Sleep Training and Movie

13 March 2018.

It was our 45th month wedding anniversary. It was also 9 months after our last movie in the cinema, “Wonder Woman”. One week after that movie, our wonder girl was born. Our wonder baby.

13.3.18 is a Tuesday when the movie is the cheapest for the week. Coincidentally, it’s a school holiday and hubby’s sis was free to come by our place to baby sit.

This could only happen because of the traumatic sleep training both baby and us went through. Most of my mother friends didn’t sleep train their babies – either the babies sleep well naturally or they let them wake up frequently even as toddlers. I know a few judged me quietly. Am I selfish? Selfish to want my own time? To want to do my own things? To take care of my physical and mental health?

I was at the breaking point.

Not able to switch on the light beside our queen bed. Always having to speak in hushed voices and tip toe around. These were still small sacrifices.

I had to carry, pat and feed my baby to sleep day and night.

Sleeping in the mattress next to our bed, Evangeline woke up every 2 hours to latch (breastfeed) almost every night for the first 6 months. I couldn’t take it and ask hubby to take over the night shift. Still, she was waking up every 3 hours to be carried and pat to sleep.

Then in the day, when there’s only Evangeline and me, I had to cradle carry or Tula carry her to sleep. That’s not all, I couldn’t sit down but stand up to bounce, pat and/or walk so that she could sleep. Yeah, I could sit down if I’m latching her to sleep.

And when she’s finally asleep in my arms, I had to continue carrying her. If I put her down, she would continue to sleep well on good days. However, most of the time she would wake up as soon as she touched the bed or sleep for a while, like 10-20 mins, before crying for me. So if I want her to sleep for a solid 1 hour, I had to carry her as she slept and me mindlessly watching shows. But half the time, she would still wake up about 30-45mins.

It was no wonder my waist was aching, my spine was in stabbing pain and my wrist was disjointed at times and I had to carefully twist it back at an angle. My vision was getting blurry from the interrupted, broken sleep that went on for so many nights. Who’s going to pay for the medical expenses and worse still, to suffer the pain?

Anyway, as you can see, a big chunk of my time was gone from making her sleep. And then there’s the mundane grind of breastfeeding, changing diapers, bathing baby, and doing housework.

Being a SAHM wanting to write/work, and without external help, I couldn’t be hands off like working mothers during the day, and I couldn’t be 100% hands on like SAHM.

I was going crazy.

I felt lost, losing that purpose, passion and dreams I once had. I needed therapeutic writing. I needed time to rest and breathe. I needed adult conversations. I needed couple time. I needed alone time.

With this steep learning curve of parenting, I heard some unpleasant news from my family side. I felt so abandoned.

I was on the brink of a mental breakdown.

So like what the airline safety video always remind us – save yourself first before you save the child. If you die, there’s an even lower survival rate for the child.

So I’m trying to regain my sanity through sleep training.

I’m perhaps trying to justify my “cruel method” in this post. To make myself feel less guilty. But actually to let me not forget how hard it had been and it’s alright to treat myself better.

Sleep training has never been my plan. I believed articles that said babies will sleep naturally without training. Then, I heard of toddlers having night wakings even at 2 years old. That’s way beyond my threshold. I couldn’t do this for another 2 years. And it seemed harder to sleep train the children when they know how to talk. Moreover, my baby was not getting enough sleep. She’s sleeping about 10 hours like a toddler, when she’s supposed to sleep 14 to 15 hours a day? Babies grow when they sleep. So she needed to learn how to self soothe and get sufficient sleep.

So yeah, sleep training was life changing for us. At least at night.

Her afternoon naps were worse. And when the naps were getting better, we had to mess up her schedule to go swimming yesterday. So today she refused her first nap and screamed for hours at Sunday school. Fiesty screams, the teachers inisuated.

And in this journey, I’m frustrated that things are going 10 steps forward, 5 steps back. But I’m still thankful that things are still moving forward. I have more time recently to write and rest my body, mind and soul. To have a movie date and more couple time with hubby.

Oh yes, the movie. We managed to catch The Greatest Showman that many people have been talking about and re-watched a few times. I think God wants us to watch it, because it’s still showing after 3 months! It was such an awesome show! Love the music, dance, cinematography, inspiration, etc. Hubby super love the show and have been having post show singing for a few days. Hehe.

The show reminded me to dream again, and more importantly to stay humble in success. That is if I succeed.

It’s so apt that this year, the theme of our church is Hesed Wisdom. I really need wisdom in parenting – of baby’s eating, sleeping, and intellectual and emotional development. To have the wisdom and love to take care and bring up a child to be healthy and godly.

As I write this post, I prayed for God to give me a bible verse for this parenting season. And He did! I really should have done so earlier. I went to human sources first, reading a lot about parenting online and in books. Some of these made me even more confused with the different points of view and I ended up frustrated.

For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. – Galatians 1:12

The”it” in this verse is the gospel preached by Paul. But wisdom is found in gospel too. And hence wisdom of God is also not from man nor teachings, but revealed in Jesus. And we receive this wisdom as God freely gives His Son to us.