You know the song at the end of “Annie” with the line, “Yesterday was plain awful! You can say that again”? Well, yesterday was plain awful. You can say that again. Sunday night was probably the worst night yet since bringing Samuel home from the hospital. He wakes up to eat every three hours or so, but instead of just eating and going back to sleep, he fusses for a good long time after each feeding. Most of the time I can get him calmed down while holding him, but he starts up again when I lay him down and we start all over again. Usually I’m up about an hour for each feeding, but Sunday night, after taking an hour just to lay him down in the first place, it took a grand total of three hours to get him calmed down after his second feeding. He woke me up at 1:00, and it was 4:00 before I even got him calmed down enough to snuggle up against my chest and sleep. Which means we slept about 45 minutes before he was ready to eat again. Which means I slept from 11:00 (after starting the process at 9:45) to 1:00, and from 4:00 to 4:45. That’s it. Clay even moved downstairs to try to sleep, something he’s never had to do before with any of our kids. When the girls woke up, my wonderful hubby changed his plans (he was supposed to leave at 6:30) and stayed long enough to get them breakfast, dress them, and get them ready for the day while I snuck in another hour or so of sleep.
Then we attempted our first day back at homeschool. This did not go well, either. Elisabeth is in the process of giving up that beautiful morning nap, so I had to entertain her, keep up with Catherine, and pacify Samuel the whole time I was trying to teach Abigail. My preplanned tricks did not work, Samuel’s bouncy seat did not work, Catherine’s “school” notebook did not work. We eventually made it through after all five of us had shed some tears, but only because we completely left out one subject, putting it off until tomorrow. At this point I wanted to call Clay, but I knew I would not be able to keep my cool, so I waited, practicing the principle “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Actually, the day shaped up some after that and we had no more catastrophes. I finally talked to Clay when he called at about 2:00, and after I gave him the bare facts, he heard everything I didn’t say and ended his day early to come home and take the girls to the park so that I could try to catch some more sleep before beginning our evening. This was a major boost to my day, and I tried to not even worry that him stopping early on Monday would make him have to work on Saturday. Once we restarted at supper time, we were able to enjoy our evening together as a family, eating leftovers of the yummy food that people from church have made for us and watching movies that Clay and the girls picked up on their way home from the park. We started our bedtime ordeal a little earlier and Samuel did a little better, which meant that I slept from about 11:00 to 1:30. It was still 3:00 before I got him calmed down, and then only by letting him sleep with me, something I really hate doing, but then we slept until 6:00. Even though that is still not a lot of sleep, it was so much more than the night before that I actually felt ready to face the day at that point.
Homeschool was still a little hairy today, just trying to keep Catherine and Elisabeth entertained so that I could give Abigail the focus she needs and deserves, and then having to keep fooling with Samuel who was not a happy camper much of the time. But we all stayed calm, no one cried but the baby, and we made it through a whole day’s worth this time.
Even though my night was still not great and school was still not great, I feel refreshed. God truly does send us new mercies every morning. This whole adjustment to four is taking time, but I knew it would. Yesterday I was ready to put Samuel on formula and call the neighborhood elementary school and sign Abigail up, but God is glorified in my weaknesses, and in Him I can find my strength. As I sang Jesus Loves Me to Elisabeth at naptime, I just cried as I sang because of the truth in the words. I am so weak, but He is strong. I cannot parent these four small hearts even on full physical and mental strength, much less running on fumes as I am these days. But God does not ask or expect me to do it in my own strength. The very thought is ludicrous. His grace is sufficient for me, and His strength is enough to make me mount up on wings like an eagle, even in the midst of such incredible weakness. Who knows, His strength is probably even enough to allow me to pick up some clutter and write some thank-you’s–maybe even put away some laundry–on top of the normal diaper changes and tear-drying!
So keep praying for us. Things are not horrible, although they seem that way at certain times on the clock, but we are still trying to figure this whole thing out. Pray that I will speak to my kids with patience on my tongue, even when they are doing crazy things like pretending the couch is a vaulting horse, coloring on the walls with blue crayon, trying to climb into Samuel’s swing, or potty-ing in their panties for the third time in one day. Pray that Samuel will adjust to life outside the womb and calm down and sleep in his basket at night without such a fuss. Pray that I will preach to myself and keep moving throughout the day getting necessary things done around the house even when I only got three hours of sleep. Pray that I will not neglect my older kids because of Samuel’s needs.
God is good to us. He is good to me. His mercies truly are new every morning, and because of that, I can face the day and do the next thing.