I have officially given up trying to teach Miriam to nap in her bed.
As this week began, I was really losing my mind. My schedule was going like this: Baby gets fussy. Nurse baby to sleep. Hold for 10 minutes while kids destroy house and/or demand attention I can't give because it wakes her up. Put down. Madly try to get stuff done for 10 minutes. Baby wakes up. Nurse. Rock. Baby goes to sleep. Hold for half an hour while kids destroy house, bite each other in the face, and cry. Put down. Baby wakes up instantly. Rock. Baby falls back to sleep. Hold for an hour while house goes into utter chaos and my whispered threats have no effect. Every time I attempt to say anything to get the kids to not put knives into outlets, hug the Scratchy Cat, etc., Miriam starts to wake up. Wait for her to go into "deep sleep." Never happens. Eventually give up and put her down. Baby instantly wakes up. Leave her in her bouncy chair while I attempt to get dressed, eat, drink, fill up the water filter, feed kids, hug kids, etc. Baby quickly escalates from short squawks to real crying, which she never did before this week. Shriek incomprehensible things at kids. Cry. Go back to trying to put baby to sleep .....
Most days she was getting at least some sleep in her bed. Either a really good nap, right when I was on the verge of giving up, or at least 45 minutes. So I told myself it was worth it, because maybe she was getting closer to figuring out the whole sleep-in-bed thing. But it was really wearing. I was ending most days in either a zombielike state, or in tears. It. Was. Awful. There was just this constant feeling that I wasn't giving ANY of my kids what they needed. That's just the most heartbreaking feeling. Michael, in particular, has been getting worse and worse with his bad behavior and generally blowing off whatever I say. Which is natural, of course, because he knew I was stuck rocking the baby and wasn't likely to DO anything!
Sometimes I would put her in the wrap and go to the park with the kids, and then everyone was happy. But then this week had a forecast for rain every single day and all the happy disappeared from my life. Ugh.
So I asked Facebook, and Facebook replied with a multitude of answers, like "have you tried x?" (Yes, of course I did! I'm no spring chicken here, I know bad sleep like a brother by now.) "Have you tried y?" (I am never trying y, that is just cruel.) "Have you tried z?" (I absolutely would try z if I could get TEN FREAKING MINUTES of quiet to do it in!) And the only thing that didn't get one of those three answers is this: "That may just be the way she is."
Of course I do not like that answer, but it's probably true. Possibly if I had a solid week of quiet to teach her to nap, I'd have more success, using all the stuff that eventually got Marko to nap. But I don't, and what I'm doing is not working, so I decided I was just going to have to stop trying.
Basically I've just made up my mind to prioritize the boys' behavior
over Miriam's sleep, because Miriam will eventually stop needing naps,
but if I let Michael get into his head that he can just ignore me, I
don't know how I will fix that. And if I sit around and let Michael smack Marko around, then Marko gets angry and resentful and when Marko is angry, the whole world is a less happy place.
What that means is just having her nap in the wrap. Which I hate because, well, she is a LIGHT sleeper. Being on me doesn't stop her from being a light sleeper. She wakes up multiple times per nap; the only difference is I can bounce her back to sleep pretty easily. So I can't just ignore that she's on me, I have to do certain chores (dishes and sweeping) and avoid others (picking up toys, putting laundry in the dryer, holding the other kids). I am getting her used to sitting down, so I can sit at my desk and type (this blog post, for instance) without waking her. And when she does wake up, I can take a break, bounce her back to sleep, and get back to it. Most importantly, I can intervene when the kids are being too dangerous, destructive, and/or combative, which is vitally important.
AND, a couple of times I've been able to sneak her out of the wrap around the two-hour mark, and she stayed down for another 30-45 minutes! Which means at last, time for me/other kids!
But in general, time for non-wrap-friendly chores has been Miriam's awake time. You see, when she gets some really good sleep under her belt, she can be happy and awake for two hours or so! Of course, she's cute and sweet at that time, and does want some attention, but she's able to be down for much of that and so I can hold Michael and do all those other chores that need doing.
The downside is that it's getting harder and harder to put Miriam to sleep any other way than the wrap. Which means it's been taking me longer and longer to get her to bed. Last night she went to sleep at last at 10 pm. Tonight I'm going to try wearing her in the wrap from 7-9 pm or so and see if I can move her into her bed after that. I am NOT wanting to mess up her good night's sleep -- she is sleeping in six-hour stretches and it is what keeps me from being a blubbering mess some of the time.
Have I told y'all she smiles now? Very unpredictably, so no pictures yet, but she definitely is smiling. She loves it when we interact with her. However she hardly ever actually seems to make eye contact. She's always staring over our heads or to the side. I don't remember whether my other kids did that. Is there something super interesting elsewhere? Or is there something terribly wrong? (Yep, three kids and I still worry all the time if things are terribly wrong.)
At any rate it's very cute. I love this stage, except for the naplessness bit.
The boys are hilarious as ever. A couple examples:
Me: Did you pee in your pants?
Michael: Um, yeah.
Michael (as if talking to an idiot): In my PANTS!
Me: I mean, is there a puddle somewhere I should know about?
Michael: Yeah. In my bed.
Marko, holding the little brush that came with the dustpan: I'm a soldier, and this is my hairbrush. Do soldiers brush their hair?
Me: I'm sure they do.
Marko: And this can be my bathroom table.
Me: Do bathrooms have tables in them?
Marko: Soldiers' bathrooms do. They are bigger than regular bathrooms.
(Marko does not know what soldiers do, but he's very interested in them.)
Marko, holding a business card to his ear: Hello? Daddy's name is John C----. He is running for F---- R---- Town Council.*
Me: What are you doing?
Marko: Talking on my smartphone.
Marko: Jesus does not like to wear clothes.
Me: Why do you think that?
Marko: On the cross, he is only wearing a diaper.
Me: Some people took his clothes away.
Marko: But they gave them back.
Me: No, I don't think they ever did.
Marko, very upset: No, they need to give them back!
Me: I think he got new ones after he rose from the dead.
Marko: Where did he get his new clothes?
Me: .....I really don't know.
(Later) Both boys, running around in the buff: I am Jesus Christ! I am Jesus Christ!
[*Yeah, I know y'all know who we are and where we live, but let's just pretend you don't, huh? I don't want John's opponents/prospective voters googling him and landing HERE.]
How about that Synod? I think the freakout over it is just ridiculous. It's a synod, not a Council, and so even the final conclusion is likely to be a lot of fluff, much less the interim report, which is just "here's what we're talking about."
However, I didn't have a problem with anything said in the interim report either. I mean, isn't it obvious that unmarried, irregular, and gay couples love each other too and therefore there is some good we can recognize in their relationships? It doesn't mean it's all hunky-dory, it means we're not going to pretend that all non-marriage relationships are horrible dysfunctional miserable things. So when people say "but you must be wrong, because these people love each other!" we can just answer, "Yeah, we knew that already, but that's not the point."
"How can we fix this stuff?" is a much more difficult ball of wax, and I don't really think they're going to come up with anything other than "let's be as merciful as we can." If the relationship can be saved, let's make a smooth path toward fixing it -- getting that convalidation, church wedding, annulment ASAP.
If not -- like a second marriage where an annulment can't be granted, or a gay couple, what can you do? Basically nothing. We can't change church teaching to allow them (have no fear on that count; the Pope and bishops know it too) and we can't lie and tell them to carry on. On the other hand, we can hope that, even if they aren't willing to follow Church teaching now, maybe they'll get there someday. I seem to remember it took the guy in Brideshead Revisited quite awhile to come around.
Anyway, I'm curious to see what they actually come up with, but I can't really see that it'll make much difference. The bishops (if past experience is any indicator) will go home and keep doing what they were doing before. The liberal ones will go on saying "Sure, x is our official teaching, but God understands, so go ahead and keep doing y." And the conservative ones will make statements to the media about the sinfulness of sinners and how much they wish the Pope would phrase things the way they would have.
I had a cool thought while watching Doctor Who the other day. (On to season 4 and still enjoying it.) The whole world has been taken over by a Big Bad Guy (this is no spoiler, obvs, because this happens ALL THE TIME!) and the Doctor's companion is traveling over all the world, telling people about him. Here's what she says:
I travelled across the world. From the ruins of New York, to the fusion
mills of China, right across the radiation pits of Europe. And
everywhere I went I saw people just like you, living as slaves! But if
Martha Jones became a legend then that's wrong, because my name isn't
important. There's someone else. The man who sent me out there, the man
who told me to walk the Earth. And his name is The Doctor. He has saved
your lives so many times and you never even knew he was there. He never
stops. He never stays. He never asks to be thanked. But I've seen him, I
know him... I love him... And I know what he can do.
Does that remind you of anybody?
Let's try another quote, this one from C. S. Lewis:
Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is
the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in
disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of
sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening--in to the
secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to
prevent us from going.
Kind of makes church a bit more exciting, eh? Sometimes, looking at this mixed-up world and how much misery is in it, you can't quite believe that there is a good God behind it. But I really do believe that God is not all-powerful in this world in the way we think. He's handed over the power to us, and we lost it through sin, and as a result the world is ungoverned, or worse, governed by the devil. God has managed to smuggle knowledge about Himself into the world, and He will rescue us out of it in the end, but in between times it really is occupied territory. So no wonder it so often makes so little sense!
Finishing this hours after I started -- I'm happy to report that Miriam is actually napping in the bed and has been for half an hour now. So perhaps wrap naps aren't going to ruin real naps forever. I have hope.
How has your week been?