so maggie continues to dally in the dark land of 9 month sleep regression/separation anxiety/co-sleeping and her mom continues to pray earnestly to figure out what the heck is going on with her.
at first, her nights went to heck in a handbasket but her naps were amazing. they had finally lengthened, we were down to 2, and her total was about 2 hours for both (so one was usually 1.25 hours and the other was 45 minutes). she'd wake up happy and chattery. she was doing fine.
now we're back to supercrappy naps, many of which this week have been less than 45 minutes. she wakes up REALLY annoyed. if i let her, she will fall back to sleep in my arms. yesterday, she slept another hour plus. something is obviously stopping her from sleeping. do i know what it is? no. but the sharp protrusion in her back left top gum makes me think maybe it's a molar.
(because while i would like The Answer to all of her sleep issues, i really understand that i am never going to find it.)
i have been praying.
in the midst of this, maggie got her first cold. this is part of the reason why i entirely missed her 9 monthday on this blog and in real life. sad, but true. so one night, a week or so ago, she was just not having anything to do with her bed. she was uncomfortable, congested, and just one big unhappy camper. i was laying in bed with her, trying to find a position in which she'd stay comfortable and not screechy, and i was praying. i was praying hard. i was asking what we should do. i was asking if what we were doing was right. i was asking for help. i routinely beg for her to sleep, but these were different types of pleas.
i was at my wits end, to be honest, not knowing what else i could do and feeling like maybe we were entirely screwing her up (anxiety about sleep and sleep habits = this generation's freak out soup du jour).
now if you asked me if you could really screw a kid up by doing what is necessary to get everybody (including said child) the best and most sleep possible, i would probably say no unless it involved drugging the kid or not giving that child the opportunity to sleep (i.e. keeping the kid up too late, not doing naps, not having a routine, etc.). but if you're just trying to deal with what life has suckerpunched you with? no.
why do i think this? because somewhere down deep, despite the stupid chaos in my brain from everything i've ever read about sleep, i know that all kids learn to sleep. some kids are better sleepers than others. some kids are prone to nightmares. some kids sleep like the dead. some kids don't sleep the long stretches that they are "supposed to" but end up being 2 grades ahead of everybody in algebra. whatever. kids are kids and sleeping is a biological impulse, but it's also developmental. so...every kid learns how to sleep at some point. and my guess? they do a lot of it themselves.
i think a lot of parents do something to help it along, but every kid is different and every situation is different. so, having assessed our situation, we have figured that what we're doing is what's right for our family for right now. that said, i still wonder. i still doubt. in fact, i would say i am fairly well plagued with doubts at some points in our journey.
so this was one of those nights. doubts, they were all over me.
so i prayed.
and the answer i got was to be steadfast and immovable.
so i thought i knew what that meant. i thought it meant that i should have confidence in the answers that we have been given and in the things that we have decided to do. even in the hard times, i thought that meant that i should not waver.
tonight, as i was considering a very specific question about bedtimes (i've been wavering all over the map with this, hoping that at some point i would hit some magic time that would make her sleep for more than she is in a stretch), the same answer came: steadfast and immovable.
and i think i learned something profound.
answers to prayers are all-encompassing. and we learn about the nature of them as we continue to ponder and try to understand them.
i also learned that Heavenly Father is entirely invested in our success as parents. even when he gives us just what we need, not necessarily what we want, He is investing in our success. if He gave us everything, if He took away the tough stuff, how would we learn? while i understand this sometimes, it doesn't make it easier.
but in moments like tonight, when i was rocking in the dark and praying quietly, i realize that there's really so much more going on than we can ever understand. yes, i would like maggie to sleep through the night again. yes, i would like that to happen sooner rather than later. but i also understand that she's on her own journey. she's doing what she's doing. maybe she's getting a tooth. maybe she's going to walk tomorrow. maybe she's still recovering from a nasty cold (her mommy is!). maybe she's just more comfortable with us than without us.
it doesn't really matter.
all that matters is that we're doing our best to stay steady for her. that we're showing her that she's safe, loved, and that all is well. that no matter what happens, some things are constant.
we'll get through it. and in the moments when i think we won't, i have confirmation that we are known and loved. that helps more than i can say.