Kent is just over a year old now and we still have a lot of variance in the amount of sleep he gets in any given night. Many nights he wakes two or three times, but I can get him back to sleep pretty easily. Last week we had two nights in a row when he didn't wake at all. And then the weekend came...
Friday night he was up for three and a half hours straight during the night, even though he was tired. None of our usual techniques would get him back to sleep. He would doze, or start to drop off only to kick and wiggle himself back awake again. We walked him, fed him, eventually came out into the living room and played with him and read him some books; nothing was working. In the past, we've tried letting him sleep on his stomach a few times but it never worked well. But finally, in a fit of desperation, I put him down on his side, let him roll onto his stomach, and he fell asleep. I figured it was due to exhaustion. Even though he's usually up for the day between 5:30 and 6:30, he slept until 7 AM on Saturday, obviously worn out by the extended waking in the night. So Saturday evening would be better, right?
Every once in a great while (thankfully) Kent has a night when he wakes after every single sleep cycle, roughly once per hour. Saturday started out as one of those nights, although he did manage a three hour stint in the middle. Finally around 4:30 AM I put him down on his side, let him roll onto his belly, and he dropped off quickly. He woke again in about an hour and I did it again. In the morning I told Erica about this new method. On the way back from church on Sunday Kent fell asleep in the car. We usually just sit in the car with him until he wakes up because he doesn't fall back asleep if we bring him in and try to put him down for a nap, but he had just fallen asleep and I didn't want to run the car for another 30 minutes (at least). I decided to try the new rollover method for a nap. And it worked.
So I told Erica about it, and on Sunday evening I used it instead of trying to walk him when he woke (his usual two times, I think). On Monday, Erica got him down for two naps this way. And the success continues.
This is a sea change. A paradigm shift. A revelation. We used to have very long routines we went through to get Kent to sleep, both at night and for naps. Putting him on his side and letting him roll over feels like we're cheating. But I'll keep cheating as long as he'll let me.
Update: 7.30.08 6:11 AM - Evidently Kent doesn't want his dad to feel like a cheat. So it goes...