Talking to my friend Sadie was a good chance to re-cap the summer. By the time we hung up the phone, I realized our family had hit a "sweet spot" as our summer has ripened to autumn.
It had been a challenging summer for us:
Jack was still not sleeping through the night.
Camille was challenging us at bedtime.
Catherine was continuing to wake intermittently in the night.
The quality of our nights always seems to effect the quality of our days. The girls and I were tired. I felt more reactionary, sensitive, and impatient.
But looking back over the summer, it has been good (refreshing and encouraging) to see
God's kindness toward us in these ways this summer:
1) people: the staff and intern at Ravencrest. visits from Stephanie and Nathan, Aunt Suzan, Sadie and Dave, Marlit and Melinda (Sarah's mom and aunt). These friends entered in, engaged, and loved on us and our children. Their love, joy, and insight were refreshing, a true breath of fresh air! We are grateful as well for the people who have been praying for us as we walked through these days.
2) words: Erik's dad suggested that Camille may process information differently than Catherine. Whereas Catherine could be motivated by inductive reasoning (i.e: "We need to get your socks, shoes, and hat on and then we will go outside") Camille processes information differently. This summer, we tried communicating with her more deductively (i.e: "Do you want to go outside? Then we need to put on your socks, shoes, and hat.") THIS WORKS for Camille. Simply switching around a thought pattern has been a huge breakthrough in our communication with Camille.
3) vision: this summer, I asked God to help me see Camille as He sees her. The picture I saw in my mind's eye was of Camille, standing on the top tier of a platform, in her bathing suit, with a gold medal around her neck. (Whether she was swimming for Canada or the States was unclear) :)
Let this be clear: the picture was not of a performance we expect of her. That is irrelevant to us. But the picture of our child embodied the concepts of drive, determination, and dedication that very much characterize Camille. It is a reminder to me not to fight God's design in Camille, but to train her in a way that will not break but facilitate her God-given personality.
3) concepts: There's an old adage "Sleep begets more sleep." Our friends the Jacksons suggested that if Catherine and Camille are getting up at the same time each morning (oh-dark-thirty) and are still tired, then one variable we could move was their bedtime. If one is cranky, the standard 7 pm bedtime gets moved back to 6:30 pm. THIS WORKS for us! The rising time hasn't changed... except occasionally extending! ahhh! Guess who's sleeping better now? All five of us.
4) time: Hola from Mexico! Mom and Melinda's visit included their watching the kids for one week so Erik and I could get away for some time together. We believe that one of the best things we can do for our kids is to love each other. Having time to do nothing but BE TOGETHER as best Amigos was fantastic for Erik and me. It helped knowing that our kids were in the good care of family who would not only nourish them physically, but also care for their hearts while we were away.