Friday, September 21, 2012

You Know You are Desparate for Sleep When...

1.  On the same day you and your husband come home at the same time with a combined 10 new pacifiers (mine were free at MOPS.)

2.  You move your 4 year old INTO your room so you can respond to the baby's cries just a little bit slower.  (Often she self-soothes back to sleep in about a minute or two, but we weren't even letting her try because we didn't want her to wake Sunflower.)

3.  You consider lying on the couch with Sunflower while she watches television and Sweet Pea is sleeping, even as Sunflower rolls and kicks the whole time, a wonderful nap.

4.  Your main only goal for a day is to make sure you remember to get your children from their various schools on time.

5.  You start to hate people just for their sheer awesomeness.  Your response to frazzled moms who have lost sleep for a few days from teething is not sympathy but an internal rant that includes the phrases "stop whining" and "tell me about it when its been four months."

6.  When swear words enter your internal...and occassionally external...dialogue.

7.  When you know God wants you to turn to Him for help but you forget to even pray about it...except to say, but "God, the Bible says you grant sleep to those you love.  Why don't you love us?"

I really am just trying to be funny, but yes these all did happen in the last week.  I can't tell you how in public, out loud, around my children, I said, "we can make our own d**n scones" when the line at the fair was just too long.   But let's just say that shows me I'm out of reserves.  How long my husband has been without reserves...well, let's not go there.

It is only the last few weeks that the sleep issues have become such a problem.  Her bad sleep habits going from bad to worse, Oak going back to work full-time with no flexibility until the semester is in full swing with all the computers functioning, everyone having to get up for school...those combined to put us on the edge and having to find a solution. 

But there is the rub.  What is the solution?  We've spent the last 4 months teaching her that crying for us...instead of a demanding screech...would get her needs met by us.  But what are her needs in the middle of the night.  Is she grieving, in pain, hungry, or just wants to get up and play?  How to know and how to help her?  We've tried letting her sleep with us, but she is even more restless.  We've tried rocking her, but she just arches her back and screams until she is back in bed.  So now we are trying leaving her alone for just a little bit longer.  Making it just a tad bit harder for her to wake us up.  Is that the right thing to do?  I don't know.  But we need sleep.  She needs a family that is functioning.  
So now you know a little more than your probably needed by what I mean when I mentioned sleep issues these last few months.  I am seeking God for guidance.  Many of my friends are praying for us.

And so I want to end with this.  God is good.  He has strengthened us many a day when I thought I would not be able to function, stay awake or hold my temper.  We have had some really fabulous time as a family.  Sunflower is basically back to herself though still trying to negotiate a better relationship with Sweet Pea.  The boys have pitched in with chores keeping us ahead...or at least not horribly behind...on house work.  And He has given us* Sweet Pea.  We are immeasurably blessed by her presence in our lives.  She is doing wonderfully, wonderfully well (aside from those pesky sleep issues) and our family cannot imagine life without her.

*Please don't take this to mean I believe God knit together Sweet Pea in her first mother's womb just so we could have her in our family; but I do believe He took her bad circumstances and our painful desire to bring good to both of us.  It would be impossible for me to view Sweet Pea as anything other than an amazing blessing of God in my life.


Steve & Sarabeth said...

I'm sorry you're not getting sleep! It really is soooo hard to live your life on not enough sleep, especially over a length of time. I obviously have no experience raising an adopted child, but for what it's worth, a little bit of crying it out sounds like a great plan to me :) From our experience and from what I've heard from others, they'll cry for awhile for the first 2-3 nights - and then they figure it out and things get drastically better. I hope she starts sleeping soon so you can all get back to fully enjoying life!

No Greater Love said...

I am so sorry you aren't getting sleep. That is the worst. I agree with your friend Sarabeth, even though I know I don't have an adopted child home yet...I have definitely let my two others cry it out at night, at some point...and they really do learn to self-soothe and go back to bed. It is REALLY hard the first few nights though. I'll be praying for you!!!!

Merrill said...

Just spent a little while getting caught up on your blog. The waterfall picture is breathtaking. Wow! And Sweet Pea is precious. Sunflower has grown so much over the summer! I do hope preschool is going well for her! And school for the boys too! Praying for the sleep issues to settle down. That can be so hard on everyone.

Gerri said...

I have been following your blog for about 6 months now. :) And just wanted to add my 2 cents in case it is helpful or encouraging or whatever. We brought our daughter home 13 months ago at the age of 2 1/2. We had some trouble figuring out the sleeping as well. Just let me say that I think you are doing well... you're praying and experimenting with different solutions and paying attention to the clues she's giving. It will all come together eventually. I think it was smart to move your older daughter out of the room for now so you can not worry about waking her. And just like with a can take some months to learn your new ones cues and cries.
All that being said... it seemed to me that our daughter "wrestled with her demons" during sleep and right at waking. Meaning....when she would awake to find that her real world was different from her dream world (in other words, I think in her dreams, she was still in China with her foster family)the emotions would come flooding in. I think she dealt with alot of her emotions in that time, particularly that state of between sleep and awake (which they cycle through numerous times during the night). I found it hard to comfort her then, and found that really, she didn't want me to. She was needing to deal with it I guess. Even after napping, she would often wake up crying or upset because she was still in this new place. Its just alot for these little ones to process and deal with...on top of whatever developmental stage they are currently in as well.
We saw this start to abate around 6 months... and now it has dissappeared completely.
I don't know if any of this applies to your situation or not, but in hopes that it might be helpful, i wanted to send it along!
God bless you all....hang on to Him in this, just as youre doing!