On sleep training and trailblazing

Sleep training is for the birds, y’all. It just is. And parenting is ridiculous. The terrifying realization that you will be training this tiny human in one way shape or form or another, until they spread their wings and sleep through the night  leave the house (whichever comes first I guess); this is just a mind-boggling reality. Once they learn how to self-soothe they still need to learn how to use a potty, handle a fork, read, write, speak, listen, respect, share, give, forgive, ask for forgiveness, put on pants, solve algebra problems, look both ways before crossing the street.. I mean, really. The list is endless.

When you become a parent, you become a teacher. But instead of the predictable rhythms of arithmetic or the hard and fast rules of grammar and punctuation, you’re teaching them about life. You know? That thing you’ve screwed up in a million times? You have to teach someone else how to navigate it. And it starts with how to fall asleep and it ends with never. It doesn’t end. And if that’s not the most intimidating task on the planet, I don’t know what is.

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This is the face of a baby who fought sleep all day long but will sleep like an angel when you place him in a carrier at 5 o’ clock just so you can make dinner. The little stinkbutt.

For the majority of the day now my darling son wails in his crib like he’s under attack. I know he’s fed, his diaper is clean and that in his heart of hearts he just wants me to pick him up and play. I can’t blame him for this. I’m a pretty fun person to play with lets just be real. But naps have to happen and sleep during the night has to happen or mommy may end up running out of the house screaming like a banshee never to return. So we do what we do to survive and in the meantime there are many tears and pulling out of hair and quiet murmurings in the corner of “I’m not the bad guy. I’m not the bad guy. This is good for him. Long term goals. Long term. LONG TERM *@^#(&% GOALS!!”

So. Who wants to hang out at the Lavoie house? We are having ALL the fun over here.

In all seriousness, I think the most difficult part of being a parent has been the staggering reality that John and I have no idea what we’re doing. Truly. We are tasked with raising a human and our preparation has been exactly zero. Last night while nursing Samuel I considered how parenting feels a whole lot like trail blazing. Only, instead of bravely marching “where no man has gone before!”with confidence and fervor, we are just stumbling around the jungle with dull machetes, lopping off vines and tall grasses and hoping we don’t harm ourselves or anybody else in the process. It ain’t always instagrammable lemme just say.

With the first kid it is all so painfully and wonderfully NEW. Every thing is new. Every. Single. Thing.

Consecutive children are a little less unnavigable (or so I’m told) although they do come with their own unique challenges. But still. At least with consecutive kiddos you don’t find yourself wrestling with the car seat for 15 minutes in the YMCA parking lot while people walk by and try not to stare; or you don’t push your stroller around with the front wheels locked for hours on end and just assume you’re supposed to feel this much resistance while strolling around because everything else has been ten times harder than you imagined so of course strollers will be this difficult, right? These are all hypothetical “for examples” of course. Who would actually do that stroller thing? EMBARRASSING.

Hi Mom! Aren't I adorable? :)

Hi Mom! Aren’t I adorable? 🙂

The craziest thing about being a parent so far has been how, after all of this work and tears and wondering and second guessing and doubting, I just love my little bug more than anything in the world. When he smiles it’s like POOF! mom’s a puddle of warm fuzzies. I just want time to stop for a second so I can never ever ever forget it. His eyes light up with mischief and he starts to giggle and coo when he sees me and I can’t handle it. It’s too much. Being a mom requires so much from me but God, in his grace, gives baby smiles and minutes shared between just the two of us that fly straight from the moment into the deepest, sweetest spaces in my heart. I’m told I’ll forget all of the sleeplessness and tears in a few months (glory hallelujah!) but I am determined to keep the smiles.

If you have or currently are sleep training or potty training or basically just being a parent who is involved in your child’s upbringing — I salute you! We’re in this together. May we pick up our machetes and keep on keepin’ on! We are trailblazers for the next generation even as they poop on us or fight sleep like it’s the plague.

It’s whatever, kiddos. We’re here for the long haul and it’s bound to get messy but we’re gonna love you til it hurts and that’s a promise both of us can count on.

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2 thoughts on “On sleep training and trailblazing

  1. Being a parent is SO hard! I am constantly asking God for wisdom in caring for Madeleine. You are so right that those little smiles and coos make us as moms a puddle! Madeleine just started laughing today and OH MY WORD. Just you wait.

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