9.11.2008

the art of changing strategy...

We had a major strategy change last night. We did not choose it. It chose us.

At not-quite-2, Zoe can sometimes prove to be a light sleeper. Not every night...not even most nights, but once in a while, she doesn't sleep very well, and it means one of us gets up with her.

//stop// OK, let me be clear. This post is about change, not parenting methods. We have four children. No two are the same. I don't care what books you read or what worked for your kids, other than consistency and love, nothing is universal in the way of childcare wisdom, so keep your theories to yourself and don't clog up the comment section. //stop//

Most of the time she wakes up we can get her right back to sleep with a reassuring word or by replacing the binky. On the rare occasion that those tactics fail, we need to get her out of the crib to console her and sometimes end up sitting on the couch, back to the armrest, Zoe on our chest, feet up, holding her until she goes back to sleep. Some of you need to refer back to the italics above after that. Feel free.

We're changing tactics. We're not doing that anymore. It's not that we're being terribly strategic about it - the system actually worked pretty well and we wouldn't have changed on our own - but we gave that couch away and replaced it with a couch from our basement. The replacement couch has no arms. It's this swoopy modern thing that looks like it was swiped from a NYC loft and used by a hip couple without children.

Last night, Zoe had a bit of a rough time. Kelsey was gracious enough to get up with her. As she did, I could tell by the cry that this was not going to be a 'replace the binky' affair...and for a moment, I panicked. What do we do now? We can't sit on that couch in the same old way?!? Will she ever sleep again?

Of course, in time, she slept. Kelsey innovated, a new way was found, progress was made, good was done, and the princess was back asleep. Meanwhile, I lay awake, thinking that I rarely find a new way of doing things until the old way is no longer a possibility.

I am almost always forced into innovation. In spite of it's negative connotation, the status quo has it's up side. It's proven. It works. And you don't need to change anything.

Until it doesn't work anymore...then you're dealing with the double whammy of failing and the pain of letting go of your old way.

Anyone finding armless couches your life? What's God saying to you? In His infinite wisdom, God replaces the comfort couches when He needs us to think of new ways of being and doing.

There are New Ways coming to our lives, and few of us would ever perceive of them, much less pursue them, if our Old Ways continued to work.

New wine must be poured into new wineskins. - Jesus

4 comments:

Scott said...

That was excellent. God is so gentle in His dealings with us if we only recognize them for what they really are. Usually we are tuned-out to the "armless couch".

After four kids of my own, the youngest now 15, my heart still races just hearing about a baby crying at 2 a.m.

Aaron Walsh said...

Have you ever read "Baby Wise"?
(couldn't resist)

Randy Bohlender said...

So after five years of stalking my blog, most of it from the other side of the stinking world, and the best comment you can come up with is "baby wise"?

Joanna E. Reyburn said...

I (obviously) have no children and are therefore so naive to the whole world of discovery, but this post sounds like the same type of conclusions C.S. Lewis came to in "Problem of Pain" - that we would never change if not for discomfort to some degree.

I think if I had an option on how to learn that lesson, I'd rather get it through contemplating a couch than the C.S. Lewis method.