3 nights ago, completely on a whim, I decided it was time to let Channing "cry it out". His sleeping schedule the past few months had gotten increasingly worse. It started way back with our trip to Florida, when he had to nap wherever and whenever. He never quite recovered from that. His naps weren't ever predictable and he started waking up occasionally at night, either a few hours after he went to bed (around 10:30 or 11pm) or earlier than normal in the morning (6 or 6:30am). I got into the habit of giving him a bottle at those times since it was still sort of a "normal" feeding time. Well then November and December came and he was sick more than he was healthy during those months. So there was more waking in the night for medicine and snot-sucking, etc. And since I took pity on my poor little sick baby, I'd just give him a bottle so he'd fall right back to sleep. Well, fast-forward to this week...the occasional and sporadic night bottle had quickly turned into an every night bottle. At 2am three nights ago, I decided I'd had enough. So...I didn't go in to get him. The longest I'd ever had to let Bennett or Dawson cry it out was 30 or 45 min. when they'd occasionally get off schedule due to sickness or teething. No big deal. The ironic thing is, I've given advice to countless friends over the years in regards to their babies sleep schedules. And in my opinion, you just have to eventually suck it up and let them cry it out-an hour, two hours, whatever it takes. The first night's the worst and for most babies, it gets way easier after that. Easier said than done.
Well, Channing didn't stop crying after 45 min like I expected. He didn't stop crying after an hour. I so desperately wanted to go in to get him but I knew I was past the point of no return. I'd just have to start all over the next night if I did. So I laid there, listening to him cry (actually I was just watching the monitor lights flicker at that point because Jon told me to turn it off) in pure agony. Honestly, it was so painful and completely heart-wrenching. I just kept telling myself he wouldn't even remember it in the morning. Another whole hour went by and I was started to fade in and out of sleep. It was dreadful. The next thing I knew, I woke up and looked at the clock and it was 4:40am and he was sound asleep.
If I weren't so exhausted, I would have popped open some champagne to celebrate. (Just kidding. I hate champagne.) He ended up sleeping til about 8:45 that morning (way longer than usual). Poor thing was pooped. But the first night was over. We survived. I gave him lots and lots of extra cuddles the next day out of guilt.
Well, its been 2 full nights since then and the boy hasn't made a peep. He's slept from 7:30pm til 8 or 8:30am the last two nights and has actually napped better for me the last two days too. I don't know what it was but he snapped out of it. Hallelujah! That night was completely worth it.
(I'm so in love with these pictures my MIL took while we were on vacation. How did she get smiles from all three?? Miracle worker, that woman.)
So the morning after the "night of agony", I was of course, completely exhausted. I felt nauseous in the middle of the night and all the next morning. (I'm blaming it on the pizza and cookies I ate the night before in combination with the lack of sleep. I've learned I'm sensitive to gluten and have been *mostly* GF for the past few months and that was by far the most gluten I'd eaten in one sitting in a long time).
So in my state of exhaustion, I completely blew it in the mommy department that day. The first half of the day was mostly fine since Dawson plays fine by himself but once Bennett gets home from school, they usually fight and Dawson gets whiny and crabby (his way of getting attention). Jon was out of town that night so I was on my own. And I let it all get the best of me. I screamed at Dawson about who-knows-what two or three times that evening. Those are the days where I just feel like I'm utterly drowning. The house is a wreck (duh), the boys are bouncing off the walls and destroying things because that's what they do best and I just feel down anyway because its freakin freezing, dead of winter, no end in sight, disgusting January. And Dawson's freaking out because he doesn't want his diaper changed and WHY IS MY NEARLY THREE AND A HALF YEAR OLD STILL IN DIAPERS?? And can't a woman just get a nap, for crying out loud??! You get the gist. A day in Mommy hell. There were tears on all of our parts. Mine out of guilt that night when I prayed with the boys to ask the Lord for forgiveness.
I started the next day out right and picked up my Jesus Calling devotional that hadn't been cracked open for too many days to mention. Thank goodness for His grace. Thank goodness for the grace of my children. Thank goodness that I don't have those days every day. Yes, I'm still completely and utterly spent at the end of every. single. day. (seriously. Parenting three boys this young is the hardest thing ev-errr. I'm still not sure why God thinks I'm strong enough for this job.) but at least most days I feel like I did my best to love my children and give them my attention when they need it and laugh along the way. Its all a work in progress but that's all He asks of us, isn't it? That we work at it? In marriage, in parenting, in our walk with Him? If we're conscious of our areas that need improvement and are working at those areas, that's the best any of us can do.
My favorite Instagrams lately:
1) Mornin', Sunshine 2) Those two giggling about inappropriate words in the dictionary. Endless entertainment. 3) Laundry can wait 4) My favorite mug makes my day a little happier 5) In love with that baby in the mirror (him and me) 6) Sometimes there are *perfect* moments 7) That face 8) Bunny teeth 9) Pretending it wasn't winter for a couple hours at an indoor pool
One area I admittedly suck at in parenting is teaching my kids scripture. Its not a part of our lives even though I know its pretty much the most important thing. So one thing I'm going to work on this year is helping them memorize verses. I printed this off yesterday to teach my boys the character qualities we all want to strive for. (I heard Michelle Duggar speak last November and it pretty much revolutionized my mothering.) A great place to start and enough verses for one a week for a year (or it might take two...or three years. You know...work in progress :) Do you teach your kids scripture? Any tools you've found to make it easier?