Sep 21, 2015

Under Eye Circles and 300 Hour Napping

Last time I wrote was July 8th.

My apologies.

Life has been a little different with Lincoln.

In the best of ways.

But it's taken me longer to figure out how to find the time for things other than poop and peek-a-boo and naps and turning every song into something having to do with my son. I had every intention of 'figuring out my life' in January at the new year, but apparently just because you put something on your calendar it doesn't mean it happens. Who knew?

There was also a little snag in my 'plan.'

I held Lincoln for every nap from the time he was four months old until he was about 8 months old. Every nap. Well unless we were in the car and then he slept in his car seat. But, that's a lot of naps. Approximately 2-3 hours a day for four months. Rough math and that's 300 hours, or like 12.5 entire days.

I remember reading a message board for mothers whose babies 'wouldn't nap without being held' back when all of this started and I remember reading that one mother held her baby for FOUR MONTHS for EVERY NAP! And I thought, my goodness woman, I could never!

And then I did.

I gave up 2-3 hours of time every day to snuggle my little buddy and he was the happiest baby anyone had ever met; still is. Easy peasy. Or I could watch him scream at naptime, refuse to hold him, and deal with cranky pants baby all day. Cranky pants was not my choice.

I know you're thinking, 'but did you try...?' Yes. I did. I asked everyone, I bought a sleep plan. And then we moved miles away from home and lived at camp. Some nights sleeping conditions were not optimal for a baby and some days they weren't either.

Oh, did I forget to mention that Lincoln also woke every 2-3 hour at night during this time?

I remember a night in June when Lincoln slept for the first time for 8 hours straight. I was bouncing around camp the next morning telling everyone. I remember the faces of the college kids when they realized how excited I was for sleep. They realized my state of sleep deprivation. I fear that some of them will put off having children for at least the next twenty years if for that reason alone.

Sadly that 8 hour night was not a permanent change, just a sweet one time thing. But I stuck to the book. I followed all the instructions and made sure my kiddo got rest. I was consistent and one day it just clicked. Gone were the minutes (sometimes, hours) of fighting sleep in his crib.  It was like he just grew up one day and decided that he may in fact be okay without me close by.

And now he just fall right to sleep.

I lay him down for naps and he snoozes. I lay him down at night and he sleeps stretches of 9 and 10 hours at a time pretty much every night. Some days he sleeps in a little in the mornings and I'm sooooo okay with that.

And so the time has come. All of a sudden I'm doing more than surviving.  All those promises I made "when Lincoln starts to sleep better" I've gotta get to.

Like exercising and writing and cleaning. And sometimes just kicking back and doing nothing at all. Just sitting on the couch with NOTHING in my hands.

Just because I can.

Even now as I write less than two months later, it seems like so long ago. It seems so crazy that I held him for so long.

But that's why I love being his mother. Because I get to give him as much of myself as I want to. Sometimes it's every moment I have, sometimes it's probably less than I should, sometimes more than I 'should', and sometimes I find the great balance that is motherhood.

I don't feel like a saint or a martyr or even feel guilty that I was "spoiling him." I feel like I loved him exactly as I wanted to, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Life will never be like before I was a mother, but I don't want it to be.

This has been the greatest gift, even if a 10 year old called me out on my under-eye circles. I told her they were genetic and that I also didn't get much sleep. She didn't understand, but some day it'll be her turn too. Maybe she'll embrace her under-eye circles too, and I hope she loves motherhood as much as I do.

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