Friday, October 29, 2010

Sleep in Heavenly Peace......

"I have almost given up hope." I simply stated on the phone a few weeks ago.
I was speaking with my mom.
I was referring to sleep at night.
It is a very big deal.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, 
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

For the past three years, we have combatted sleep issues around here. Very, very little in my parenting journey has been as challenging as this. Most nights, our Sweet K, now just over three years old, could be up anywhere from 1 time (that is extremely rare), to 2 times (what I consider a VERY good night), but most commonly between 5-10 times. Sometimes she'd be up for an hour, sometimes three. Not really crying a lot, but complaining.

Enough to keep me awake.
And enough to keep me constantly seeking solutions.

I've learned, since beginning this adventure, that children with learning issues often have sleep difficulties. Their bitty bodies and brains process information and stimulation differently and this naturally affects their sleeping habits. Of course, not every child with a sleep issue has learning disabilities, and conversely not every child who learns differently has a sleep issue. But the correlation between the two is very, very common.

A few things I am learning along the way....
 - Heavy blankets matter. The extra weight of a wool blanket vs. a synthetic fiber makes a big difference. Keeps a restless one more settled.
 - Jammies are a big deal. No cute little pjs for this girlie. It's head-to-toe, polar fleece sleepers. Anything much lighter and we are awake A LOT!!!
 - Milk at night is a no no. First, it is bad for their teeth. Second, a slurp of creamy milk is far more tempting then a splash of water. If thirst is an issue, then fine. We'll grab a drink. But I'll make it as unappealing as possible ;).
 - Crying it out works --- sometimes. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution. I have let Sweet K cry it out, but unless I work like a detective to figure out the root cause of the awakenings, it's really all for not.
 - Routine is a must. Well, that is one of my personal mantras anyway ;) --- we help maintain sanity around here by keeping our days pretty predictable. Nap times (or rest times) are essential, but cannot be allowed to interfere with night sleep.
 - Watch what they eat at supper. In the past few months, Sweet K has become a very difficult eater. Well, she eats GREAT if it's things she likes, but if not, it becomes a battle of the wills!!! I quickly realized that a skimpy supper affects much more than my blood pressure at the dinner table (which tends to skyrocket with frustration ;P)!!! If I know that we are in for a fight on our hands during supper, then K gets something a little more substantial at snack (keeping in mind this is not a reward for not eating well, but something that I know will tide her through the night better than goldfish crackers!!!).

All this helps. A little. And it goes in cycles. Our Tiny L has become a fussy baby during the night in the past few weeks and I know that this impacts Sweet K's light slumber as well.

We are also venturing into the world (very very slowly and with extreme caution) of supplements. I have recently started Sweet K on a very very very small dose of Melatonin, which if taken for the short term, should have very little side effects (I have not noticed any),  and it can help regulate the body's natural melatonin production. From the reading that I've done, there seems to be quite a high success rate among children who have development delays, autism and ADD/ADHD. If this doesn't work, there are several other options to explore.

However, here again is where I stop and marvel at the grace of God. Spoken or unspoken, my daily prayer is that He would enable me to live well, love well in spite of the fatigue. Some days are quite rough, but I have again discovered that

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9. 

I wrestle with the limitations of exhaustion all the time (there is so much I want to do, but have no energy to do it!!) and that is frustrating. I also forget a lot of stuff. So, if I have met you on the street, and forgotten your name, I am truly sorry!!! I am working on this, I promise!! I don't feel like my "best self" most of the time, and sometimes I am sad about that.

And yet, in spite of this, I am amazed by how God weaves into this the beautiful sweetness of life. Every day it is a blessing for which I am grateful. I don't like it when people tell me that "this time goes so fast" because I know that it does and am already so hard trying to savor every moment. And in spite of the fog, His grace allows me to absorb, embrace, love and keep on keeping on.

What a gift!!

My words to my mom that morning were desperate, maybe even a shade hormonal ;), but untrue.
I have not given up hope.
The God who stands with us in the midst of this is inviting me to persevere under the protection of His grace.

I wrote a quote down the other day; one I picked up from a novel I was reading:
"You know what? I used to think the creator tested me to discover how strong I was. Lately, though, I've begun to realize that he has an entirely different purpose in mind. The author of my life already knows everything about me, so he already knows how strong I am. The tests come to me - and to you - so we will know how strong HE IS when he carries us through what we cannot handle alone." The Novelist, Angela Hunt.

You may not be "Sleepless in Smallville Manitoba" :) - but you may find your hope challenged too, from time to time. I'd love to hear what you are learning as He is carrying you through.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, 

but a longing fulfilled 
[and a good night's rest!!!!]
is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Well, as a follow up to my last post :), my friend Chantelle tagged me with these "getting to know you" questions.... 

Here goes :).....

1. What is your favorite memory of your childhood years?
Oh my. Must I pick just one :)? I grew up on a grain farm, in rural Manitoba, with two spunky sisters and a fun kid bro. We got into a lot of mischief, mostly innocent really, and I thank my dear sisters (who are among my closest friends) for teasing me out of my fairly reserved character. They made my growing up that much more fun!!! These days, Little M is asking all about "when you made mischief, mommy..." and I tell her tales of coloring Uncle Mark's hair pink with Kool-aid, getting stuck in mud puddles, having my very own room for the first time (only to share "camp outs"on the floor, with my sisters!!), climbing everything possible (except that I am afraid of heights, which is interesting when you get UP but can't get DOWN!!), and on. We swam in the pond on hot summer days, were always "building" or "crafting" something or other. We went biking all over the country side. We tried sleeping on the roof. In October. I got too cold and chickened out :). We camped all over the yard. Stayed a lot with my Grandma G when my parents were harvesting. We went fishing. And traveling across the United States of America every spring in the Family Mini Van. Life was never dull. And if it was, and you got caught complaining, there were rows of evergreens to hoe, lawns to be mowed, bathrooms to be cleaned and rooms to be dusted!!!

2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
That varied depending on what mood I was in :). As the Big Sister, I was also pretty bossy!! So, for a while I thought I had a calling to teach ;) - not that teachers are bossy (not at all!), but I always played the part of a teacher, and thought it was my destiny.... turns out my calling is NOT teaching :) at all. Because I played piano from a very early age and managed to go quite far, everyone always assumed I'd teach piano lessons one day. Very early I knew this was not my passion, though I enjoy playing and learning piano, but I strongly suspected I would never teach.

I went through a phase where I wanted to be single, sophisticated and carry a brief case. But that went with uncomfortable dress suits and high heels (never a strong point for me!) so that dream came and went. Quickly.
At one point I did want to be a singer. I am NOT a singer either :).

Really, each phase of "what I wanted to be when I grew up" was about helping me define who I was, who I was not, and to dust off the expectations of others and discover the authentic me. I have started a masters degree in counseling, but am not sure if this is where God is calling me to invest my time, energy, finances and my service for Him. That process of discernment will take place over the next few years (with this limited amount of sleep, there's no WAY I'm wasting money on classes I'll never be able to remember!!!!).

3. If you had an evening to yourself with no expectations placed on you, what would you do?
I would probably need two or three evenings, in a row :) --- because the first evening I would rattle around trying to detox from running around all the time!!

 - I'd sit in a quaint coffee shop/book store, with a book -- preferably something funny that would make me burst out laughing from time to time :)
 - I'd watch copious amounts of home improvement shows OR, even better, CRIME DRAMA. I am a sucker for a good episode of Law & Order. I'd make popcorn, twice if I could, drink a special Irish Bailey's on ice, cozy up under my favorite afghan, and ohhhhh enjoy an uninterrupted moment :)!
 - I'd hang out with a friend, again at a cozy coffee shop
 - I'd go shopping. All day :). And not feel guilty about spending money. ;)
 - I'd S.L.E.E.P. Then go for a massage, and then come home and sleep S.O.M.E. M.O.R.E.

Okay. I'd better stop. I probably won't get an evening like this for a while and this is making me antsy!!!

4. What would you like to learn to do sometime in this life?
 - Play the violin.

 - Build something. Properly. 
 - Bake buns the way my MOM does :)

5. Last book you read? Favorite book?
Last book: Water For Elephants

Favorite book: There are literally too many to name. Usually when I am reading a book that is speaking to me on several different levels - spiritually, intellectually, creatively, etc. - and changes my perspective on life --- that becomes my favorite book for the next while :). Not sure what the last one was, since my memory is fuzzy these days!!!
6. Would people describe you as a "girly-girl" or more of a "tom-boy"?
Well, I'm not a "tom boy," but certainly not "girly" either. I am "low maintenance." Sort of!

7. Favorite beverage?
Coffee. coffee. coffee. coffee.
8. Childhood nickname? Current nickname?
I'm not sure if I have a nickname right now. I have one for myself (that's kinda strange!). When I do something REALLY intelligent (I'm being sarcastic here!), I say "way to go, Gerbrant." That's my maiden name. Not sure why I started, but it's kinda stuck.

My dad started calling me Peaches in Grade 8 as a joke in Sunday School. It stuck too :).

Wow. That's a lot about me. Now, apparently I get to tag a few more people with my own questions...
     My sweet neighbor, Ruth
     A friend from one street over :), Svea
     We giggled through college classes together, as GROWN UPS!!! Josie

1. What has been a life defining moment?
2. Who has totally impacted you and why?
3. Are you more about sunrises or sunsets :)?
4. What's your favorite way to relax?
5. What's one area of struggle where you've experienced victory?
6. Did you have a favorite stuffed animal or special blanky :)?
7. If you could vacation anywhere, where would it be?
8. What is one of your favorite recipes?


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