To someone who doesn't have kids, this is not going to sound like a big deal. In fact, it might sound downright pathetic. And to those few lucky parents whose kids always sleep like they're "supposed" to... it will sound the same way. But. I am not among those two groups. And so this topic has taken on gargantuan proportions in my life. I keep telling myself I won't obsess about it. But, when you get so little of something so important, you tend to think about it a lot.
This month I have had less sleep than I have ever had in my entire life. Less than when Cadence was born. Less even than when James was born.
It started a little after midnight on the 3rd. Cadence woke up wimpering. I went in to see what was wrong, and found her limp and burning up. Over the next two weeks my longest night included four disjointed hours of sleep. Yikes.
But, we're better now. We were better a week-and-a-half ago. Unfortunately, my children seemed to have forgotten how to sleep. It was like they needed to make up lost playtime, lost fussing time, lost everything time. They needed me to hold them all. the. time. Naptime found all three of us enconsed in the recliner in Cadence's room, crying. That's right. Mama cried because she was tired and couldn't sleep. Cadence cried because she was tired and couldn't sleep. James cried because he was tired and couldn't sleep. At bedtime, it took us hours to get from bath to bed, and then more hours to get to sleep. It was usually well after eleven before both kids were asleep. And of course, the later they were up, the earlier they were up. It was awful. Miserable. Something had to give, and I was afraid it was going to be my spirit.
So I started praying. I prayed desperately all last week. I prayed for me - Lord, give me wisdom. Give me strength. Show me what needs to change so my babies can sleep. So they can be happy, and so I can get the rest I need to care for them. I prayed for my babies - Lord, give my babies rest. Let them sleep so they can be happy.
And you know what? Just as He has, every single time I have called on Him, God answered my prayer.
Sunday He planted a seed in my mind. One of the other young mothers mentioned they had been walking every day and I thought - we must do that. Every day, we must go outside, get fresh air and sunshine, let us breathe, get some exercise.
Monday morning the other seed came. My sister said maybe it would help to streamline our routine. So I thought - and sure enough, our routine was not purposeful. It was a meandering three hour path in the general direction of nowhere.
So. Every single day this week we have started one and a half hours before I want Cadence to go to sleep for her nap. I turn on play music, and we all run and jump and play in the living room for about half an hour. Then I direct Cadence in her cleanup, helping as needed. Then I offer James milk, bundle us all up, and head out the door. We walk the loop around our block, letting Cadence get down on the less busy street. Twice I've wound up carrying James in the sling, but he loves our walk too. As soon as we get back, we sit on the couch together. Cadence eats a snack and I read her books while James goes to sleep, then I immediately take Cadence to her room and put her to sleep.
Then at bedtime we go straight from bath to four stories, read by Daddy, to devotions, to prayer, to talking in the recliner, to sleep. No delays. No playing between bath and devotions. No endless requests for more stories. No conniving Daddy into playing in the bedroom after talking because he missed Cadence during the day.
I have to be diligent to make sure there are no pauses, no chances to get sidetracked, no sneaky playtimes. It's hard work. It takes more concentration than I'm use to. But...
It has worked. God has given me wisdom to know what to do, strength to play and walk when I would rather just sit and watch, and given my babies the rest they so desperately need.
Last week I spent naptime holding my babies while they cried. This week I've spent naptime doing things like cleaning house, getting some much needed Bible study... yesterday I even took a thirty minute nap.
Miracles and wonders. They may not always be big. They may not always be obvious to others. But, they still happen!