We knew we were completely spoiled by how well Iddo slept. At 6 weeks old she, of her own accord, fell into a pattern of going to bed, having me come in 6 hours later to dream feed her, coming in again 4 hours after that for another dream feed, and then getting up for the day after another 2 hours. She was sleeping for 12 straight hours (she didn’t wake up when I fed her) at 6 weeks old. If she did wake up at night it was because she was teething or sick and when that was past she’d simply go back to her previous pattern. When she was 13 months old and I had to stop nursing her so we could try to get pregnant again she had absolutely no issues with me not going in during the night any more. I was probably one of the most rested new moms ever. It was bliss. And we knew we’d never be that lucky again.
Knowing we’d never be that lucky again meant our expectations weren’t too high when Shimri and Shimei came around and were crappy sleepers till they were almost 18 months old. Their first Christmas they were both up every two hours, but alternating hours, all night long on Christmas Eve. Thankfully that was the only night they ever did that. But they never had a pattern at night. I never knew when I’d need to get up with them. No matter when I went to bed, 10pm or 1am, they’d wake up for the first time at night 30 minutes later just as I was starting to drift into deep sleep, and need to eat. Other than that Christmas Eve they weren’t both bad sleepers at the same time, but instead they took turns so we always had one decent sleeper and one crappy sleeper.
Knowing we’d never be as lucky to have another Iddo meant our expectations weren’t too high for Izri either. He’s up every 3-4 hours all night long and lately around 3 or 5 in the morning, after eating and drifting off in my arms, decides to tell animated happy stories after I put him back in his bed unless I’m holding him. And while the stories are happy, it’s definitely not the right time to be sharing them. But at least I’m sleeping (generally) better than when we had two babies, he’s got a basic pattern even if it isn’t a set schedule. However I do still daydream of the day when I can sleep all night and can wake up in the morning when I want to not when someone else wants to.
I definitely don’t try to have low expectations for our kids or my life. But realistic expectations make all the difference.