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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sleep and Bells

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.


candice said...

I've learned to live for those small moments that bring so much happiness and contentment despite the chaos that life may bring.

I'm curious about the book you mentioned, what types of things did it have you do? Is it a "cry it out" type of book, or does it take a more gentler approach? I'll have to check it out, I'm always looking for sleeping tips for the kids.

Erica said...

I'm so glad the book helped you!! Welcome to the joys of getting sleep during parenthood! Haha. That's wonderful. Our baby boy (born May 12 - pretty close to Hugh's bday, I think?) has been sleeping through the night for two months now, but most recently is going from 6-6:30. It's LOVELY. Haha.

Kaija said...

I love your recounting of sleep and bells. I am SO THANKFUL for those tender mercies that come upon us unexpectedly and fill us with so much joy that we know God lives and is with us. I had one of those moments the other day, walking to a meetings I was stressed about, and suddenly the sun burst in a golden glowball out of the clouds for just a moment, as if just for me, and the joy in my heart was instantaneous, my knowledge that God was there with me. Thank you for reminding me!

Mandi said...

I had totally forgotten about that church and those bells. You made me homesick for a bit - for things other than my family and favorite eating places! (Which is no small feat!)

Liz said...

I am so glad that you were able to find a course of action that worked for you and your boys. I wish my 5 and 3 year olds would sleep 12 hours straight!! I think my baby is sleeping better than they are!

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is my favorite Christmas song of all time. I'm so glad that you are having a very Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!!