One thing I distinctly remember from the old days of child-rearing chaos and confusion (that being six weeks ago) was buying a book called Understanding Children
by Richard Saul Wurman. RSW
is an investor in my "other" start-up, so I'm inclined to buy what he's saying, and his book is exactly up my alley. It takes the subject of childhood; full of data, feelings, conjecture, and conflicting advice, and tries to explain some of the big concepts in crystal clear information graphics.
Despite my being excited about getting it, I actually haven't looked at the book much since I bought it on account of what I perceived as gross inaccuracies (GROSS I say!) in the data he was presenting. Let me explain.
You see, when I picked it up a couple months ago it said this:
That's a sleep chart in RSW's book, and in the orange box it is claiming that my three month old child will be having 2-3 wonderful naps a day. The chart is supposed
to be a helpful reminder of the stages of sleeping development. This way when you kid is five weeks old you get a sense of how it will be getting better soon and you don't just go down a fifth of gin and pass out on the porch to get some sleep.
Now.. for comparison look at the orange box below, which signifies Kaden's actual
sleep habits at three months.
Kaden's sleep chart was completely erratic and is fairly tiring to even look at now. So, according to my
data clearly RSW was either grossly oversimplifying kids to the point of uselessness, or he was just wrong. Either way, the credibility of the book was undermined so I stopped reading and even shared my findings with a few friends.
However, two months later the picture has changed. So, to set the record straight, at five months this is how Kaden is sleeping.
In the orange square you'll distinctly see two bands of blue that signify he's taking two good naps a day (sometimes a third pops up). So despite my quick dismisal, it turns out RSW was generally right. Perhaps I was perhaps a bit quick to be skeptical, although to be fair RSW was at least two months late on predicting Kaden's sleep patterns (which is 60 days, 1440 hours, or roughly 20-30% of Kaden's life so far) with no warning about variability whatsoever. Just another little lesson about taking everything you read with a grain of salt.
Oh.. and just for fun, below is a view of the last two months of sleep for Kaden (the top is the most recent, then it goes back in time).
Start-Up Mom was pretty skeptical when I first started keeping track of his sleep. Actually, she thought I was an anal nutcase bent on overmeasuring our child, just as you do now (oh the wonder of blogs). But as they say in business, what you can't measure you can't understand (or some other adequate rationalization for having fun with charts).
It's interesting to look at how random his sleep was just two months ago (bottom of the chart), and then if you look at the very top you see it starting to move into more of a pattern. Despite Start-Up Mom's first perceptions, she has found it very helpful in seeing when his nap times were naturally developing and also whether he was getting enough sleep every day. And thanks to the wonders of web technology
it is actually only a minute or so a day.