5 Things my Kids Taught me in 2013

Happy New Year 2104!

Every day is a new adventure and there certainly is much truth to that especially when you have six little adventures living in your home. But days are more than just adventures for us parents, they are educational as well and since we just closed the books on 2013 I thought I’d share what I learned from the kids last year.

Here are my top 5 of the year that was.

I need sleep

I never knew this about myself until Brooklyn and Libby let me in on this little know fact. I have never been a heavy sleeper or ever felt like I needed very much sleep. I’ve read the studies and I know how valuable sleep is for your health, etc. but I spent most of my twenties sleeping four hours a night without any ill effects.

As child I child hated that I had a bed time. I always felt like going to bed before midnight meant that the day won. To be honest I still feel that way, but once I go to sleep I want uninterrupted slumber no matter how many hours I get.

And then along came a baby named Liberty who apparently hates sleep. She is the first baby I have ever heard of who just doesn’t want to sleep. She resists sleep until we are way past what a reasonable person might consider to be the bedtime of a 15 month old. We’ve read books and we’ve asked for advice and nothing seems to work. And when you get her to sleep she doesn’t stay that way for long. I could count the number of time she has slept through the night on my two hands except that I don’t need that many fingers.

Libby usually wakes up around 2:00 am and will go back to sleep if you give her some water. That is convenient because it just gives me enough time to get back to sleep before Brooklyn knocks on the door at 3:00 am. Her rap tap tapping is usually accompanied by, “is anybody in there?” in her sweetest tone.

I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t tired. I just want a few nights of glorious, uninterrupted sleep.

We don’t vacation, we take the show on the road

If you have kids you know what I mean. I take their bags (packed by some combination of child and mom) and load them into our Suburban. I then drive them to the hotel we’re staying in or the relatives we’re staying with. When we arrive I unload the car and take the kids bags to their rooms. The kids then proceed to perform a show for the locals, or relatives, or both, and before they leave they trash their rooms. I then reload the car and drive them all to the next stop.

I need to go back to work at the end of any vacation because it allows me to recuperate. Our trip to the beach in July 2013 taught me that being a parent is more like being the road manager for rock ‘n roll band that anything else when you’re on vacation.

We’re a different team on the road

Two things become very apparent when we go anywhere as a group, and by anywhere I mean store, restaurant, friends, grandparents, etc.

  1. The kids who climb out of the car are not the same kids who climbed into the car in our driveway
  2. They have more complicated dietary requirements

There appears to be a certain amount of comfort and security in our home. This makes us very happy because everyone should feel safe and happy where they live. Of course our kids still have to be reminded that they shouldn’t run in the house but at no point does our home represent Thunderdome.

On the flip side I don’t think that we’re a very good road team. I use the sports analogy because it works best for me. When we “play” in another venue things are sometimes a little more frazzled than usual…or maybe my sensitivities are just heightened. Either way there seems to be a general sense that any idea is a good idea when we are away from our home. This includes running, jumping on the furniture (usually beds) and being very loud. It’s not a big deal when we are with friends who have kids the same age as ours, but it is difficult when we are with great grandparents who are old, or who are ill and have breakable things.

Control is an illusion so let go

We only think we are in charge, but in reality we can plan and still something will go wrong. I will always remember the time we went out of town for the weekend when Tori was a baby. We had everything in order until we arrived and discovered that her medication didn’t make the trip. We called my parents who went to our home and sent it next day air to us. That was an expensive reminder that things don’t always go as planned.

We were in San Angelo earlier this year visiting Kayla’s grandparents and had the evening all planned. We would put the kids to bed (on time) and after her grandparents went to bed shortly thereafter we would watch a movie together. We were both looking forward to the movie and everything was proceeding according to plan until JJ started wheezing. It got so bad that Kayla had to take him to the urgent care. That’s right, movie night derailed by something (invisible) in the air.

Not all kids are the same

We’ve had over 30 kids in our home over the years and usually the babies were good sleepers. We feel like getting babies to sleep through the night is something we know how to do well, that was until little Libby joined the tribe.

She is the sweetest little baby, but she has no desire to sleep. Nothing we have tried has had any long term success. We have employed every idea we know or have used. Like I said before we have asked for advice and we have read books and the best answer we have found is “hey, not all kids sleep.”

The great lesson here is that not all kids are the same. I was reminded that just because it worked before on one kid does not mean it will work again on another.

Here’s to a wonderful 2014. I am excited and a little scared of the lessons it may hold.

May God bless you and yours.

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