Friday, May 14, 2010

Who's Training Who?

We (as in Alex & I) have been having a rough couple days this week. Partially of my own doing.

I do believe that the process of training Alex began almost immediately in the form of establishing some routines, or expectations, for him. We started off great..he'd eat, be up for a little bit, then I would swaddle him and put him in his crib to sleep. Rinse and repeat about every 3 hours. After weeks of this, I began to allow him to also nap in his Boppy during the day for a change of scenery. Once we set up the swing and I realized how much he loved that, the "routine" has morphed into feeding him, playing with him, and I then put him in the swing. Which he inevitably falls asleep in until feeding time. As it has been lately, the only time he has been swaddled and put into his crib is at night after his last feeding.

When Alex was 2 weeks old, he began sleeping through the night, waking up only once to eat, and would go back to sleep until about 6:00 fuss, no muss. Lately, however, once he eats he does not want to be put back down and go to sleep. Our days, most noticeably this week, have not been much better. The only time he seems really content is when he is in his swing. He does not cry constantly or anything, he's not colicky, but he is definitely fussy...unless he's in his swing. I used to be able to go and do things during the day while he slept peacefully in his car seat. This week, however, it seems any time I've left the house it's resulted in a meltdown. I don't mind changing diapers, getting spit up on, giving baths, holding him or any of the "mothering" duties. Where I start to lose it is when all of his needs have been met and there is nothing I can do to appease him, because essentially, there is nothing wrong.

This week has been so trying for me and I'm positive there are many more to come. I've chosen to be angry at times and I even tried to reason with a 6-week old. Neither of which were in the least bit effective or made me feel any better. I've spent much time this week confessing my anger and spite and yesterday, amid tears, shame, and regret, I began to view things a little differently. I suddenly realized that in training my child, I have also become the trainee. This new job called Motherhood is a road I've never traveled and I have much to learn. Patience being the most obvious.

A couple of weeks ago, I called a dear friend because I was beginning to understand how some animals could eat their young. Yesterday, I reviewed some things she said and wrote it down to constantly remind me.
  1. I need to put off bitterness, resentment, and anger...all of which stem from PRIDE and SELFISHNESS.
  2. I need to put on confession, hear what scripture says, and renew my mind.
  3. I need to constantly be confessing my sin, most noticeably of late is anger.
I also began to realize some other things (with the help of my husband!). I am partially to blame for the un-settledness of our recent days. While I do not think that I need to be so stringent as to never break from a routine, I have realized the value in consistency. In many ways, I've "given in" to my 6-week old by allowing him to set the rules. I know to some that may sound crazy, but in life, he won't be able to only do the things that make him happy, so why would I start that as a precedent now, even at this early early age? Granted, things have been crazy here lately...moving, traveling to visit family, there hasn't been much of a norm, but I haven't been very consistent in areas I could what I know is best for him (and us!) in the long run.

So, beginning today, we started something new-ish. He eats, and I play with him for a bit and put him in his swing for about 1/2 an hour. After that, whether he falls asleep or not, he gets put into his crib. Surprisingly, (or maybe not so?), we're having a great day! He seems almost more secure and content in getting back to the old routine. I think he is even napping better being back in his crib. It does seem that he doesn't sleep as soundly or as long when he's in his swing.

I'm not inclined to think that I have this all figured out. But, I am pleased that, praise the Lord, we seem to have had a breakthrough today. I have a lot to learn about Motherhood, but I realize that I cannot do it in my own flawed, sinful, strength. I have to allow myself to be constantly changed.


  1. Ugh! Nothing like motherhood to reveal all kinds of new layers of sin nature that need to be dealt with, huh?

    I have found that consistency and routine have been really important for us, too! Makes the whole day (and night) better.

  2. Aww, I'm sorry its been a bad week. Hang in there. Sounds like things are definitely are getting better & I will pray that Alex does well over the weekend for you. Love you both so much. <3

  3. I think what you're going through is pretty normal... babies start to figure out that fussiness brings results. I heard some wise motherly nurses talk about dealing with a newborn (maybe on Focus on the Family?) and one of them said, "You can't control what your baby does, you can only control your response to them." I wish I had understood that from day one with Josh, but I've found myself repeating that to myself a lot these past few weeks. It's still true. I try to focus on how I should resond to them, instead of what they are or aren't doing right.
    Sometimes you'll do everything right and things will still be bad. Parenting in these early years sometimes feels like going through fire. (I'm sure it'll be tons easier when they're older....ha ha) It has changed me and humbled me like nothing else ever could.
    I'll be praying for you, and I'm so glad today has been better!

  4. Oh, sweet mama. I wouldn't worry too much at all about any training with a six week old. Six to twelve weeks is a really intense time of growth and awareness for babies. They slip so easily in and out of what were once predictable routines. A baby's biggest need at this stage is often just being held and comforted. As they wake up to the world, they experience lots of scary new sights (those eyes are developing so quickly!) and sensations. I would bet if he is crying after being fed, changed, and all other things taken care of, he's just telling his Mommy, "I need you!"

    Sister, I know it can be exhausting. What I wish someone would have told me with my first baby is that it's just a stage, and that he'll be blazing forth with independence in no time at all.

    A Bible verse that brought me such strength and comfort in the earliest days of both of my children's lives was

    "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:13 Here the LORD God speaks comfort over His children, the nation of Israel. I was reminded so profoundly of how God comforts me when I cry, and in Him I found the strength to make it through those fussy stages that all babies go through.

    I am praying peace and wisdom for you, sister! Blessings on you today.