From Peace to Patience

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in Parenting | 28 comments

Every day of life is a gift. Sometimes, however, the daily gift feels a bit like finding polyester socks – the kind that make your feet sweat and itch – under the Christmas tree.

So it has been every day this week. I’ve had a vicious head cold – the kind that makes it impossible to breathe easily and sends sharp pain through your ears. I’m also still breastfeeding, so can’t take any of the good stuff (the stuff that they now sell from behind the pharmacy counter in the US because people were buying it in bulk and using it to make illegal drugs). It’s only this morning, on day four, that I’ve started to feel marginally better and can dare to hope that I’m on the upswing.

Dominic has been grumpier and needier than normal – not that I blame him for that in the slightest. He’s been waking up multiple times a night (and here I must give a shout out to Mike for taking him away at 4 a.m. several times this week so I could try to get another hour or two of sleep). The cast means that several of my normal baby-entertainment strategies are out. Reading stories has been challenging with a sore throat and a stuffy nose, and twice this week I must admit that I sat both of us down in front of the television and watched Glee. Well, we watched Glee for at least nine and a half minutes before someone started crying and throwing things.

For the record: Not that it wasn’t tempting, but that someone wasn’t me.

Everything slows down when you have a baby in a cast, and we have to be particularly careful during these early days given that the break is above the knee. Every time I go to pick him up, change his diaper, carry him anywhere, sit him on the bed, lay him down… every movement has to be slow and gentle – a thoughtful ballet. Sleep training has also gone by the wayside for the time being. I feel I’ve accomplished almost nothing this week except practice patience.

And you know what? That part hasn’t been too hard.

I mean, sure, when he gives me all the tired signals and I put him in his crib and then he starts moaning and flapping and, finally, screaming, it’s still tiresome. When all I’m longing to do is overdose on decongestants and lie on the couch with a good book it’s really, really hard to find energy for baby play.

But then I look at his tiny body weighed down by all that plaster and 99% of the time patience is not that difficult to muster …

***

OK, all of the above was written before 10 a.m, during a brief and glorious half an hour when I was feeling pretty good about myself. You know, along the lines of: So I feel really sick and my baby’s got a broken leg and I’m making zero progress on publishing my book (what book, again? Did I write a book?) but, yeah, I’m rocking this patience thing. Someone should nominate me for sainthood. Or give me a medal. Or at least find me some ice cream.  

But that was this morning. This is this afternoon. This afternoon when my cold has reminded me that it’s not through with me yet, not by a long shot.

This afternoon with a baby who has slept for approximately 47 minutes all day and who is currently lying in his crib wide awake, screeching maniacally and yanking on the crib bars. (Did anyone else’s children basically stop napping as soon as they started eating solid food?)

This afternoon when I was going to finish this post by writing all this great stuff about how patience also seems to be rooted in empathy. But to write that stuff I sort of have to think it through first, and this afternoon I am a bear of very little brain indeed.

Oh, and also? This afternoon when the power tools next door just started up outside Dominic’s window.

I am not yet at the end of my patience rope. Not quite. But I can see that frayed knot from here.

When do you find yourself running short on patience? What is it about those situations (or people) that push your buttons?

Related posts:

On feeling joy-less
Tough Love Take Two
Naming your cows: Mike's childhood experiences

28 Comments

  1. I enjoy your blog and have been praying for you. Everytime I am inspired to pray for more patience, God takes me at my word and gives me plenty of patience requiring events. I have a 6 month old son who is also boycotting naps, so I feel part of your pain, although not the broken femur and screeching power tools portions. 🙂

    • Thanks Heidi, may sleep be in abundance on your end! Mine has finally gone down for his morning nap now. What a battle.

  2. Patience was in short supply yesterday for me. I am fighting a virus – an ache all over, headache-neck ache kind of virus. We too are I. The midst of the horror of sleep training. It was 20 minutes into sleep training for Beau and he was just beginning to make the noises I know mean he is on his way to sleep and away from hysteria. Then I heard another little voice over the baby monitor! Noah had decided to take himself into their room to see what Beau was doing.
    That was the end of Beau’s nap and the end of my patience. What followed was some mothering I can’t say I am proud of. I took myself into my room, stomped my feet and yelled into a pillow and then I felt much better able to face my 3 year old and deal with the sleep-deprived 1 year old for the next few hours. But patience really only returned after a long nights sleep!

    • Ugh, Bree, sorry! Yeah, those moments when you’ve waited out the approach of the nap (for me at the moment that means I’ve sat beside him and PATIENTLY handed him back his dummy 534 times and reassured him that he really is OK, and then he’s finally drifting off, and then our ridiculous dog takes it into his head to start barking or the people next door start making all their noise, and I just… could kill something. Hope you feel better soon.

      • Exactly! Its just very unfortunate when that “something you could just kill” is in the form of your 3 year old son…
        I feel I am on the mend today – and sleeps went wonderfully better today. I had really hoped with Beau that he would miraculously begin to self-sooth on his own – but when we were approaching his 1st birthday and that didn’t occur we had to resort to the dreaded Ferber. On the up side, Beau has gone from napping for 40 mins twice daily and waking 2-3 times at night, to napping for 1-1.5 hours twice daily and is sleeping 10-12 hours at night! Its just the crying that absolutely breaks my heart.
        We keep you guys in our prayers as Dominic continues to heal.

        • Everything with sleep is on hold for us until D’s out of his cast (hence all this time to answer comments while I sit here beside him as he drifts off for another one of his little 30-45 minute naps) but we’ll need to work on this in coming months, too. Right now he’s not bad (generally) at going to sleep, but only if someone hands him his dummy back every time he loses it.

  3. Man, you are really doing it tough right now! Hang in there Lisa. A cold while breastfeeding is one of the worst forms of torture because you know that relief is only a bottle or tablet away but you abstain for your precious one while secretly thinking that a dob of pseudoephedrine can’t be all that bad for him. Have to say, he looks like an angel with and without his cast. So gorgeous. Keep going. This too shall pass.

    • I must admit I gave in and took some phenylephrine yesterday at noon, but not a lot. All the online sites said it probably doesn’t really impact the breastmilk but I can’t help but wonder if that’s what’s contributed to him being totally wired yesterday! Luckily things aren’t as dire today.

  4. My kids slept better with solid foods, so I am holding out hope for you. The power tools / cast on leg / untreatable head cold patience instructional regimen, however, would bring me go my knees, and I have been a first grade teacher, so it’s not like I haven’t been forced to interact with that particular fruit of the Spirit. May you be so filled with the love and healing and presence of God that divine patience spills out of you abundantly.

    • Thanks, Erica. Ha! Yeah, I think first grade teachers probably top the list of “people who are forced to grow in patience on a daily basis by virtue of their vocation.” Kudos.

  5. I hear there’s some wonderful help on the way soon 🙂 You are doing a great job, hang in there.

    • T’is true. Extra help is coming soon. Hooray.

  6. Wait, what? I wasn’t supposed to take all that cold medicine while breastfeeding?? Whoops. Oh well, probably not worse for him than two months of vicadin.

    I am patient with my baby by arguing with my husband, who does not get cuddles and food every time he wakes me up. This is probably one of those comments better left unposted.

    • HA HA HAHAAAAA. I remember you posting about how you and Chris found yourself arguing more after your own baby’s birth and I remember laughing at that part (in a totally empathetic way, of course). No, Mike doesn’t get cuddles and food every time he wakes me up, either. In fact, sometimes if he knows he’s woken me up he’ll whisper, “are you going to kick me out of bed?” as he’s squirming over for a hug. Last time he asked that the answer that he got was, “now that you mention it…”

  7. sweet baby, what a cute picture. Hopefully in two months this will be all memories and he’ll be squirming and napping happily.

    • Yes. And lucky for him he’ll have no/few memories. Us, however, not so lucky in that dept.

  8. Just catching up to speed on the recent activities! I’m so sorry you had to go through this! I’ll be praying for Dominic’s leg. Praying also for a lion’s share of love, joy, peace…you have it coming.

    • Thanks Alicia. Hope things are going well at the Institute (and, equally importantly, if not more, I hope things are going well with life outside the Institute). I checked out the new blog the other day! Very classy.

  9. Lisa, despite illness and sleep deprivation and enormous stress…
    your writing shines! Amazing. Hope you can take a small bit of decongestants. The neti pot / saline washes do have a very quick and positive effect as well for me with head stuffiness. Steaming as well…but yes a good decongestant gives me energy to get through the worst of it…so hope you can take them.
    My great niece, who was born nearly the same day as your sweet Dominic, seems to pretty much stay awake all day I hear. However, that does mean she has been sleeping through the nights now for some time which is a blessing. Not sure if that helps or not? Take care. Best wishes and hugs.

    • Thanks, Sandra. He slept from 10-5 for the first time in months.

  10. Ah, yes, patience…and frustration. Which comes first?

  11. Wow. I am so sorry. I really hope you all are able to rest soon and the Domenic heals well and fast. Prayers sent.

    • Thank you Sarah. We’re two weeks in and I think he’s starting to feel a lot better. he’s back to doing a lot of smiling and giving slobbery kisses, so I’m feeling a bit better too.

  12. Patience is something that I still don’t have enough of, even after being a pre-school teacher for 6yrs BEFORE being a mother for over 8yrs! You’d think by now I’d have the hang of things, but I am apparently an incredibly slow learner. I console myself that (as Joyce Meyer would say) I’m not where I need to be, but I’m a long way from where I used to be.
    Sounds to me that you are having a very rough time of things (and that possibly abandoning your Fruits of the Spirit series might be a good idea… that was funny!) and that you are doing well to clutch on to even a few shreds of patience under the circumstances.
    If yelling (probably into a pillow is best!) helps, then do it.
    Hope the last few days have improved your head cold situation and Dominic’s sleeping!

    • Thank you. In a good turn, the colds are improving (though don’t get me started on the weird stomach virus-thingy Mike and I have both had in the last three days) and Dominic has twice slept through between 11 and 5 now.

  13. Oh dear, I am being transported back in time as I read these posts… my husband was on a 3 1/2 week missions trip in India when my daughter had her broken arm… it was just the hardest time ever, ever, ever. But at least the hospital was just 10 minutes away for the 4 or 5 times that she pulled off her cast. Praying that you will know that peace that surpasses all understanding!

    • Ugh, she pulled off her cast?? Hard times. Yes, being far away from hospital not fun. Not fun at all, but hopefully one week from today that cast will be off.

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