A few weeks ago, we have two nigh-perfect nights of sleep from Celeste and then it fell apart rather rapidly. I should back up and note that <touch wood>Celeste is a good baby, no signs of colic and most of the time pretty agreeable</touch wood>; however, it seems, in general she'd rather be awake. Not that she wants to be interacting with us 24/7 — actually her most common look I've already dubbed as the "I'm so out of here when I turn 18" look — but she wants us to at least be within eyeshot (preferably closer than that) and she does not want to fall asleep. During the day, when she hasn't napped for hours, you can see how hard she's working to keep the eyelids open.
When she's that worn down, I have found that stroking her forehead and sweeping down across the nose and eyes (tricking her to close her eyes) sometimes works. The eyelids are too heavy to pull back up. It may only buy 30 to 40 minutes of sleep, but it's something.
But getting back to a few weeks ago, we started swaddling her again. For a while it seemed the swaddling was unnecessary so we stopped; when the sleeping troubles kicked back in, it took us a little while to remember swaddling. The problem was that the startle reflex would kick in and with her arms free she'd practically shake herself awake. But swaddling would help stymie that action and help her sleep past that point.
This week, however, we had to shift strategies again. She hasn't lost the startle reflex 100%, but it has diminished and being swaddled was leading to big struggles to free her arms that would wake her up (and get her worked up).
It's a mixed bag thus far: She doesn't fight the swaddle, but she still fights sleep. Evelin seems to have the magic touch, but sometimes I can get her to sleep (see the eye trick above). Also, it seems my foolproof lullaby is not longer working. For about 10 days, The Smiths' "Cemetery Gates" worked like a charm; now it's old hat. She'll listen politely (and hopefully absorb the anti-plagiarism lesson from the lyrics), but it doesn't calm her to sleep anymore.
I don't know if the fighting sleep so hard is typical or not, but her overnights seem to be pretty much by the book. To bed somewhere between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., awake for a feeding around midnight; awake again for 3:00 a.m. or so and then looking to wake up sometime around 7:00 a.m.
For us, the trouble point is the 3:00 a.m. feeding. Afterwards, she may catnap for a half hour or so, but then she starts talking or whinging to get our attention. If I go in to see what's what, she gives a nice big goofy smile that is so cute that I want to pick her up and play. Evelin (for good reasons) forbids such a reaction.
Monday night, we played the "Hey somebody come see me!" "Made you look!" game for about 90 minutes before we decided to bring her into our bed. Once there she looked back and forth happily at each of us for a while and then fell asleep. Tuesday night, I convinced Evelin to bring her to our bed after only a half hour of the game. She was a bit more up and took longer to fall asleep, but she was so happy and sweet, and I think we all sleep better this way. Evelin's not convinced, and she's rightly concerned about setting up a pattern that will not be easy to wean her from.
So, where we are now, is trying a bit of everything short of spiking her milk to get Celeste the sleep she needs (and, as a collateral benefit, the sleep Evelin and I need, too).
UPDATE: (from the comments): I don't want to jinx anything so the next paragraph is in Pig Latin*:
Eshay eptslay ettypray ellway astlay ightnay; oinggay otay edbay eforebay 8:00 pay.may., akingway aroundway idnightmay andway enthay eepingslay oughthray untilway aboutway 4:30 away.may. andway enthay eshay eptslay inway erhay ibcray untilway aboutway 6:45 away.may.!We'll see if it was an aberration or not tonight ...
*Unfortunately, it looks like that's only an English —> Pig Latin translator, so you're on your own for translation back to English ...