Monday, July 14, 2014

sleep.

Jasper doesn't nap anymore. 

But he rubs his eyes and his lashes flutter. His pupils roll back and he shakes his head when you ask if he's tired. It's hard running races and playing cars and reading books and dancing all day without slowing down. 

When we plow through the day without pause or rest, it can hit us like a ton of bricks. Or, in this case, like a plastic picnic table.



We spent the 4th of July weekend up north with 14 adults, 3 kids, and 5 babies. Parents were always bouncing or rocking someone to sleep. They were cat-napping when they could. We shushed each other so little ones and sleepy adults could find peace around the clock. Sleep was lust-filled - we wished away fireworks and late night campfires. We dozed on the couch or crept away for something more substantial.


Sleep is illusive with little ones. I wake up every morning eager for 9:00pm, vowing to turn in earlier and sleep harder than the night before. Without good rest I am cranky and distracted, sensitive and very inconsistent in my parenting.

And so I am grateful for the strides we've made this month with the girls. They are sleeping well. They wake up looking rested. Even after those tearful nights of crying it out, they awoke with joyful smiles and warm eyes. Last night they fell asleep at 7:00pm flat on their backs with their arms over their heads. When I crawled out of bed at 6:30am today, it was silent. Our three little ones were still dreaming while we prepared bottles and the coffee quietly dripped.

Teaching another person to sleep - to notice and own the basic rhythms of this world - is so much harder than I thought it would be. With Jasper and again with the girls, it stirs up compassion and vulnerability, frustration and fatigue, self-doubt and hormones. We take two steps forward and one step back. Teething. Travel. Illness. Daylight Saving Time. Thunderstorms. Attitude. But in-between the hurdles, they get it! They learn to self-soothe. It starts to click. And while there are so many more challenges ahead, the house is quiet for a moment and there is hope.

I'm an hour late, but off to bed. Today has hit me like a plastic picnic table and I surrender.

2 comments:

val said...

Oh, sleep.

Sometimes I was okay with it: "I have the rest of my life to sleep. This night is once in a lifetime."

That's nice.

Other times I'd be at wit's end thinking about how they use sleep deprivation to torture prisoners.

You will love teenagers SO MUCH on the sleep aspect. They sleep, and sleep, and sleep. It's amazing. When people say teenagers are harder than babies, I have no idea what they're talking about. That is such a lie.

Abby gave up napping at a year old. It took me a few weeks to adjust--I relied on that couple hours over lunchtime to get things done.

Okay, good night. I love psalm 127 v. 2--eat the bread of sorrows. No. Go to sleep. love, Val

Charlie Ruud said...

Makes me think of Psalm 127:2. A good reminder for me which I should heed more often.