Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I really did imagine there would be more tofu.

Take a look at my blogroll. You'll see a link that says "The Blangha" - which is a site aggregator of Buddhist bloggers. (Blangha, if you are at all curious, being a blending of Blog and Sangha). And for what it is worth, I'd like to thank whoever was responsible for doing that. Which leads me to this next thought. I suppose I am having a blog oriented identity crisis...who would I be really, if I were not in crisis huh? So, is this a Buddhist blog, or a blog by a Buddhist? Is there a difference? I am unlike most typical Buddhist bloggers in the sense that I don't write a whole lot about the dharma, or my experience trying to figure it out. Well, I sort of take that back - I most certainly write about the latter. In my non-blogging in reality life - I don't much talk about my orientations and thoughts about Buddhism, unless I am asked. I've never considered myself much of a Evangelical or Fundamentalist Buddhist if there is such a thing. I read this book called Buddha Mom and I was horrified at the first chapter which set up a scene of a mom stir frying tofu and broccoli for her sensitve seven year old who wanted to know some poignant answer to some very profound question. That's just not me, or my kids for that matter, and if there was a conversation involving broccoli - you would all be the first to know. You'd get some hints when water started parting and the heavens opened up as well. You've all been warned.

I think about being a Buddhist every evening. I've been having a particular challenge with Aidan and bedtime over the past month. He suddenly became this three year old who needs only 10 hours of sleep a day. If you do the math, that means that he gets tired enough for sleep at 9pm and wakes at 7. I have tried and tried to move it earlier - but he's just in bed awake that much longer. He's given up the afternoon nap, and I thought this would harken a new era of early bedtimes. No. The next challenge, is keeping him in bed. See, its not enough to tuck him in, but to keep him in his room. Over Christmas, Eric and I were quite lazy and just let him stay up until he fell asleep on his own. Althought this was a simple solution, I wanted to see it as temporary - because this can only lead to very bad things.

So, in the new year, I started the new bedtime routine. Lets keep this in perspective folks. Have you ever been up for two days straight and incessantly hounded by three midgets demanding every one of their whims and needs? Well, that approximates how I feel at 9pm when it is time to put Aidan to bed. He gets out of bed, almost instantaneously, and heads for the door. For the first week of Sleep-Boot Camp, I would sit on the edge of his bed if he lie down, and I would stand outside of his room with the door shut if he did not comply. This took a a couple of nights to master. I would have developed a solid smack habit had I access to any after the first night. This took about an hour of determination too. Thats a whole hour of being calm, when I wanted to wring his little neck. There were screams and wails and things that one need not endure at 9pm.

After about a week, there was less resistance and more just staying in bed. I even was able to leave his room for brief periods - but I generally had to fetch him out of his brothers room. Now, I tuck him in, kiss him nighty night and then leave, and sit outside his door, just out of sight. He only needs about 15 minutes now, and so in those moments of solice and quiet, I think how what I have just achieved resembles very little of what I once thought a Buddhist mom ought to be like. I really did imagine there would be more tofu.


hotboy said...

Spoke to a friend of mine once before I had a kid. He hadn't had a good sleep for four years. They never got the bedtime thing right.The kid never stayed in bed. The doc told them to hold the door shut for a week. Dearie me.
I saw my brother's kid being put to bed when I was twenty. Screams every evening. I thought that's what kids were like. Screaming and lamentations every night.
Mrs Lynch had 13 kids. She put them to bed at fifteen minute intervals. Each kid had a piece of bread and a drink of water in case they wakened up. She started at quarter past six.My maw had seven kids. She said the kids had to fit in. Well, that's not a help. Hey, you've got a blog by a buddhist! Hotboy

Stephen (aka Q) said...

I agree with hotboy, I think the Big Picture is a blog by a Buddhist. But the Buddhist elements give your blog its distinctive character.

Beth said...

heather: what you accomplised being patient with the sleep routine is so difficult and amazing. buddhist blog, blog by buddhist, plain old blog, i'm not sure it matters. a buddhist reading your blog would see the dharma. i know i do. i think we bloggers just write about life. some of us use buddhist terminology, some of us don't, but the dharma is there all the same.
i'm dealing with the sleep issue, not as well as you though.