Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rereading - Safe in the Arms of the Author

I often reread good books, books with stories that I enjoy, books where the writing/language itself is something I enjoy or the setting transports me to a place and time that I find engaging.
Rereading a good book is like taking a little vacation day after day. I relax into it, I settle down to enjoy how the story unfolds, let go of my cares and move through the story knowing that there will be no surprises that I can't handle, no unsettling changes to the outcome, delighting in reading the details that I'd forgotten or rushed through during the first or second read. And truthfully, any uncomfortable parts or slow parts of the story, I sometimes skim through when it's my second or third read.
When I reread a book I rest, fully relaxed, safe in the arms of the author. I love that feeling. There have only been a few instances when I read a book the first time that I've developed that same sense of trust in the author. It's not a frequent occurrence for me.
It struck me today...what if I could do that with my own life? Would I want to relive my life if I were given the chance to, knowing all the outcomes already, perhaps forgetting the small details and delighting in remembering them or grieving again as I went but basically knowing how all the major events unfold and how the story ends... would I choose to relive my life again? Would I choose to reread my own story?
I don't think so.

Harsh, eh? I wouldn't choose to relive my life. (Although I'd probably reread it if it were a book and written well. :)) It's just that the sad times have been so sad that I think knowing the outcomes would rob me of enjoying the good that preceded them. I'd agonize knowing that my brother would die so young, I'd be so sad and bitter knowing that my first marriage would end that the good times preceding those ends would be tainted.
BUT! What if I could somehow achieve the benefits of knowing the important outcomes the first time around? What if I could achieve that sense of trust in the author during the first read? Is that possible or even desirable?
For me, I think it would be ideal. I would experience so much less stress if I were assured and I truly trusted that I could handle whatever might happen, whatever the rest of my story holds; truly trust that my ending is a good one.  If I could rest comfortably, trusting in the author of my life, in God's plan for me, I would be a different, happier, more giving, more vibrant, alive person. I would be free... in so many ways.
This may sound strange but I believe I've been given this assurance, verbally, directly, from God.... through a man on a park bench on a sunny fall day.
I wrote about it at the time but I was writing it to get it down as quickly and as clearly as I could. I didn't have the time or mental capacity to express what the moment meant to me. But I've thought about that moment many, many times since then and I always remember it with the same profound feeling deep inside my ribcage.
An elderly man, a stranger on a park bench said just one sentence to me as I walked by and those words will never leave me: "It turned out all right for us, didn't it?"
I replied with a smile, "it sure did" and kept walking. But within my next heartbeat those words charged through my solar plexus, reverberated through my spine, my mind and imprinted on my soul.
The man was referring to the weather that day but whether he knew it or not he was also delivering a message I desperately needed to hear. Words that assured me that my baby boy would not die, in spite of his awful reflux choking, that I would someday properly love my little girl in spite of my daily agonizing over who I 'should' give her away to because surely anyone else could love and care for her better than I could.
And my boy didn't die and I do love and adore my girl.
And I believe there will come a day long in the future, when an elderly man (Andrew) will say those words to me again: It turned out all right for us, didn't it? Those words are true today and will continue to be true right through till the end.
If ever I've heard the word of God, this is it. He met me on a park bench in one of my most troubled times. And he will continue to meet me, continue to carry me, and I will enjoy my story more this first read through if I choose to trust and rest in His arms.
My word for the 2014 is Trust.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sleep Update

Night 9: No whimper, no whine, complete silence....for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of seriously cranky crying hollering, etc. Then again some cranky wakings in the night.

Night 10: No whimper, no whine, completely silent falling asleep and slept straight through till 6am. Hallelujah, praise the Lord! It is possible and this will happen more frequently and we will never backslide the same way again.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sleep Training - Take... 5? 10?

Sleep for our little Sam has always been a challenge. We had a good stretch from around 11 months (old) to around 15 months but then many setbacks from 15 months to 20 month. He we just sick so so many times.

There were so many setbacks that we moved the futon permanently into his room so if one of us had to sleep there, we could.

I seem to vaguely recall a good 4-6 weeks in the summer around 21 months old where we could leave him in the room by himself and he'd cry for a bit and talk for a bit and then fall asleep. Sometimes we'd still have to go in to sooth him or rock him mostly asleep but he slept mostly independently. Then we had the upheaval of company and tried moving Rachel into the same room and then we went on vacation and it all went to pot.

So once we were back from vacation and trying to get things normalized, we were almost pleasantly surprised to discover that all Sam really wanted was for one of us to stay in the room with him while he fell asleep. This was a big step forward from the rocking so we obliged....we obliged every night (45 minutes to 2hrs/evening) for 4 months.

After that we started formulating a plan and on January 1 we implemented Mission: Sam the big boy who can sleep by himself. We talked about it with him during the day and then implemented it for his nap...the nap was easy... the night bedtime was pure nightmare. Here is how the mission has played out:

Jan 1: 1.5 hours of crying, screaming, begging, hysterics. In 10 - 15 minute intervals, or whenever the pitch seemed to reach hysteria, we would go in and comfort him. Hugs, back pats but no rocking and we didn't stay for long. The hardest part was after a while he was desperate to do anything to keep me in the room. He knew the old rule that as long as he stayed lying down in his crib I would stay with him. So when I went in to comfort him and he threw himself down on his mattress, plastered his face to his blanket and gestured wildly at the bed begging, 'stay stay mummy stay bed.'
I said "no Sam Mommy won't stay, I'm close, you're a big boy now."
"mummy sit chair sit sit mummy please."
I said "no Sam, Mommy leave the door open, you can hear Mommy and Daddy we are here."
"rock rock stay stay down."
He was using all his words, all his knowledge of how this had worked in the past to try to make it better.
It was the most awful 1.5 hours. My heart broke for him.
He finally fell asleep....until 12:30.
12:30-1:15 crying, calling. We went in various times to comfort him finally let him get noisy. At 1:20 I'd had enough but I went in one last time to give one last hug and be firm. I found out his diaper had leaked at some point and his PJs and blankets and sheets were soaking wet and freezing cold. My Poor Boy!!
I changed him, changed the crib, found new blankets and couldn't bear to leave him again. So I crawled into the spare bed and spent the night. He woke several times through the rest of the night calling for me but was comforted by me being so close.
Night 1 felt like an epic fail.

It got better.

Jan 2: 1 hour, whining crying, no hysterics and he slept through the night with just one verbal comfort - which we could do from our own bed in the other room.

Jan 3: 30 minutes, intermittent whining, crying. Again slept through with just one verbal comfort in the middle of the night

Jan 4: 20 minutes, whining. Several verbal comfort, hugs through the night.

Jan 5: 20 minutes, only whining. Verbal comfort, hugs in the middle of the night.

Jan 6: 40 minutes, mad, crying! Verbal comfort, hugs in the middle of the night.

Jan 7: 20 minutes, mostly talking calling, no crying. Several wakings but quickly comforted.

Jan 8: 10 minutes, one call for water. Slept through the night!!

Fingers crossed for tonight!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The odd years, 2013 reflection

The odd years in my life tend to be the best ones, the most momentous ones. I haven't found a significant correlation between the odd calendar years but I have to say 2013 was a great year. We got our feet under us this year as parents, as a family, and had a lot of fun.
The kids went from tiny toddlers to big toddlers who are much more predictable and flexible with regards to schedules and activities. We have many words and big ideas and they are playing together more and more all the time. Still looking forward to sentences...although once those non-stop babbling sessions become non-stop talking sessions, I may regret the desire for sentences.
We had our first family vacation this year and Rachel and mommy their first girls weekend. Andrew and I incorporated some alone time into the year for each other and on our own, which we hope to do more of.
This Christmas was spent at home with Grandma and Papa (Grandpa) and the kids loved having them here. Things I hope to remember about Christmas 2013:
  • Rachel spending much of Christmas afternoon diligently serving tea to Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy in the living room with her new tea set. She had quite an elaborate routine and was very serious about the entire matter, serving each person and giving refills and taking away the cup. She had a routine with her little kitchen where she'd put the teapot in the oven, then set up the tea cup on the table, get the pot out, pour and then serve us in the living room. I threw her for a loop when I asked for a cookie on a plate as well. She had to pause and think that through for a moment but after she worked it out we all received plates with our cups of tea.
  • Sam taking a liking to Rachel's new dolly and carefully combing her hair.
  • Rachel learned to jump with two feet off the ground this Christmas and enjoyed practising it a great deal. Sam on the other hand is getting more daring and is now jumping off the couch by himself and sticking his landings like a pro gymnast.
  • Sam and Rachel learned to say 'excuse me' this Christmas (Goo me) and they find every opportunity to use it. It's adorable hearing them say it to each other over and over again.
I know there is more but that's all I've got at the moment. The holiday season is ending on a lower note unfortunately as the kids seem to have Christmas 'hangovers' and are fighting colds, as am I. We haven't been very jolly the past couple of days and hope the rest of 2014 improves from this point. :)