Top Ten Signs That You Are Suffering From Sleep Deprivation

Claire began sleeping through the night when she was 6 weeks old. So, by the time Lucy came along, Chris and I had been sleeping like regular people for 4 years, 1 month, and 3 days. The sleepless nights and harrowing devastation of sleep deprivation were a distant memory. We had been through counseling. We had served our time in support groups. We had moved on.

And then, in one fateful night, everything changed. And magically, when our sweet, sleepless baby came into our lives, our four year-old forgot how to sleep too. Like a skeleton in the closet, that monster of sleep deprivation reared his ugly head. Only this time, he had doubled in size.

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Doesn’t she look peaceful?  I’m pretty sure she’s about to drift off.

Now that we’ve come through that dark valley and are once again residing in the land of the living, I’d like to reach out and offer a life line to others who are suffering.

I’ve compiled a list of the top ten signs that you are suffering from sleep deprivation – most likely due to those little people living in your house that you refer to as your children. If one or more of these symptoms applies to you, please reach out and seek support. Help is available!

Top 10 Signs That You Are Suffering From Sleep Deprivation

10. You fight to put the baby to bed instead of the four year-old so you can maybe catch a cat nap in the rocker.

9. You are sleeping on sheets that may contain spots of <insert: poop, spit up, urine, etc.>

8. You buy Visine and under-eye concealer by the case.

7. For your birthday, you asked your parents for a nap.

6. When you hear a noise down the hall in the middle of the night, you hope it’s an intruder and not your child coming to ask for a glass of water.

5. You wonder daily about the mathematics of sleep and why your two hour stretches that total up to six hours don’t feel the same as six hours used to feel.

4. You pray the most fervent prayers of your life – begging God, bargaining with God, hoping for just a few peaceful moments of rest.

3. You wonder if this is Ever. Going. To. End.

2. You light candles for POWs who are held in prison camps which utilize sleep deprivation as a method of torture.

1. You have an IV hooked up directly to your coffee pot.

Dear friend, please know, it will end.   The stars will align, the monitor will stay quiet, and the pull-up will stay dry. And on that glorious night, when you sleep that glorious sleep, the memories of your torture will start to fade. Finally, the healing can begin.

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Pearl

Last night I lingered in the rocking chair with Lucy held tightly in my arms.  As I gazed at her face I was breath taken with her perfect, tiny features.  The gentle curve of her ears, her dainty pursed lips, her smooth round nose, and her delicate eyelashes.  As my lips brushed against the soft baby skin of her cheeks, my heart was filled to the brim.  This child, this precious child, is mine.  A child that was unknown to me just three months ago is my daughter.  She is so precious, so valued.

Gonzalez096Photo by Delrae Ward (delraesphotos.com)

As I sat there, I was reminded of the story Jesus tells in Matthew.

‘“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”‘

Chris and I were like the merchant.  We were looking.  We were longing.  We were searching for something of great value.  We completed mounds of paperwork.  We wore out the road between here and Fort Worth.  We didn’t sell everything, but we did make huge financial sacrifices.  We endured lengthy interviews and people perusing our home.    Our world was turned upside down in this search, this journey, to bring our Lucy home.

Lucy is our pearl.

And God has a pearl too.  In fact, he has lots of them.  He didn’t complete mounds of paperwork.  But he did travel the path from heaven to earth.  He gave up everything, the very thing he held most dear, his son.  He endured ridicule, beating, and eventually death.  He turned this world upside down in his journey to bring his pearls home.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.’ Ephesians 1:3-6

Adoption is our father’s heart.  He longs for his children to be in his arms.  He journeys and searches for each person.  Each person is wanted, desired, valued.  You are wanted.  You are desired.  You are valued.  You’re worth everything to him.

You are his pearl.

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Overparenting

Never in my life have I taken a job more seriously than being a mom.  There is such a heavy responsibility placed on parents’ shoulders.  It is sobering to know that the decisions I make today will have an impact on Claire’s life forever.  While that is true, here’s something else that’s true:  People have been parenting since the very beginning.  Throughout history, families have been started and children have been raised over and over again – without the help of parenting books, babycenter.com, or therapists.  Parenting was just part of life.  Children were loved and they were also expected to behave a certain way, be responsible, and contribute to the family.

The next few posts on the blog will be dedicated to the idea of overparenting.  We love our kids and we want the best for them.  But sometimes in our passion to give them the good life, we cross a line and begin to cripple who our children are created to be.  We do this by overprotecting, overindulging, and overinflating.

Kids used to be tough.  My dad tells stories from his childhood of walking to school in snowstorms, running wild through the hills of the Ozarks with his cousins, and shooting a BB gun with no adults present at the age of 5.  I’ll tell you one thing – in those days kids were responsible.  If not, they learned responsibility quickly through the natural consequences of their stupidity or by their Daddy’s belt.

I’m not saying every parenting technique used in the past was a good idea.  I’m thankful that my parents didn’t buy into the idea that children should be seen and not heard, didn’t beat me with a belt, and told me they loved me every single day.

What I do think is this:  For the most part, kids back then learned responsibility, knew what it meant to be held accountable, and learned to stand on their own two feet.  They were expected to do their chores, solve their own problems, and grow up to be productive members of society.

Compared to that, kids these days are wimps.  And truthfully, many of them are entitled, irresponsible brats.  These little ones have beautiful destinies to fulfill, but they never will if we continue to enable this helpless, irresponsible behavior.

Kids need to fall down and scrape their knees.

They need to lose.

They need to learn to work, and work hard.

They need to make their own mistakes and deal with the consequences.

They need to struggle to attain something.

They need to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

They need to know that others depend on them.

They need to solve the problems they create.

When we take these experiences away from our kids, we cripple them.  They have to learn these lessons one way or another – as kids, when the stakes are low, or as adults, when the cost is much higher.  In order to be successful (and happy) in this world, our kids have to learn responsibility.  It’s impossible to protect them from every hardship and every painful situation.  We can’t hold them forever – we have to teach them to stand.