I'm feeling much better today. It helped that Olivia slept through the night and woke at a decent hour (6:30). We started our day early with a shopping outing with Grandma. Olivia slept in the car on the way home and then - get this - STAYED ASLEEP FOR TWO MORE HOURS. In that time, I mowed the entire lawn and got started on planting one of my corner beds around the playset.
I'm telling you, that nap made all the difference. She went to bed tonight with little drama, and it only took me a half-hour to get her down. Plus, she was well-rested and agreeable for the whole afternoon, allowing me to finish a lot more planting (with toddler help, of course). Throw in an hour visit by Aunt Lori (who took Olivia off my hands and left me free to plant), and two of my three beds are planted. Yay!
Now, the trick is to find a way to get the well-rested child all the time.
Last week, when we were making the long drive to visit my brother's family, I was thinking that traveling with a little one is kind of like race car driving. A race car driver is always strategizing about how to maximize their speed, position, pit stops and such for the best possible outcome. With toddler travel, you are constantly calculating your moves in your head in order to maximize non-screaming drive time. Maybe she can stay awake until a certain exit and then we can eat at this place and then will fall asleep for the rest of the drive. Oops...looks like she's getting restless and won't make it that far. Stop in five miles, or can we tolerate the screaming for fifteen miles and stop where the gas is cheapest? Your start time for driving can also dramatically effect how well she'll sleep that night. It's all about calculations.
I think it's that way with the day-to-day schedule too. But the day-to-day is so hard to get just right. There are always errands, outings, appointments and things that get in the way. Not to mention the fact that we'd both go insane if we did the exact same thing every day and never went anywhere. She needs a certain amount of activity in order to be properly tired at bedtime. But too much activity makes it difficult for her to settle down.
These tiny people should really come with instructions.