Thursday, October 25, 2012

Goodbye Crib

We have had a difficult week of sleep. Cooper is up way early (like 4 AM), wanting to climb in bed with us. I'm so tired at that point of the morning that I can't even wrap my mind around taking him back to bed, much less actually doing it. So many times he is in-between Andrew and I until about 7:30 when I finally deem it an acceptable time to wake up. In those hours he is with us there is kicking, crying, and sometimes snoring. Basically, you can guarantee that I'm not getting much sleep in those hours. 

To top it off, Cooper has decided that it is not ok to fall asleep in his bed. Not for naps, not at night time. One of us has to be there with him, or he has to be in our bed. 

One night this week Cooper got up at 3:30 am - yes, you read that right. It was the same night I stayed up until 1:30 sewing a turtle shell. I decided enough was enough and I took him back to bed, at which point he kicked, screamed bloody murder, and hit me repeatedly. I was sooooo over it. 

Our plan of action: pretty much sleep training all over again. 

AND, a new bed. I think Cooper has had difficulty sleeping because he is just too big for his crib turned toddler bed. I think he likes to sleep in our bed because there is more room.

So, we took down the crib and put up a toddler bed for him.

At one point I stood there trying to remember this moment. The excited look on Cooper's face as he sat on it. How he all of a sudden looked older. And it was quite a sad moment for me. Sad that I really cannot stop or turn back time. I can't go back and hold him like I did when he was a baby. I can't breathe in that new baby smell. He is growing up. And way too fast. 

But I think I was also a bit sad because I had always imagined us moving another child into the crib before tearing it down. That just hasn't happened yet and it's something I have kept pretty quiet about, and still will. Maybe one day I'll share more. But in the midst of it all I'm learning that as much as I think I can plan my life, God has complete control. 

Not only does he have control of my plans, but Cooper's. And I pray that as he grows up, and outgrows beds, he leans into God's plan for him, and lets God shape his life. 

Last night it took Cooper about two hours to go to sleep for good. I don't know if it was a new bed, or his stuffy nose, but it was another rough night. Tonight I got out the humidifier and put vicks vapor rub all over him. He fell asleep quickly and without incident. Whew! 

I'm hoping that as Cooper's mom I can embrace his growing up, his changes. Holding dear to the memories of him little (one of the reasons for this blog) and living it up with him in the present. 

And may we all embrace the life God has for us, no matter how much it goes against our plans, growing and changing in Him as we age.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Indian Summer

Today I've been seeing and hearing "Indian Summer" all over the place.  Living in FL for 17 years I hadn't heard the term. Didn't need to. It was always just "summer"...sometimes it would dip into the 50s for the high. And I used to call that "freezing"...makes me laugh now.

Fall in Ohio is G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. The scenery just kind of blows me away every time we go outside, drive somewhere, or just even look out my house windows. This year it has gotten colder sooner. The temperatures usually range in the 50s and 60s for the high. A couple of nights it has dipped into the 20s.  We have gotten the heaters and extra blankets out sooner. I love it.

This week though, is apparently an "Indian Summer". I researched on Wikipedia and learned that an Indian Summer is a reference to a time in the autumn when temperatures rise above 70 for several days or more after having had a hard freeze already in the season. The time for an Indian Summer usually ranges between the end of September and beginning of November.

You're welcome for today's lesson.

Last night I took the garbage out while Andrew was bathing Cooper and the temperature, the way it felt, the smell of the air, took me back to when Andrew and I were dating. All I wanted to do was take a blanket outside and lay, gaze at the sky, and talk to my sweet husband. We used to do that all the time when we were dating. I wanted to run inside, grab him by the hand and do some star gazing under a beautiful sky and in some awesome temperatures. Instead I just told my sweet husband about it because a boy who wouldn't go to bed and a sewing project had other plans for me last night.

This year we will be in Florida for Halloween. We will be trick-or-treating with our niece and nephews. Because we are awesome... we are dressing up all the kids in a Mario theme. Cooper is going to be a Koopa Troopa. We decided on that because that was Andrew's nickname for Cooper when he was a baby. So, last night, I made a turtle shell.

And it took me until 1:30 AM. Because I did it by hand, and because I started sewing it together the wrong way. I'm crazy like that. Remember that "because things are never easy for me" post?

Because of my college days bed time, today I napped....Amen.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Today we celebrated

In parenting, as with pretty much every other aspect of life, there are ups and downs.

Lately I've been in the "down" phase. We've been in this "I'm 2 1/2, do what I want, I'm the boss and not you, attitude/aggression" argument. I know part of it is the nature of a boy. I know part of it is Cooper's personality. But the rest of it is just plain selfish behaviors that I'm trying desperately to parent in the right direction. It's been pretty agonizing for me. I've risen my hands in many "I give ups" and in my mind ran to the corner and cried.

A few weeks ago, I had dropped my brother off at the Pittsburgh airport and was on my way home with Cooper in tow. He wanted to play a specific CD, so I put it in. Then he wanted to listen to the same song over and over and over. I finally told him we would listen to the whole cd and wait until the song came on again. This is when the meltdown started. He yelled at me, stating he wanted the tractor song "RIGHT NOW". I could have just put that darn song on repeat and called it a night. But there's more to life than giving Cooper everything he wants. There was a lesson I was about to teach my child: that sometime we have to wait for things we like, we have to be patient, we have to learn to enjoy other things (and in this case songs) in life. So, I put my foot down this time. I told him that we were going to listen to the whole cd, and that if he didn't stop crying, I would take it out all together. Wouldn't you know it there were louder screams from the backseat, causing me to eject the cd and sling it in the front passenger seat, with an "I told you so" coming from my lips. I was sure this would stop the screaming, and then when he settled down we could talk about it and try over. Boy was I wrong. Out of the mouth of my "precious" son, came blood-curtling screams of a boy who was really ticked, and was strapped in and couldn't throw himself around the car in anger. Then came the "if you don't stop crying, I will have to pull the car over and give you a spanking." I didn't think he could scream louder, but he did. So, I pulled the car over, got out, and spanked my child. Problem solved, right?


He continued to scream! What in the world? I had gone through the rolodex of ideas. I'm so thankful for women who have gone before me, know better than me, and have written books to help me. I remembered reading in a parenting book that when all else fails, pray over your children because dark forces are around them, too. Out loud I declared, "Satan, get away from Cooper", popped in a worship CD, turned up the volume, and continued to pray silently. By the end of the first song, Cooper had calmed down and we had a nice drive the rest of way home.

That is just one story in the many "I give up" moments as of late.

Read for the next one?

Cooper has aggression. I've prayed about it, I've talked to him about it, he's given consequences and rewards. Others talk to him about it and encourage him to make good choices, too. When story time at the library started back this fall he kicked it off with a tantrum and disobedience to the max. I was ready to hide and pretend he wasn't my kid. Then, in church when we pick him up, we now have to ask the teacher whether or not he behaved cause the kid likes to push other kids over. His current consequence is that if he pushes, he doesn't get any tv the rest of the day. This past Sunday, we had plans to go to the park and eat lunch I had packed with friends and let the kiddies play. We told him that if he pushed, he would have no tv and that we couldn't go to the park. As I picked him up, I looked through the window only to see my son grab the boy next to him and shake/shove him up against the wall about four times. I was mortified. Guess what the first thing out of his mouth was, "I didn't push, mommy". Yeah, right, I just saw you. As I talked to him my eyes welled up with tears and I thought about just giving up. All the thoughts crossed my mind that day about how awful of a mom I am, how I'm doing nothing right, and what right I do isn't working. It's a rough stage.

Then today....Hope.

On our way to the library (bye-brary) we talked about good choices. I let him bring his soccer ball and told him that if he made good choices at the bye-brary we would go to the park and play soccer. As we walked into the library, my heart raced and I got all nervous. He saw a little girl playing with crayon puzzle, and walked over to her. I probably broke out in sweat anticipating what was to a knock on the head, a shove, or a fight over pieces. What happened was probably the kindest thing I've witnessed in the past month. He sat down and said, "What are you doing?" After she answered he said, "Can I do it, too?" She said yes, and then he asked for a piece. And they put the puzzle together...together, without fighting, sharing, and in peace the whole time. My mouth hit the floor with a loud thud, and my heart smiled wide. He behaved SO well at the library. I announced loudly and with excitement that we were going to the park because he made very good choices. We went to the park and played, and I giggled in excitement with him.

Not only did he get to play soccer at the park, but I got him a McDonald's happy meal, too. We called daddy and shared our good news with him, too. We also talked about what being kind looked like, and what being mean looked like. And I told him how happy I was today that he looked like a nice boy. We did the happy dance and celebrated all day. There IS hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Today as he was napping, I heard him cry out. So I walked upstairs to comfort him. I found him in our bed, rolling around in a bad dream. I covered him up, laid next to him, and patted his back. And in that moment I remembered another piece of parenting advice in a parenting book. It said to remember to have fun with your children, because then you remember why you love them. You see the good things about them. I realized lately I've been so bummed about about Cooper's negative behavior that I have forgotten about his good qualities. He's got a lot of those, too. So as I laid next to a sleeping Cooper, I placed my hand on his head and prayed over him. And the tears came. I am so thankful for him, for the joy he brings us, and I need to rejoice in him even when he is adding more grey hair to my head. That rejoicing part is so hard to do - especially in the hard moments of parenting.

Truth is, I have a great little boy. Today we celebrated.

Well, monkey and I did. Cooper was a bit camera shy after his nap.