This has been a really rough month. Dave and I have been so exhausted that it feels like we are back in the newborn stage with the boys. They have been sick on and off for what seems like ages and no one has been getting very much sleep in our house.
We have worked so hard to establish a consistent bedtime routine that gets them to bed by 7:30 and allows them to get a good night’s sleep (and allows us some time to relax and reconnect in the evening and get some sleep at night). Normally, after dinner the boys will take a bath, brush their teeth, get into PJ’s, read a few books and snuggle, and then they are ready to get to bed. We simply turn on their sound machine and nightlight, lay them in their cribs, give them each a kiss and say “night night” and then we leave the room and we don’t hear a peep until 7(ish) am.
It took about 18 months to get that routine down. Believe me. We lost A LOT of sleep over this past year and a half.
These past few weeks have blown that routine to bits. The new routine looks like this:
Dinner, play time, bath time.
So far, so good.
Next, we brush teeth, get in PJ’s, and read books.
Still sounds pretty standard, right?
Ahh…after the last book – which is always “goodnight peekaboo”…I just make up my own story lines at this point because I have read that book so many times – it begins. The screaming starts first. As soon as we stand up to put them in bed. We calmly try to soothe them in soft voices and “shhh’ing” and I sing a few lullabys.
After we set them down in their cribs, all hell breaks loose. I am so sorry for the language but there is no other way to describe it. They both scream and throw their stuffed animals and blankets and then they each proceed to (I’m sorry, this is gross but it is our life and I’m writing it down because I know one day I will mentally block this out. I want to have this reminder to bring up when the boys have grown and had their own children. I want them to know our suffering) …they proceed to vomit. I really think they make themselves sick.
We have actually become extremely agile. We can usually hear the tell-tale signs and run to the appropriate kiddo, grab them, and make a beeline to the sink in the bathroom. Sometimes, as was the case two nights ago, we don’t make it in time and we have to change sheets. Or, as was the case two nights ago, we have to change the sheets FOUR times. It just depends how quick our reflexes are.
The next step is the most fun. Either Dave or I sit in the super comfty armchair rocker in the boys room until we *think* they are asleep. We then must make our exit.
Oh, the exit. It is really tricky. Those boys are smart. Just when you think they are sound asleep and stand up to leave the room, they get you. The screaming/crying/vomiting starts all over again.
Therefore, I have devised a three part plan for “The Exit.”
1. I wear dark clothing.
2. When I think the boys are asleep, I swivel the chair away from their cribs facing the wall. I then, slowly, slide out of the chair and onto my belly on the floor.
3. I slide out of the room on my belly. I sometimes imagine I’m in Boot Camp for the Marines crawling through mud under that wire thingy (I’m sure that’s what it’s actually called). It’s incredibly comical and I usually start laughing half-way through and give myself away. Which brings me right back to the beginning of the whole process.
It is hilarious and exhausting all at once. I truly believe sleep is highly underrated. I get so crabby and stressed out when I haven’t had enough sleep. I get grumpy and forget how blessed I truly am. I look at the piles of laundry and the dried food stuck in the dryer and I weep.
Then, God reminds me.
: He reminds me that I am in a warm house while so many others are out in the cold with no roof or bed or sheets that need washing.
: He reminds me that my children are safe in this home.
: He reminds me that my children had a healthy meal three times today (well, they didn’t keep it all down but I still think some of the nutrients must have soaked in). How many children in the world receive this abundance of food?
: He reminds me that my parents are healthy and loving enough to come here to visit this weekend. They have given Dave and I a much needed break. We are relaxed and rejuvenated. They have helped with laundry, grocery shopping, dishes and loving on the boys. My mom has sat for hours in the boys room at night while they fight sleep.
: He reminds me that I am so blessed with good health, that Dave has recovered from a scary case of Lyme disease, and our boys are healthy and strong.
: And, He reminds me of the day Ben & Nathan were born… I have not been able to retrieve the videos from the video camera Dave had the day the boys were born until today. On a day when I truly needed to be reminded. (The camera would not transfer videos onto my computer. My wonderful dad figured it out and I saw this video for the first time ever). Tears. Streaming Tears. Grateful Tears.
Lord, please forgive me for my ungrateful heart. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of your unending love and grace. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!!!!!!! Amen.