1.11.2015

Hazel is Five Months Old!

This year I've felt motivated to re-evaluate the way we do things around here and put pen to paper and write down some New Year's resolutions.  In the past, I've written 'intentions' which I feel are decidedly non-committal.  Somehow, though, every year those intentions have guided me and I was able to accomplish or be mindful of the changes I had hoped to make throughout the year.  But this year I wanted to be even more intentional and specific about them.

jude and hazey mae


This past month with Hazel was personally stretching.  She got sick right before Christmas.  It all started halfway through the making of the kids' Christmas pajamas.  I mentioned that I had stayed up until 2 am sewing, only to have Hazel wake up at 5 am!  She went on to develop a very bad cold.  She could hardly nurse because she couldn't breathe through her nose.  She was staying up until 3 or even 4 in the morning.  Every night.  For almost three weeks.  When she would fall asleep, she was so restless, waking every 15 or 30 minutes all night long.  She wasn't able to nap much during the day, either.

hazel five months

I learned that you really do forget about how difficult severe sleep deprivation is.  And of course with 5 children, there is no 'nap when the baby naps.'  Heck, with two kids those napping days are over for so many of us. 

hazel five months 
There are times when I have been scathingly judgmental of my parenting choices.  Reflecting back on my early days of parenting, I've felt I was selfish or entitled in my expectations.  And I'm not saying that this is entirely untrue, and yet.... those days of being bone-tired were such a distant memory.  I had absolutely forgotten just how challenging they can be.

hazel 5 months

When I was up in the wee hours with Hazey, night after night, I started to feel frustrated by the people who trivialize it, saying things like, "Little kids, little problems."  I have a cousin who's so insightful and she commented that when people make those kind of statements, they aren't honoring where you're at.   I love that!

hazel five months 
Of course, there are many problems that are so much bigger than sleepless nights.  Of course!  In life in general, there will almost always be someone facing something more challenging than you are. Acknowledging that can anchor us; it can help us maintain perspective.  
 hazel five months  
And yet, life isn't a competition.

hazel five months

I am all about focusing on the positive, not complaining and viewing life through the lens of intentional gratitude. (This post was spot on!).  Hazel is such a gift.  Her smile lights up the room (and my heart!) every time!  My heart is overflowing with gratitude and that helps immensely, every day, and especially on the hard days.  But there are still hard days.

hazel 5 months

Last week, I took Hazel to the pediatrician to check her ears and make sure she didn't have some kind of illness or infection that was responsible for the night waking.  She was almost disappointed to report, "Her ears look great!"  Then she just looked at me and said, "I know.  I know.  Mine were horrible sleepers, too."

hazel 5 months

There was something so comforting in that.  It was the very best thing she could say.  It buoyed me.  Sometimes just acknowledging and empathizing with what someone is going through is the best thing you can do.

hazel five months

That night, Hazel started sleeping well again.  "Well" for one of my kids, I should say.  Previously, she had been napping from 9p-11p and then staying up all night.  For now, we let her catch a cat nap at 9p and then she's ready to fall asleep again at 11:30p.  She still wakes a few times at night but doesn't stay awake.  So I am thrilled with that.  I can work with that!

hazel 5 months

Getting back to the new year's resolutions, spending all of this time awake with Hazel in the middle of the night gave me ample time to re-evaluate what we do around here.  I've been listening to audio downloads on Waldorf education, as well as re-reading our 400(!) page syllabus.  There are some things about Waldorf education that are quite strange, but so much of it speaks to me, so I take what I like (love!) and leave the rest.

hazel 
Waldorf education places a strong emphasis on rhythm (not to be confused with a schedule).  So one of my resolutions this year is to create a better rhythm for our family.  I've found if I take a few minutes each day to plan, it pays dividends.  One time of day that we haven't been able to figure out is the dinner hour, mostly because my husband works late so we rarely eat dinner before 8pm.  We have always tried to plan dinners in advance as well as create a grocery list, but it doesn't always work out.  I read a fantastic idea (here) to pair my big kids with my little ones while I make dinner.  I also recently discovered something called She Plans Dinner - a daily dinner recipe planner as well as grocery list.  We are trying the Fit and Healthy Plan.  I just signed up, so I've only made one recipe which I slightly adapted (Red Curry Lentils with Salad) and it was amazing.  All of my kids loved it!  The other recipes look promising, too!  I'm really hoping it will be the solution for us.

hazel 5 months 
I read on Zen Habits (here) to try to tackle one resolution per month rather than a bunch of resolutions all at once.  I thought this was brilliant.  Some of my other resolutions include: sing more lullabies, give more hugs, get more organized, drink more water, exercise most days, and sew once a week.   I'm also reading the Bible in its entirety for the fourth time, this time with my pal, Sophie.  I'm excited!

hazel 5 months 
How about you?  What are your New Year's resolutions?

{If you don't hear from me for awhile, Iris recently tested positive for influenza.  [And yes she was vaccinated.]  Just hours prior to being diagnosed she crawled into bed with Hazel and me and coughed all over us.  I kind of feel like we're sitting ducks.  But we'll see.}

10 comments:

  1. Oh Rachel! It's so full, and full on, isn't it? My Finlay (3rd, 10 months) has actually been my easiest. And everyone, including myself, keeps telling me it's because I'm so relaxed now, because I've dropped the routine, because I know what I'm doing. But then we have a couple of nights without sleep or days without naps and I remember what it was like with my others. And I think, no wonder I was trying to do what the books say - I was desperate. So I could so relate to your comments about being kinder to your old self.
    The homeschool lady from FIMBY (can't remember her name right now!) talks about introducing one new routine at a time too. We're still on holidays here in Australia till the end of Jan, but I've started with chores again. And then reading together in the morning. Next wee I think I'll reintroduce maths. It does feel gentler that way, doesn't it?
    Thanks for sharing! xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. great post. It's crazy how sleep deprivation can change everything, especially our outlook on life. I have some goals for the year but I can sum it up by using the word STRONG. I'd like to grow stronger in my faith and stronger physically. I'd like to hike with my hubby and kids this summer and it's going to take some practice. I've never been very scheduled and I like the word rhythm. Though I'm sure the bus driver wouldn't like my rhythm too much. :-) I've just read (most of) the book "Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits" by Joyce Meyer. It was a good read for me and she also wrote about making new habits one at a time.

    Thanks for writing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sleep deprivation is truly awful. There's a reason it's used as torture.
    I had a similar experience, when an ENT confirmed that Milla's tonsils were fine (the dentist had said they looked a bit enlarged and may have been blocking her airway at night) - of course, I was happy that her tonsils were okay, but I had really hoped for an explanation for the bad sleep.
    I hope Hazel is feeling better and that you are all getting some more rest now. The meal planning sounds like a great system for making dinner easier too. And I really like the idea of monthly resolutions - I tend to write things down at the start of the year, and then lose track of them, so focusing monthly would make it easier to stay conscious of my goals and intentions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Suzy, it is so great to hear from you and thanks for sharing your own story! I hope I will stay focused this year to re-evaluate our goals each month. In the end, I think it will make me - and my family - feel more centered. Oh and I tried another recipe tonight from She Plans Dinner (Roasted Salmon and Asparagus with Aioli) and it was amazing. It was definitely worth the $5/month for those two recipes!

      Delete
  4. Oh no!!! This year's worst influenza is not covered by this year's shot, which basically makes all of us sitting ducks. Joe's friends having been dropping like flies. EEEEEK. It might just be a matter of time!

    I love your resolutions. Don't forget to include a resolution I always try to throw in there: "Be kind and gentle to myself, even if I don't meet the above list of rather ambitious expectations!" Because really, improving rhythms, getting organized, figuring out dinner ... all of those things are likely two steps forward, one step back type things. Like you, I like to have some intentions or resolutions all the time - especially in the new year. I'm constantly working on myself. But I can be rather self-critical too. So "give myself a break" is an active intention.

    On the dinner topic. I was just whining in a very self-pitying way to my friends about how difficult family dinner is for us. We spend all this time and energy making these (rather wonderful much to the time) meals, only to have the kids whine and complain, refuse to eat, and in Maggie's case, throw a bitchin' tantrum over it. The food turns to sawdust in our mouths (an excellent method of dieting, wherein you lose all appreciation of food, but I do not recommend it) and everyone is miserable. I seriously consider just giving up on it on a regular basis. The kids love it when I order pizza and let them watch in front of the TV, after all. Right now, as I was whining self-piteously, it's just another thing that "good parents" do that I seem to fail miserably at.

    Not sure where I was going with that. It's all about MEEEEEEE, don't you know? LOL. Ah, yes. It's good to relax your expectations of yourself sometimes. I will probably order pizza for a few nights (because these ungrateful little ...!!!) and then I will get back on the horse and we keep at it. Happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Eek! I hope you and Hazel don't get sick too! Poor little poppet has already had such a rough time! I empathise so truly with you re the sleep deprivation. Oliver, my oldest son would wake hourly as a babe. My mother said it was poetic justice because I did the same thing... He finally started sleeping longer stretches at 2 and through the night at 3. People used to trivialise it and suggest it was something I was or wasn't doing (which is funny because Gus my younger son started sleeping through at 9 weeks.... So clearly this was something quite unique to Ollie!). I hope Hazel continues to sleep better now that she's feeling better and wish you well with your resolutions. I too am working on being positive more, making the time to do the things that count - playing games with the kids or working around our home (hoping to get the vegetable garden planted again and we're painting our house at the moment). This might sound crazy, but I plan to moderate what I do for others... Last year I got sooo weighed down in committees and doing things for sooo many people. I really want to invest that energy into my family this year as it took a toll on the kids and my husband ( he reckons he became a school fair widow last year!! Haha). I've chosen just one committee to give my all to as I love meeting other people and it's nice to do something that counts. x

    ReplyDelete
  6. oh! I commented yesterday! but it does not appear!! heck!
    about your resolution to "exercise most days": I used to wake up a lot for Maxence, as you know and our bedroom being downstairs, I had to walk through the house, and walk up the stairs 5 times a night:) I used to say that I didn't need more exercising!! being a mother keeps you fit already!
    I am in awe of your ability to stay grateful in all circumstances: you are truly inspiring!
    These photos are so beautiful, I love that they convey all your love for Hazel and all your children so clearly and so beautifully.
    I so hope you are all well. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  7. My friend who got pregnant 4 months before me has a little one of 2 months age. His sleep habits have been getting worse and worse. On the most awful day of it, she brought him to a chiropractor. I think you already do that? Not sure. Anyways, he's been sleeping better than ever (literally) since he was adjusted.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I felt so bad when I read this. I remember how hard it was to not get sleep. Then to have to cope all day with the other children. Oh my. Whenever my daughter made a peep, one of her brothers would pick her up and bring her to me. She became the twenty minute napper round the clock. It. Was. Awful.
    I hope things have settled for you and you are sleeping and not reading this ; )

    ReplyDelete
  9. oh Rachel - my heart goes out to you! I feel your tiredness of being tired. That bone-numbing fatigue that sets in when your precious child just.won't.sleep. Our youngest, Lilah was similar (bad) sleeper, to the point where we ended up hiring two different sleep consultants to get us through. And while you know logically it won't always be this way, there is no reasoning at three in the morning when your body is screaming for more sleep.
    So no "little kid, little problems" platitudes from me! Rather, my empathy and encouragement and the promise that it won't always be like this.
    And so sorry to hear about little Iris and the flu:( It seems to be everywhere this year (including our home:( Hoping that it passed you and Hazel right on by!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! I generally respond to comments via email. If your profile does not link to your email account, I try to respond here. :)