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doing nothing and nothing doing

I wanted to write a little update to my "accomplish nothing" project that I announced last week. Since I gave up knitting to pay attention to the boys things have gone a lot smoother during the day. I'm less harsh with Harvey when I can already sense what he needs. I can sense what he needs when I'm looking at what he's doing instead of looking at my stitches. I'm not going to lie: legos are boring after fifteen minutes. But I'd rather be bored than be focused at what I'm trying to accomplish and frustrated that I'm not accomplishing more because the kids are interrupting. Bored at least is a laid-back emotion.

I do want to finish that sweater one day, though. Maybe after a few weeks I could take it up just in the evenings.

The scheme isn't perfect. This morning after I finally bundled the kids into the car I went inside to get their juice cups and stopped to scream into a pillow. Zion wouldn't let himself be put down all morning, which makes getting out of the house (or eating or going to the bathroom) rather difficult. Plus we were both testy on account of waking up every hour in the night. A lot of these relational issues could be easily solved with more sleep, but I feel like that's rather out of my control, so I soldier ahead with various forms of emotional management. Today we watched a movie together.

Frustration with a non-sleeping baby notwithstanding, life with Harvey seems to have improved. Twice last week he asked for me to sing him a song before bed. Usually he's so through with me by the end of the day that he only wants dada. Also he's started saying, "You're a good mama" when I help him with a lego or hand him a cup of juice. Which, you know, is rewarding.

I don't think the answer to all parenting problems is "don't have your own life." But for a little retreat, it seems to be working out. I have a lot of work in my life, but they are my life's work.


you totally are inspiring me. you know, after I stop checking my google reader to be inspired by you I'll start paying attention to my kids more.... ;) But really, I think like a sugar fast or a tv fast or whatever, sometimes interrupting your normal routine makes it easier to see what is and isn't working. Super sorry about Zion, these phases can be so draining . currently if I go to the bathroom by myself Eliot stands at the door and yells. in Maine BOTH Luke and i were in separate bathrooms and Eliot almost died in horror. He's a bit clingy since the Ethiopia trip...oh my. I like the screaming into the pillow, cathartic and less dhs calls from the neighbors.... ;)

I'm curious as to why you feel Zion's sleep is out of your control? Have you considered sleep training? We didn't need to do it with our oldest but our younger child had horrible sleep habits. It made her a nightmare to deal with during the day and I'd deal with a screaming mess of a child when I got home from work.

The girls share a room so I would pull the older kid out if the baby was waking her up and put her in our bed. I'd hit the couch while baby worked out her issues.

Not saying it's the only solution but sometimes you do need to draw a line and just get your sleep back. I did when our youngest was 13 months and now she's a champion sleeper. She goes down at 7:30 or so and wakes up at around 6:30 the next morning. I almost never hear from either kid.

It was hardest on my wife so I needed to take the lead on it but in the end it made all of us happier.

Well.... it's a complicated issue. One of the reasons he wakes up so much is he wants to nurse, one of the reasons he wants to nurse is because he doesn't care for solid foods. I could probably focus more on pushing various food items on him. Until then I'd feel cruel denying him food in the night until I know he's getting enough food in the day.

It's not like I don't feed Zion. It's just that I tend to notice later on that he's put all the food on the back of his seat instead of in his mouth.

I have read the Ferber book, but I feel like sleep training is the nuclear option right before I kill the children. I don't think it's that bad yet. I get annoyed, sometimes I don't like him in the middle of the night, but I do value fulfilling his needs unconditionally until he's old enough to talk about it. At 15 months Harvey could understand "no nursing" and ask for a "huggie" instead... that's how I started getting him to sleep more. I'm hoping the wait-it-out approach will lead to something similar with Zion.

Every kid is different but in our case it was definitely a comfort and fun issue for our youngest. She would get up and sit up with me for 2-3 hours between 2 and 4 a.m. I've seen more of what's on Netflix Instant than I care to get into as a result. I realized she liked hanging out with me and was getting up to play but we still kept at it for another 3-4 months until finally I had enough.

I don't know anything about your situation but I will offer the encouragement that if you do decide to do the sleep training it's really not *that* bad at all. It is fairly unpleasant for a night or two but after that everyone is happier. I read Ferber's book as well and his comments about baby's learning faster than adults is very accurate. If you set the rules he'll figure it out faster than you'd guess.

Anyway good luck with that no matter what you decide. I totally sympathize with where you're at-it just sucks.

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