Thursday, July 12, 2012
Bamboo and the Bible
In my previous 'real' job at a desk, I problem solved for a living. I didn't need to know much about how to make things work myself, I just needed to know the functions of a computer system and its influencing variables.
What is the error? What other systems interact with this system? How are the users using the system? Who is responsible for the other systems and what are their procedures? What channels do I need to go through to administer changes? How long will that process take?
Usually, if something went wrong I could check all the influencing factors to rule out problems before settling on the issue. Then I asked someone else to fix the problem if it wasn't something I could change myself. I made all the calls and informed clients, but in the end the process was purely abstract. I didn't know how to reboot a server or how to implement changes in a script. I just knew the concepts that caused certain behaviour and who to call to fix them.
So I was the person who identified problems and told someone else to solve them.
Motherhood and Method
I find myself, as a mother, generally taking this approach to most issues - but instead now I am the practitioner who implements the solutions.
What are the variables? Hunger/Tiredness/Testing Mummy/Sickness/Boredom?
What method is required to resolve the tantrum? Smack/time out/food or drink/bedtime/deep breath and count to ten/ride it out til we get home/distraction?
In the end, this can be an overly pragmatic approach which I tend to beat myself up for. After all, I should be consistent, right? All tantrums need a loving deep breath and count to five before checking what's wrong, right? Then time out BEFORE snacks/smacks/bed?
I can't refer the problem to the snack expert, or the testing boundaries expert, I have to call myself the expert and make the change. The most difficult bit is, all this goes on within my brain within a short space of time and I need to respond as quickly as possible. The turnaround time is not 1-24 hrs, it is seconds.
Sleep and Systematic Problem Solving
Now, with a little baby again in my care I find myself overly concerned with sleep.
What will cause my son to sleep longer? After all, I justify, sleep would increase my effectiveness to troubleshoot tantrums, keep the house above chaos level and ensure that I can show hospitality and be nice to people, right?
Problem Solving Process
Will this warmer, more breathable ( and very expensive bamboo) blanket stop my son from sweating and then getting too hot and asking for a drink at 1 am? Will pre-empting his hunger with a feed while he is asleep at 10 pm work? What if he wakes again at 1 am despite this feed? Is the relationship causal or coincidental? Is the feed necessary even if they fall asleep after a minute only to be rewrapped and returned to bed without protest? What is the room temp? How many blankets? Should I change his nappy to wake him up and make him take more so he won't wake again a few hours later?
In the end, the pragmatist must take the long view and become a Calvinist.
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
James 4 13-17
Calvinism and Contentment
Argh! Lord, I just want sleep! Must I trust you even in this? this basic thing I have control over...
So this is where the control freak concedes defeat and submits it all to the Lord and prays for forgiveness for not being content with 2 blocks of 3 hours sleep. God is in control of the nursery, the baby and the times of insomnia.
In the end, I pray to be content, but also for wisdom. God, you will help me sort out my son's sleeping, won't you?