I daresay we have a pattern going on here.
With the first child, you have no concept of routine. With the second, you appreciate the benefits of routine. With the third, routine is absolutely essential and your life revolves around it.
I remember someone asking me about Gabriel's "naps" when he was 2 months old, and not even understanding the question. He's two months old, he sleeps on and off all the time, there was no defined "nap" for Pete's sake! But I remember now that the asker was a mother of three, and she KNEW.
Katrina isn't entirely predictable of course, but we've fallen into a definite rhythm, if not full-on pattern. She still sleeps most of the time, but her awake times are now about an hour long, and mostly completely happy. She has an awake time in the morning, then around noon, then in the late afternoon, and then in the evening sometime. At night, I get her to bed sometime between 8 and 10pm, depending on when she last woke up, and if it's more toward 10, she doesn't wake up again until 3am-4am, and then only once. Not bad.
Today when I went to pick Gabriel up from pre-K, Katrina was tired and crying and clearly in need of a snooze. And for the first time, I made a point of not driving extra to get her to sleep. Instead, I wanted her to take in her bed, not in the carseat. Already, at just two months old, I'm starting to make a point of not falling asleep in the car if we're on our way home (though I do make a point of her falling asleep if she needs it and we're on our way somewhere -- I wish I'd done that before the holiday party!). This is only possible because she is now very used to being wrapped up, hugged and "shhhd", put down, and given the pacifier. If I called it right, and now I do 80% of the time, she's out in 5 minutes. The remaining 20%, she cries and I pick her up right away and try to find out what she needs.
Katrina's relative reliability in getting her to sleep, and being in such a good mood most of the time when awake, I attribute much to loosely following the core principles in the Babywise method. I aim for the "feed-awake-sleep" cycle, meaning, I put her down awake and not right after feeding. I try to feed her every 3 hours. (I still bristle inside at calling nursing "feeding," since there's so much more to nursing, but unfortunately, for Katrina and my thrush-prone highly sensitive "girls", it is all feeding, not comfort or getting-to-sleep-ing.) When she nurses, she REALLY nurses, no nibbling or putzing (the "full feeding" called for by Babywise).
I'm not sure why, but the 3-hour (about) feed-wake-sleep cycle has helped me be much more in tune with what she needs. It's no mystery anymore when she starts to cry after she's been awake and happy for an hour. Her nursing, awake-time and sleep needs are much more organized and consolidated than I remember for the boys. Despite our rough start the first 3-4 weeks, she really doesn't cry much now, unless we're out somewhere and these needs aren't being met. (My mom friends really haven't seen much of her not crying yet!)
The best part is, we're well on our way toward having a baby who goes to sleep easily, and stays asleep for a long time. No more books! No more methods! No more crying to sleep!
Getting overconfident, am I? Of course, things could easily change -- having an easy 2-month-old doesn't mean trouble won't emerge in another month or more. After all, Gabriel was an easy baby, and we barrelled into toddlerhood thinking we were off the hook. Hah!
Speaking of who....much of today, Gabriel was nice and agreeable. But other times, his rudeness and ordering me around was unbearable. In an attempt to get a rise out of me, he even went so far as to threaten to "smash the baby." He lost watching Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer this coming Saturday, something the boys have been looking forward to all week, for that one.
Would he ever really hit Katrina? I tend to doubt it. Gabriel loves her, he always wants to help me with her, and is thrilled when she smiles at him. He's really very tender with her. He always says what an adorable baby she is, or that he's so glad that "he" has a baby. He loved this photo session today because he got to hold her and play with her for so long.
He really cracked me up today when I picked him up from pre-K and he saw Katrina, and he said to her, "Oh -- Hi Babes!" Babes?!
But Gabriel has hit Julian with the explanation later that he did it because he knew he'd get in bigger trouble if he hit me. Another time, he said he hit Julian because he was angry at me.
So how far would he go? Would he really take out his anger at me on Katrina? He can get pretty frustrated and worked up when he's had something major taken away. He escalates and does irrational things all the time to make the situation worse, looking for anything that will rile me (and often succeeds). And now that we've so strictly forbidden even saying that he'd hit the baby, he knows that's a serious trigger.
You can probably tell that I had a tough afternoon with the boys today. Julian took a nap, but woke up crying and whiny and needing lots of quiet attention from me. Then he needed to just sit and color quietly -- but Gabriel wanted a rambunctious playmate. He kept taking things from Julian, to "show" him how to color for instance, making Julian cry again and again, refusing to obey my direct instructions to leave Julian alone, and ended up on several timeouts. I was on with them constantly, every 5 minutes something else came up. I was counting the minutes until 7pm when Dave was supposed to get home from his business trip, and I was greatly relieved when he arrived early. "TAKE 'EM THEY'RE YOURS!!!"
After all that about Katrina's reliability, she had me up last night from 3:30am to 5am with a long nursing followed by some very active Happy Baby Fun Time. Adorable cooing, gurgling, flailing, full-face smiling, almost giggling. Too bad it was lost on me, especially since Julian had me up an hour earlier with some lame-o excuse (his blanket was touching the ground). Yawn. Bedtime.