Our last week has been tough. All kinds of things came to a head under this grass roof.
Cedar started out as this gentle, easy baby who slept great, hardly woke at night and ate like a voracious crocodile (you’ve seen those cheeks, right?). Around 4 months that changed. She’s still sweet and gentle and easy-going, but only when she’s playing. When she gets hungry, she doesn’t want to eat. She’d rather play, try to catch her daddy’s eye, stare at the banana trees or wriggle around than eat. In fact she launches herself away from me. (If anyone dares to mention something about my milk not being enough or her needing solids or food or pickles or to stand on her head, I’ll reach through this phone and slap yah!). She arches and wails and flings about as if to say, “ahhhh!! The boob!! Not the boob! I don’t want to die!!!” If I wasn’t so busy holding her on my lap, I’d video this so I can laugh about it later. It started funny. But 6 weeks in, I’m a bit over it.
And then all the sudden her naptimes became crazy too. I won’t even go into the inconsistencies and my inability to get much done during her naps. This was keeping me from going places and being with people because I’d have a baby who didn’t eat and didn’t nap and forgive me, but I got a tad overwhelmed.
Fast forward to desperation and frustration. Yes, night times were still mostly great once she fell asleep, but naps! Oh they were rough. And not just for me. I mean, the little dear was tired! Overtired! And her blockhead parents didn’t know how to help. Bless her soul for her patience and continual love for us.
Desperation met a really great “sleep training program.” It’s worked for loved ones. It’s worked for friends. It’s worked for a lot of people. It did not work for us at this time. 😞I tried! I wanted it to work! Some naps were better, but we all ended up sleeping less at night and Sean and I were at each others’ throats for 3 days. Finally. At 12:30am, I pulled the plug. I said, “No. We are not doing this. We are fighting and she can sense our anger! We will not try this again until we have come up with a unified approach. I’m bringing her to bed with me!” So we played in bed until 1:30. I ate a snack (in the kitchen!), Cedar had a snack. Then off to peaceful sleep she went.
We all woke up a bit groggy the next day. And now her cold (oh yah! She had her first cold and fever and starting to teeth all in this last week, too!) turnd into MY cold too. I felt like crap. And pretty much treated my family like crap, too.
Enter a somewhat frustrating day over “now what?!” when it came to naps. We improvised and she napped in the carrier some, cried a lot, didn’t eat much, and I kept checking those diapers. Pee meant we were hydrated. Dry meant I started to worry. I found a new book (because the programs and books always work, right?) and voraciously read with one hand, while I rocked that crib with my other.
Thursday morning, at 5 am, I got frustrated again and thought, “This cannot go on!” So after finally getting little miss back to bed, I told Sean I was going for a walk. Me and Jesus, we did some talking. I did some confessing and venting. And I realized, I was tired. And an idiot. I was a tired idiot who had done it again. I had gone on facing tough choices and new roads with only my measly brain and efforts to support me.
Lord, I’m so sorry. When it’s just me, I’m tired and cranky. I’m impatient, easily frustrated and consumed with forcing things to be better. I’m selfish and inconsiderate when I’m doing it on my own. Oh! But it could be different! It needs to be different! With your indwelling Spirit, I could be kind, patient, loving, peaceful, fun, and easy-going. I could be fun, Lord. I could have something other than this baby or her sleep patterns to discuss with my husband. I could snuggle her and play and enjoy her. And I’ll bet the sleep stuffs will sort out better when I’m relaxed. I bet she’ll eat better when I’m not bracing for world war 3. Oh! I’m laying me down. Fill me up today, cuz you know I need you something fierce.
And, well, what more is there? I cannot be lovely or patient or full of grace without Him. And I really want all of those things. My family needs me to be more of these things.
So I recommitted myself to living with the Lord’s presence and the Spirit living through the me. Who cares about housework? What’s it matter what I get done today? Loving my baby and loving my husband are enough work for this day.
And the last 2.5 days have been amazing! I have God’s patience. It took gentle reminding to not growl in frustration when she’s wailed and thrashed and threw herself back. I quit trying to force my timetable on this little human. Instead, I remembered that she IS a little human, my precious little one, and she deserves respect and kindness. And she deserves for me to build a relationship with her – to know her likes and dislikes, to get to know how she feels most comfy to sleep, how she likes her food, which toys she giggles with, when she needs quiet, alone time, and when she needs to be with me.
So after a hairy few days of “sleep training” aka failing, 2 sick people, and a renewed Spirit within me, our days are so good. So bright. And you know what? Naps and nursing and bedtimes are so much more fun! Plus, they’re actually happening without crying or fussing – at all! It’s amazing how easily I forget that my death grip on control only sucks life from me and my family. Yet, my open palms of surrender to Christ brings fresh, vibrant, joyful life to this grass roof and the people who love under it.
She woke up, played quietly with her lovey, then fell back to sleep. No tears. No protests. This momma was thrilled!
She and Thor have finally discovered the other one existed. She loves his fur, and he’s keen for the extra attention.