Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On Babies and Sleep and Etc.

I'm writing this post for two reasons.

One.  Because IF...a big if, we have another baby, I forget this stuff and I'll want to be reminded.

Two.  Because maybe a few of you saw me share a picture of a mama holding her baby and in the caption it read something like "If your baby is crying because all they want is to be close to you...than pick them up....pick them up again and again and again."  Something like that.  Pretty dramatic.  And after I shared it I wished I hadn't because I might have alienated some of my friends that might see things differently.  Like maybe they let their babies cry themselves to sleep.  And I don't want to be known for being the judgmental mom who thinks she knows how to do it right, whatever "it" may be.  These "it's" in our lives that we feel the squinted eyes of other mother's peering over our shoulder's and examining us to see if we measure up can be anything from how we eat, what we wear, how we feed our kids, how we discipline, how we educate we care for our babies....oh and the list goes on. and on.  and on.

I have some convictions about the way I do things....I do....but the longer I do this (mothering) the less strongly I stand on them.  And even though I'm pretty particular about a few things, I still feel insecure around other mothers (ie, I don't think for a second that I know how to do everything right and I've arrived).

I get that "I'm going to cry...please don't judge me---I'm doing my best---feeling".  You know what I'm talking about don't you?  And if you think I'm judging you because all you know about me is the things you know I do....grind my own gf grains, adore homeschooling, love being pregnant and having babies---and you don't share these convictions----well...I'm not.

I grind my own gluten free grains because I've been struggling with my health for the past 10 years and if I don't eat healthy (and not just healthy but a very particular type of diet that I'm not really even doing right now b/c I'm too overwhelmed to think about that) I feel bad.  And I like being with my kids---but not always.  I send them outside a lot and I am a big fan of bedtimes, especially for kids under 6.  (7 PM for the little guys that quit napping!)  And besides, I'm not even homeschooling next year.  And I lose my temper.  And I'm not always kind.  And the loving having babies thing?  I can't help it.  I was born that way.  It's not forced.  It just is.  But I still get frustrated with my kids and my life and the work of it all.  And I complain.  And I feel sorry for myself.  And I get jealous of those with more freedom. And.  And.  And.  Lots of "Ands" that keep me humble.

So...that cry of our heart that says, "Please don't judge me!"----I think we all feel it.  How about just loving each other.  No judging.  We're all doing our best.  Really.  And anyway it is Jesus who is in charge of each of us.  So he's the only one who has the right to peer over our shoulders and instruct us on what to do and what not to do.  I'm learning more and more, there's a lot more gray then I used to think.

So back to the whole sleep thing.

For the first 4 months it was pretty easy to rock Jacob to sleep or let him nurse to sleep.  In some way shape or form I put him to sleep.  About a week ago, I was trying to rock him to sleep and he just kept looking up and smiling at me and cooing.  About a week before that I was rocking him to sleep and he kept staring at me and talking.  Really sweet, huh?  But I knew he was tired and that I was distracting him from going to sleep.  And so I decided to try laying him down.  And wa-la---within minutes he was sound asleep.

Jacob is on a sleep schedule.  Not so much a feeding schedule.  But I did kind of pay attention to his natural rhythms from the beginning...and he has followed a sleeping pattern that has somewhat evolved and changed as he has gotten older.  Right now he gets up around 7.  Goes back to sleep from about 9 to 11.  Then he sleeps again from about 1 to 4.  Then he is down for the night around 7:30.  His wake times have gradually increased.  So I feed him when he gets up and I feed him before he goes back down, and I would anytime in between if he wanted to.  I'm pretty liberal with the feedings.  But because he has this sleep routine I know when he is sleepy and he starts to get cranky and fussy when he is tired.  So my routine now is to just take him up, rock him for a few minutes, sing to him, give him 1,000 more neck kisses, and then lay him down, cover him, up give him a nice back rub :) and then say goodnight.  He is sleeping in our closet right now in a portable crib and I have a noise maker that runs in there.

He fusses (not wails or screams like he is abandoned---no, he FUSSES.  that's all)  And he goes to sleep within minutes.  It's nice for him.  It's nice for me.  He is learning to just go to sleep like we all do.  No one rocks me to sleep.... :)  (Gosh that would be weird)

Because I nursed or rocked Benjamin and Andrew to sleep until they were about 12 months old, when that time finally came that I couldn't anymore do that for them---I can't really remember why but I think it was because it wasn't working anymore---they weren't going to sleep---and if they did it was taking like 30 minutes or more and I was neglecting my other children----so at that point I had to let them learn to put themselves to sleep and it was HELLATIOUS.  (sp?)  I don't know how to spell that word, but it's the best word that describes those about three days it took to get them to put themselves to sleep.  Loud, long, scream crying sessions that were pure torture for me.  This way---Jacob will never have to endure that.  Yay!  I am happy about that.

So I don't judge you for how you take care of your baby.  You love your baby with rivers of love...and it's through that love that you make decisions.  And those are personal and none of my business or anyone elses.  I just share what I'm doing this time around with you all for, well, the two reasons I stated above.

Sweet dreams!

Oh...and he founds his fingers a few weeks ago.  Nice.  :)


Ashley Thomas said...

Great read! I found myself nodding in agreement through so much of it :) Especially the loving being pregnant part & the sometimes losing my temper even though I love my kiddos more than anything. Thank you for sharing such an honest, heartfelt blog. I will definitely be a future follower!

Arielle said...

I just loved this post. I have found that I make other people feel guilty. They imagine that I just adore having babies and homeschooling and homemaking (and imagine I am much better at it than I am). I do love having babies. And I am a poor housekeeper and lazy and impatient and regularly lose my temper.

And boy do I relate to your sleep post. I did some form of light sleep training with my first two. My third, for some reason, I was STAUNCHLY opposed to ever letting cry for a second. I held her for hours upon hours, until midnight nearly every night. I wore her through more naps. I slept with her at night. And I was clearly keeping her awake once she hit nine months. She wanted her bed. I felt so guilty laying her down alone. And she did cry a little. And then she peacefully slept all night. Gosh, it was a hard decision to make, but I feel a little silly I didn't make it sooner.