Welcome back for another round up of Seven Quick Takes! It’s been another week for the books – keep reading for a recap.
My anxiety has been creeping back in this week (in the works, a post sharing a little bit more about my post-partum anxiety experience). From feeling pressure to get the house fully unpacked, to the aforementioned lack of sleep, to a little bit of personal drama, I found myself suffering from my worst anxiety attack to date this week. Thankfully, I am blessed with a husband who kind of serves as an “energy counter” for me – when I am off, he is on, and he guides me through to the other side, praised be the Lord. This week has been an exercise in focusing on only what is right in front of me. I have to force myself to look at only the task at this moment, then upcoming tasks, then the whole day’s tasks, and then, and only then, can I sneak a peek at longer-term projects or goals. This is a small thing, but it’s huge when it comes to tempering the anxiety that I experience.
After crying out for help with Anastasia’s apparent insomnia, I made the decision to restructure our sleep training approach. We are big advocates of what is traditionally known as “Cry It Out (CIO)” or the gentler version, “Sleep Learning Independence Plan (SLIP)”. Whatever you want to call it, it’s how we’ve gotten Anastasia to go to sleep without us being trapped in a baby room for ten hours reenacting this book. However, while it was great for getting her to go to sleep, we were kind of failures at using it to get her to stay asleep. Anastasia has slept through the night…twice in her whole year of life, once when she was a baby-baby, and once more recently and I just have no idea what stars aligned to make that occur. Most other nights, she was going to bed around 7:30 and sleeping peacefully until about 10:30, when she would wake up screaming. I got into the habit of going in to feed her to get her back to sleep, but that became my downfall – nursing became a sleep association, and she was soon waking up every 2-3 hours, screaming until I came in to nurse her back to sleep. Bad. Bad, bad, bad.
Fast forward to last weekend, when I was falling over exhausted and faced with the reality that I might never sleep again if I didn’t toughen up and help Anastasia stay the eff asleep. I have read and heard that if baby is going to sleep around 7:30, you should not go into his or her room until midnight – they are at the point of getting sufficient calories during the day, and any wake before midnight is just a little blip in their sleep cycle. Let them work it out, and they will sleep peacefully once more until they actually need to bed fed or until morning, whichever comes first.
So I implemented the midnight rule. The first night, I was clawing my eyes out, questioning my devotion as a mother, bewailing the fact that I’m away from Anastasia during the day – it got real, y’all. But then it got easier. And she’s now at a very reasonable one wake-up per night, around 3 AM, one early morning top-off feeding/diaper change around 5 AM, and a wake-up for the day around 6:30 or 7 AM. MUCH BETTER. I am hoping that once we finally wean, full nights of sleep await. Praise.
Holy Week is coming. I feel blessed to work in a Catholic school that takes it so seriously and expects us as teachers to help guide our students through the life of the Church. One way I’ll be doing this with my class is through a “No Screens Challenge” for the week. Earlier this week, I explained that if the kids could fast from screens for Holy Week, when we come back from Easter Break, they’d be able to share in a special treat provided by yours truly. There’s no parent confirmation necessary, just strictly on the kids’ honor. The looks on their faces were priceless – “Does TV count? Because I seriously cannot live without my TV.”
What a humbling look at the addictions technology has forged in all of us, down to the littlest brains. For Lent, I resolved to fast from my phone and social media after Anastasia’s bedtime – it has not gone well. I am weak and so in need of grace. But each time I break this promise, God have mercy, I’m reminded of where to turn my gaze instead. I pray this last week of fasting will truly reorient my heart to the One who is deserving of my all.
I told the kids I’d be participating as well, so look for a recap after Easter!
We started getting ready for standardized testing at school this week. The kids took a practice test yesterday and it was fascinating to talk through each sample question with them, to hear their thinking, see their struggle, and catch those lightbulb moments as concepts became clear. We have three half-days of testing next week, and then we’re off for Easter break! I think they’ll do great, and I know they’re excited for those in-between testing brain break activities that may or may not involve candy and free play. Do whatcha gotta do.
Annie is home sick with a low-grade fever, cough, and runny nose today (hence the time to write as she snoozes off the sickness). She seemed better throughout the night, but by the morning she had declined, snuggling close to us, sniffling, coughing, feeling warm, and just flat-out looking sick. Our poor sickie chickie has had quite a full year of colds and fevers, but she always powers through and her appetite never suffers, which I think is a huge factor in her cheery demeanor and quick recovery. Even though her school sent home a note about a stomach virus going around, it doesn’t look like this is it, so we are just riding it out until baby girl is back in business. Lots of cuddles, songs, and chicken soup are on the agenda.
I really, really, really love our daycare, y’all. After the move, we considered switching to a place that is closer to home, but in my mind, it is just not worth it. The care that Anastasia receives is second-to-none, and the thought of changing her to a new school at such a developmentally critical time in her life is hard to imagine. Seeing the joy on her face when I walk in, listening to her babble about everything she did when we ask her how school was, getting personalized messages and phone calls from the teachers whenever something of note happens (good or bad), all of these are invaluable to two working, first-time parents. So, if you’re in the area, and you happen to be looking for a stellar daycare, hit me up and we’ll chat.
This week, I stumbled across an article that talks about “completing the cycle”. This term refers to, essentially, finishing what you started, but this write specifically uses it to refer to tasks and chores around the house. I have never been great at cleaning as I go, which normally results in frantic 15-minute sweep-everything-under-the-rug cleans whenever someone happens to visit. Lately, my habit of leaving dishes in the sink, unfinished coffee mugs on the end table, chips unclipped, cereal boxes open, has become more glaring, so this article was incredibly timely.
Now, each time I prepare a meal, my goal is to get all the components cleaned up and taken care of by the time the meal is finished, or shortly thereafter. I’ve even been trying to get the prep dishes cleaned before we sit down to eat. If I need a clean dish from the dishwasher, I force myself to stay right there and empty the whole thing instead of closing it for the next person Adam to handle later. When I take out a load of laundry, I want to fold it instead of just letting it sit until the next load demands use of a basket. I also want to apply this to things like mail, emails, etc., but if I can get a handle on these daily household chores first, then I think making the transition into other areas of my life will feel a lot simpler.
Thanks again for reading this week’s Seven Quick Takes – head back after Easter to see more!