We awoke this morning to a terrifying sight. For us, the next scariest thing to finding bugs in your bed is finding an infant lying next to you in bed. We know many people who regularly have had their babies and young children sleep in their bed with them, and we appreciate this philosophy, but that’s not our approach.
For us, we would prefer that Timothy doesn’t even know where we sleep – that our bedroom is a secret hideaway like the Batcave. Don’t get the wrong impression — we love this little boy so much during the day. But at night, like boxers between rounds, our belief is that adults and children should each go to their own corners to rest — and plot strategy for the next round. This probably makes us sound like cold parents (and Laura just reminded me that our record of having our kids in bed with us is not quite as simple as I portray), but we just want a little sleep…
Unfortunately, TRBL has had a bad cough recently and was waking up in the middle of the night, which is why we had brought him to bed with us. I just hope he forgets where he woke up this morning, free as a bird, far away from the bars of his crib.
Speaking of sleep, other than his recent cold, Timo continues to sleep very well, and normally socks away nine hours a night. The challenge sometimes comes when we put him to bed, where he is still adjusting to life without a night cap. We used to feed him immediately before bed, and the bottle would pretty much put him to sleep. But, as we’ve mentioned, his new routine means that he gets his final bottle a half hour or more before bedtime. We then read to him or do some quiet activity, and hold him upright to prevent spitting up, and ideally lay him down before he is completely asleep, so that he learns to self soothe and put himself to sleep. But that sometimes means crying it out, which is never pretty.
I put him down tonight, and, as usual, I laid him down on his back and he immediately rolled over onto his tummy. Then, he started to cry. My first reaction was to go back in to check on him, but instead I walked away for a few minutes, while listening to make sure that he wasn’t in real pain. He continued to cry, and like a police siren, the sound quieted down a few times, only to ramp back up again. And then, after almost five minutes, the town crier stopped. I checked on him to make sure he was okay, which he was (and which reminded me that I need to buy myself some footy pajamas for winter).
Elisabeth is a junior in high school. She has a lot of homework, and juggles that with her outside activities, while also weighing colleges and getting ready for the ACT and SAT. Like any overworked high school student, it’s easy to let worries spin out of control – ‘What if I don’t do well on this science test, and then I don’t get a good grade and then I don’t get into a good college and then….’
Being the wise father, I recently told her ‘Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Just focus on today, what you can control and take things as they come.’
I walked away from our conversation satisfied at having dispensed some dang good advice.
And then it hit me that what Elisabeth was going through – struggling to stay focused on today and letting her mind spin away with negative scenarios – was the exact same thing that Laura and I struggle with daily with Timothy, when we worry about his future.
I guess like most wisdom, my advice is a whole lot easier to give than to receive.
Grateful and ready for those warm footy pajamas.