Thursday, August 13, 2009

an exercise in frustration

I haven't really said much about our new school year. It's been a bit of a rough start this year. It's all Tess's fault. People often ask how we homeschool with babies...the babies are easy! When you put them down, they stay in one place! They take more naps! And even when they are cranky, they are usually happy to sit in a sling and nurse. Now, homeschooling with toddlers...that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. They aren't happy to just sit on your lap, not unless they can turn (rip) the pages of the math book and toss the pencils on the floor. When they want anything, they want it RIGHT NOW. And if they are playing quietly and happily somewhere,,,well, you're really in trouble then.

All of that isn't my biggest issue though. I can (most days) roll with the punches of toddler interruptions, and I've developed some coping strategies. My biggest problem is that Tess will no longer sleep without me. She's still a great sleeper..as long as I am RIGHT THERE. Here's how it goes down.

In the mornings, I try to get up and have some child-free time to catch up on computer stuff and load up on caffeine. At 6am, my little watch alarm goes off and I shove my wrist under my pillow to keep it from waking up Tess. She is usually nursing at this point in the morning, so when she seems to be done, I unlatch her and roll her over into her crib-turned-cosleeper, and she seems to settle down. Then Jack sits up and looks at me, and I tell him to lay down and go back to sleep. When he seems to be sleeping again, I start to plan my exit...if John is up, I might crawl over Jack and out his side of the bed. If not, I have to execute the far riskier climb out from between Jack and Tess. If I make it out of the bed with everyone still asleep, I ooch down the stairs. But Tess is not sound asleep, and she will be up as soon as she realizes I am gone. That would be fine...she's usually a happy baby and would play and let me get my caffeine on in relative peace...except that she's tired and cranky this early in the morning and really needs to sleep longer, so usually I opt to stay in bed and let her sleep so that she will be happier during the day. Why is she cranky? She's been up too late! That's because....

In the evenings, we have a whole other song and dance. Tess starts falling apart around dinner time because she's doing that whole painful switch from two naps to one nap. And so right after dinner, I take her upstairs and get her to sleep. She conks right out. I lay her in her crib, and she sleeps...anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. If I zip back up there and nurse her again, she'll probably go back to sleep...for a while. But she won't really sleep well until I come up there for the night, and if I push my luck too long she will wake up for reals and then be up until waaaaay too late. And of course, I can't go to bed with her at 8. Even if I was so inclined, I have three other kids to get to bed, messes to finish cleaning up, laundry to fold, and the following day to prepare for.

So here's where I find myself,,,well-rested, but perpetually falling apart and behind because I don't have the time to get my stuff done.

5 comments:

Aimee said...

I feel for you! The toddler age presents a much different situation than babies when it comes to homeschooling!

carmelitemom said...

I feel for you too mel. My 5 yr. old daughter still won't fall asleep by herself or in her own bed. It's not a major hardship especially since I can spend time in prayer while waiting for her to go to sleep and my other children are much older. But I can't imagine dealing with more than one child with this issue. It's a tough one. We are hopefully going to make some kind of transition soon!

Angela M. said...

That transition time from two to one naps was nasty - I remember it well! I used to call 5:00 - 6:00 the gangrene hour - when everything rotted! Kids wailing, trying to cook dinner, husband coming home to chaos and wondering what exactly DID I do all day...I don't miss that part of childhood!

Lynda said...

I so feel your pain. We are dealing with some sleep issues ourselves here, it does not make schooling fun!

Erin said...

I am beginning to see how hard homeschooling with toddlers would be. I'm not even officially homeschooling yet, but when I sit down to try to do a simple craft type project with Caroline, Cecilia has a fit because she wants in on it too, and then she wants to grab the paint or markers or scissors.... today I put her in her high chair with some of that craft paper (I think that's what it is called, the thin, tan paper) and a spongy paintbrush and some water, and she "painted" too. Thankfully I only needed about five minutes, because that's all that it kept her happy!

We are also having some sleep issues... although most nights, Cecilia now sleeps for the first three or four hours of the evening... didn't happen for well over a year!