Over some rivers and down the interstate,
To Grandmother and Grandfather’s house we go.
My husband knows the way as the car radio plays
And as we pass the white and drifted snow.
Over some rivers and down the interstate,
Please don’t cry, sweet Babykins.
We’ll soon be there with family that cares,
And we’ll even meet with some friends.
Over some rivers and down the interstate,
Now Grandmother and Grandfather’s house I spy.
Hurrah for the fun! Have the Lions won?
Hurrah for some apple pie!
Who would have thought taking one little baby to church would be such an exhausting ordeal? I knew having a baby would change everything in my life, including Sunday mornings. However, I never expected to be completely drained of energy after a couple of hours at church.
The morning starts with a scramble to get ready. Will Baby Girl sleep contentedly after her first morning feed and give me time to pump, get dressed, eat, and possibly drink my coffee? Or will she sleep fitfully for a half hour and then want to be held? Then there’s the feeding that needs to be done before we leave.
Then there’s the flustered bit of settling in before church begins: Put on Moby Wrap. Get Baby Girl out of car seat. Force a nice smile to the congregation members who come to peek at Baby Girl.
As church begins, I usually walk out of the sanctuary so I can try to get Baby Girl to sleep in her wrap. She’ll usually fall into a light sleep as I pace back and forth for a half hour. She might doze for the rest of the service but will quickly reawaken as church ends and the noise increases.
There’s more forced smiles as other congregation members come to say hi to Baby Girl. Yes, she’s a good baby. Yes, she sleeps well. Thank you, we think she’s sweet, too.
Then it’s time to feed again, so I duck into the cry room because I haven’t mastered the art of nursing without inadvertently flashing those around me. By the time she finishes feeding and I change her diaper, Bible study is almost done and it’s time to go home.
Today went much like this, only little extra stressors kept piling on top of each other. Baby Girl fed extra long for her second feeding, so we left the house later then I wanted. The furnace at church was set to “sauna”, so Baby Girl and I were both stifling as I paced around with her strapped to me. She fell asleep for 15 minutes and woke up during the closing hymn, so I knew she would get fussy from being overtired. People were extra enthused to see her because she was awake, so more forced smiles. The cry room was just as hot as the sanctuary, so Baby Girl and I both sweated as she tried to nurse under the cover. Then my nipple shield fell off and I couldn’t find it, so Baby Girl screamed as I tried to get her to latch on without it. Finally, she spit up all over my shoulder.
At this point, I was ready to call it quits and go home but Baby Girl needed a clean diaper. She cried as I changed her, cried as I tried to gather our things, and cried as I put her in the car seat.
She promptly fell asleep when we reached the quiet seclusion of our home. I then had time to ponder what was the point of working so hard on Sunday morning and leaving church without the smallest bit of peace.
I know the “right” answers: I’m teaching my child how to go to church. I don’t have to “feel” anything to have God’s gifts work during the service. Oh, and I should suck it up and deal with it because women get to church with 2, 3, 4, or more kids every Sunday.
However, I’m still grumpy and tired after this morning’s service. So what do you do when you feel you need to go to church after you’ve been to church?
Baby Girl doesn’t sleep well during the day. I know that I should be thankful that she at least sleeps some during the night, but having an infant awake during most of the day makes it really difficult to wake up at midnight. . . and 3 a.m. . . . and 5:30 a.m. . . .
And before everyone jumps in with advice about how to get Baby Girl to nap, let me say I’ve heard most of the advice. I know I should put her to bed when she looks sleepy (she doesn’t fall asleep when I do that). I’ve heard about schedules and routines (I gave up on that after about 12 hours because I was in tears since she “wasn’t doing it right”). I’ve read books like On Becoming Babywise (I can’t bring myself to do cry-it-out yet) and The Happiest Baby on the Block (I had to leave those tips behind when Baby Girl gave up being swaddled). About the only thing that is keeping my last bit of sanity is this blog post.
Anyway, to get Baby Girl to occasionally nap during the day, I’ve implemented the Sleep, Baby, Sleep Exercise Program.
First, I start with the Baby Carry
Sometimes Baby Girl works herself up so much that she needs soothing and burping. I can accomplish both by carrying her high up on my shoulder and walk throughout the house again and again and again.
Then I switch over to the Baby Bounce
Bouncing helps soothes Baby Girl to the point where her eyelids start drooping. While it works to bounce-walk with her in my arms, it’s much more efficient to place Baby Girl in a baby carrier (I use a Moby Wrap) and bounce on an exercise ball. It can take up to 30 minutes to get her to sleep like this and I can start to “feel the burn” after about 10 minutes. So the question comes to this: Do I want my comfort or do I want her to sleep? Sleep usually wins.
If all else fails, I go to the Baby Stroll
Sometimes I go outside with Baby Girl in her carrier but the stroller works as well. The key to using the stroller is walking at a brisk pace–no lollygagging! I used this method going to church and was shocked to find out it took 5 minutes less to get there than when I was pregnant. I guess it’s easier to push Baby Girl outside my body than to carry her inside my body.
If I can get Baby Girl to fall asleep with the Sleep, Baby, Bleep Exercise Program, I’ll place her in her swing. Then I can finally do something productive. . . or just worry about why she is sleeping for so long.
What things have you needed to do in order to get a baby to sleep?
Today we observed All Saints’ Day at church (which technically falls on November 1 but is observed on the closest Sunday following that date). Besides remembering all the saints-those still living as well as those who have already fallen asleep in the faith–All Saint’s Day means great hymns. One of my favorite hymns for this day is “Behold a Host, Arrayed in White” (Lutheran Service Book 676).
It’s not just the text of this hymn that makes it one of my favorites, it’s also the personal memories. Our vicarage congregation was able to purchase LSB hymnals because of a memorial given when a faithful member suddenly died. On the day the hymnals were dedicated, we sang this hymn because it was one of her favorites (and it was fitting, seeing how she is now a member of the host, arrayed in white). Almost two years later, we sang this hymn on the day of Baby Girl’s baptism.
It may be strange to remember a dead woman that I barely knew when my young daughter was baptized. However, that is what baptism is about: faith and salvation, so that we too can join this host in heaven.
I fervently pray that I will be placed in the grave long before Baby Girl. But I also fervently pray that she will have a blessed end and join the saints in heaven.
Behold a Host, Arrayed in WhiteBehold a host, arrayed in white, Like thousand snow-clad mountains bright! With palms they stand; Who is this band Before the throne of light? These are the saints of glorious fame, Who from the great affliction came And in the flood Of Jesus’ blood Are cleansed from guilt and shame. They now serve God both day and night; They sing their songs in endless light. Their anthems ring As they all sing With angels shining bright. Despised and scorned, the sojourned here; But now, how glorious they appear! Those martyrs stand, A priestly band, God’s throne forever near. On earth they wept through bitter years; Now God has wiped away their tears, Transformed their strife To heav’nly life, And freed them from their fears. They now enjoy the Sabbath rest, The heavn’ly banquet of the blest; The lamb, their Lord, At festive board Himself is host and guest. O blessed saints in bright array Now safely home in endless day, Extol the Lord, Who with His Word Sustained you on the way. The steep and narrow path you trod; You toiled and sowed the Word abroad; Rejoice and bring Your fruits and sing Before the throne of God The myriad angels raise their song; O saints, sing with that happy throng! Lift up one voice; Let heav’n rejoice In our Redeemer’s song!