18. de-mad

bean and chickpea both sleeping at about 2.5 years and 6 weeks.

i think one of the reasons i do not come up with working on sleep plans is because i get mad so easily. and mad just does not help. if i am not trying, i am not failing, and i am not angry. when i try i feel like i am floundering around in the dark and nothing is working and i hate hate hate sucking at things. so i get really mad. mad like i am irrationally angry at my child because they are not that magical sleeping 7 month old. as though they are choosing not to sleep simply to taunt me. or to make sure i fail. or i lose. where does this anger come from?

i came up with a sleep plan the other day. it seemed like baby enough steps that i could do it without losing my mind. i ran the idea's past flash and my friend who also has two non-sleepers (we'll call her victory cause she has a serious vegetable garden green thumb that i am deeply jealous of) and they agreed that it sounded doable.

here is the plan:
1. try to get the chickpea to nap in her crib the first nap of the day. so, get her to sleep nursing and rocking. replace breast with paci. put her in the crib. when she wakes (usually somewhere between 20 - 40 mins) try to get her back to sleep and back in the crib. for her second (or subsequent) naps i am giving myself the freedom to try crib or just wear her depending on my mood and how i think she is doing.

2. have flash stay in the room while i get the bean to sleep at night. not that i leave or anything, or that flash takes over any part of our little love fest routine, but that he is in there.

i implemented the plan yesterday with what i view as HUGE success. so much success that i had to just use all caps and yell about it. chickpea napped for 35 mins, woke up, let me get her back to sleep relatively quickly, and slept in her crib for another 45 mins or so. woot!

at night i told the bean that dada was going to stay with us while we went to sleep. he said, "i don't want to sleep with daddy!" and i assured him "daddy is not sleeping with you he is just staying with us while we fall asleep and then he will leave." end of protest and the bean was asleep within ten minutes. another big woot.

so with all that early success under my belt i felt like things were going well. and i was thrilled and inspired. maybe this isn't so bad after all. then this morning chickpea had other ideas and only napped in her crib for about 30 mins. woke up. it took me about 30 mins to get her back to sleep. put her in her crib and she was awake in 4 minutes. yes, 4. i was mad. pissed. irate. in fact, i decided it was best not to go up and get her straight away because i was so mad. i waited until she started fussing and i had calmed down. then i promptly jumped on my chat and told victory "i am losing my mind this is not working!"

from an intellectual perspective and from reading all the sleep books i can see that it is totally insane to think that trying something new once is going to mean that everything changes and my kids are the sleepers of my dreams. yes, i get it. but the thing inside me that rises up like an snake uncoiling does not listen to the rational brain. it hisses and screams and bites and hurts. and i want to stomp it down and i want to feed it at the same time.

don't hear the wrong thing here. the snake is metaphor and i don't yell, scream or hurt my children. but i feel a level emotion that is verging on insane. where is it coming from? why am i fostering it in my body?

victory said, "if it is stressing you out this much why not back off?"

yes, that is an option. but there is work for me here and i want to face it. the work is to de-mad myself. to try to peak into the eyes of the snake and say, "hello friend. what is the message you have for me? what do i need to see, learn, face, honor, for this to change? how can i let go of the angry and just be patient and calm about the process?"

because doesn't it seem a little strange that i have the patience to parent two kids through several nightwakings each night and not to do a little bit of work on a nap? what is that about?

it feels like right thing to do is to talk to the anger. so lets try a little woo woo.

my intention is to communicate with the part of me that is angry in relation to my children and sleep. are you there for me to talk with?


ok, this anger feels big and powerful and like a fire energy. i feel scared of it. i am noticing those reactions. my heart feels tight and scared. i am scared of the angry part of myself and scared of the fire intensity.

fire, anger, i am scared of you.

yes. i know. but you do not need to fear me. i am power and i am your power. harness your power, hold it, use it in a way you like. don't hide from it.

it feels like i might be able to use the power to be strong and patient about sleep. about working on sleep. can i make that transformation? it also makes sense to me that i am afraid of the power, of the fire, of the anger. this fear is a repeating thing for me since i was intimately involved with someone who felt abusive to me. is working with you all a part of this healing process for me?

yes. of course. and yes, you can make that transformation. can and will.

and i don't need to make you disappear. i can be angry. it does not need to consume me though. i can say hello and then ask the power to change to something more useful to me.

you can't never be angry. and you cannot need the people in your life to never be angry. you need to develop a relationship with anger that is functional so that you care for your own anger correctly and in balance. otherwise it comes out fractured and directed as blame. blame does not serve you. but fire does serve you. feel the fire, listen to the fire, harness the fire, transform the anger. anger can be great energy. you just need to meet it and then shape it, clean it up, love it, turn it into love.

ok. so this is life work stuff. i get it when we are talking about it but i am guessing i won't pull it off all the time.

life work is good. maybe sleep is life work. things don't change in a day.

right. thank you for talking with me anger.

"angry me." i am a part of you not a separate teacher. that distinction is important for you.

thank you angry me. i am going to work on honoring my fire energy and my anger and focusing on my ability to harness and work with the energy as love.

ok. well there is the woo woo for today. i have to say, whenever i have doubted my attachment parenting style my woo woo brings me back to it. so for today i think i will keep working on the sleep changes and see how the work can be work for me on a spiritual level. try, get mad, say hi to mad, turn mad into love and patience and the ability to persevere, try again.

if anyone is still reading god bless ya!


  1. Oh what a fab post. It's amazing how lack of sleep can boost your creativity! ;-)

  2. I can totally relate on the getting mad when you're trying to work a sleep plan. I have really learned to lower my expectations when it comes to "time" of falling asleep. For instance, yesterday my toddler fought sleep at both nap and bedtime. I used to get mad because I had "stuff" that I wanted to do. But yesterday, I had to let go of my schedule and just "be" with her while she tried to get comfortable enough to sleep.

    I hate being angry. I do not want my child to have memories of Mama being angry at her.