Edited by Morgan Mareglia - 4/11/13 at 11:29am
It sounds pretty normal. I remember thinking I had everything figured out until my first child turned 1 and then I took a parenting class because it became obvious to me that I had no clue what I was doing! One thing that I found very helpful was to give my kids transition time.... "Ok kids 5 more minutes on the slide and then we are going to go. Ok kids 2 more minutes....". Obviously a 1 year old can tell time but they get the idea pretty fast. When they are babies you just kind of pick them up and move along but as they get bigger they have their own ideas and don't know what comes next unless you tell them. This helped with the tantrums a lot at our house.
On transitioning to big kid bed- I don't know if I should pass out advice because we didn't do a great job but if your kid can't go cold turkey you could fall asleep in your bed and then move. Or we had a pallet in the floor next to our bed that we called the "emergency bed" where our son could sleep if he felt he needed to be close to us but not actually get in our bed. Transitioning while pregnant is really hard ,too, because the child feels even more chucked out.
It's tough. My best parenting advice is " this too shall pass!"
Another vote for "that's totally normal". 12-18 months is kind of intense. I thought it was much harder than the so-called "terrible twos".
The inability to communicate well combined with still-developing motor skills no doubt is part of the reason why this is such a tough stage. It seems like all of a sudden they go straight from having needs to having wants--which unlike needs don't always work out. ;) Hence the screaming...oh the lovely screaming. Yeah, it sucks...
I did things pretty AP myself--that kind of orientation towards parenting just came naturally to me--and now I feel pretty vindicated for having stuck with it (in spite of all advice to the contrary). DS was a rather sensitive baby/toddler, and had a strong need for closeness and attachment, which I chose to honor (and ignored all the voices saying you're going to spoil that baby by wearing him all the time/sleeping with him/etc). Now, he's three and we have this beautiful, very connected relationship, but he's starting to detach a bit and branch out more on his own, and I feel like having honored his need for attachment earlier helped a lot in working with his personality to make this a positive thing for him. So if AP is working for you, stay with it, you will be glad you followed your instincts.
Hey everyone. Thanks for all of the responses! So glad to hear this is all pretty normal. I guess it just kind of took me by surprise! I have started to try a few signs with her. I have noticed diaper changes getting a little easier, so that helps. I think we need to get into a better naptime/bedtime routine. Giving her a bath at night just seems to stimulate her and she doesn't seem to be interested in sitting still for a massage or bedtime stories. She hasn't taken to any sort of "lovie." These are the suggestions I've heard for winding her down at night but they've never worked... Anyway, thanks again for all the help! I do feel better. She's a little tough to figure out but that makes it fun :)
As far as the winding down for bed thing, my DD also does not calm down for activities that are supposed to be soothing/calming. At your daughter's age she still really needed me to kind of meet her at her energy level and ratchet her down, if that makes any sense. I think she still fell asleep with me heavily thwacking her back and singing campy, rhythmical songs (NOT lullabies) at that age. That was how she started falling asleep on the nights when she didn't fall asleep to her bottle, and how I generally used to put her to sleep for naps. As an infant, I could almost always get her to sleep dancing heavily to Queen. Yup. All about figuring out what makes your particular kid tick.
I am so glad to hear that 12-18 months might be the toughest stage. I was dreading the terrible twos and the even more terrible threes based on Little Miss' current behavior at 16 months. The past months have been no bueno.
A big hearty agreement on the "transitioning" advice. I describe everything we're about to do in very glowing terms, and then have her say goodbye to the current activity. I do this until she is really ready to move on. Otherwise we're talking stiff as a board screaming until she's purple tantrum. Fun for all ages, that.