No. I did not shout Eureka! But I was tempted.
Ever heard of sleep woes? I thought I had...until I became a parent and realized no telling of sleep woes can do them justice. So let me skip all of that and bring you to last night. Suffice it to say, K HAD been sleeping independently in her room. Which made J's clamoring for snuggle-nursing time every two hours bearable.
Ten days ago disaster struck - sleep woes morphed - enter sleep nightmares. First, J refused to return to his pack-n-play after nursing, insisting on co-sleeping. Now, I'm a fan of co-sleeping*. What I'm not a fan of is co-sleep-kickboxing, an art in which J happens to be quite advanced. Second, K started waking up in the wee hours, scared and sobbing and searching....in one instance for her Buck-ee's Beaver, but usually for Maaaaaama! So we brought her back to our bed, admittedly to allow us all more sleep time - less "putting back to sleep" time - but I've an inkling it's a Joshua ploy to aid in his "we-need-a-king-sized-bed" campaign. Little does he know I've zoomed past him into the "california-king" club!
Last night I had an epiphany. Not at 2:30am when J woke up. Literally, wide-awake woke up. Not at 2:45am when Joshua brought K from her room to ours. Not at 3:00am when I gave up on sleep and took happy gurgling J into the bathroom to play while I washed my hair. Not at 3:30am when Joshua put J to sleep and I took K to her room with a game plan to put her back to sleep. At 4:06am I had an epiphany. It should have occurred much much earlier in the process, but my mental faculties are slower in the wee hours of the morning. Epiphany: Concerning sleep we were neglecting our much quoted and usually practiced maxim - "Be Consistent".
So at 4:06am K and I had a talk. I told her that I loved her and wanted her to rest in her bed. I explained that Mom would be sleeping in Mom's bed, and K would be sleeping in K's bed. We prayed for God to grant us favor and then I became consistent. K laid down, I sang her song, said good night and walked out of the room. Within seconds, K was up screaming and stomping her feet.
Our video monitor has a super cool talk option - I hold down the button, speak, and my words are heard in her room. Techie explanation, I know. So I calmly and firmly spoke to my daughter "K, lay down and go to sleep." She continued, so I walked into her room, and like with any other time during the day that she disobeys, she was disciplined. I spanked her, told her I loved her, reminded her to obey, sang her song, said good night and walked out of the room. In this case, the third time was a charm. I stayed in the living room after that third time for another 30 min to make sure she was asleep and then retired to my own bed (about 10 min before J was awake and looking for me). K slept the rest of the night peacefully.
So simple really. Our little girl was looking for the boundaries and consistency she experiences throughout the day. Just because the lights went out doesn't mean our parenting gets put to sleep for the night. Will there be occasions when she will need to be cuddled and held after a nightmare or during a storm? Of course. Will special snuggles in mom and dad's bed ever be allowed for our darling dear? You bet your pillowcases, yes! Will spankings continue if she disobeys when mom and dad say time to lay down in your bed and sleep. God willing.
You see - God parents us in the same way, with grace abundant and truth un-compromised. He is our light during the day and the night, and as parents we are called to be the same to our little ones. May God grant us wisdom, strength, and fortitude during the early hours as well as the late ones. May I continue to be consistent in love and patience with each member of my family. May our nights be full - both of rest and of praise to our Heavenly Creator!
I'd shout Eureka now, but both of them are napping (in their own beds), and I'm about to join them.
*co-sleeping can be a volatile topic so I'll be brief. Both Joshua and I did extensive research into the benefits and dangers of co-sleeping before deciding to embrace it. From all that we reviewed it was quite clearly not dangerous for us. A great professional opinion can be found on Dr. Sears' website.
All her life Alaina traveled. As a child it was through novels, history books, and biographies. She has never lost a game of Risk to Joshua. Including the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings editions.