Monday, March 17, 2014

// s l e e p , p l e a s e //

I glance at my phone.  It’s nine o’clock.  Nine at night and Asher is sitting up in bed.  He’s crying, tears streaming down his face.  The sound machine echoes the ocean, since the real entity is only a few blocks away.  I curse our space.  Our tiny space, that any craigslist ad would call cozy when we really know it’s the size of a closet. We are all on top of each other and despite a door separating us and a sound machine attempting to drown us out, I know he will still hear every sound.  Every movement.   

I glance again.  This time as I’m nursing Asher for the tenth time, I keep hoping I’ll see his bright eyes close.  Yet, they stare up at me, intently and unwavering.  He knows the second they close I’ll gently put him down and I’ll kiss him.  But, then I’ll leave.  So, he stares at me, rubbing his eyes to keep them open.

Elliot sleeps soundly in the corner, stirring slightly when Asher screams.  Yet, he’s sleeping.  I thank the heavens for at least one sleeping baby.  

This is what my nights looked like for about 8 months.  It took so long to get Asher to sleep that I would wind up giving in to sleep myself.  Asher was happy because it meant he could nurse the night away.  Yet despite the lovely cuddles, there was one thing missing.  

Time with my husband.  A moment to breathe.  

You see, Elliot was a honeymoon baby and I became pregnant with Asher a mere 6 months into Elliot’s life.  We did not have our honeymoon phase, instead we prepared for a baby.  Which is exciting, don’t get me wrong!  I actually would not change it for the world (as if I could)  but, there is still the hope for moments of alone time.  Moments to, you know, be us without children’s needs being met.  Meeting each other’s needs. (yes, you can read into this.)

Now, after about 17 months, I can finally say we’ve figured out the bedtime routine.  It works.  Both kids are in bed around 730.  Despite Asher still not sleeping through the night, I am over the moon excited to have a few hours to myself at night.  A few hours to spend with my husband.  

Now, I’d love to share some tips Jimmy and I discovered to help us stay connected, even when we can’t afford a babysitter.  Not everyone’s situation is similar, in fact ours is pretty unique.  Most people have it a little easier, but I’d still love to share in the rare circumstance someone else is having the same struggles we’ve had.  (It’s one of those reasons I blog, as I mentioned in a previous post.  I truly desire that all my difficult experiences and how I’ve come out of them would serve to show others they are not alone.)

1. We found a TV show to watch together.  I know, I know.  TV isn’t the BEST form of entertainment.  However, it’s such a great way for us to feel like we are going on a date, despite not actually going on a date.  We look forward to it and talk about it.  We only watch the show together, after the kids are in bed.  It’s our special thing.  

2.  If we are really desperate to go OUT, we will get the kids ready for bed, put them in the car and then drive to our favorite scenic spot.  We let the kids sleep and talk.  We get to connect.  We might get ice cream or something.  Sometimes, we will even get out and sit by the ocean.  (As long as the car is only a few feet from us and locked, obviously.)  This has helped us so much and we call it our “car dates!” haha.  

3.  We cook dinner together.  Cooking is such a great way to connect and it helps to get excited over a meal together!

4. WALKS!  The kids are happy.  We are happy.  Walks are our thing, as you’ve probably noticed.  We get exercise and that helps with stress.  

5. We go on adventures.  We are big on “adventures” and use that word frequently with our children.  If we can’t get away by ourselves, we will go on day trips.  We are lucky to live in a beautiful area, and since we did not grow up here, there are always new places to discover.  You may say that only works if you live in a “beautiful” place, but all places are beautiful.  There is always something new to discover.  As I’ve delved more into photography, I’m realizing this more and more.  Think of all the photographers who have taken scenes normally thought to be “ugly” and brought the hidden beauty out.  

It’s there.  Just as the beauty is in all of our difficult situations.  Even though Asher fought sleep so hard I thought I was going to be hospitalized by the stress/lack of rest, I still see the “moments.”  Overall, it was one of the hardest times of my life, yet there were so many sweet times.  Moments I would stop and take a photo of his tiny hand gripping mine.  The moment my exhausted mind would realize, at this time in his life, I was the only thing that gave him such complete comfort.

So, that’s my little bit of encouragement.  Encouragement to keep on going and find what works.  

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  1. Danielle, I love this post!!! We are very similar. We had our babies close in age and both of them have been terrible sleepers. It has been really hard for Jared and I to have so little time together. He works full time and also is in school for engineering too so our plate is FULL. We take our babies on most of our dates too, so I just loved all of your ideas! We do a lot of the same things :)

    1. How do you do it? Jimmy just works full time, but I feel like that's too much. I applaud you! <3 xo

  2. Excellent post. Being a mom to two boys under two, I can definitely relate. I love the car date idea. We did this on New Year's to watch the fireworks. :)
    I just started following your beautiful family on IG. All the best!

    1. thank you lady!! <3 two under two is so hard, but I guess it's just a season right? It will get easier. hehe. xx

  3. really beautiful post. Thank You for sharing. I became pregnant with my little one on our honeymoon so I know what you mean. I can't imagine the way that life is unfolding any other way but somedays I do wish for more time with my husband.

    1. oh, I didn't know that! It was such a shock for us. And I totally agree with you- i love having my kids. But, I wish we at least had a little time for "just us."



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