When my kids were tiny (read: one to three months old) people were always asking if they were sleeping through the night. My standard response was, “No. Are you?” That served two purposes. One, it showed that that is kind of a ridiculous question. I get that people just want to make conversation, but, seriously, pick a different intro question. Two, it made people stop and think, and many people replied something along the lines of, “You know, actually I don’t.”
See, the thing is many people don’t sleep through the night. Some never do. They rouse up and glance at the clock. They get up to get a drink of water. They get up to use the bathroom. Or they just plain wake up and lay there unable to sleep. Whatever. The difference between an adult and a baby is that the adult knows how to either settle back down on their own or not wake up other sleeping people while the baby has not learned that skill quite yet.
To be honest, I don’t know if my kids, at 4, 6, 10, and 12 sleep through the night regularly (and I know at 34 I don’t!). Just last night I heard Fritz get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Ani says she often wakes in the middle of the night. The key is they wake up, do whatever they need to do, and go back to sleep. As far as I’m concerned they are “sleeping through the night” whether they are or they aren’t because, really, what “Are they sleeping through the night?” really means is “Are they causing you to wake up during the night?”
But that leads me to a bigger question. Is a baby (a tiny baby) who causes you to wake up during the night a problem? I just don’t think so (it’s when they are 6 that it becomes a little tiresome). When I had Ani, I knew that odds were she would wake me up many times a night at least at first. It was something that I knew came with having a baby and being a mother. It just didn’t bother me. It took quite a few years of being woken up at night by various children, but now my kids all know how to settle themselves back down without my help most of the time (Adrian isn’t there 100% yet and occasionally Fritz has very scary nightmares that need an awake mommie to be totally okay).
And, of course, now that I can simply reply, “I assume so” to “Are they sleeping through the night?,” no one asks. They just kind of assume that, at this point, they are.