Who needs sleep, anyway?

If you’ve been following my blog posts, nothing that I have to say today will probably come as much of a surprise.  Even so, I feel like talking about it.

My youngest doesn’t believe in sleep, I think.

What’s funny to me is that he started out as an AWESOME sleeper, which I had never experienced before with newborns.  I’d get 7 straight hours of sleep out of him at most, if not often a minimum of 4!  Compare that to the up-every-45-minutes-or-so I dealt with our other babies, and you can imagine my great glee.  

Then we went away for Christmas, and I didn’t want to wake up everybody in the house, so when he would wake up frequently (in an unfamiliar environment), rather than force us all to spend our limited time together in a sleepless haze, I would snatch him up and co-sleep.

Yes, I do realize the dangers of co-sleeping.  He is not the first child I have done this with.  I do not feel above the warnings, but I am a light sleeper and I do find that I hold my position, wake with the slightest stirs (or snores), and have never consciously found myself do anything unsafe (like awaken with blankets over baby’s face).  No, instead I freeze my arms to keep the blankets below my waist.

Anyway, co-sleeping worked very well for a time.  Night time feedings were a breeze and I got more winks by not having to crawl out of bed and get my heart pumping.

However, with time he stopped sleeping for long stretches and started waking frequently–eating more.

Did I see that coming?

Yes.

Why did I do it, then?

Sigh.

My sweet little guy seems to be about as light a sleeper as I am.  I have always struggled with his naps.  That certainly hasn’t gotten any better.  Most of the days of his life lately have been about how tired he is, how fussy he is, how he’s fought me at getting him down, and how much of a failure I feel like for knowingly going the co-sleeping route and thereby ruining him.

That’s how I feel.

It’s hard to accept that, at the time, knowing the potential repercussions, I deemed that co-sleeping was the best way to go.  Despite that my decision was made with a greed for sleep in mind, I was also thinking about my other obligations.  I had three other kids to care for, and while it’s no excuse for bad choices, I tend to have poor brain function and a major case of the grouchies when I have gotten little sleep.  It really felt like the right thing at the time.

The past two days I have gotten one 2-hour nap out of my little sweetie.  THIS WAS AWESOME!

It also makes me twinge with regret that ONE two-hour nap is some kind of victory.  

Well, it is new territory for me as a mom, despite that I’m on round four.  I’m working my way through the pick-up, put-down method to retrain him, and that wears on my patience–big time.  It’s hard to give an hour to trying to get him to sleep only to have to abandon the process because he won’t be consoled and my nerves are raw.

Wouldn’t it just be better to let him cry it out?

I just don’t know.  That has never sat right with my heart.  I understand that sometimes kids need to blow off some steam, but for me–there’s a difference.  Yes, he needs sleep.  He really does.  There can be developmental repercussions.  I get that.  But I helped to create this issue, and I’m going to help him through it.   

Since there have been so many days of his life when I fruitlessly spent minutes (or hours) trying to get him to nap, then dealing with an overtired baby, I am feeling just so, so behind at home.  That is not a fun feeling.  Having time the past two afternoons to do things while he rested (supper prep was on the agenda those days) felt completely luxurious. 

All this reminds me how much I have to be thankful for.  

Yes, that’s right.  

See, isn’t it glaringly obvious how askew my best intentions are?  I mean well–I mess up.  I want to do the best thing while simultaneously choosing the wrong thing.  I’m just a mess on my own.

But I am NOT alone.  In Jesus I am PERFECT.

That truth isn’t a license for making whatever silly choices I want–but it is utter reassurance.  It blankets me in more warmth and comfort than the awesome sherpa blanket my husband got from a student this Christmas.  🙂

God doesn’t promise to make Chad miraculously become a great sleeper.  I realize that he might struggle with sleep his whole life.  We can expect struggles in our lives, because we are sinners in a sinful world.

What keeps us going despite that is the hope of what lies beyond this life.

Chad is a redeemed child of God.  So am I.  When we’re in heaven, we’ll be well-rested all the time.  It’ll be glorious.  I’ll never have to choose between this sub-par option or that one.  

That God would promise all this to lil old me is a-maz-ing.

Thank you, gracious Father!

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