I had heard plenty about sleep deprivation after having a newborn baby so I was prepared for a few months of disturbed slumber. My baby would be sleeping through the night sometime between six months and a year old, according to all that I'd read.
Not only did that not happen, but not one piece of writing admitted that I would never again have a year with unbroken sleep.
Here's the rundown.
0-3 months: you slept for 3 hours straight? Lucky you!
3-9 months: did you know that all those sleep experts' definition of "sleeping through the night" means five hours straight? That's right, FIVE whole hours. Actually, five hours sounds pretty good after you've lived through those first three months. If you have the luck of the ages, your baby will sleep for 12 hours at night. If you're one of the ordinary folk, your baby will continue to have diaper blowouts and hunger pangs at why-oh-why-o'clock.
9-18 months: pretty much the same story as 3-9 months, but now you can add in wake up calls for stuffy noses, vomit, and attempts to stand or walk while sleeping. Variety is the spice of life!
18-36 months: I'm going to assume the best here - no more middle of the night eating! You might actually sleep a normal 6-8 hours a night, most nights. Bodily fluids will still escape from containment, however, and you can add in night terrors (about five orders of magnitude worse than nightmares), and getting yourself out of bed to put the kids back in bed. Oh, and if you're working on night time potty training (Exciting and exhausting! A two-for-one deal!), you can tack on middle of the night calls for help to either visit the bathroom or change the bedding.
3 - 8 years: you might be wishing your child were still wearing night diapers at some juncture during this period. Other than that, the laundry list (ha ha ha) is about the same as before, plus run of the mill nightmares. On the flip side, your child now knows that the house does not go to sleep when s/he does. You may even reach the milestone of seeing midnight on New Year's Eve again.
8 - 12 years: these are the years when your child will be able to handle everything on his or her own all night long, and you will find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Okay, fine, I can dream, can't I? Night terrors and bed wetting should be in the past (if not, you have my sympathies), and your child may even deal with middle of the night bathroom trips alone. Vomit, high fever watch, and bad dreams are still on the agenda.
13-18 years: you will now be imagining all the terrible ways in which a) you are screwing up your child's future, b) your child is screwing up his/her own future, or c) both, and then wondering why you aren't busy sleeping while your kid is peacefully slumbering in bed. Seriously, go back to sleep! They're finally leaving you alone. In fact, they're afraid to imagine what happens in your bedroom at night.
18 years and beyond: I don't even want to know what's in store for me after my daughter is an adult. Will I finally sleep well every night, as I did when I was growing up while my parents suffered? If you're not going to answer, "Yes, absolutely, no doubt about it" in the comments, then keep quiet please. We all need a little hope in life.