Archive | August 2009

Prayers I Have Prayed

Soon after Sam was born I sent out an email to some of my friends asking for their prayer requests. I said I would spend some of my time nursing praying for them. I think they thought I was pretty holy.

So I feel the need to make a confession. Don’t worry; if you were one of those friends your request DID get covered. But I realized recently that since Sam MOST of my prayers have been for selfish, ridiculous, or outlandishly insignificant things. I’m not sure if anyone can identify, but here are some of my prayers…

1. God, please let me finish this spaghetti before Sam gets unhappy in the bouncy seat.

2. Please keep me from tripping over the laundry in the middle of the night when I’m walking the halls with Sam like a zombie.

3. If in the middle of a chaotic moment I realize I can’t keep hold of both Sam and my ice water, help me remember in time which one to drop.

4. Help Sam to not be allergic to peanut butter since my hands were full of it before I gave him his pacifier.

5. Please let Sam get this poop out. (If you’re confused on this one, see previous post “Things Babies Hate,” number 5.)

6. Please keep Sam safe from spiders, child abductors, and snakes (yes) in his crib at night.

7. Make the lightning stop so Sam can sleep.

8. Help me not be a flake and walk away from the grocery cart when Sam is in it.

9. Please keep Sam from screaming bloody murder in Birkdale.
and, here it is…the most-prayed prayer of all…

10. PLEASE LET SAM FALL ASLEEP! (I thought I was a horrible mom until I read this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “There never was a child so pleasant but that that his mother was happy to see him asleep.” 🙂

Inspiring

I found this in the very early days of being a mom. It’s in Dr. James Dobson’s book Bringing Up Boys (which is great). I don’t think it was coincidence that this paragraph found me then. I really, desperately needed it. In those difficult first few days home, when it felt like adulthood and sacrifice slapped me in the face, it encouraged me.
“Your task as a mother, in conjunction with your husband, is to build a man out of the raw materials available in this delightful little boy, stone upon stone upon stone. Never assume for a moment that you can “do your own thing” without serious consequences for him and his sister. I believe this task must be your highest priority for a period of time. It will not always be required of you. Before you know it, that child at your feet will become a young man who will pack his bags and take his first halting steps into the adult world. Then it will be your turn. By all expectations, you should have decades of health and vigor left to invest in whatever God calls you to do. But for now, there is a higher calling. Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility. Besides, living by that priority when kids are small will produce the greatest rewards at maturity.”

ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!

You know the bumper sticker that says, “A bad day at golf/fishing/etc is still better than a good day at the office”? Today’s the first day of school, and I’m home. I’m not a teacher anymore. I’m a mom. But I guess mine would read, “A bad day at home is still better than a good day at school.” This is a big deal. I have cried – literally – everytime I passed the school since knowing I’m not going back. I LOVED teaching middle school. But as I bounced Sam on the yoga ball this morning (trying to get work out his gas) singing “You are my sunshine” as the sun came up, I just had to smile. It was funny. And I guess it was fun, too.
Unfortunately things didn’t get better for Sam and me. I spilled shredded cheddar all over the floor, found the weekend laundry that didn’t ever make to the dryer still in the washer, found the melted ice cream Todd left ON the refridgerator this morning (don’t ask). And by the way the gas episode started after the 4:15 feeding, which means I got…let’s see…22 minutes of very interrupted sleep since then.
And I haven’t even gotten to the worst part: the nap. Sam and I are trying to master the nap. At 10:00 he went down. I was proud of myself because he was a little tired but not asleep. I gloated a little as my little angel drifted off. What a sweetie. Promptly twenty-five minutes later (while I was stirring the boiling macaroni) he woke up. Crying. I waver between thinking I am a) a wimp or b) a really good mom but golly, I just don’t feel right leaving him cry when he wakes up. He’s three months old and needs a little help. I gave him the pacifier (aptly named) stroked his head and – success – he fell asleep!
For six minutes. This process repeated itself three more times. I’m embarassed to admit how quickly, for me, anger can enter the picture. JUST TAKE A NAP. I’M TRYING TO HELP! Eventually I had to resort to my most desperate, humiliating means. I held him, bounced him, sshhed him, swaddled him. Any pretense of teaching independent sleep was gone. In my arms he managed to get two minutes of sleep (once I got the smiling giraffe on the mobile out of sight…rookie mistake) when, hello, it’s time to eat. I think some days you just ditch the book and shoot for sheer survival. This Monday, my friends, is one of those days. 🙂

Calling All Mothers – Update

Wow! I have already received so much encouraging and helpful advice on the issue of sleep! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Stay tuned for some snipits of this stuff…really great things! In the meantime, thought of two additional questions.
1. Babywise says, “You (Mom) decide when the nap ends.” What the heck does that mean??? Isn’t “Don’t wake a sleeping baby” one of the cardinal rules of life?? What if he sleeps through an eating time? How do I know he’s had enough sleep?
2. Right now I rock and “shh” Sam to a drowsy/beginning sleep stage, then put him down. Should I be putting him down wide awake? If not now, when? How do I know he’s ready for that?
THANKS AGAIN!!

Calling All Mothers

I have never been so interested in sleep my whole life. I don’t mean just wanting it, but curiously, ravenously interested in how the whole thing goes down (pardon the pun). Initially (during the days of holding your sleeping newbie in your arms trying to determine whether or not to make the precipitious transition to the crib), the questions are something like these: Is he going to scream bloody murderwhen I put him down, is covering up his left toe really worth it, if I don’t end this four hour siesta will he be partying hard into the wee hours of the night, and, is he really sleeping when he does that creepy eyes-rolling-into-the-back-of-the-head thing. I’ve learned a lot, but find Sam’s new stages bring new questions. (He is about 3 months now.) So here they are. I’m petitioning YOU for help. What worked, what didn’t, what resources are good, etc. You can comment or send a lengthy email during the spare time I know you have to: jessicasmartt@gmail.com. I will be posting snipits of your advice so everyone can benefit. Thanks!

1. Okay, this is the biggie. I realize that napping and crying are the “politics and religion” of the childrearing world; everyone has her own hard-headed opinion. The thing I struggle with is this: how much do I let Sam fuss/cry/struggle to fall asleep on his own at this three month stage? I realize I can’t rock him for naps when he’s 12, so it has to start somewhere, but at times he seems utterly incapable of getting himself soothed.

2. Related, Sam wakes up frequently during a long nap. What’s the best way to help him get back to sleep?

3. How long should a nap be? Sometimes he “catnaps” and seems happy after waking up. Is that okay?

4. Will too much daytime sleep interfere with night sleep?
Thanks so much for any help you can give!