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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sleep Challenges & Goodbye to Hannah


The most challenging part about parenting has lately been getting Nora to sleep. Patrick and I have always cherished the evening time after kids are in bed to read, relax, catch up. The past week or so Nora has really struggled with going to sleep. We're not sure why this is. Today I only worked part of a day, so I thought I would take her on a long walk so she was extra tired. We walked up to Mill Bay Coffee and back, which is around a mile roundtrip. It took us an hour and I thought she'd be tired tonight, but once again she cries, wanting us in there for hours with her.
Patrick was in with her for close to an hour, reading to her. Stuey was sound asleep. I went in and read for about 1/2 an hour. Still no luck. Finally, after much crying, screaming and protesting on Nora's behalf, she is asleep in her room, with Patrick beside her. Patrick and I work to find the balance between trying to meet our kids needs and not spoiling them. Its a tough one to balance at times. Part of us think, "Oh, shes such a small person who needs us--lets spend all the time in the world with her" but then another part of us thinks, "She is almost 4 and has the capacity to control her behaviors-we can't let her get away with this." The older Nora gets, the more we lean towards being a bit more strict.

Who knows if we're doing the right thing. I just want to know what it is about bed time that Nora has such a hard time with. The room is dark, Stuey is asleep in there with her. She knows we're right here. We let her leave the door a crack open so she can see into the kitchen. Its a safe place to her. But there is something we can't grasp, understand about sleep and why she doesn't like going to sleep. Hopefully we'll figure it out someday soon.

Our mommy helper, Hannah, leaves this weekend for Germany. She just finished her senior year of high school and is heading to Germany for language school and them film school.
She has been with our family for 2 years--she would come over after school a couple of days per week when I was teaching spinning classes and help with the kids in the early evening hours. What a blessing she has been to our family. She isn't intimidated by much...trips to the beach in winter, Patrick's sometimes-odd-jokes.... :) She seemed so appreciative of the opportunities to get to know Stuey and Nora over the past 2 years and when she sees them, I see that she is genuinely excited.
In two years time, we have grown quite attached to Hannah and Nora would often say, "Only Hannah, Mamma" if she heard the word babysitter uttered from our mouths.
Today as we took the kids to North Star together, I thought about how Hannah is going to change so much in the next few years in Germany. How her world here in Kodiak and her after school job will seem like such a distant exsistence. As we walked up to the park and she was laughing and playing with the kids, I thought about how she gives so much and I know she will meet such amazing people who will inspire her in Germany. She has a whole world ahead of her.
In some ways, I was brought back to that time when I was heading off to college-such a big adventure. I remember I took the train out east from Seattle to Albany NY. I didn't realize what significant challenges and joys college would bring--I went into it somewhat oblivious. I can't quite recall if I was more scared versus nervous. I think I was excited to meet my roommate, Natalie, whom I had talked to on the phone, and very excited for the pre-school orientation activities.

As Hannah and I gave each other good-bye hugs in the kitchen today, tears rolled down my face as did they hers. She is so genuine, hard working and patient with the kids. The tears were more about sadness of passing of an era for our family with her. THis time will never come again. The beauty of it all is the change. Hannah is off to greater adventures now-train rides, German adventures, learning a new language, meeting people with the same art passions as herself....the big world awaits her.



My Little Family: said...

Zoya, when I was little I refused to go to sleep too. My parents resorted to borrowing a friend's convertible and driving me around at night because I would fall asleep in that car. Their technique would probably fall into the "spoil" category but I think I turned out OK, LOL. Vickie

Akensee4miles said...

That picture of the 2 lil ones is GREAT! It totally captures their unique personalities: "Stuey the Reluctant Pirate" and "Nora the Nature Explora."