The new year brought a new big adjustment for our family to make: full-time daycare! Even though I've been back at work since the beginning of December, we were lucky enough for Alex, my parents, and Alex's parents to get to come stay with Ali at home for the entire month. On the one hand, the two-step process made the transition of me returning to work a bit easier knowing that she was at home with family all day. On the other hand, it kind of dragged out the return-to-work transitions: one big one with me actually returning to work, and another big one when she started daycare.
It is interesting to have this "new normal" to our lives. Since Ali was born, we were always in a state of short-term: the two weeks Alex had off work. The twelve weeks I had off work. The four weeks I was back at work but Ali was still at home. Now, for the first time ever, we are in a routine that will simply just go on and on and on. Mom and Dad work. Baby goes to daycare. It's nice to finally be in a place where we aren't holding our breath in anticipation of the next big change!
Luckily Ali is (1) an incredibly easy-going baby, and (2) an incredibly adorable, happy baby. This means that she hasn't really cared at all about the scene change from home to daycare (in fact, she loves all the new toys and the babies around that are constantly entertaining her!) and that she has become the belle of the daycare ball; the teachers LOVE her and give her lots of attention. Every time I show up (I'm going to nurse her at lunch) one of them is holding, cuddling, playing with her.
The only daycare drawback so far is that Ali has not learned how to take naps in such a loud, entertaining environment! She has always been a very "on" baby--she doesn't put herself to sleep; she'd much rather be playing. When I was at home with her, we perfected a "time to sleep" routine that would help her nap, and she would routinely take 3-4 hours worth of naps a day. But now that she's at daycare, where it's loud, there are other crying babies, where it's bright, etc., well . . . despite swaddling and a white-noise teddy bear and every other trick we could think of to help her remember "time to sleep," she's only taking about an hour's worth of naps a day. Total. This translates into one tired baby in the evenings. Even then she is still so happy to see us and play with us that she desperately tries to stay happy despite being exhausted. Often that translates into a delirious girl who slips back and forth from squealing with delight to crying to squealing with delight. Kinda funny, but I feel bad for the poor tired baby. Hopefully she will learn to nap in the new environment soon!!
In other sleep related news, it appears we have hit the dreaded "4-month wakeful" period. That's right. Our baby, who has been sleeping through the night since she was 8 weeks old, has gone back to waking up around 2 or 3 a.m. Some moms report the 4-month wakeful only last two or three weeks; others tell me it took up to two months (or more!) for their baby to start sleeping through the night again. Oi vey. Alex and I keep reminding ourselves that we have been really spoiled with her sleep habits to this point and we were due. But it still really sucks to be as sleep-deprived now as I was with a newborn, especially since I now spend all day at the office rather than sneaking in catnaps throughout the day!
And since I can't post without sharing some recent pictures, here is our little cutie-pie all decked out (thanks Uncle Brian and Aunt Ragan!) for the college football national championship. Even though the Horns lost, we were so proud of how well they played and are really looking forward to the next three years with this new quarterback!