Have I mentioned how much better Ben and Hugh are sleeping these days? I read the book - Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child - and was totally skeptical. I was convinced that the examples in the book of babies that improved their sleep habits were just naturally good sleepers. Mine clearly were not and never would be.
We were desperate, though. So, we decided to give it a try and to stay the course for at least a week before giving up. Little did we know that we'd see dramatic improvements within just a couple of days. It definitely took some determination on our part to be consistent and some will power to stay focused on the ultimate goal of helping them to sleep better.
We now put them down to bed by 6pm. Ben is now sleeping in his crib, through the night, for 12 hours. Hugh still wakes usually just once during the night for a feeding, but he's getting 11-12 hours of sleep at night, too. And, maybe the biggest change is that now we're able to just lay them down and have them go right to sleep without rocking them to sleep. That would sometimes take hours to do and was just wearing us both out. It has been really amazing to see the changes. I was so sure that we just had bad sleepers. Turns out we were doing things wrong, without even knowing it. It's such a relief to have our sleep back!
That said, Hugh woke up at 3am this morning and after his feeding just wouldn't go back to sleep. He'd had a bit of a fever last night, so I'm sure that's what was bothering him. After the morning nap, Hugh was still fussing and Ben was screaming, so I took the boys out on a walk. The sun was shining today and the temperature was in the 60s. Plus it's been a while since we've been up to their favorite fountain.
After our quick stop at the fountain we walked down to the post office to mail a couple of things. On our way the bell tower of one of the churches near downtown rang, signally noontime. I love the sound of church bells ringing. It feels so quaint, so old, and reminds me so much of my fond memories of Italy. And, after the twelve dongs of the bell, it played a Christmas song that at the time I couldn't quite put my finger on its name. (I later discovered it was God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.)
There was something about the feel in the air, the leaves chasing down the sidewalk, Christmas bells ringing through the streets, being with my two little boys who were happily enjoying our little outing. Everything about the moment made my heart feel light. This is the feeling I'd been wanting to feel. The calm, the joy. It came in the most unexpected of ways, in a completely unexpected moment.
On a day that started much too early with a baby who was too miserable for words, I felt especially grateful for this little moment. We'll have to follow our same route and schedule in the coming days to find out if the church bells ring out a Christmas carol every day at noon or if there was something special about today. I wouldn't mind hearing those bells again and again and again.