Two Steps Forward, One Step Back…
Feb 20th, we had our big Dr. appointment for Lydia. Her first big evaluation by the ‘Cleft Team’ at University of Chicago, to determine where we are at, and what exactly is going on in that little mouth of hers. It was a great appointment with her first surgery set for this Wednesday morning, March 5th. And since the appointment, while we continue to see wonderful forward momentum in many areas, we’ve experienced some regression in others.
Two Steps Forward: Bonding
After being home from China for 1 month all my hopes and prayers for bonding have been met, even exceeded. My precious daughter likes me. Hurray! She likes me and I like her, love her, am mildly obsessed with her darling little self. Her little face, the scrunchy thing she does with her nose when she’s trying to be funny, the way she takes my face in her little hands and just smiles at me, those beautiful dark eyes, her silly open mouth kisses, how she plays with my pony tail when we snuggle. I’m a puddle. Two weeks ago when I left the house to run an errand, she burst into tears, like mad, how could you leave me tears. This was huge. It was the first time she was visibly upset to see me leave. I felt bad leaving. (but may have done a silent fist-pump over the gesture of her tears, thinking “she likes me, she really likes me!”) It was thrilling. We have bonded and it’s oh so sweet. (Important note- she likes her daddy too.) 🙂
One Step Back (or several…): Sleeping
Even with the assurance of our forward steps toward healthy attachment and bonding, we’ve experienced some set-backs in the area of sleep. She has never liked her crib. I think it’s because she spent too much time in one for the first 21 months of her life… I wouldn’t like it either. But somehow, after our big Dr. appt day, her feelings have taken a turn from moderate distaste to pure disdain. She hates the crib. This means that the routine we had for 5 weeks in China and at home, of rocking her to sleep and then carefully placing her in her crib no longer works. Now the moment we begin to lay her down, so jolts awake in a fit of rage. She is ticked! How dare we leave her in that crib.
So the last week+ has been filled with failed attempts at sleep. We’ve tried holding her hand through the crib. No go. Music. No dice. Whimsical ceiling projections. Didn’t work. Singing. Nope. Laying with her on the floor beside her crib. Not sure what I thought this would accomplish. I have prayed over her. For sweet dreams and deep sleep and happy thoughts about her crib. Nothing has changed, she’s just not having it. Some days last week I devoted 6+ hours a day to rocking her at nap and bedtime. And the boys got very little attention. I felt horrible. It was a no-win.
This means that she ends up, (gasp) in our bed. And here’s the thing. We are not bed-sharers. Never have been. We have a queen that fits the two of us fine, but once a child is added it feels somehow dangerous. Like where did the space go, who will fall our first, dangerous? But it’s the only thing that works, so Lars has ended up on the couch and Liddy with me. And I don’t sleep for fear of smooshing her and I also get kicked and slapped all night because she’s a mover. It’s grand…
But on one particularly frustrating night a few days ago, (when I had to tell the boys to put themselves to bed, again) I had a grand realization as I sat in the blue chair rocking sleeping Lydia. All this sleep craziness, is actually answered prayer. How ironic. For months I sat in the blue chair, praying for Lydia. I prayed that she might feel safe and secure in our love. That as we held her, she would attach to us, trust us, bond. And here we are. She has no interest in being soothed by a soft toy, the edge of blanky, a pacifier or even her thumb. She just wants me. I’m it. I’m the soother. I can pick her up after a fit of heaving sobs and she is sound asleep in my arms in mere seconds. She feels safe and secure and peaceful. She rests.
All she really wants is someone to be with her. To be near, like listening to our heartbeats, near. And then she rests. It’s beautiful. And if I didn’t have other children to care for, homework to help with, other needs to meet, I would gladly sit in that blue chair forever and just rock and rock, because it’s heaven. But with Lars working three or four nights a week, I have to do my best to figure out how to juggle three at bedtime. And the truth is I haven’t really and I’m tired, we’re tired.
Thankfully, in recent days we have found that we can lay down with Lydia in our bed, and silently slip out of the room after she falls asleep and then move her to the crib hours later. Works most of the time. Until it’s two in the morning and she wakes up crying and we start the process all over again…
And in one day any sense of ‘figuring out sleep’ will go by the wayside, because miss Lydia will be in surgery, and then recovery and we will start the figuring-out all over again. But one thing remains, I get to be her soother. I will climb in that hospital bed with her, I will hold her as long as she wants me to and I will treasure the way her little body molds, and rests in my arms. Amazing to think Lydia waited 21 months for a mother’s embrace. And now that she has it, it’s all she wants. It’s her peace. How awesome. I believe God made us with a deep longing for this kind of love and so even in my very sleepy state, I will remember, this is exactly what I prayed for.