Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tough Love

It's about to get real. This whole parenting thing. And by real, I mean really really hard. I've been praying and seeking, googling and researching- straight up pleading with God- for some sort of solid conviction about a way to help my Sweet Baby to get to sleep on her own, and I finally have an answer, but I just plain do not want to do it. Because it's going to hurt.  I keep stalling and making excuses and even though I know deep down in my mommy-of-this-child heart that this is the best thing in the world for her, I hate that she has to suffer in the process.

(**Just an aside: please no commentary on what is/isn't a good method from the peanut gallery. I'm not spelling out what we're doing intentionally- because I'm the mommy and I've made my choice, and I'm not looking for any outside opinions. Thanks!**)

I know in theory that I can't keep her from suffering entirely, but to be the one who causes it? Ugh, that is HARD. Even if it is for her good. I feel like I wouldn't mind half as much if only she could understand why we have to do it this way.

I HATE that she won't understand why.

That she'll be screaming and flailing and just generally losing her cool, and that even though I'll be right there with her in it, she won't know what I'm doing, and she'll wish I were doing what she wants me to do (nurse her to sleep), what she thinks she NEEDS me to do for her. And though I'm glad we found a way to do this where I don't feel like I'm "leaving or forsaking" her, I hate that I'll have to reassure her through her confusion, when everything in me will want to fix it the way I always have- to stop her crying, her confusion, her pain. But then she'd never learn! And now is the perfect time. And this is the very best way.

It is so good for her.

And I can't help but think of how often I feel just like my tiny daughter in the hands of a Daddy God who often won't or can't explain what He's up to; Who takes me through things that feel so raw, so unkind, even hurtful. How many times do I think "Ouch Abba. Really?!" and plead through injured tears for another way, wondering how He can deal so violently with His own, with me, His child. And then I'm thinking about my Sweet Girl and what she doesn't know, and how she'll learn to trust me as she grows not because she gains some sort of magical understanding about what I'm up to, or because I kept her from everything that would hurt, but because I never left her in the midst of the pain, because I'm still with her when she wakes.

And so I'll walk her through the rough stuff BECAUSE I love her too much to leave her unchanged.

All of my waiting, my flailing in frustration at what feels so uncomfortable, so hard, so entirely un-Good. Why this trial, Lord? Why not now? Why the agonizing wait, the heartbreaking "no," when I know that you could just give me what I want, and you could do it right now? You could pick me up out of this wretched situation and it would be all better, You could wipe away my tears.

It is so good for her.

And if my heart aches as I watch my firstborn baby get so worked up as she tries to learn something new, something really hard, then why do I imagine that my Heavenly Father feels His daughter's pain less, cares less about her cries of distress? That He's up there in the clouds a million miles away with a very cold and untouched smirk on His face.

Honestly? Because in those moments when I'm angry and I'm hurt and I don't understand...
I don't care that His hand is on my back.
I don't care that His gentle voice continues to whisper healing truth.
I don't care that He's never let me down once, that He stands behind me and goes before me.

Instead I scream and cry like a scared child, protesting with every bit of my being because I just cannot stand the not knowing. It's scary. And it doesn't feel good. And if He loves me, why does this hurt so badly, and can't You just make it stop, Lord?!

But didn't Jesus say, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father GIVE the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:11-13)

And surely "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all- how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom 8:32) Hasn't He proven once and for all that He LOVES His children? That He's working all things, all gross and painful and confusing things we encounter in this sin-filled messy world for our very best good?

Whether I know it to be true in the moment or not,
whether or not I can see the gift in this trial or call out the fire as grace,
whether I can tell where we're headed or my vision is blurry,

it's still my Daddy who leads me, He knows the way and He will not let me down
because He is very very good.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Teething? Sassy-pants? Reflux? Oh My!

And then all hell broke loose at the end of September. Suddenly, my sweet, beautiful, rapidly-developing-a-little-personality Girl became a complete screaming nightmare, and it took three solid weeks of legit sleep deprivation (not the "oh i didn't quite get six hours" kind. No, no. This was the "they totally use this as a form of torture somewhere in the world" kind), and detective work on a brain made of mush to figure out what her problem was. And so begins my festive tale of horror for this Halloween season.

 Theory #1 - Teething

Please enjoy an excerpt of a blog post I started to write when I wrongly believed that teething was to blame for the constant hysteria and lack of sleep that had rapidly overtaken our household. Note the tone of exhaustion, near panic. This my friend was only the beginning of the month long battle we were about to endure:
"This week has been quite possibly no exaggeration one of the most trying weeks of my twenty-four years of existence. One word: teething. Awful, frustrating, totally unfair to babies, insanity-invoking teething. She has screamed and cried and gnawed and drooled for days upon days. And the little bugger prodding and taunting my little Babygirl’s gums has yet to show its rascally face. Said cowardly tooth has a special affection for making trouble every SINGLE time I want to get the Babe down for a nap. Which results in a flurry of bouncing and rocking and swaying and sing-screaming over the agonizing sounds of teething pain until we’re both so tuckered that we pass out from sheer physical and emotional exhaustion. And I (in my weakened state) let the poor unhappy Bean sleep on me for the whole two hour nap, fearing for all that is good and sane and happy that the child will awaken and scream at me before she gets a solid two hours. And so though a perfectly sound adult, I live in a constant state of fear. Babe on my lap with her tiny solidifying gums just inches away from my beat to heck nipple, trusty sleep-inducing vacuum noise blaring at max volume, back aching, phone and water and all other kinds of sustenance inevitably just barely out of my reach, as I try and “watch” (if you can call it that) some sort of TV show to pass the time via sub-titles...."

That's right it abruptly ends. This is because the Child, who had been peacefully asleep (on Daddy's chest because she would not sleep anywhere else) awakened screaming at the top of her lungs. A terribly shrill shriek of pain and distress. IT LIVES!!!!

Theory #2: Miss Sassypants

After about 2 weeks of this ridonkulousness I had completely had it. like HAD IT. My dear husband started to theorize that our Sweet Peanut was in actuality just a little stinker who didn't like sleeping one bit, but really enjoyed torturing her parents. Like, "haha guys you think you know what's up try this 10 minute nap followed by 3 hours of semi-normalcy, hysterical laughter, and then BOOM I'm screaming like you're pulling my fingernails out. What now?!" And the longer she kept up the mind-bending insanity the easier it became to believe that we were being perpetually punked by our 3 month old. Embarrassing. She was on the fast track to Cry It Out, when sweet angels from above intervened on her behalf...

Theory #3: Reflux

Sunday Morning. After a weekend where we all three of us had gotten (maybe) 7 hours of sleep in 2 days- if you could somehow pick up all 10, 17, and 23 minute sleep sessions and glue them together- we do the unthinkable. We decide to go to church. That's right Sassygirl, you are coming with us whether you like it or not because life cannot be on perpetual pause (the Husband's inspirational get-your-butt's-out-of-bed-girls speech). So off we go looking ROUGH, all three of us, to the point where upon arriving, people were asking us if we were taking her home because she was straight up pale, and already shrieking with cries of exhaustion. Lucky for the Munchkin that we decided to dump her butt in the nursery (heck, we figured, she'll either scream or cry with us or scream and cry with them). And lo and behold, two veteran mamas got their hands on our Bean, said "hmmm she seems like she has a belly ache" and proceeded to educate us on reflux. Ah-ha: REFLUX! Seriously, why don't babies come with a "likely reasons your child is crying like a nutcase" manual?!

So the not-so-short of it is, that Babygirl has reflux, her Daddy went out and got a fancy new sleeper with a cool incline so she (and all of us) can sleep (a bit more) in peace, and Mama had to go on a dairy-free diet (I KNOW. How outrageous is that?! I hymned and hawwed and moaned and cried about it, but hey it works, and I am THAT desperate for peace in this house!). And they all lived happily ever after, with more little-sleep then they had previously been getting, and without eating cheese or chocolate or lattes. Isn't having a baby exhilarating?!