July 28, 2010


Sleep! Sleep! Beauty Bright

Sleep! sleep! beauty bright,
Dreaming o'er the joys of night;
Sleep! sleep! in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet Babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast
Where thy little heart does rest.

O! the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep.
When thy little heart does wake
Then the dreadful lightnings break,

From thy cheek and from thy eye,
O'er the youthful harvests nigh.
Infant wiles and infant smiles
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

William Blake 

Those first four weeks home, pretty much all I did was focus on bonding. When Ray came into our lives, she had developed a varied amount of self-soothing methods. Many of them broke my heart to see. Head rolling when she was tired (thus the bald spot in the back of her head). Retreating off to a corner to fall asleep. Repetitively opening and closing her hands when overwhelmed or bored. At first that one was cute. Then, I realized she was doing it because for 13 months there were vast amounts of time when the only two things she had to entertain, sooth, engage with, and look at...were her own hands. I've also mentioned before, that when she fell or got hurt in any way--there were no tears. All in all, I  firmly believe that, "bonding" was THE most important thing I could focus on. And, as vague as it sounds, and as, "resilient" as children are. It's important  to cue-into the child who you have become a parent to! So, that was my focus. I think that my heart broke every. single. day. for a good month. Not just for her. In fact--honestly, mostly for myself. Self-pity. Realizing the amount of time I had missed in her life. Feeling detached from her. Feeling like I had signed up for a lifetime of something more like babysitting, than motherhood. At times coming out of my selfish, broken heart, and seeing into hers...and realizing how hurt she had been. Losing her mother. Her grandmother. The nannies from the first care center. Nannies from the second. All in 13 months time. By God's grace, the wisdom of those who have gone before me, and a very logical, smart, comforting, loving husband--we're not in that space anymore. At least, God's taken the panic and terror that would sneak into my brain. And, He's given me some peace.

Anyway, somewhere along the line, Deems started dropping like flies to various illnesses (maybe someday I will post on that. Holy sweet-fevers-staff infections-ringworm-oral herpes-scabies-cow!). I started not sleeping. Reagan (who was sleeping in our bed) would roll around all night--really trying to find a comfortable spot to land. She never seemed content. She wanted to be close. But not THAT close. Nearness. Not intimacy. Then she figured out that our bed was only a foot off the ground...and that opened up a whole other can of worms. Nighttime became an exploring adventure for her. Did we discipline her for getting out of bed? Did we put her the crib? Try just holding onto her? Maybe my brain was clouded by sickness and zombia ( *Someone who is has succumbed to the dark word of Zombies; specifically caused by insomnia. It's a medical term.)--but it was all I thought about! My brain hurt from trying to determine our sleeping arrangement. I really wanted to co-sleep. However, with Mr. Deem's deployment coming up, and Ray needing to be sandwiched between us, so she wouldn't roll off or escape our bed. I missed my husband. And, I felt like I was forcing closeness on her. Which was not my goal at all. I wanted to make her feel secure--not trapped.

So for a few weeks we tried getting her to sleep in the crib next to our bed. HORRIBLE, horrible, horrible idea. This involved hours of crying every day. By Reagan and sometimes me. I felt like that's all I did. Try to make the crib an inviting place to sleep. It seemed like I never saw the other kids. Just tried to get the one to SLEEP. "Dear God, PLEASE make her sleep!"  When I put the crib rail up she would stand and bounce up and down, swaying frantically in a demon possessed fashion...and get bloody lips and gums from banging her mouth on the rail. I felt like crap. And, I was angry at her. "What do you want!?" If I put the rail down, she would try to crawl out. Did I say it was horrible? It's funny, because I consider myself a veteran mom. But, everything about this adoption has sent me back to ground zero. Which is good--everyone needs a good slap of humility once in a while, right? I feel exactly like I did back when I was 20, and Lincoln was a baby.

Soooo, after about a month of sleep trials, I decided to give up. Not on bonding. But, just on my ideals of bonding. And, I know... there are  many, many great books on attachment, and parenting. But at some point--you shut down. I was at that point. I decided I may not be the perfect attachment parenting role model...but I probably should try something new before my sanity went down the toilet. Just like Grant's last pare of underpants (that boy!).   We moved her crib into Ked's room. Moved Grant's toddler bed into the boy's room (right next to Dribble the toad). Then, we waited.

Her first night in her bed, she was ecstatic!!! She was SO excited to be in the same room with Ked, and all the toys. She played with her glowworm. Smile. Dozed off. Yes. This is the same crib she previously bloodied her mouth on. One of Jason's fellow officers had come over to drop something off. After about an hour, she woke up screaming, and even after rocking and cuddles--she cried for a very long time. I think we gave that officer a scare about ever having children of his own! However, that night was the last time she cried over going to bed. Unless she's sick or had a night terror--she dives into her bed and loves it. I like that she's now willing to cuddle, kiss, and isn't alone (Ked's in the room with her). She likes having a little bit of her own space.

Maybe because she's used to sleeping with 10 other children. Maybe I just needed to give her more time. Regardless--for now, our sleep troubles aren't consuming our everyday existance. 

 Now it's back to more normal everyday things like: a three-year-old with serious potty training regression, a four-year-old and her lipstick obsession that is all over the carpet, and explaining to the older boys why is NOT okay to throw their action figures at the ceiling fan. All the usual stuff.

I think God new exactly what we needed. After she started sleeping through the night, Jason had to leave for a few weeks for deployment training. I got pretty sick while he was gone. And,  I kept thinking, "What if I'd been sick, had all the kids, AND she still wasn't sleeping?" A credit card shopping spree on Pottery Barn's website? Locking myself in my room for the weekend while the children flailed helplessly about in search of food? The possibilities are endless. And for the time being--catastrophe was avoided.

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