Sleepless in Seattle

We don’t really live in Seattle, we live in Richmond, VA, but I love alliteration so I just went with it.

Location withholding, we really are having sleep trouble. And by “we” I mean the toddler and I. The hubs pretty much sleeps whenever he’s not at work.

Of all the parenting things; feeding, potty-training, motor skills, social skills, etc., sleeping has always been the biggest challenge.

It might be because I did attachment parenting, so my son has always co-slept with us. It might be because I breastfed until he was two years old, so he nursed throughout the night for so long that night waking is normal to him. It might be because he is a very sweaty sleeper. Or it might just be that sleeping is not his thing.

I once read somewhere that young children should get an average of 12 to 14 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period. And I have actually known people who say their child has done/does this. But whenever God was handing out babies, he gave me the non-sleeping version.

Which is fine, really. Because not sleeping is a parenting challenge I can handle. Or at least I used to, when my son still took naps.

The naps are gone, you guys. And it is draining me.

I took a daily nap with my son for the first two and a half years of his life. I needed it in order to be a good mother to him. And he needed them in order to function. It worked for us. I always cherished that mid-afternoon slumber. And then, just like that, he dropped them.

Nap time has been gone at my house since May. This entire summer has consisted of long days. Very, very, long days.

There are some days when we both just can not take it anymore and we relinquish ourselves to a nap. But the problem is, if he takes a nap, he is up until eleven or midnight. The other problem is, if he does not take a nap, he is absolutely miserable from 4pm to bedtime at 7pm. The dinner, bath, bed routine is started at 6, but those hours from 4 to 7 of a screaming, irrational toddler drain me every time.

Like other parenting obstacles I have faced I know that this will just be a phase. I know that nap time is over and that some day the hours of 4PM to 7PM will once again return to be just regular hours.

But while we wait this phase out, I would love to hear your toddler sleeping advice. Because the current trend? Makes me want to hire a bedtime sitter. (Is that a thing? That should be a thing.)

Thank you in advance for your help. I’ll just be over here drinking lots of caffeine until we figure this out.

A Weekend of Blessings

This weekend was full of moments that took my breath away. I was very aware of their presence, their simplicity, and their significance. I am incredibly blessed. I found myself moved when I was:

  • Laughing at 7:30 in the morning on Friday, because my son was being adorable. I usually barely function at that hour, let alone laugh.
  • Watching my son perform in his end-of the-year school assembly. He sang “This Little Light of Mine” with his fellow two-year-olds. Except he didn’t sing, he lifted his shirt up and showed his belly and then covered his ears. But it was precious.
  • Holding my son in my lap after his performance while we watched the older children do their songs. I got teary at the 5 year olds. I became very aware that it is only a few years before my son will the big kid in the 5-year-old class, giving his last performance before he graduates from preschool. I hugged my son even tighter in my lap and tried to stop tears as I had a flash-forward mommy moment.
  • After the assembly (does anyone say that word anymore?) we went to the youth room to throw a surprise baby shower for Mrs. P, the teacher assistant in my son’s class. All of the moms and the lead teacher had been collaborating for weeks. It was a great success. Mrs. P was so moved, she gave a teary speech about how blessed she’s been to have our children and this sweet class and us as parents. She is due in just three weeks, so she’s been pregnant almost the entire time we’ve known her. She said that she didn’t want to sound corny, but her baby has felt the energy of that class and our children and she thinks the gifts and energy our children gave to her she will carry with her the rest of her life. Beautiful moment. All the mommies were crying and all of the toddlers were happily engaged in running around the room and squealing.
  • Leaving my son’s school to realize I only had enough gas to make it to the nearest gas station. Where there was a line. And the toddler was crying because he was tired and a very elderly man in front of me was taking FOREVER, and then told me I better find a different pump to wait at. I was mad and flustered, and finally got a pump. As I was pumping, the old man asked me to come to his car. I was annoyed. But then he gave me a gold coin (a real one) and told me to give it to my little boy for his piggy bank. I was immediately humbled and honored. I graciously thanked him and reminded myself of what’s really important.
  • Pulling into my driveway to see that my hydrangeas, that have not bloomed in two years, have decided to present themselves.
  • As did a yellow rose.
  • And a peaceful sleeping toddler who was lulled by the car ride home.
  • The invigorating sense of community and life that going to the Farmer’s Market early on a Saturday morning brings me. (And the amazing goods we brought home.)
  • The peacefulness of laying in a hammock on a Saturday afternoon.
  • The joy and laughter I shared with my little boy when we went to Music in the Park on Sunday afternoon to hear my neighbor’s band play. We shared peanut butter and honey sandwiches, listened to music, I pushed him on a swing, and we danced and laughed and threw his hat. (I forgot to bring a ball.) It was perfect.
  • The excitement my son had over a bath I ran for him with yellow colored water. Yellow is his favorite.
  • Waking up Monday morning to my son curled by my side and my two cats nestled at my feet.

This weekend was filled with moments that made me stop and pause and see the beauty mixed into the simplicity of my life. And I’m oh so glad I noticed.

Just Like My Flowers

The light of the moon made its way into the bedroom as the toddler and I snuggled under the covers. Another day had faded away and my little boy and I cuddled up close as we settled into bed.

“Mommy?”

“Yes sweet boy.”

“Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“My flowers are growing!”

“Your flowers are growing?”

“Yes! They are growing bigger and bigger!”

“Yes, they are growing bigger and bigger.”

“Am I growing bigger too?”

“Yes, you are growing bigger, too.”

“And stronger?”

“Yes, everyday you are growing bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger.”

“Uh-huh Mommy. Just like my flowers?”

“Just like your flowers.”

I could see him pondering. Satisfied, he cuddled up next to me and arranged himself to fit into the curve of my side.

I held him close and we both closed our eyes. I drifted to sleep listening to the beautiful sound of a toddler and his flowers growing in silence.

My Favorite Part of The Day

It is time for you to wake up. I sleepily turn to you and see you slumber. You have snuggled up next to me in my bed, and I enjoy your company here.

The sun light streams in from the window and highlights the red in your hair. My sleepy eyes glimpse your innocent beauty and I smile at you as I sing your name to remind you that it’s time to begin the day.

Your eyelids flutter and see me adoring you. You smile and wrap your arms around my neck, pulling me down to hug you. We are happy here.

As we begin to leave our sleep for our awake you tell me, “This my fav-rite part of da day, Mommy cuddles.” And I smile and hug you tighter because it’s a saying I have taught you. Every morning I tell you, “This is my favorite part of the day, Noah cuddles.” And every morning, I mean it. I think you do, too.

And then the clock ticks and reminds us that we need to get dressed because the day is ready for us to explore it. And we reluctantly will get out of bed and start the morning which will always involve some sort of struggle because you are two and not yet restricted by the numbers on a clock.

But before the struggles start and the activities begin and the house needs cleaning and you need engagement I cherish those morning moments. My most favorite part of the day, my morning Noah cuddles.