First of all, thanks to everyone who emailed or commented on my last post. Every single comment was helpful and encouraging and had at least one (and often many) very useful nuggets of advice. So my gratitude and appreciation to all of you for taking the time to drop me a line.
My intention was that Chris and I would spend last weekend looking at all the emails and deciding which method(s) we felt comfortable implementing. However, this never happened. Instead of being deep in the trenches of potty training, we are in fact back in the bad old days of sleep training.
You never pay attention to the first time something goes wrong, really. You don't mark it on the calendar in some kind of prescient knowledge that "I'm going to want to know when it all started to go sideways." No, you just think it's a one-off. And then it happens a couple more times and you think, hmm, this is an odd little phase we're going through. And then it happens a few more times and a few more times and slowly you begin to realize that hey, this has been going on more or less constantly for ... let's see ... three or four weeks? And if "this" happens to be the house-wide sleep-deprivation thanks to a child who will not stay in her bed past 6am, you can be forgiven for the braindeath that means it takes you even longer to realize this is no longer an isolated incident or even a phase, it's your new Way of Life.
So yes. Gwen now gets out of bed anytime between 4:45am and 6am. For the record, our alarm is set to go off at 7:15am, so even on a good day we are being cheated out of a solid hour of sleep. Even worse, because Gwen doesn't always nap on weekends, she is being cheated out of 2-4 hours of sleep herself. Make no mistake: this is not an adjustment due to her being old enough to give up her nap, nor is it a matter of her waking up early and quietly entertaining herself in her room. She is miserable and demanding throughout the day as the missed sleep takes her toll: a friend even commented that Gwen had bags under her eyes and looked exhausted. And she often wakes up crying in a near-hysteria, whimpering in a panicky voice "Turn on the light! I'm awake! Turn on the light!" which doesn't leave her in a state that lends itself to being soothed back to sleep. I've asked her whether she's having bad dreams or if she's scared, but she tells me no - I can only guess that she just doesn't have the emotional vocabulary to articulate what's going on for her.
Chris and I, meanwhile, are zombies. At any moment through the day when we are not directly dealing with a grumpy Gwen - those moments when we should be cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the myriad details of life, not to mention doing things we enjoy or spending quality time together - we are COMPLETELY drained. We have no energy to do anything but sit on the couch and stare into space. We've become incapable of even the most mundane conversation.
So, not a lot of progress on deciding how or when to proceed with potty training.
I may have mentioned here in the past that Gwen's newborn phase was less than blissful. The way I remember it is that Gwen was either screaming, nursing, or sleeping for every single minute of her first five months of life. Somehow, we all survived and Chris and I stayed married. (Miracles DO happen!) One of the ways we dealt with the exhaustion and frustration of this time - I can't even remember how it started - was to talk about going to Vegas. Not in the sense that we spent time daydreaming about a fantasy vacation: no, neither of us actually had any real interest in going there. No, it was in the context of: "I've been nursing her for two solid hours and she won't stop screaming. It's your turn, I'm going to Vegas." Or, "Holy crap, I did not get any sleep at all last night. You need to deal with Gwen, I'm going to Vegas." It was constant. Like I said, I don't remember how it started or where it came from (I would theorize it was a timely viewing of Ocean's Eleven, but really, I doubt we had any attention span for movies at that point.)
But here's the payoff to this long rambling post. This weekend - in fact, TODAY - I am going to Vegas. For realz. With my mom and sister. And Chris is staying home with a daughter who will not sleep and now has the ability to get out of bed and bang on the door at 5am to demand that he get up and entertain her. If my husband stays married to me after this, it really will be a miracle.