‘That’s it you are going to America – I am boxing you up and shipping you first class’
These were the words I said out loud in my bed last night at 4.30am. I did, out loud, no joke.
There was no one around, not a soul could hear me but I said them to make me feel better, to ease the pain of Seth being up once again. This boy doesn’t know how to sleep all night. I have five kids, all different. We didn’t parent them different but how they have slept (or not) is completely different. No one prepares you fully for parenting and the sleep (or lack of). The cockiness I had with Jessica, sleeping 7pm till 8am. The desperation I had with Abigail and no afternoon nap from 13months. Joel was honestly a blur and Noah didn’t sleep until he was 10 months and by that stage I was done. I had cried with people I didn’t know, I had shocking road rage, I had a split personality and woe betide anyone who saw me at 4 pm. I was a mama on the edge. I tried everything, control crying, bottle no bottle, getting him up, rocking him, not rocking him, the list went on…. One night we watched Peppa pig at 4am!! I have never prayed so much in those sleep deprived months. I prayed over him in tongues because I had no words for this torture. I bargained with God, I blamed God, I questioned God, I even one night doubted His very existence! I was a woman on the edge. I wanted to poke anyone’s eyes out who mentioned that their little one slept all night every night. I just wanted my gang of sleep deprived, desperate, on the edge mums near me and the funny thing was these mums didn’t even know they were in my gang they got into this club by maybe once mentioned that they too had a child that didn’t sleep. But I needed them. For a long time I didn’t share any of my child’s sleep patterns with anyone in case they thought less of them, I wanted to protect them from a negative word or pitiful look. The Lord blessed me with the bestest mama, my bestest friend Wendy Ann who has two precious beautiful amazing girls who don’t always love their sleep but I love them, I smile and laugh at the stories of bedtime, the fun (in my eyes) and the sleepless nights. Wendy – Ann and I laugh at the sleep deprivation, the arguments at 3am with our loved ones and the moments of madness. I could do this with someone in my team, my club, my gang. I have never thought less of her girls so why would that be the same for mine. Those girls taught me to think differently – so now I say it loud and I say it clear. MY BOY DOESN’T SLEEP ALL NIGHT! Freedom.
It did come with Noah (eventually) sleep; blessed, beautiful, needed sleep.
Hello Janine Mitchell! Where have you been? We have all missed you.
Then we thought lets have number 5!!
And little Seth came and he slept, oh he slept and the cockiness came with it.
And he turned 10 months and someone whispered in his ear that we needed a little fun, a little more patience, a little more refining.
And so it is, my boy, my beautiful boy who becomes the source of my pleading with the Lord at 430am. It begins like this – nice. ‘Lord please would you mind just make him go back to sleep’ then it gets – serious ‘ Lord, you know I need my sleep please soothe him’ then I get – desperate ‘ Lord are you serious, please hear the cries of your child, me hear me’ then I bring the big guns out ‘ LORD ARE YOU EVEN THERE?!!??’
The microwave usually gets it in the end, the swear words, the ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ words; the ‘I have had enough’ words. Then I go to Seth, I feel his clammy head, I kiss his forehead, I hold him tight while he drinks and I praise the One who will give me the grace and the joy tomorrow for all that I need. It all changes in that moment when I hold this little one who is awake too.
Every child is different, every moment not the same, each night its pot luck in our house – but this I know with all my heart and this remains,
This too will pass.