Monday, August 12, 2013

Dresses and appreciating something else

Yesterday as I got Piperleigh ready for church I realized that she has a closet full of dresses that are much too small for her now.  I am pretty good at keeping her dresser organized and rotating the clothes that don't fit anymore.  But her closet still had little tiny dresses and while Piper is tiny in one sense, she is super long and her 9 mon dresses are already looking too short on her.  I decided to gather all her little dresses and retire them.

I came downstairs with a garbage bag full of dainty little dresses and with a sigh said to Mike, "These dresses almost encourage me to want another baby."  These little dresses mean so much to me because we were given an overabundance of them from this ward.  Everyone was so excited for us to be having a girl after losing Laila that they showered us with an immense amount of clothes for Piper, many of them sweet, beautiful dresses.  Some of them only got worn once because she just had too many.  None of my kids were ever as well dressed as Piper is, thanks to the love of this ward and my family and friends.

But then this morning I went to put Piperleigh down for her nap at 9:22 (I saw the clock) and now at 10:20 she is still in her bed squealing, saying, "Momma," crying, etc.  I leave my house just after 11 to pick up Eli from school so if she were to fall asleep in the next few minutes she will get a very short nap.  It's taken me a lot of months to accept her sleeping habits.  Actually, I haven't entirely accepted it but I'm not nearly as bothered by it as I once was.  I have mostly accepted that while most babies are supposed to sleep, my five sillies don't (not as babies at least).  Rather than being jealous of all the babies conked out on their mommies chests at church, I'm learning to appreciate the extra moments of awake time I get to experience Piper's active personality.  Because honestly, everyone knows Piper at church because she is the baby that is moving, crawling, squealing, grabbing, and checking out every interesting thing on the floor while all the other babies sleep peacefully in their mother's arms.  I used to get so annoyed by it.  I still sometimes do.  Sometimes I crave those sweet, quiet moments where I get to snuggle my baby but those moments happen so rarely that I am learning to instead, appreciate the excitement for life that my children seem to come to earth with.

When we would go home to visit, inevitably there was always another baby to compare mine too.  I am one of 11 children...there is a lot of baby-making going on.  I used to get frustrated when I'd see my siblings with their easy-going, easy to sleep babies while I struggled to keep my overly tired babies happy.  I used to think, "What am I doing wrong?  Why don't my babies act like that?"  I used to think that it was a flaw in my parenting that some mom's I know would use the techniques in Babywise or other like-minded books, and within days or weeks their baby's were conked out in dreamland while my baby's continued to scream and cry in their beds.  And I invested in a lot of ear plugs.

But now I look at Piper and chuckle.  As I try to snuggle her and prepare her for a nap I just watch as her head lays quietly on my shoulder and then immediately pops up so she can check out that book laying on the floor next to the rocking chair one last time.  Or, I watch as she starts to get that glazed sleepy look in her eyes and then with a shake of her head her eyes focus again and suddenly light up as she recognizes that sparkly shoe I forgot to put back in her closet.  I can almost see her thinking, "Oh, sparkles.  I would love to put that in my mouth."  It's as if she knows she's been given a chance to live this life and she is going to live every moment of it by golly and sleeping would only hinder her ability to experience every single bit the way she wants.  And that's pretty adorable.

Truthfully, when she was three months I was still holding out hope that she would be taking three beautiful naps by now.  Instead, she has never consistently taken three naps, let alone two.  And here we are almost nine months and she has no consistent naps.  The most consistent she has ever been with her naps was when we were in Bismark a few weeks ago.  She rocked her naps there three of the four days.  She has yet to sleep through the night.  But, we are almost to that magic number of nine months where my boys all decided to give in and let sleep overtake them for a few hours each day.  I'm still holding out hope that she will follow the trend--but still be my happy, curious Piperleigh when she is awake.

In the meantime, I'm learning to appreciate her and her curiosity and her need to see and explore everything.  It might make me a little crazy but also makes me love her like crazy.  And when she does sleep, I use every single minute to the fullest--shower, dishes, laundry, etc.--because when she is awake I spend a large portion of my time holding her and trying to keep her happy until our next attempt at nap time.  All she needs to figure out is that if she does sleep, those hours when she is awake can be put to better use because she will be fresh and happy and ready to go explore all she wants to explore.

And even though I am learning to appreciate and find joy in my curious, unable to self-soothe little babies, I think that listening to her in her crib while I write this has reminded me that I don't really desire to repeat this a sixth time and if ever feel sad about those itty-bitty dresses, I'll just offer to babysit someone else's little baby girl and play dress up.  ;)

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