About a month ago, I stopped blogging.
About a month ago, Heidi climbed out of her crib, and we had to switch her to a toddler bed earlier than planned.
Are you getting that there is a correlation?
One morning, after a night of horrendous sleep (or non-sleeping, I should say), I plopped her back in her crib for a much-needed nap around 10am. As I enjoyed my coffee some more…some blogging, some news, some “me” time…I heard a thud and a scream, followed by lots of crying. Immediately, my heart sank. I knew exactly what happened before I even opened her door. I walked in to see her bawling on the floor, looking totally freaked.
Maybe it’s a first-time parent thing, but I took her crib apart that morning, and we switched her to a twin bed. Other moms have told me they’d let their kid try it several times before switching, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. But I kept having visions of broken arms and her getting caught on the rails and other things that probably would never happen. I figured she needs to use a big girl bed at some point anyways. Might as well be now.
At first, Heidi loved her new bed. She’d play and read books on her big bed and jump on it. And I thought, maybe this won’t be so bad!! Maybe she’ll love it!
Wrong. It wasn’t that she hated it. It just made her nervous. Where were the railings? Why was it so big? Why did she actually have a pillow and covers that she has a hard time kicking off? WHAT IS THIS THING THEY PUT ME ON?! MOM, DON’T LEAVE ME IN HERE ALONE WITH THIS THING!
So she insisted we hold her hand each night until she fell asleep. This was very sweet, until I realized that when we used to put her to bed at 7:30, she actually just flopped around in her crib for a good half hour or more until getting comfy and going to sleep. Her bedtime in REAL time was actually closer to 8 or 8:30. When she was in her crib, this was fine. I could do books, prayer time, and a sip of milk with her, then put her down in her crib and walk out. But now, bedtime takes much longer. Also, her naps have jumped backwards from two hours to an hour or less. And her days start at 5:30am instead of 8am (sometimes I can get her back to sleep but not always). All of this led to an onslaught of terrible two’s tantrums that made me think on multiple occasions, “Who are you and what have you done with my daughter?!?” She was unrecognizable to me.
While I wanted to give her time to adjust, I am also reaching that “parenting” crossroads where I know she needs more rest, and I need to execute some kind of boundary-setting rules as far as her sleep goes. Needless to say, it has been stressful. Getting her to sleep by herself, keeping her in bed at night, wondering what to do when her naps are way too short, etc. Whenever it comes to parenting, it’s easy for me to slip into an insecure mindset, especially when I look around at what other moms are doing. So between arguing with myself in my mind, coming to agreement with Cody, and asking around to see how other parents are handling this, I just get plain confused.
When I get confused, I read my old journals. It always helps me put things in perspective. Last week, I pulled out her baby journal. I was trying to update this once a month on or around her birth date. I am not great at keeping up with it, but I love going back and reading the entries. I went back a full year from now. And here is what I read:
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Sweet Heidi, happy nine months!! Oh my word. You have me on my toes this month. (This alone cracks me up. She wasn’t even walking yet!! And I’m all, omg I can’t handle you! I’m a spaz…). The past few days we stayed at Grandma and Grandpa Lusk’s house because there were really bad storms, and daddy was out of town. You discovered you could flip flop between your back and your belly, you could half-scoot across the room, and you can pull up on furniture. You are just amazed at how mobile you are now. I put you in the middle of a room, and you practice, practice, practice. Mommy can’t help but feel a little bittersweet at these bits of independence you have managed to have. Even tonight you have woken up three times sleep-crawling around your crib, crying. You are a little freaked about these new developments. We even lowered your mattress all the way by your doctor’s recommendation. You are 20 obs. 9 oz. and 30.5 inches tall. (That’s 88th percentile for weight and 99th for heighth). You are growing so fast. I have no doubt I will one day long for these days again.
Cody and I just laughed as we read this the other night. Our “problems” with Heidi now, which have to do with discipline and tantrums and keeping her in a twin bed, seem so much bigger than her simply learning to crawl or pull herself up in bed or waking up a lot at night because she’s practicing her new skills in her sleep. Now we are having to “parent” more, and we have to make decisions based on what is best for her. We also have to decide how we will discipline her when she disobeys. The problems carry more weight.
But that journal entry put things in perspective a little. I am already longing for days gone by with her. I did not think that would happen until she at least started school. I miss her being small enough to cuddle right up to me on my chest. I miss all the exciting developments. I miss the lack of tantrums. I sometimes miss nursing her. I miss her newness, her smallness.
Yet years from now, I will miss this. I will desperately miss holding her hand as she falls asleep, even on nights I am just so anxious to get out of her room and get on with my own things. I will miss her shuffling in to my room at 5am, and the way she presses as close as she can to me in bed and falls fast asleep. I will maybe even miss her ridiculous fits, remembering them with laughter and telling her, “You have always been stubborn.” I will miss her wanting to hang out with me. I will miss her throwing her arms around my legs at random times, and the way she pats the floor next to her to ask me to play for a bit. I will miss how she asks me to pray “just one more time” before bed, as she holds up one finger to assure me it’s the last time she’ll ask.
As she gets even older, and the problems of parenthood only get bigger, these days will feel lightyears away, and I will wonder what I was so stressed about in the first place. I will wonder why I didn’t trust myself more and worry less. I will wish I could go back and tell myself, really, this will all work out and in the grand scheme of things, it will simply be another phase you will one day miss.
My goal now is to be more in prayer about how we raise our girl, to depend on God’s grace and wisdom, and to soak up every minute. I try to do that anyways, but sometimes I lose sight of it. She’s already the size of a third-grader (ok not quite…but seriously, she is like the jolly green giant of toddlers). I simply cannot believe how fast time is flying.
When I think of it that way, I kind of want to hold her hand all night long and never let go.