Our beautiful daughter is 12 weeks old today! And I have to say, that I have learned more about life and love in the last 12 weeks then my whole entire life combined. Being a mom has changed so much. It has changed my outlook on life and how I look at everyone and everything. I don't think anything can prepare you for how much you are going to love your child. I had heard that before, but I didn't realize just HOW MUCH I would love her and that sometimes that can love can make things harder. What I mean is, well since Sunday we put Elliana in her own room and I didn't realize how hard that would be on me.
Ever since she was born we had her in a playard right next to the bed so I could literally just reach my hands over and get her. We had decided when she was born that when she was about 3 months old we would transition her into her own room. So Sunday night was that dreaded night that we had decided to make that move. Being a little ignorant we thought lets just stick her in there and see how she does. Ok now let me preface that with saying that I had been putting her in her own room for a while now for her naps so she was pretty much used to sleeping in there, but what we hadn't realized is that we had been creating a bad habit with her. When she would sleep we would put the monitor on and anytime we heard her fuse at all, we would run (and I mean literally I would run, I considered it my work out:) and as quickly as possible put her binki back in. We thought we were being helpful, but Sunday night proved to us why that was such a bad idea.
So Sunday night we had the monitor up in our room almost as loud as it could go. My reasoning was I wanted to be able to hear everything and be there as soon as she needed me. Suffice it to say that I did not sleep even a minute that night. It was awful. It was almost worse then when she was a newborn. Every 2 seconds we were running in and putting her binki in her mouth. So Monday I was a walking zombie and was pretty frustrated. I then turned to, "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer." This book was recommended to me by my sister Autumn. She had used it with her kids and I have to say that her kids are the best sleepers in the world! They literally ask for bed and usually sleep 12 hrs. Now I had read this book when Elliana was first born and it helped me get her on a good eating schedule, but then I had stopped, thinking I would pick it back up as Elliana got older and I needed to learn more. So anyways I fast forward to the sleeping section and found out what we were doing wrong.
Now the reason I love this book is because she takes such a "middle" approach. Anyway we were rushing in right away and not letting her learn how to self sooth and sleep without her binki. She naturally would spit out her binki when she fell asleep, but then she would realize that she didn't have it and fuss and wake up. So Monday we had to learn how to let her cry:( She would cry for about 5 minutes and then we would go in and reassure her and give her her binki. And oh my gosh, that literally was the hardest thing ever. I have been around babies my whole life and thought that this wouldn't be that difficult for me, but it was. Seeing her sad makes me so sad. I definitely was the mom that cried when she got her immunizations. Monday was tortures. But then that night Elliana already was doing sooooo much better. That night she didn't even really need her binki. We had to go in and sooth her a couple of times, but she would never cry longer than 10 minutes and then she would fall asleep. She slept for a good 8 hrs, ate and then slept another 5 (without her binki and without us going in and putting it back in). I was amazed. And then the same thing happened last night! She is learning how to fall asleep on her own! This book is so amazing, but one thing I really love is she explains WHEN you need to put your baby down. There is this window of time when your baby tries to give you clues that let you know they are tired. She says to put them down as soon as you see those clues, while they are awake so they know where they are and they learn how to fall asleep in there. For the past 3 days I have been putting her down, fully awake, but knowing that she is tired and within minutes she is asleep on her own.
Now I know there are still going to be hard nights and it is still a work in progress, but I am just to happy with how its going so far. Its still really hard for me to hear her cry, knowing that I could go in and make it better, but I'm learning too.
This morning Zack said that he had read a really good article that was in the Ensign this month and thought that I would like it. It's by Mark D. Ogletree and it is called "Helping without Hovering." Now, yes, I do have the best husband in the world and yes I know I am the luckiest:) Anyways it is an amazing article. I think every parent or anyone who is becoming a parent should read this. I learned so much from it. I never thought that it would be hard for me to let me children learn on their own and go through heartache and pain. I know she is still just a baby, but through this process of "sleep training" I'm learning so much about myself. This article helped me realize the wisdom in letting them go through trials and have setbacks and to not swoop in and fix everything right away. This is an article that I will keep and have to read over and over again as Elliana grows up and as we have more children.
This is a quote thats in the article that I love. Its by James E. Faust and he said, "In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life." Ogletree closes with this, "As parents help their children make righteous decisions by letting them experience natural consequences, they will foster strong, independent, spiritually minded leaders in the kingdom. It takes courage, faith, spiritual sensitivity, patience, and persistence, but the rewards are eternally worth it."
It's not always easy, but being a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And thank goodness for other wise parents who have tried and learned and write about their experiences so I can learn how to become a better parent.