Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Patience & Grace

There are a lot of things that I've learned since becoming a parent (approximately 2 years, 4 months, and 10 days ago). Here are a few of them.

  • If you pick it up for them, they will throw it again.
  • Just when they get into a routine, they change it.
  • Even though they liked it once doesn't mean they'll like it again.
  • When you want them to listen, they don't.  When you don't want them to listen, they do.  
  • If you tell them not to, they will.  

And that's just off the top of my head!  Well, I guess another thing that I've learned is patience - and boy have my husband and I had our patience tested, especially starting at the end of February when our precious little almost two year old decided (after 3 successful weeks of sleeping in a toddler bed) that he no longer wanted to sleep in his bed anymore.  He, in fact, wanted to sleep on the floor - so long as he was being forced to stay in his room because if either my husband or I left his room, he would be out in an instant.  So we went from a happy toddler who transitioned perfectly into a bed, to a miserable bed-time boy who refused to stay in his room, let alone sleep in his own bed.  
Jadon sleeping in his toddler bed for the first time.  This lastest for 3 weeks before he went on his "bed strike".

After almost a week of this pattern we figured out that this was probably going to be the way it was for a while.  The question we had was, "How are we going to fix this?"  I mean seriously, a two year old who only wants to sleep with his pillow and blanket on the floor.  That's not good.  We tried to get him to sleep on a sleeping bag on the floor, but he would have none of that.  Ugh.  

In despair, my husband and I sat down to formulate a "plan of attack".  Ultimately we decided that we had two problems: sleeping on the floor and not falling asleep on his own.  Instead of tackling both problems at the same time (which was obviously not working), we decided to first work on how he was sleeping, not where.  He wasn't going to sleep on the floor for the rest of his life, so that seemed like the less major issue for the moment. 

After a month of progressively working ourselves out of his room, we finally had a little boy who would fall asleep on his own.  Now to get him to sleep in a bed!  That actually proved to be the harder thing, believe it or not.  We eventually got him to sleep on a sleeping bag on the floor (which actually proved helpful in a few overnight stays away from home).  So from approximately the beginning of May until the end of June, Jadon continued to sleep on the floor, but at least on a sleeping bag.  We continued to try to convince him to go back to his toddler bed, but he wanted nothing to do with it.  Finally at the end of June we were going away for almost two weeks and were going to be staying in a room that had a twin bed in it for Jadon.  Positive thinking took hold of me and I bought a bed rail to bring with us.  We arrived and I showed Jadon his bed and installed the bed rail.  He loved it, and a few hours later (when it was nap time) he went soundly asleep without so much as a peep out of him.  Ever since that day he has slept in his own bed, including when we came home to the same toddler bed that had been in his room for 5 months!  

It was a long wait, but I'm so thankful for the patience that God granted my husband and I during this time.  Whenever family members or friends asked us if Jadon was "still sleeping on the floor," it was so disappointing to say yes.  I think every parent has those moments from time to time when you think to yourself, "Yeah, guess I'm not winning parent of the year this year!"  Yet, God still grants patience and grace.  

I'm trying to remind myself of this as we began potty training this week.  Hopefully this will not be a 5 month long ordeal, but I know that God will provide the extra dose of patience I need to make it through all of the big messes and extra loads of laundry I've been doing no matter how long this continues!

~ Carrie ~

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