There was a song I listened to as a kid with my dad by Bill Haley & His Comets back in 1955:
One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock rock
Five, six, seven o'clock, eight o'clock rock
Nine, ten, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock rock
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight
It had a fun beat and played on the oldies station when we were in the car. Unfortunately, the last few weeks have made this song more of a description of my parenting duties than a fun song. I blame Ada for bringing home yet another cold and giving it to Iain. With the cold, Iain decided he didn't want to sleep for six, seven or eight hours at a time anymore but instead, he got me out of bed every two or three hours. After two weeks of that pattern, Rick and I had both had enough and pulled out the baby sleep training book. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is the one someone gave us by Marc Weissbluth. I wrote previously about how I hated the book because it went into detail about the importance of sleep and naps and so many other things I just didn't care about when I was a sleep-deprived zombie trying to get my child to shut up and sleep. Knowing how frustrated I was last time, I decided to skim the book and only read sections that jumped out at me as being relevant. Thankfully, Rick started doing the same. It was not pretty.
I can't remember how long it has been, but I'm guessing we haven't had much sleep for the past three or four weeks now. Last week was much better since we figured out, from reading the book, that Iain should be ready for a nap within two hours of waking up and that he should have three naps a day at this point, but not necessarily on a schedule quite yet. I started paying more attention to when he woke up and staying in instead of having him nap in the stroller at the park while Ada played. Rick started getting up with him at night and rocking him back to sleep, wrestling for an hour sometimes, without me appearing for a feeding until eight hours had passed since he went to sleep. It wasn't easy, but it worked so far. Last night, instead of putting him down at six and getting up at nine, midnight, three, and six again, he went down around seven, I fed him at two thirty, and he woke up at six thirty. We are off to a good start.
I'm no expert, and I refrained from going apeshit on Iain's pediatrician when she suggested some kids "Just don't sleep as much. All kids are different." (My kids will sleep. End of discussion.), but I think the key to a well-rested family is catching sleep issues early and training your child to sleep well. I'm not sure if we did something right with Ada or if she just likes to sleep, but she is the best little sleeper I've ever heard of. She goes to bed just before eight and gets up between six and nine in the morning. Some days she gets fourteen hours of sleep and she still naps between one and three hours a day, unless she's at daycare and then her nap is less than an hour. Training her wasn't easy and came with long, sleepless nights and tears, mainly hers, but it worked.
Moral of the story: Educate yourself on the various sleep theories out there and see what works for your family. It isn't easy, but if you are persistent, lucky and successful, the payoff can be rewarding --assuming you like a good nights' rest.