I suspect it's the dreaded "18 month" sleep regression come early. She's fifteen months old, but she's been through all of the other regressions at the earliest possible time; they always tie into Wonder Weeks and - although she's still her usual cheerful self - she's clearly going through the last one now.
Her sleep patterns are in the same sort of mess as with previous sleep regressions: there are days when she doesn't nap, seems fine until dinnertime, has a meltdown when we put her in her pyjamas, then sleeps through the night; there are days when she's clearly exhausted but fights against naps; there are nights when she's waking up every couple of hours.
Unlike previous regressions, she does sometimes realise that she's getting tired through the day and will demand to be taken out in her buggy - she knows it's the one place she's likely to drift off. This should make dealing with things easier but I'm knackered and don't really want to be pushing a heavy buggy around our hilly neighbourhood for forty minutes until she passes out.
Unlike previous regressions, when she wakes at night we can't just tuck her in and leave the room to the sound of steady breathing; she's finding it difficult to switch back off, snapping awake again if we leave the room, often needing us to lie in bed beside her for up to an hour until she relaxes (I am so, so, so glad we opted for a floor bed - I couldn't bear to be bent over a cot every night!).
Until Sunday night, I was feeling very calm about the whole thing. I felt like a proper earth mother, cherishing the middle of the night snuggles, taking the unpredictable naps in my stride, welcoming the extra fresh air as I pushed her round and round and round the block. I've said before that Steve and I are in the "do whatever you need to do to survive a sleep regression; deal with the bad habits when it passes" camp; we still are, 100%, but...
...Sunday night was one broken sleep too far. I was in with her from 12; at 1:30 I was sobbing so much it woke Steve and he took over; at 3:00 I put down my phone, stopped googling variations of "15 month old won't sleep ever regression hell can't cope" and passed out; at 5:30, I was up with her again; she finally conked out at 6:30 which was when I had to get up. On Monday, there was a [thankfully rare] meltdown before she would nap.
It's all become such a tired blur now that I'm not sure how long this has been going on for. I think two weeks but it might just be the one (oh: no, it couldn't) or it could be the twenty-seven it currently feels like. I've no idea how much more there is to come.
I'm not really going anywhere with this post. It just needed to be written, as though by putting my thoughts into some sort of order in a blog post I can put my toddler's sleep patterns into some sort of order, too. I'll let you know if that works...
Anybody else's toddler messing with their body clock, too?