crying it out

I’m talking to parents here.

Ever done that thing where you sit in the hall, with the lights out and listen to your child cry?

Most parents are familiar with this as a way to try to get a child to learn to go to sleep on their own.  Learning to put yourself to sleep is a life skill that we all need.  But it doesn’t just happen, you have to learn it.  and learning is, sometimes, a pain-filled process.

I’m facing that with Ginny right now.  We used to have a pretty solid routine and she knew how to go to sleep by herself.  We were very good at the whole “never put her down asleep, always put her in her crib when she is drowsy, but still awake” thing. She learned her lessons very well and we hardly ever had to get up in the night or spend hours begging her to just please go back to sleep.

We thought she had learned that life lesson perfectly.  Chalk one up for the awesome parenting duo of Martin & Deirdre.  Congrats.  Your child has passed this test.  Please move forward.  You won’t ever have to learn this one over again.


Over time we let the routine slip.  Inch by inch we moved so far away from a child that puts herself to bed with no fuss that we are now living in the land of a tyrant who never gets enough sleep herself, and never lets papa get enough sleep. She crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night, she insists on a movie to fall asleep to, and papa must sit down with her to watch it.  Which leaves papa asleep on the sofa and Ginny getting just enough of a nap between 8 and 10 p.m. that when Martin finally wakes up to take her upstairs, she wakes up pretty thoroughly and either makes him read to her half the night or begs for another movie. 

Martin’s poor tired, sleep deprived soul is not strong enough to resist her at that hour, so she pretty much gets whatever she wants.

But the lack of sleep is getting to be a serious problem.  Not just for Martin, but for Ginny’s friends and playmates.  She is a crabby, bossy spoiled, violent little terror these days.

Ginny is unhappy. Martin is unhappy.  I am unhappy.  and Ginny’s friends, school-mates and teachers are definitely unhappy.

Don’t get me wrong, Ginny is also blindingly intelligent, adorable, sweet, loving and kind.  But she can go from one extreme to the other so fast it is really scary and I’m convinced that half of it is a lack of sleep.

So, we are going to try the old, “sorry, I know you don’t want to, but you have to go to bed now” routine again.

Which means her parents are going to find themselves in that hall again…listening to her cry.

Why am I telling you all this?

to make myself look bad? no.
to belittle the parenting skills of myself or my spouse? no. Martin is a hero as far as I’m concerned.
to humiliate my child? no.  she’s just being a kid.

It’s because of a song that got sung in church this week.

Nichole Nordeman’s “Why are they screaming”

We rode into town the other day
Just me and my Daddy
He said I’d finally reached that age
And I could ride next to him on a horse
That of course was not quite as wide

We heard a crowd of people shouting
And so we stopped to find out why
And there was that man
That my dad said he loved
But today there was fear in his eyes

So I said “Daddy, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why is He dressed in that bright purple robe?
I’ll bet that crown hurts Him more than He shows
Daddy, please can’t you do something?
He looks as though He’s gonna cry
you said he was stronger than all of those guys
Daddy, please tell me why
Why does everyone want him to die?”

Later that day the sky grew cloudy
And Daddy said I should go inside
Somehow he knew things would get stormy
Boy was he right
But I could not keep from wondering
If there was something he had to hide

So after he left I had to find out
I was not afraid of getting lost
So I followed the crowds
To a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from the cross

And it said, “Father, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for My robe?
This crown of thorns hurts Me more than it shows
Father, please can’t You do something?
I know that You must hear My cry
I thought I could handle the cross of this size
Father, remind Me why
Why does everyone want Me to die?
When will I understand why?”

“My precious Son, I hear them screaming
I’m watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own
Jesus, this hurts Me much more than You know
But this dark hour I must do nothing
Though I’ve heard Your unbearable cry
The power in Your blood destroys all of the lies
Soon You’ll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below, see the child
Trembling by her father’s side
Now I can tell You why
She is why You must die” is the link to the song. 

The whole song is breathtaking and was presented by a teenager in our church in a very moving way.  She didn’t sing it perfectly, she sang it with absolute participation and consequently brought the audience to tears.  The verse that really gets me is the one about God the Father listening to His son’s screaming  and having to wait for the time to be right to respond.

I know that my sitting in the hall listening to Ginny crying doesn’t even come close, but it gives me a tiny glimpse into “that dark hour”

And makes the coming of Easter just a tiny bit more real to me this year.

One thought on “crying it out

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