August 12, 2011

a little sleep, a little slumber....

Last night I did something revolutionary:  I went to bed before eight o'clock (one minute before, actually).  Despite several interruptions - refereeing sibling issues, husband coming to bed, husband getting out of bed, husband pulling up covers - I was a new person this morning.  (see this post for the person I was yesterday!).

I answered my husband's "good morning" decently.  I was eager for my baby to wake up (he, too, has been suffering from sleep deprivation and went to bed over an hour early last night, exhausted).  I made baked oatmeal for my family's breakfast.  I started a load of laundry and hung it out to dry.  I took my children on a walk through dew-drenched grass between fields of corn and soybeans.  We saw an indigo bunting!  We played "guess where I'm sitting" (which idea came to me last night as I was waiting to fall asleep).  I did some hemming that I've been procrastinating for weeks - and had the patience to explain the whole process to an audience of three.

My mind is clear and able to think creatively.  I am calm and patient with my children, and able to enjoy including them in my activities.  (Unfortunately, this has been unusual lately!)

I must confess, though, that it was NOT easy to go to bed early last night.  I had no time to myself after putting the girls to bed.  No leisure reading.  No relaxing conversation with my Farmer, catching up on each other's days.  No snacking.  No finishing up leftover chores.

But you know what?  It was worth it.  I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat!  (Not tonight, though, probably - I'll just try to go to bed when I'm tired, instead of waiting until everything is crossed off my to-do list).

What inspired me to go to bed so crazy early was a book I'm reading, Sleepless in America by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.  I am so grateful for this book, I could cry.  It has helped me understand why some of my children sleep easily, and why some get so wired (and what to do about it).

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka has more than twenty years' experience as a teacher, an award-winning parent educator, and an international trainer, and she's written some great books on related topics.  What she has to say may revolutionize your world.

Just to whet your appetite, the subtitle of the book is "Is Your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep?"  The book is full of real-life examples of parents solving tantrums and bedtime struggles, attention problems and whining, by changing the way they approach sleep.  It is definitely aimed at helping children, but her points applied to parents can have dramatic effects, as I found out.

Sleep well:  live well.

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