I just dismantled our pack n play that’s been set up in our bedroom for the past 6+ months (ever since I was 32 weeks pregnant and wanted to “play baby” with our new stuff….) For the past week since we’ve been home, Gregory has been sleeping in his crib in his own room. To be honest, it was definitely the right move. All 3 of us are sleeping SO MUCH better. He’s getting a 6-8 hour stretch in there, and Jesse and I don’t have to be deafened by the waterfall sounds coming from his white noise machine.
I know that some mothers can’t wait for their babies to grow up a little. Those first few months of a baby’s life are HARD. Harder than I expected, and I’m the oldest of 4 siblings. I told my mother in law last week, if anyone had told me a year ago just HOW MUCH I’d be stretched these past few months, how I’d have to lay myself and my selfish desires down and do the hard task, time and time again, for a little person who couldn’t thank me, day after day…I would’ve laughed. I would’ve said, “That’s silly. I’m going to make the baby fit around MY lifestyle.”
And in some ways, we have. One example: Gregory doesn’t get a morning nap on Sundays because we go to church. We’ve discovered he no longer wants to sleep when he’s at church– too many sights, too many sounds, too much music that he loves (he starts squawking when the choir stops, as if to say, “More! More! Again!”). We’ve ALSO discovered that if he doesn’t get his morning nap, he doesn’t sleep the REST OF THE DAY. Jesse spent 3 straight hours with a screaming child yesterday afternoon, desperately trying to get him to sleep. The kid hadn’t taken more than a 30 minute snooze since he awoke at 8:30am. And he never did. He went from 8:30am to 9pm WITHOUT SLEEPING!
But it’s something that can’t be helped. We are going to church, and Gregory is going with us, nap schedule or not. As much as it’s a distraction (especially for the parents, who are used to a nice 90 minutes of quiet prayer amidst incense and beautiful music), the Orthodox church firmly believes that all people, of ALL ages, belong in the church together. Everyone participates in their own way. We have NO idea how much children absorb. I think Western culture sells kids short when they relegate them off into children’s church or a nursery. We have 3 and 4 year olds who pay better attention than your average adult. Christopher Unruh has his fiendish moments ( 🙂 ) , but he also “plays prayer” all the time, asking questions about the icons and asking if he can “kiss Jesus’ eyes” (he’s talking about the Jesus icon painted on the inside of the dome…not exactly possible!). It’s also been said that babies are always looking around, wide eyed (they really do) because they see the angels, worshipping with us. Perhaps babies belong in churches more than grownups do.
As much as I mourn the passing of this infant stage, each stage brings with it new blessings. While I won’t be able to make him fall asleep in church anymore, I will be able to watch him worship with us. While I’ll have to baby proof my living room (already…so soon!), I’ll get to watch him discover independence and freedom of movement. And while I’ll miss all the gurgles and coos, they will be replaced by language– something I can’t wait for! Jesse and I are learning a few words of sign language and using them when we talk to lil G. They say that babies will make their first sign between 6-8 months. Making a hand motion is much easier than speaking– something most babies don’t grasp until a year or so. We’re hoping to eliminate a few temper tantrums here and there by being able to communicate necessary things like “water?” “juice?” “toy?” “DON’T YOU DARE DO THAT!”
But I still mourn. Watching the empty pack n play in our bedroom this past week has brought me such a variety of motions, most of them sad. I’ve really enjoyed these past 5 months of co-sleeping with our first born. But it just wasn’t good for him any longer. So many studies are linking things like ADD to poor sleep habits. I want to give him the gift of being able to put and keep himself to sleep, and that just wasn’t happening with him in the same room. He also wasn’t able to nap in his crib during the day, due to not being used to it. Our room isn’t conducive to naps during the day, seeing as our bedroom window faces the parking lot, picking up a lot of noise.
So he is sleeping 98% of the time in his crib. But that didn’t keep me from bringing him into bed with us this morning at around 6am, nursing him while laying down (what an INGENIOUS invention!), and then cuddling.
Because Mommies need Babies just as much as they need us 🙂