A Wife Loved Like The Church

Completely (and totally) unsure; completely (and totally) reliant

Posted on: August 10, 2008

I think one of the funniest things about parenting is that everything, literally everything, is trial and error. And perhaps by funny what I really mean is, so exhausting that you eventual give up and laugh (notice my time stamp).

Somewhere in the ballpark of 4 months of age, we realized that Julia really, really needed to just cry herself to sleep. I’m pretty certain Jonathan realized this long before I did, but at some point we both looked at each other through sleep deprived eyes and said “It’s go time”. Here’s what I really love about this whole process: Julia seems to take way longer than what I think is humanly possible to catch on to the idea of sleeping. Like, really, isn’t sleep natural? Shouldn’t a baby just want to sleep? I honestly think she came out of the womb thinking “Mom? Dad? What is this thing you guys are wanting me to do? You seriously expect me to quite down, shut my eyes and sleep? Hmm. No.”

From the get go, sleep and Julia seem to have been a struggle (she gets that from her dad, seeing as I can fall asleep just about anywhere and anytime). So, like I said, somewhere around 4 months old we started letting her cry at night. First night she cried from 11pm to 6 am. Ok, does that seem slightly over the top to anyone else? I mean, come on little girl. At some point I really thought she’d give up. But she never did. Impressive!

After some serious tears shed during the day (we had stopped swaddling her at night, but continued to during the day; this made for lots of crying at night and lots of heavy sleeping during the day – like around 6+ hours), Julia finally started sleeping at night. Beautiful!

Then about a month after that, we regressed to waking up twice a night. I blamed it on a growth spurt. Well, if that is what it is, my daughter should be Yao Ming by now! So we went back to crying it out. This time around I didn’t feel quite so bad. I figured she’d reached the age where she was mentally/emotionally capable of self-soothing (which happens around 6 months), so a little crying wouldn’t hurt.

We’re nearly three months into this next crying it out stage. Julia still hasn’t grasped that night time is for sleep time, and so we’ve thrown our hands in the air. Sometime last week (or maybe the week before that… time seems to start to blur) Jonathan and I decided that for the sake of everyone we’d stop CIO. While this means that I’m still waking up nightly (ranging from 1-3 times on average) with Julia, we all at least get to go back to sleep fairly quickly. Unlike with CIO, which lasted 2-5 hours. Each night (well, 5 out of 7). For three months.

But, tonight Julia threw me a curve ball. She woke up around 1am. We nursed, I put her back down, and she starts crying. Sweet. So, I figured she’d really just have to deal with life and go back to bed. I gave her a set time to cry (mentally I did this, I didn’t actually say “Ok, Julia, you can cry until such and such time before I come back in here”). But seeing as I can’t actually sleep when she’s fussy I decided to get on the laptop to pass the time. Fortunately for her, the time was pretty quick. Unfortunately for me, I can’t seem to fall back to sleep.

Needless to say, I’ve come to realize that parenthood really is about having absolutely no clue what you are doing and just really hoping to stumble upon the right answer. For this kid. Since everything changes for the next one. And in the moments that I realize this, it makes me bow my knee before God, pray for wisdom, grace, patience and love abounding, because I know that I am completely clueless and totally reliant upon Him.

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