Anyone who knows Malia knows that she has never been what you would call a good sleeper. We had to revert to sleep training when she was eight months old because she was still waking up multiple times each night, and if I didn't sleep through the night soon, it was quite possible that I was going to finish going insane at a much quicker rate than originally projected. Ivan and I resolutely decided to let her "cry it out" one night. That stubborn baby cried for five solid hours before she collapsed in her crib. It was the most horrible night, having to listen to that screaming and not move toward her to comfort her. The second night, she "only" cried for two hours, and the third night, thirty minutes. She slept fairly well for over a year, and Ivan and I congratulated each other on our small victory. Then we moved her into a toddler bed. It never occurred to her to get up out of the bed, but it did freak her out for a while, and the sleep training started all over. She began wanting to be wrapped super-tight, like a mummy, to feel safe I guess, and that was how she slept for months and months. She had to have one particular blanket wrapped around her like a mummy, then another blanket wrapped around her feet, and yet another particular blanket wrapped on top of that one. She had to have her Abby Cadabby doll on her left side with one of Abby's arms touching her, and her Dora doll on her right side, with one arm touching her. She called it "cozy." We called it ridiculous. She looked like a freak and I have no idea how she slept like that, but she did. We were beginning to worry about her a little. Why did she have to have this whole dog and pony show every night just to get some rest? One night, she decided she didn't want to be wrapped "cozy" anymore, and we relaxed a little, because she was becoming more and more normal. Then we moved to a new house. Back to square one. We have been in this house one month today, and she has not slept through the night yet. We have tried EVERYTHING. I've changed her diet, made her stay up through her nap, let her go to bed later to see if she is more tired, made her jump on a trampoline to wear her out, given her milk and stories and soft music...nothing works. Last night, she slept from 8 pm to 11:30 pm, then was wide awake until 4 am. As I am typing, I am sitting in her rocking chair while she is in bed, making sure she doesn't get out. It is exhausting getting this child to get some rest. I am at my wit's end.
That makes me wonder, though, why it takes so much for us to get some rest. We work and work and work, so that we can try to rest a little. How many people work for the weekend? How many live for vacation? How many people, if given a choice of anything in the world, would choose to just go to bed and get some rest? I think of the things in life I juggle, and how much I plan around naptime, and hoping for Naptime Overlap, when both kids sleep at the same time so I can get a catnap in. I think of how hard I work at keeping my house clean, because I relax better when I have a clean house and cannot rest when it is chaotic.
What about rest in general....peace in your life? Just as I pulled all sugar out of Malia's diet in hopes that she will sleep through the night, what crap should we remove from our lives so that we can find peace? I read somewhere that it's not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What's hard is figuring out what you're willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about. If you really care about rest, or peace in your life, what are you willing to give up in order to achieve that? I have found that I have had to cut out some unhealthy relationships with perpetually negative people so that I can find peace. I have also had to give up on some ideals that are too perfect and some impossible standards that I set for myself. I'm cutting myself a break. Peace above perfection, that is what I am striving for. I don't have to be Supermom, I just have to raise healthy kids who love Jesus, and do the best I can do each day without killing myself trying to make every moment memorable for my kids. I'm allowing myself to- without guilt or condemnation- plop them in front of Sesame Street so I can enjoy a cup coffee while chatting with a friend who makes me laugh. That will make for a more peaceful mommy and, then, happier kids. Jesus said to come to Him and He will give us rest. This most recent stage in my life, where my whole world changed, with a pregnancy and a move, then changed again, with a miscarriage and Malia beginning preschool and soccer, I have had to collapse in Jesus' lap to get rest. There have been nights when I wondered how I was going to get out of bed in the morning, because the grieving hurt so bad and I just wanted rest. But the Father would comfort me and, as the Bible says, I would go to bed grieving at night, but joy came in the morning, with a rose in bloom in my front yard and a smile on Gianni's face as he wakes up in his crib at the crack of dawn with his hair sticking out in every direction. I do what I can to allow for rest, then rely on the Father to deliver it.