Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Go to sleep, please....


Just a while ago I was telling a group of friends on how much hard work and effort it takes to get my boy to sleep. In nearly 5 years of his life, I can remember vividly the only 4 times he fell asleep “unintentionally”. By that I mean “without being intentionally set to sleep or nap” or in Bahasa Indonesia: ketiduran :)

The first time was at toddlerhood, when out of the blue, he fell asleep while I was feeding him. I can’t remember why he was particularly sleepy back then, but somehow he got really sleepy, he started nodding, and soon fell asleep on his high chair, with his mouth full of food! :O Here’s a pic just to make myself sure that I remembered correctly :D

Aku bobo duyu yah Mam... Ngantoookkkk nehh..... nyem... nyem...

And according to my poor, poor memory, this happened twice. The next one was the next day. Same place, same activity, around the same time. Until this day I’m still clueless about what could possibly have caused both events.

On to the third time. At about age 1.5 or 2, D lied down on a matress comfortably, watching something. I think he was feeling unwell. I went to prepare some milk for him to drink, and when I came back a couple of minutes later, he was already asleep!

The fourth time was just a few weeks ago. The three of us went on a motorbike to see chinese lantern festival downtown. D didn’t take a nap that day. After riding for about 15 minutes, he started nodding. We moved him to sit between us and continued riding. He fell asleep almost immediately.

Of course there’s a possibility that there were other fallen asleep events that I don’t remember. But I can assure you, that these are just really rare events.

Back when D was a baby, in the first 9 months of his life, trying to get him to sleep was terribly difficult. I can still remember the frustration and it really traumatized us, his parents. Now every time I read about parents successfully training their children to sleep, I’d feel sooo jealous! Ours was never suceeded being trained to sleep in his first year.

Yeah, I bet you’d say that maybe we didn’t train well enough, or maybe we gave up too easily. I don’t think my ability to describe things can ever give you a proper understanding of our situation. Even if we had many videos that recorded D’s processes to sleep, I don’t think those would be enough to give you an idea of what it really was. We don’t have such video, not even one. Getting him to sleep were such lousy battles none of us even thought of recording.

Mercifully, at 7 months, D started to nurse until he fell asleep, with me lying down in bed. That was a HUGE blessing for us! Nap times were still tricky, but it was slowly getting better. At 9 months he started to sleep and nap more easily and was weaned off for naps or sleeps without much fuss.

By more easily, I don’t mean THAT easy.

See, when D naps in the car, he’d ALWAYS wake up if we try to move him. ALWAYS. Or if we turn off the car engine >_< We tried training him, oh how we did. I still feel ludicrous remembering how during training, each time we came home with D napping in the car, we would keep him where he was while I or hubby prepared his bed, turned on the air conditioner, close the bedroom curtains, get his beloved stuffed puppy, Keni, on bed, etc etc. Then with the car engine still on, hubby would veeerrrryyy carefully lift him up and move him to bed.

D would stir, open his eyes, then we would frantically do EVERYTHING it took to get him back to sleep: giving him his Keni, cover his eyes, stroke his head gently, whisper soothing words in his ear, ANYTHING. But his eyes would open wider and wider, and in the end completely awake. Then came the dreaded aftermath: a cranky, tired, unrested kid ready to make the rest of our day miserable!

We tried everything: moving him only to the matress in the livingroom (because getting him to bed was too complicated), with fan already blowing to keep him cool and kept the mosquitos away. I even tried observing his “deepest sleep phase” to know the exact time when it was “safer” to move him. Everything my complicated mind could come up with, we tried...

Things were even more complicated if hubby wasn’t around to help me handle his “transfer” out of the car. But in month after month after month of training, we probably succeeded moving him while he stayed asleep about maybe... twice? I wasn’t really counting, coz those were undoubtedly coincidences, haha...

So we stopped the “sleep transfer” training, we unequivocally concluded that he was untrainable in this matter.

Sue us, but until now, whenever D naps in the car, for the sake of our sanity, we would let him sleep in the car, until he wakes up. Yes with the engine on, air conditioner on, coz it’s incredibly hot here in this tropical country and in this particular city. I tried parking in a cool area and turned off the engine several times. It very rarely worked, D would wake up almost instantly.

Jangan ganggu akooohhh..... Lagi bobo....

When D was 3 years old, we trained him to sleep in his own bedroom. Now this was pretty easy. On the first day, I sat by his half-open bedroom door. The next day I sat further and further, and in just a few days, I didn’t have to sit anymore, I could do whatever I wanted anywhere in the house and D would sleep on his own.

Of course there were times when he would try to get out of bed (there STILL ARE!) and he would have very creative excuses, but it was manageable. In our current house, the bedrooms are upstairs, but D can still sleep on his own in his bedroom with us downstairs. He knows we would go up to our bedroom in due time, and that’s enough for him. We still sleep with open doors, though.

Looking back, I can still remember the horror of D’s first year sleeping difficulties. Knowing his issues now explains a bit about why it was so hard for him to settle down to sleep. And why he was untrainable in this matter. I wish we had known better, it would have made things more bearable :) So, please don’t be so quick to judge, some children have issues that it’s downright impossible to train them something, yet they are still able to be trained in other things.

Back then I hoped that the difficult phase would pass soon. There were many phases I wished we would pass soon. So that we could have our easy, peaceful life again. They did pass, eventually. But by then we would move on to another phase, with different challenges, different battles. It seems to be an unending journey. Is there ever going to be a so called easy, peaceful life again?

Now I know better (I think. I hope!). Through those difficult phases I learnt that even if D’s current phase was troublesome and it made my life “not peaceful”, life still goes on.

I still need to live, JOYFULLY yet.

I don’t always know how to do it, but instead of wishing the rain would stop soon, I guess I’d better learn to dance in the rain.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,
for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:17-18


  1. duh foto si D ktiduran pas makan lucu amaaaat... anak temen2 gue juga pada gitu, khususnya yg bule2 tp my timbo mah kagak noh, abis makan dia malah full of energi sementara gue ( seperti org indo kebanyakan ) abis lunch time maunya tidur :( konflik batin gue... satu sisi tereaaaaak pengen tidur siaaaang, capek boo melek mata en beraktivitas dari jam 5 pagi tp di sisi laen gue ngerti, si timbo baru bangun tidur mana bisa 'dipaksa' tidur lagi. Gue lagi sangat menantikan dia brubah jadwal katanya kan toddler nanti ada waktunya dropping morning napnya kan yah? *mudah2an cepet deh*
    btw temen gue juga ada nih yg uda coba segala macam kayak elu bu tapi anaknya susaaaaaaaaah bgt tidur padahal uda capek. jadi kayak gitu bisa ada kemungkinan tanda ADD kah? anaknya 2 taon msh tll kecil buat ditest juga tp yah itu ... very active juga. Btw, praise the Lord.. D uda bisa bobo sendiri :)

  2. It's really good for you to share these things with the world, Piot. So that others know as well (if they don't already know). Those who know will probably feel "better" that they're not alone. :-) That's one reason I really really admire you. You're so open in your struggles and you don't cover anything up (well, esp. with us) and that has helped me learn more from you and your life. :-) That's the best way one can learn about God's grace. :-)

  3. *HUGSSSS* Tiap parents pasti punya struggle masing2, even with the easiest of kids. Don't listen to the people who talk. They probably don't understand your situation fully or are just not sensitive enough. You are doing what is best for your child and God knows. :) You are an amazing mother, and I wish I had just half of your patience!

  4. Shinta, I'm sure you have MORE than just half of my super weak patience! Trust me, I'm not that patient, ask D, he knows haha... Saban hari dia berdoanya gini: "Tuhan, semoga hari ini mama ngga marah2 terus" LOL
    Agree, motherhood is a struggle more often than none, no matter how "angelic" your kid(s) is (are)!

  5. Thanks Mel, you're a GREAT cheerleader, which I NEED so badly! :')
    I make so many mistakes I just HAVE TO learn from them to survive, LOL

  6. Anak mah beda2 ya bu.. si D aja dibilang ADHD tapi kalo diliat sekarang dia udah outgrow buanyaakkk aspek ADHD, so kadang gua pikir jangan2 dia tipe "late bloomer" kali ya, gak ADHD amat? I dunno lah... Ada diagnosis atau engga, all parenting methods kan dicocokin ama masing2 anak ya, so ga ngaruh2 amat lah. Yang penting ortu kudu tau apa yang dibutuhin ama anaknya (dg hikmat dr Tuhan dan secara naluriah juga kali ya), jangan kemakan bulat2 ama omongan orang atau buku :)


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