When I woke up this morning I secretly wished it would be just like Saturday – the kids and I had a good time at breakfast, started devotions by a little after 9 and we were done with 3 subjects by before noon. Kristo had a happy heart and he was excited to work on his math and grammar drills even if it was a Saturday. He was so happy with how things went he even said “My brain feels so energized!” — Oh how I wish everyday was like that particular Saturday!
But then again, maybe not.
Today we all woke up half an hour later than usual, so we did our devotions while having breakfast to make up for that half hour. I reminded Kristo of how awesome Saturday was, hoping to encourage him to do his best in all his activities today so we’d be done by noon. I showed him the list of what we’re supposed to accomplish today and he chose to take his Science Quiz first. Wow. Okay.
I gave him 20 minute to work on this 15 item quiz. I’d look at him every now and then and I just felt that something was off, that his heart was heavy. Knowing him, the test wasn’t the problem – it was his heart, his attitude. I somehow knew that he’d hand over his test paper with just three or four items answered — and yup, I was right! I must admit to you that I was hurt, then I was worried and right before that feeling of disappointment set in I stopped myself, took a deep breath and sat him down on the couch. I asked him what the problem was. He said he doesn’t understand what’s going on in his heart. He agreed that something was off and he didn’t know what to do with it.
This isn’t something new for us. There would be times when he’d be great in the morning, all jolly and happy then by after lunch he’d be grumpy and upset as he finishes his work. I used to get all worked up about it coz I just couldn’t understand that shift in his moods. Lately though we’ve tried something else – and it’s the only thing that has helped us big time.
I told Kristo to go to his room, read his Bible and spend time talking to God. I encouraged him to ask God to help him change the condition of his heart because only God can help him do that. I also needed time to talk to God. I needed help big time.
When I went into Kristo’s room I asked him how he was. He said he just needed to spend 5 more minutes alone. He was on his bed and he had his Bible by his pillow. Sure enough, 5 minutes later he came out all happy and lighthearted. He said he was a lot better and he was ready to study again.
We didn’t finish by noon like I hoped we would. In fact, we were studying til 5 in the afternoon! We were pretty much drained after that last mental math activity (hello! Subtracting in the hundreds mentally! Eeeep!) But I wouldn’t trade today for a day like Saturday after all `coz yeah, today was filled with lots of challenges but it also gave us lots of opportunities to really ask God to help us and Kristo got to experience how God works first hand.
A lot of times we think studying is all about the brain, but what use is a brain full of information if the heart isn’t right? This is one of the things I love about homeschooling Kristo – we have the freedom to stop whatever we’re doing to get the heart right then everything else will follow and learning becomes a way of life rather than an obligation.
Oh yeah, and then there’s that “you’re the best mom!” line right after you make him do 4 pages of mental math (yes, in the hundreds!!!) plus that one time I told him off for goofing around in the middle of doing his math drills. That’s a pretty good sign, right?
I MUST give you an update! If you read my last blog about our kids’ crazy bedtime — I have GREAT news!!!
All week (drumroll please!) — both our kids slept early, and by early I mean 8pm for Audrey who is 14 months old and 9/10pm for Kristo, our 8 year old! That’s a HUGE DEAL because I used to think they were ‘naturally’ nocturnal little earthlings. I have been proven wrong. Ouch.
So what I’ve read in those baby books are for real after all. These little precious ones CAN be sleep trained!
For Audrey we created the illusion that it’s already around 2 or 3 am (her OLD -wooohooo!- bedtime) by switching off the tv and lights. Tadaaaa! It’s bedtime for all of us baby! See? Quiet house. Everybody, shhhhhhhhh!!!! AND IT WORKED!
For Kristo, all he needed was that eye mask/cover/thingy. You know, the one they give out on planes when you go on loooooong flights. He said it left him with no choice but to close his eyes and fall asleep!
I also gave both of them chamomile drops (absolutely all natural, yes, from our doctor, donchaworry!). Every 2 hours for the first two days then every 4 hours from the 3rd day onwards for about 2-4 weeks. I call it our magic potion!
Since they’ve been sleeping early, we’ve been waking up way earlier too (between 8-9am!). Kristo says he feels great and Audrey looks so well rested! Yey! We also get homeschool done way earlier so Kristo has more play time!
I thought it was gonna be a long, tedious, challenging, ultra mega tough ordeal BUT it was far from it. Audrey only made a fuss on night #1. The next night I was ready for battle again but she didn’t show any signs of wanting to play in the middle of the night (like she used to). All she needed was a bit of milk and she was on her way back to lala land. Wow. That was it?!
I’ve just proven that kids really do crave for structure, routine and our leadership. We set the pace for them. We have that power…and with it comes great responsibility…so we must use it wisely.
Our family’s sleeping schedule has been pretty crazy from day 1 and it got even crazier when we welcomed our baby girl home a little over a year ago.
Before I gave birth I had this beautiful picture in my head of finally having a solid routine for me and the kids. I mean, how hard was it to program a baby’s day, right?! AND if we nailed that then it would be pretty easy enough for my son and I to ride along that ‘on schedule’ daily grind train, right?!
NOPE. WRONG. NOT EASY. Hello?! What went wrong? Why didn’t that awesome game plan work?!
Simple. When it got challenging to ‘stay on schedule’ and be firm about the day’s routine, I quit. I just said “we don’t need this kind of stress putting the kids to sleep. Instead of battling it out every night, can’t we just enjoy our time together as a family….(at 2 or 3 am)..’til they’re finally tired enough to sleep?” As I was typing that line I felt like a total hippie stuck in the 70′s.
So for months I guess you could say I was a hippie mom. There were several days when I’d be firm about our 8 year old son’s bedtime, but then he’d see his 1 year old sister still playing at 1or 2 am. Not good at all, I know. What’s worse is we’ve been waking up at noon or even around 2pm! Half our day gone down the drain This whole sleeping-waking up situation was getting out of hand. Things needed to change and it had to start with…me. gulp
If I want our kids to grow properly (growth hormones are released around 9pm til sunrise, according to our doctor), I need to be firm and get them in bed by 8-9pm and get up early in the morning to enjoy Mr. Sun!
Tonight was day 1 dear reader. I am happy to say that by 11 the kids were sound asleep! The tv was switched off, we said our bedtime prayer as a family, we sent our son to his room, my husband and I made it obvious we were sleepy too, I nursed our baby girl and I’m pretty sure we fell asleep before she did. I guess when she saw that there was no one to play with, she gave in and just slept. WHEW.
Too good to be true, I thought. I’m pretty sure she’s gonna wake up again when she sees that her dad is up and in the living room rehearsing a few songs for work this week. She’s gonna want to be part of that and play as well. She’s gonna fight a good fight and scream and cry. I was totally psyching myself. I was also coming up with my own battle plan. Then it happened. A little before 1am she woke up, got all excited when she saw her dad wasn’t in bed, then she tried to get out of bed but I made it pretty clear that tonight she wasn’t going anywhere but lala land. She cried and screamed and cried some more. Sorry neighbors. We gotta do what we gotta do. 5 mins later, when I felt it was ‘safe’ to nurse her, I cradled her in my arms and kissed her goodnight, she started feeding and that was the end of tonight’s battle. Half an hour later she was sound asleep. Whew.
It’s 2:17am. The kids are sound asleep. Soon I’ll be on my way to meet them in the land of Zzzzzzzzs too. This seems too good to be true but we want this kind of good for our kids, so I’m choosing to believe that this is gonna be what’s normal for us from now on.
Goodbye hippie mom.