Preface: We have worked really hard on sleep training and getting Asher to sleep in a toddler bed all night. It has been generally successful. He is given to rising at around 6, so we made it a rule (for ourselves) that he could come in our bed at 6 and doze or lay with us since Ben gets up shortly after that anyway. Any time before that and he had to go back to bed.
Story: It was 4 am. Asher had been up six times in three hours. He obviously wasn't tired or falling back asleep. He kept creeping into our room saying, "It's morning mommy!" When I would explain that it isn't morning, and he had to go back into his bed, he would say, "But I don't like to go back to bed. I don't like laying down. I don't like sleeping."
That is his latest thing, you know... "I don't like_____." He uses it when he doesn't want something or doesn't want to do something. He often uses it for absurd things that he very obviously likes, but when he is feeling inconvenienced by them ("I don't like mac n cheese" or "I don't like Thomas underwear.")
Back to my night musings. I had tried all my "tricks." I had told him that he would get a consequence if he got out again. I followed through on the consequence when he did. I reasoned through why he should be sleeping when everyone else in the house was sleeping and it was so dark. I made my voice firm. I ignored him. Ben put him back twice and that didn't even help. He was bound and determined to be awake. Finally around 3 am, I got so tired of this routine. Ben and I had a semi-conscious conversation about what to do next. I finally realized that the only way he was going back to sleep is if we brought him in bed with us or if I rocked him.
So I rocked him. (Because forbid I break our "not before 6 am rule). And I did it with such mixed feelings.
I was berating myself, "There you go, all the work you put in out the window. Now he will expect to be rocked every night. And all because you wanted sleep."
I was feeling guilty, "You push this middle-of-the-night training too much and your kid will grow up to resent you, feel distant and wonder if you even love him. You are ruining him with this sleeping in his own bed business. Maybe just co-sleep and rock and basically give him all and everything so that he knows how loved he is."
I was melting, "How sweet to be here, rocking your big toddler boy, watching him drift off to sleep. It's been so long since you've gotten to do this, and soon he won't be the only boy around. Don't even think about the "what-ifs." In this moment, just Soak. It. Up."
It took a grand total of 10 minutes, and he was out. I rocked him gently a little while longer and then transferred him to his bed, all without a hitch. He slept soundly til morning.
I, of course, laid in bed for another hour or so, unable to sleep and mulling over the whole incident. I should have definitely just rocked him sooner. But I was so scared he would regress. I was determined to make sure that my kid slept independently and didn't require me to help put him back to sleep. HE IS TWO, for crying out loud. Why am I so set on this? I thought about how things will change when the baby comes. He will probably naturally regress and we will have to deal with it. He will crave the rocking and snuggling when he sees Baby Brother getting all the middle-of-the-night (and daytime) energy. And I don't know how to balance those moments with continued expectations of sleeping through the night. I don't know how to have standards and be lenient at the right times. How to pour out love on this sweet boy but discipline and guide. Obviously this extends beyond bed time.
This intentional parenting thing is hard work. The thinking is draining, the carrying out is nerve-wracking, the guilt of a split-second choice going wrong is crippling. And yet despite the amount of times I feel like I'm totally blowing it, this sweet boy still comes and lays on my lap, trying to touch as much of me as he can (as he is doing right now), he begs butterfly kisses, he follows me around all day asking what I'm doing, and he asks for snuggles. It is so hard, but I also love it so so much. I love him so much. And he is so worth all this angst and middle-of-the-night insomnia. He deserves intentional parenting and all the love I can pour on him, whenever I can pour it.
Thank Jesus for grace and redemption of the brokenness I'm bringing to this parenting gig.
Quick pregnancy updates:
- I am 37 weeks...which is no longer considered "high risk" and technically baby can come any time. ( it is also the earliest the birth center will let me give birth there instead of having to go to the hospital).
- Baby has definitely dropped and I feel like a lumbering ox. Mainly because whenever I try to do anything I feel about as flexible as an ox. And they lumber.
- Sleeping has gotten difficult. My hips and lower back hurt whenever I get out of the bathroom any of the 2847 times a night.
-I have Braxton-Hicks (practice) contractions relatively frequently, but no sign of the real thing yet.
-Baby must be feeling squished because he has been stretching his legs into my rib cage and lungs and it is quite the feeling.
-I seriously cannot eat very much at all without feeling totally gross and sick afterward.
-I am stuck in the no-mans-land of really wanting to nest and finish projects and having ZERO energy and actual motivation to get them done. I also have this thing that once I do find the energy and start, I just keep going, and it ends up taking a really big toll on my body and I'm basically out of commission the rest of the day. Bleh.
Soon and very soon. All this will be done.
The following are all the sweet moments that Asher comes in bed after 6 am and snuggles back in to sleep next to me after Ben goes to work. I really do cherish and love these moments. And he is so darn cute!
We got a big snow...and it was beautiful and is still piled up out there, so that is fun! Winter cold is so much better when there is white all around instead of grays and browns.
Playing in said snow!
These were our happy smiles at making it to Ikea, through a shopping trip and all the way home with DRY UNDERWEAR! Potty training is going much better now that I just dove in and tried it. Leaving the house was the most nerve-wracking for me, but he has done surprisingly well, as long as we go places with bathrooms easily accessible!
Open play day at a gymnastics club. He loved all the bouncing!
Had a girls weekend with some of my friends and we did the very Minnesotan thing and went hot tubbing in the snow. Cecilia (second from the left) is from Kenya and is experiencing all kinds of new things since she has been here...including this first-time adventure!
Our latest before-baby project was to put a dishwasher in our tiny kitchen. My handy husband (and his dedicated father) worked out all the details and measurements. There is literally just enough room for the sink and dishwasher. Like down to fractions of inches.
And there it is! We are still waiting on our countertop, but the whole thing is hooked up, doesn't leak and runs wonderfully! We have been using it a few days now and it has made such a difference in how tidy our kitchen stays. And since we have minimal amounts of counter space in general, every bit of tidy helps!
This little guy loved the up-close view of Daddy working with all the tools!
Bump shot this week!
One of my jobs includes driving some girls to their sports practice at the sports dome. Usually we sit in the lobby and try to stay entertained while we wait, but today we went inside to watch. This really sweet girl who was practicing softball with her friends and asked Asher if he wanted to help pass her balls. He was so enthralled and loved being able to help. It was so cute.
Anyway, that is the end of the very long post.
If you made it this far...warm fuzzies and hugs to you!