Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Patience Is A Virtue

I'd like to start off by saying that today I'm writing my 100th blog post! Yay! It's hard to believe that I've been writing on this blog for almost a whole year. I recall beginning last June, unemployed, depressed, and with little outlet for my complex feelings about motherhood and my life. I began blogging and it opened up a new world for me. There are times when things get hectic and I briefly ponder how long I will be able to keep up with it, but then something happens that inspires me and I run to my computer to write. It's also inspired me to write for other sites, like Random Blogette and Curvy Girl. This has not only brought new traffic to my blog but also has led to me finding some awesome writers that I'll be privileged to meet in person in a couple weeks at the Ohio Michigan Blogger Meet Up.

Onward with my topic today, which is patience. We've had a lot of wonderful things happen to us recently that have required quite a bit of waiting and praying. The first has been my husband's new job at a local police department. Jon has gone through years of military experience, schooling, and interviews to be able to begin his career in law enforcement. He has had many times where he has questioned whether it is worth it. He's made it to several second interviews only to be turned down. Jon turned his application into the particular department that has hired him two days after I had Amelia. That means he has waited 1.5 years for an answer from them. Through all that disappointment and hard work he has forged ahead and it has paid off. I am so proud of him.
Our family at Jon's swearing in ceremony
The other event that has required much patience is Amelia's sleeping arrangements. I have mentioned before that Amelia has never really been a 'good sleeper'. She seems to need less sleep than many other toddlers her age and sleeping through the night has taken a good deal of time. Frankly, I'm a little hesitant to discuss this here because I feel like I could be jinxing ourselves!

We have co-slept much of the time over the past year and a half with Jon sleeping on the couch (spare me your 'destroying your marriage' speech... it hasn't) due to Amelia's need for comfort nursing during the first year and snuggles since she has been weaned. Although it has been recommended to me upon several occasions that she needs to cry it out, due to my own personal feelings and beliefs, we have not gone down that road. That has required a lot standing my ground when speaking to others, many intense parenting discussions with Jon, and a lot of prayer and patience on my part. In the end, I've felt that Amelia has required a lot of response at night and that she would sleep on her own when she was ready.

Another piece of the sleep puzzle has been that our bedroom is downstairs while Amelia's room is upstairs. Therefore, when she wakes at night, we have to go through our dining room and living room, up the stairs, down the hall, and then into her room. NOT FUN. To salvage as much sleep as possible, it has simply been better for her to be in our bedroom. Recently, Jon suggested that we bring her crib downstairs and place it by our bed as he saw the signs that she could be ready for it (i.e., sleeping without being held and not waking much during the night). I felt that was a reasonable compromise and so, a week ago today we put her crib in our room.

Amelia has been up and down with how long she will sleep in her crib, but I would say that overall, this is a great arrangement for us and she is getting used to it rather quickly. Over the past week she has slept there for all her naps, and has slept at night anywhere from three to seven hours at night before she wakes up whining or crying. At that point, I scoop her up and we both sleep soundly until 7 a.m.

Last night was a particularly monumental occasion in terms of her sleep. We ate dinner somewhat late and were cleaning up the table and kitchen. Amelia looked at a couple books, then crawled under the dining room table and said "Night, night" while laying down. Jon and I looked at each other with disbelief. Jon shrugged and said "Worth a shot!", scooped her up, laid her down in her crib, sang a little song to her, and said "Goodnight!" while shutting the bedroom door. We could hear her babbling away in her crib, and I said "How long do you think she'll stay in there before she starts crying?" Jon responded "Five minutes." We continued picking up from our meal with our ears alert.

Alas, Amelia fell asleep on her own with no tears. Even more impressive? She lasted the whole night in her crib! I woke up at 5:30 a.m., made coffee and started up my computer and she woke up at 6 a.m. ready to start the day. Jon and I made a big deal out of it and I gave her lots of cuddles while she drank her morning milk.

I have to admit that patience is not always my strength. While I think I handle most of Amelia's bad days fairly well and have survived the past year and a half with very little sleep or broken sleep many nights, I can't say that it's always been a piece of cake. I do have to say though that being patient has definitely paid off. Going through this has taught me yet another life lesson on the value of being patient and sticking with what you believe in regardless of what would be easier or what others say to try to convince you otherwise.

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