I am a sensitive person. Not in a touchy, walking-on-eggshells way, but in a feelings-lead, highly self-aware kind of way. And I love this about myself. I love with passion that makes me cry randomly. I get giddy excited when I enjoy something or discover a new talent or passion. I want to scream when I am excited and bawl when I am sad and curse when I’m angry [don’t worry, I don’t ;)].
When it comes to my husband, I’ve said before that when I am cuddling with him on the couch, I want more of him so much that I could just crawl into him. Like our spirits are so entwined that I feel like I am part of him. He is my best friend, the person I want to do everything with, the person I enjoy doing everything with, the only one I tell everything to, the one that I am soul-tied with. He really is the best!
When it comes to my kids, I’ve never met someone that I so fiercely loved and yet drove me so nuts! My kids bring out so much emotion in me, its crazy. Just last night, a few tears spilled over simply from just looking at my sweet boy. I love my kids more than I ever thought I could. Yet, the paradox of motherhood is also that your kids bring out stuff you wanted to hide. Anger. Fear. Impatience. Hastiness. Selfishness. Sadness. Most days I feel like I am on a crazy emotion roller coaster that I just want to get off. And its mostly because I have an infant. As my daughter gets older [shes’ only a few months away from being THREE! crazy!!], I notice that my emotions towards her become less crazy and random because she is becoming less “I don’t know why I am crying” infant and more “I know what I want” kid. Believe me, that brings its own challenges, but I’d MUCH rather deal with her attitude than with the sleep-deprived I’m going crazy feeling I have with my son. Her days are more predictable and his still have a roll of the dice feeling. I enjoy hanging out with Jael, but with Elijah, I am having a much harder time. He is such a high needs baby. But anyway…
What prompted me to write about emotions today is naptime. My son has a hard time sleeping. Jael slept through the night from 10 weeks and took predictable textbook naps until about 3 months ago. We did have to sleep train her at 13 months because she had trouble falling asleep on her own. But it took her like a day and a half and since then, I can lie her in bed and she goes to sleep by herself.
Elijah started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks, continued to do so for about a month and a half, then caught a bad cold, stopped sleeping, and it has been hell ever since. From 3.5 months to now 7 months, he has slept through the night probably 7 times. The rest of the times averaged 3-6 wakings a night. Plus there have been a handful or two of days where he doesn’t nap more than 30 minutes at a time. It is no lie that I feel like I am going crazy. Add on to that the past week we’ve had the flu and its been pretty unbearable. I’ve cried out to the Lord more times than I care to admit that I don’t know where He is or why He has left us. Just being honest here.
So our house is on the mend and the kids are feeling MUCH better thanks to the prayers of my dear friends and family. And today, Elijah became drowsy at a good time for a nap, so off I went to put him to bed. I swaddled him [he still needs it! ugh.] and went to his room to bounce him to sleep. Take into consideration here that my 7 month old is over 20 pounds and you’ll understand how this can be extremely difficult. He likes for me to hold him in a cradle position in my arms and basically do deep squats to bounce him to sleep. My legs and arms have never been stronger ;)
Well today when I went to put him down [actually like MANY times I try to put him down], I thought he was asleep and when his booty touched the bed, he started squirming and whimpering softly. Now I am sorry for those of you who are against cry it out, but I personally feel that this is an acceptable way to help kids learn how to sleep and soothe. However, I know some parents have a hard time with it. I am not offended if you tell me that you cannot understand how I do it, but I do ask that we be respectful of one another. ;) I do it in a controlled manner. I have NEVER let my kids cry for an hour or just cry and cry till they fall asleep. I use the 10 minute check way where I check in on them every ten minutes if they continue to cry. Jael never made it to the first 10 minutes. She went 7 minutes and then dramatically decreased in time over a few more sleeps.
Today, my emotion runs high because I felt like in that moment when Elijah started to squirm the Lord told me to continue to lie him down. He protested of course by whimpering more, but then settled down and was quiet before I even left the room. I was hopeful. But maybe 30 seconds later, he was starting to make noise. Its interesting to me that I could tell his “cry” was not a sad emotional cry but more of a frustrated protest. He didn’t baby cry but it was more of a frustrated groan. So the minutes ticked by…I almost went in and felt the Lord continue to speak to me to let him figure it out. We hit the 10 minute mark and I was getting up from the couch when I hear over the monitor Elijah sigh and make his settling to sleep humming sound and then is quiet. I was amazed. I watched the monitor and he made a couple more half-asleep grunts and then at the 11 minute mark, he was officially silent.
My emotions were churning. On the one hand I was overjoyed! Excited! That finally maybe we were on the way to some sort of structure and learning how to sleep on our own. But on the other hand, my mommy heart was breaking. Not because my boy had cried, but because he was growing up. Soon we would be reading him stories and tucking him into his bed with a lovey and hearing him saying “nigh-night” to us as we left the room. It was the same feeling I had when my babies moved to their own rooms. They are slowly taking independent steps away from me and becoming beautiful and complex little people. And as much as I know that each phase is wonderful and has its own excitements, my babies won’t be babies for long.
And as much as some days I hate being a stay-at-home mom, I know that I will miss these little people. As my daughter’s baby cheeks fade away each day and her body turns into one of a little girl, I am going to wish I could kiss those little pudgy cheeks again when she is taking her first confident steps towards kindergarten. And I am going to miss the little toothy grin and baby chuckle of my boy when I sit in the stands at his first football game.
But you know what? I am also excited for those things. To see my kids develop and learn and grow into the deeply loved children of God that they are. To cheer for them and encourage them and watch them accomplish life the way the Lord has directed them to. To see them discover God and His crazy ridiculous love for them. And for sleep. Let’s be honest.