plaid sundress and the little Peter Rabbit onesies for every day of the week? Ok, I'll stop.



So, one of my New Year's resolutions was to start blogging again, even if it's every few weeks.
Mainly because I'm pretty sure I have early onset Alzheimer's and the only way I'll remember all the little, ordinary, amazing things happening from day to day is if I have some sort of written (typed, published, whatever) account of it.
So here goes.
Stella turned 10 months old on Sunday. We say the same thing every time another month passes. "I can't believe we survived xx months."
When she turns a year, it will blow my mind.
Our sleep issues are largely gone. I'm not generally superstitious, but being that I've come to the conclusion that I'm a full-on HOT MESS when I don't get enough sleep, I'm hesitant to say that Stella sleeps 12 hours a night and takes two 45 minute to an hour naps. I've been told these naps are short, but I DON'T CARE as long as she is sleeping through the night.
After I posted here in desperation and got the best feedback (thanks, guys), we embarked on a really mild, flexible sleep training regimen that started with putting her in the crib awake. At first, we tried getting her used to hanging out in her room, so we'd play a little and read books. Then, we did the same thing every night: turned off the lights, turned on the nightlight and the white noise machine, and gave her a pacifier. I waited until she was pretty sleepy, rubbed her back a little and left the room.
She usually cried a little, but ended up falling asleep. Sometimes, she'd panic and let out that high-pitched wail and then I'd go back in and rub her back a little. This didn't happen overnight. It took several weeks.
Eventually, something clicked and she just started to get it. Now, I usually just put her down and leave the room. And it's THE BEST.
I think that if I've learned anything this year, it's that every kid is different. Every time I try to put her down before 8 p.m., she wakes up at 6 a.m., but if I put her down by 8 or 8:30, she tends to sleep a full 12 to 13 hours, and that works better for all of us.
That said, not putting her on any kind of routine because I was scared to see her cry was causing her to get extra cranky because she was sleep deprived, so I had to do what was best for her.
Let's see, what else? Oh yeah, she's got eight teeth, you guys. She smiles and she's the abominable snowman. She also has been crawling for two months now and climbs everything in sight, even flat walls like Spiderman. I can't wait for her to let go and take off, but everyone is warning me to be careful what you wish for.
C and I are obsessed with her. It's all we talk about. And the one thing we marvel at is how much fun she is. As thoroughly exhausting as she can be (and balancing a crazy job and motherhood is no picnic), we just didn't imagine that it would ever be this much fun.

PS. Thanks, Celia, for taking the time to lay out Cheech's sleep habits - what worked, what didn't. It made us feel less insane and kept us going when we thought we might either pass out and die or murder each other after months of sleep deprivation.



Last night, while Stella was fast asleep (more on sleep later - it's so much better, you guys), C walked up to the river to take a quick photo of the Empire State Building shining bright blue. Better pics here.

Halloween was mostly canceled in these parts, due to the storm. We were lucky enough to not lose power, but we were the only people we know who didn't. My parents are STILL without power.

We put Stella in her costume (handmade by my Mom) anyway and had a photo shoot...until she threw down her hat and started pulling at her feathers, and then we knew the little owl had had enough.

*More on Instagram. Follow me if you wish @Giovanna1215.

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