rejoicing in the unknowns

In some respects, my sweet little almost-16-month old is sleeping better than he has his whole life.  I can pretty consistently count on being able to get him down for one nap of about 2-hours mid-day.  He’s going to bed before 9:00, if not more like 8:00 most of the time.  There’s still a LOT of room for improvement, but I must recognize the vast improvements we’ve already made.

A disappointing development of late has been his tendency to be awake for about 3-4 hours in the middle of the night.  This happened THREE times in the last week.  Yes, I am typing this without blinking as I stare at one spot in my sleepless haze…

You run through the gamut.  Do his ears hurt?  Is he teething?  Does he have a belly ache?  Is he afraid of the dark?  Did he have a bad dream?  Is he even awake right now or is this a night terror?

When he’s just SCREAMING endlessly, it feels torturous because I am so desperate to help him.  Sometimes, though, he isn’t screaming.  Maybe he whimpers now and then, but he is just plain restless, flopping all around.  That just gets annoying (remember, I am a light sleeper and we share a room).

I become desperate to know why this situation exists so as to prevent it from happening again. I get so wrapped up in the question marks that I neglect to nurture the person–my sweet little son.

I forget sometimes that a proper night’s rest is no given for a parent, despite how much better I might actually do my job when I’m rested.  Therein lies the challenge: what kind of person/parent will I be under less-than-ideal circumstances?

His ears were clear two weeks ago.  I don’t see him tugging on them.  I’ve tried to get a look in his mouth and I don’t see any swollen bumps on his gums.  I don’t know if maybe there’s still some pressure, because I do see him chowing on a finger from time to time, but he doesn’t like teething remedies and I limit giving pain/fever relievers unless I am sure of the need for them.  It could be his belly. He goes on kicks of not being very regular and does seem to relax when I massage around his intestines.

At any rate, I have to accept the fact that these types of unknowns will continue to crop up in life.  There will be many more times as a parent when I have no idea what is going on with my child despite my best efforts to understand.  Thankfully he’ll become increasingly more verbal and able to tell me how he feels…but even older kids can have a hard time expressing themselves, or sometimes the internal issues are such that a child can’t even understand what is going on with their body.  Half the time I’m not even sure what is going on with my OWN body.

Anyway, as the hours dragged on last night and he still was sitting like a zombie with intermittent flopping onto the mattress, I found it hard to keep in mind some important things, like:

I am so blessed to have this child on loan from God.

My life is filled with even more love because I am Chad’s mom.

His smiles light up my days, granting me joy between toddler-sized tantrums attempting to express his growing opinions and seek for independence.

Having all those wonderful things means having all that comes along with it, and giving thanks to God in ALL circumstances.

So if this happens again tonight, will I be saying, “Thank you, Lord, for this night of little and interrupted sleep, not knowing what is going on with my child, since it means another night with sweet Chad in our family!” ????

I hope so!

It may not be easy to praise Him when feeling lost and confused, but the truth is that maybe I shouldn’t be feeling those things anyway.  Chad is God’s child and his life is in HIS hands.  So is mine.

And maybe, just maybe, tonight will be a little better…because it seems someone’s digestion is working better this afternoon!  Time to go address that!

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