Night terrors and a Father’s heart

Malachi just woke up from his nap crying again. This has been going on for weeks now. He wakes up about an hour in, confused and mostly asleep, scared and clingy. I brush his sweaty hair out of his eyes and hold him. I pray with him and sing to him. Eventually I put him back in bed and usually he goes back to sleep for a good long time. But sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he just cries and clings and sobs, “See Mommy! See Mommy!” and clutches me as tight as he can. Those days I let him get up and then watch as he slowly eases out of his sleep state, watches a show, and then starts melting down a couple hours before bed because he’s so exhausted.

Most of the time the pray-sing-rock system works for us, but a couple of weeks ago he was having a really rough time and I started searching online a little bit. Several moms were saying that the best thing you can do is to ignore it. Going in, rocking, or otherwise interacting with your child can apparently make it even worse and harder for them to get through. They don’t remember it when they wake up anyways so even though it’s hard you have to let them get through it.

Well….. that sucks. Like really sucks. It made my stomach turn to think about ignoring my boy while he was crying and even saying “See Mommy!” I didn’t choose to go that route and I’m glad, but it did get me thinking about the way God relates to us as Father. I wonder if sometimes when we are crying and scared and wondering where He is, if He is really right there, standing outside the door, with tears in His eyes because He hates to see us in pain. I wonder if He knows that we feel abandoned, but He also knows how incredibly unabandoned we are. That in the moments when we wonder most where He is, that He is hyper-alert of exactly where we are. And if when we think He is making it a million times worse for leaving us alone, that He is actually right outside the door choosing to let us cry it out, losing sleep with us, crying with us, joining in our pain, and rejoicing over us the first time we get a full night’s sleep.

I’m no theologian, but I am a mom, and every time my heart breaks over my children I get a clearer picture of what it looks like when the Father’s heart breaks over us.

As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.” ~Isaiah 66:13a

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Not even the possibility of a chemical burn can dampen my mood

Just typed out two whole paragraphs, went back and fell asleep trying to re-read them, and then deleted them. You’re welcome.

Yesterday was awesome. Aside from the fact that Naomi quite literally pooped 8 times, all on my shift, and that during one of these times when I was about to change her I heard a bloodcurdling scream from the bathroom that turned out to be the reaction of my poor son who had just sprayed Daddy’s cologne into his eye. Yes I rinsed it, yes I panicked, yes I called the doctor to make sure I didn’t need to take him to the ER, check check check. He was fine five minutes later and I still feel like crap for leaving him unattended with his footstool but “lesson learned” and all that yada and also his hair smelled fantastic all day so there’s that.

Anywho, both kids slept straight through the night the night before and they both took spectacular naps – Malachi had zero night terrors and woke up happy for the first time in a week and Naomi actually took two full-length naps in one day so I guess she finally got around to reading Babywise and praise be. But it wasn’t the great sleeping or amount of alone-time that made me happy. Having the kids sleep in gave me time to start my day with the Lord, which makes absolutely the BIGGEST difference in my day of anything. The great naps gave me time to focus on my to-do list – and actually finish it. Guys, I crossed off every item! That alone makes me giddy not to mention the fact that stuff actually got done. And the finishing the to-do list made my stress level go down to the point of nonexistence. When Malachi got up we baked cookies and he dumped the flour and sugar into the bowl and kept saying “yum, chocolate!” when he licked the beaters before the chocolate was even in it. And Naomi and I played peek-a-book and patty-cake and fake-laugh. Dinner got started, finished, and eaten on time. Jeremy came home from work and I wasn’t frantically pretending I didn’t desperately need to just hand him a kid and go pee alone for the first time all day. I randomly organized something which always makes me happy. It was just a good day.

At the end of the day I realized that this was the kind of day I envisioned when I thought about being a stay-at-home-mom. Not that I expected perfection or perfect sleepers or whatever, but just the ability to approach my day and its tasks and joys and scares and opportunities with peace. And even when Naomi woke up crying with inexplicable gas at 10 and I had to hold her writhing self for 45 minutes, it was ok. I was ok.

Also, this happened:

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I’m not sure what it would look like for me to be able to have this kind of day every day. Not the sleeping and cookie-baking per se, although that would sure be nice. But just the lack of stress. Feeling productive. Having the home be peaceful when Jeremy gets home. I’m trying to identify a few of the things that made this happen:

  • I stayed on top of my chores. For a while I’ve tried to do a chore a day and I schedule it out, but for some reason I just never keep up with it. This week I kept up with it. Not only was it surprisingly easy to do, but it made me feel so much better about myself and my home when I did.
  • I did my devotions first thing. Always a goal, not always accomplished. But so long as I don’t have a child asleep in my bed and I’m not sick I don’t really have an excuse.
  • I didn’t allow myself to sit down at the computer until my list was done. Um, yeah. It’s kind of embarrassing how big of a difference this made. Not that I waste hours and hours online every day, but sitting down “just for a minute” interrupts my focus and my momentum and I practically have to start over whenever I get up.
  • The kids slept really, really well. Here’s hoping.
  • The kids behaved really, really well. Here’s praying.

Today Jeremy is home because it’s Saturday and of course Malachi is ecstatic about that. We’ve run errands and wrestled and cuddled and it’s been fantastic and I’m just really, really hoping this continues but even if tomorrow brings screaming, sleepless nights and endless time-outs and more scum than I can scrub, at least it’s been nice to have a little bit of a break.

Why do I keep punishing you with these?

From the time I set my breakfast down on the table this morning to the time I actually finished it, this is what happened:  Set breakfast on table, start feeding Naomi who is swallowing it faster than I can refill the spoon, argue with Malachi about eating more than 4 Cheerios for breakfast, feed Naomi some more, give Naomi some finger foods to try to buy a minute to wolf down some toast, take Malachi to the potty to pee, come back to the table and resituate Malachi, give Naomi another bite, take my first bite of now cold toast, get up and get Malachi’s fork off the floor, finish feeding Naomi, start feeding Malachi making “choo-choo” noises because it’s the only way he will eat, randomly stuff a bite in between Malachi’s bites, get up and lunge for Malachi’s dropped vitamin before the dog eats it  (I think she might have licked it a little but Malachi will never know), finish eating, get Naomi cleaned up and down from her chair, get Malachi cleaned up and down from his chair, take first sip of coffee, take vitamins.

All the while I was praying that the UPS man wouldn’t come first thing in the morning because I was not at all decent.

Lunch was slightly more organized – by the time I finished my leftovers they were no cooler than lukewarm so that’s something. Malachi let me know it was naptime by beginning to randomly kick and hit his sister. When I yelled at him for smacking her I looked over and realized she was cracking up and thought the whole thing was hilarious. I put Malachi down at 1:30 and then let Naomi crawl around in peace for a minute or 30. Then I looked up to see her crawl into her carseat from behind, wrangle her way all the way in, nearly slam her head on the ground rocking it, fart really loud, then somehow climb out without injuring herself.

I put Naomi down for her nap at 2:00 and sat down to read some e-mail when I heard Malachi’s door open and shut super fast. I marched in to discover him wide awake and beaming with the light on. When I sternly told him to go back to bed he responded with the requisite “See Daddy home!” which means “I want Daddy to come home so I can see him (because you are a horrible mother)!” – parenthesis mine.

Just another day in the Dillinger funhouse.

The day that was really enough the first time, thanks.

So, why did I ever congratulate Naomi on her bruiselessness? Between her and her brother we are big family of mess this week. Naomi has a scrape on her forehead, a scrape on her chin, and a bruise on her cheek – her CHEEK – that is of unknown origin. Malachi literally ran face-first into the corner of a cabinet the other day and welted his forehead. He later pinched his fingers, and then yesterday he fell off the toilet onto his face and busted his lip. It’s ok if you laugh – I did. Behind his back, while I was calming him down. Want some photo evidence?

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I’m just gonna go out on a limb here and guess that they won’t make it through childhood without breaking or stitching anything, like their parents did. Lord help me.

So I apologize in advance for the boringness that is the following segment. I promise, this is actually a thing. I’m not being ridiculously self-indulgent in a vacuum – others are as weird as me! Plus I mostly did this for myself, and then decided to put it on here for all the “world” to see because I’m fresh out of blog material and this is as good as it gets.  So without further ado, 24 hours in the life of yours truly.

11:30 – Go to bed.
12:15 – Naomi wakes up. Try to calm her down. Nurse. Go lay in bed awake while she whines herself back to sleep.
12:50 – Go back to sleep.
5:35 – Malachi wakes up. I go turn off his light and tell him to go back to sleep.
5:36 – Lay in bed awake for an hour.
6:35 – Browse the iPod essentials (Words with Friends, Facebook, e-mail) with super-squinted eyes to try to wake myself up.
6:55 – Realize I’m never going to wake up. Give up.
6:56 – Prayer journal.
7:18 – Retrieve crying Naomi from her pack n play in the bathroom. Change her nasty diaper.
7:21 – Nurse while doing Scripture reading.
7:36 – Jeremy has gotten Malachi up. Brush teeth with Malachi.
7:41 – Dress kids.
7:54 – Hear Malachi say “Kiwi apple cereal!” yet again. Realize he’s had fruit and cereal for breakfast every day since Naomi was born.   Feel guilty. Start making cinnamon toast.
8:00 – Say bye to Jeremy.
8:03 – Give Naomi a teething cracker to stop her crying til I can get her breakfast ready.
8:05 – Run the length of the house and catch Malachi before he goes outside.
8:08 – Start coffee.
8:09 – Get ready to start blending Naomi’s breakfast, then realize her mango isn’t ripe.
8:11 – Add “baby breakfast food” to the grocery list. Go grab jarred food out of cabinet.
8:12 – Remember I made some homemade breakfast food yesterday. Warm it up. While it’s warming, fix my coffee and finish making Malachi’s breakfast.
8:20 – Naomi and I sit down to eat.
8:21 – Realize both kids love their breakfast. Feel awesome.
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8:24 – Have a hot flash. Go turn down heat.
8:33 – Start to clean the kitchen.
8:38 – Malachi has to potty. Take him to the bathroom.
8:39 – Malachi falls off toilet and busts his lip open. Deal with that.
8:44 – Change Naomi. Another nasty.
8:48 – Read Malachi a story.
8:53 – Try to clean the kitchen again.
9:04 – Check on Malachi. He is putting all the dirty laundry and shoes into the washing machine. I am so proud.
9:05 – Hear a “thump” that sounds like Naomi’s head. Listen for a cry (there isn’t one). Hear Malachi say “I sowwy.”
9:14 – Take pictures of the kids and their injuries.
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9:18 – Clean the kids’ room.
9:22 – Realize my coffee is cold. Take a break and drink it.
9:31 – Put Naomi down for a nap.
9:41 – Naomi won’t sleep. Put her in pack n play and go make my bed so I can listen through the monitors.
9:47 – Realize Naomi is asleep. Decide to finish cleaning my room first anyways. Realize how OCD this makes me. Don’t care.
9:55 – Malachi also wants to shower. Resign myself to a lukewarm shower and let him in.
10:19 – Text my sister. Browse my iPod.
10:33 – Go start playdough for pre-school.
10:34 – Malachi wants to cook. Give him various kitchen items to play with on the floor.
10:35 – Start playdough again. Freak out that it’s not gonna work. Feel really proud when it does. Notice that all the ingredients are edible. Notice that it smells like chocolate because I dyed it with cocoa powder.
10:45 – Taste playdough. Bad idea.
10:46 – Text Jeremy to tell him that tasting the playdough was a bad idea.
10:47 – Start the next batch of playdough. The novelty has worn off.
11:05 – Naomi woke up. Go get her up.
11:06 – Catch up on Naomi’s baby calendar. Notice how incredibly mobile she gotten in less than a month.
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11:36 – Nurse Naomi while looking at auction properties in town and browsing Facebook.
11:44 – Finish nursing Naomi. Put her down.
11:44:02 – False alarm. Nurse again.
11:49 – Change Naomi’s diaper. Poopy AGAIN.
11:52 – Put Malachi in time-out because he refuses to put away his toys. Hear him announce from his timeout corner, “Cry!” because apparently the fake tears weren’t convincing enough.
11:54 – Put Malachi on the potty.
11:55 – Notice several brown spots on his potty seat. Clean them off. Try not to think about it too hard.
11:56 – The lunch saga begins. Decide not to write this down minute for minute because I don’t have time. All eat and sing about what we are eating.
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12:35 – Pick Naomi up and stand Malachi on a chair. We all yell into the mirror for a couple minutes. The kids laugh at each other. My ears start ringing.
12:40 – Clean up the kitchen.
12:45 – Playtime with the kids.
1:28 – Tell Malachi it’s time for nap. He announces “pee-pee potty!” It’s a stall.
1:33 – Nap routine for Malachi – diaper, story, prayer, song. Nap routine for Naomi – try to sing while she thrashes, then drop her in the pack n play and let her work it out.
1:49 – Internet time.
1:59 – Turn on a movie and start clipping coupons.
2:22 – Naomi wakes up with gas. Try to get her back to sleep.
2:35 – Give up and bring her out to the living room. Realize there are coupons all over the floor. Drop her in the exersaucer. Resume couponing and movie-watching. Rewind movie every five minutes to hear what I couldn’t hear over Naomi’s frustrated yells.
3:30 – Finally finish clipping. Get Naomi out of exersaucer.
3:40 – Change Naomi’s diaper. Thank her for not pooping.
3:44 – Start perusing ads to plan for grocery shopping.
4:02 – Stop so I can watch the end of the movie.
4:09 – Movie ends. I’m confused. Rewind and watch last five minutes again.
4:12 – Malachi wakes up. Take him to the potty. Play “stinky feet” while he sits there.
4:20 – Start Malachi’s show.
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4:23 – Empty all the trash and take out the recycling.
4:28 – Find Naomi halfway up the stairs. Follow her the rest of the way up.
4:29 – Put up the baby gate.
4:30 – Check e-mail.
4:32 – Malachi sees Super Why and yells “Fly! Me fly!” Stop to fly him through the air.
4:33 – Get Malachi more juice.
4:34 – Back to e-mail.
4:47 – Take a break to yell with the kids again. They love it.
4:48 – Read a few blogs.
5:15 – Jeremy comes home.
5:16 – Play with Malachi.
5:20 – Lay on floor in exhaustion.
5:25 – Decide to take a walk. Get kids ready.
5:32 – Get out the door.
5:48 – Get home, get kids dinner ready.
6:05 – Go online to figure out how much Advil Naomi can have before bed.
6:08 – Put Naomi in her PJs.
6:13 – Try to nurse Naomi and put her down early to compensate for her mininap.
6:14 – Nope.
7:00 – Nurse Naomi. Put her to bed.
7:16 – Read a few more blogs.
7:34 – Record our receipts and see if we are on budget.
7:51 – Do couple devotions.
8:00 – Sick Jeremy goes to bed.
8:02Sick Allie turns on Downton Abbey. Make grocery list and start matching coupons.
9:00 – Realize I’m only halfway done. Sigh. Start next episode of Downton.
10:00 – Get ready for bed.
10:05 – Get in bed. Play Words with Friends.
10:22 – Pray the kids sleep through the night.
10:23 – Go to sleep.

So that was Monday. The first thing I realized while doing this was, Wow. Those days I feel like I get nothing done – I am wrong. I get a lot done even when I feel like I’m doing nothing. Normally I would have been annoyed that I didn’t get the kitchen floor clean on Monday (I do a daily chore) but after reading this, I realized how ridiculous that is. The second thing I noticed was how small a percentage of that time was rest. I felt guilty the whole time I was sitting and reading blogs because, ugh, I’m wasting time. But that was pretty much the only time I sat down all day without trying to do something else productive at the same time. And the last thing I realized was that this activity totally activated the OCD, type-A, control freak section of my brain, that I got far too much pleasure out of writing down minute details of my day, and that I need to never do this again ever, or that lyric from my favorite Avett Brother’s song will come true all too quickly: “Will you still love me when all the sanity has gone from my eyes?”

If you actually read all that, wow. You are either a really good friend or maybe you need to get a life? I mean that in the nicest way possible (but really, if you read that you are already a good friend, so hey).

7 Quick Takes

What. Is. Up. (Answer: Naomi at 6soontobe5:30 in the morning if I can’t get this daylight savings thing under control) Joining Jen and everbuddy else.

  1. Last weekend we drove to NC to visit my family and head to the state fair. I think I was the most excited both pre- and post-fair activities and if you know my husband you know that Jeremy excited looks about like this. I love the fair. And I especially love the fair in October because you can enjoy rides and hushpuppies and animals and games and people-watching with zero chance of melting. Riding rides with Malachi is THE best and watching my dad try to cram into a ride designed for 3-feet-tallers and not 6-feet-tallers might have been the second best. I also decided to play awkward third wheel to my brother and his girlfriend and ride a couple rides with them and if there is one thing I took away from that experience it is this: I am old. Maybe 26 doesn’t seem that old to you but if you measure age in life experiences rather than years a la Bella and Jacob (team Edward forever!) I’d say having two babies and averaging 5 hours of broken up sleep per night makes me approximately: too old for this crap.
    Oh, you’re bored? K, here’s some cute:

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  2. Need more cute? Gotcha covered. Yesterday was Halloween and I was soooooo excited about Malachi’s costume. He is an avid Curious George fan and even though I don’t care much for him or his monochromatic friend, this was pretty much the cutest costume ever:

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    This was my inspiration and judging by the two random people who took pictures of Malachi and the multiple people who said he had their favorite costume of the night and the kids who excitedly said “It’s Yellow Man!” I’d say it was a success. We are pretty hard core because we hit up the Costume Parade at the library, a local trunk or treat, the mall trick-or-treat, and the ginormous festival at Thomas Road. Jeremy and I were pretty disappointed in the candy selection (i.e. 1 million tootsie rolls) but otherwise it was great. Naomi was a roley-poly, fluffy pink cat:
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    And about 20 minutes before we had to leave I decided I really, really wanted to dress up. I considered gypsy, hippie, and Rosie the Riveter before a stroke of GENIUS hit me and Jeremy and I went as Sheldon and Amy. Yes we did. And even though the chick at the mall totally cut off our perfect shoe choices (chucks and hideous Mary Janes that yes, I do still wear [hides head in shame]), you get the idea:
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  3. The other day I was at Goodwill and there was a group of crazysuperannoying college girls buying ugly rooster pillows for their apartment and they all had on yoga pants, oversized sweatshirts, and sneakers. It seemed only slightly strange until I saw another group of girls who all had on leggings, blue plaid shirts, boots, and cardigans. Like, is this a thing?
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  4. More mom talk! Hooray! I’m just going to give a quick shout-out to Malachi for doing a really super great job at potty training. He finally bit the bullet and actually peed at pre-school the other day instead of holding it for four hours straight and that was a big milestone. So far he has done his bidness in a mini-potty, on the big potty, in a porta-potty, in public potties, outside on the grass, in a blue plastic cup (don’t ask) and only a few times in his clothes. Although I would seriously like to know why he wets himself less than he… well…. number twos himself. For real, what is up with that?
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  5. Well you can tell it’s been too long since I’ve blogged because I just can’t stop talking about my kids or kid-related things. I’d just like to take a moment to shamelessly brag on myself for getting (and publicly thank my friend for telling me about) the deal of the CENTURY on toys. I got alllllll this…..
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    140 (one-hundred forty) dollars worth of toys for, drumroll please…. badabadabadabadabaaa…. 15 dollars! When I accidentally left this out and Malachi saw it he of course bee-lined it for the toys I got Naomi for Christmas so…. that should be fun. Anyway, high-quality, non-dollar store stocking stuffers here I come! Now if only I could get the rest of my Christmas shopping done.
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  6. I’d also like to congratulate Naomi on making it an entire week without a bruise. Can babies bruise? Because judging by the roughly 930275894275832750832 she has bit it this week, you’d think she’d be pretty much black and blue. I’ve never seen a baby fall over or slam into stuff so much and it’s totally because she is just ON THE MOVE and will NOT be slowed down. She wants to walk and run and crawl and beat up her brother and darn it if she isn’t close. The nice thing is how quickly she gets over it. Malachi was mu-huch more sensitive than her.
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  7. Let’s make number 7 inappropriate because… why not. I remember when I used to think I had a successful day as a mother when I did something aMAZing like walk from one end of the house to the other while still nursing Malachi or, I don’t know, fold all the laundry during nap. Yesterday I arrived. I peed in a public restroom while baby-wearing and wearing a high-waisted skirt AND tights and managed to re-dress myself without moving her and she didn’t cry and yes. This is motherhood.

You’re welcome.