Zoe loves to cuddle and "snuggle" and be held. She's always been that way. From the day she was born, I had to hold her almost non-stop. Even now, as a 19 month old, she loves to be held close, especially when watching one of her "shows" or at nap time or bedtime. Yes, we still rock her and cuddle her until she falls asleep for bedtime, and most of the time for naptime as well. You can scold us and wag your finger at us if you like, rattling off all the baby rearing literature that says this is a no-no lest you condition your child to have to "forever" be held and rocked to sleep. However, I am not personally aware of any teenagers or adults (or even pre-teens, for that matter) who have never outgrown this and are still requiring to be held and rocked to sleep. I want to hold my child close as long as I can and squeeze and cuddle her as much as she wants. I know all too soon she will decide she is too old for that.
That being said, I cannot hold her everyday through her entire nap, or I would never get a much needed break or a little time for myself. Lately, I've had to get tougher on "Little Miss Love to Snuggle." She has become an expert at coming up with reasons why she just cannot go to sleep yet. She's got to have all her favorite cuddling items: BOTH her taggie books (one was a "back up" we purchased after Zoe got the flu once and we realized she could barf all over it and we'd be in trouble). She discovered the "back up" one day and knew it was a different one because the care tag on it is not worn out and frayed like her orignal beloved. She prefers the old one, and is not tricked into accepting the new one in its place. Lately, she has to have them both before agreeing to go to sleep. She also has to have her "blankie" which is a baby quilt Grandma H made her.
After getting all the props in place and settling in the rocking chair with the lights out, she decides that it's time to go "poopy" (which, by the way, she never lets me know unless it is time to go to sleep--and whenever I honor her request to use the potty chair at these strategic moments, she produces nothing). Other reasons are "cup" or "wa wa." For this, I've recently resorted to keeping a cup of water hidden by the rocking chair. The other night (before I decided to begin hiding this cup by the chair) she insisted on "cup" and I tried to ignore her. Her little innocent face kept poking into mine with a pure look of sincerity as she repeated "cup" like a broken record. Finally, I gave in, taking her with me to get her a cup of water. She squealed with delight, and I thought to myself, "Boy, has she got me wrapped around her figner!" So I said to her, rather sternly, "Okay, we will get your cup. But after you have a drink, it's time to go night night!" So here's what the precious one did next: she snuggled up against me in the rocking chair with her taggie books in one hand and her little arms wrapped tightly around her cup, sipping away in the dark until she decided she'd had enough. Then she handed me her cup, looked into my eyes, and matter-of-factly said, "Night night" as if she was intent on keeping her side of the bargain, and sure enough...went right to sleep.
It's times like that that take the edge off my frustrations and prompt me not to get too angry or overly irritated with my little daughter. It's also times like that when I ask God whatever in the world could I have done to be blessed with such a little angel.