For the past two years my Darling Daughter has required a great deal of cuddling, snuggling, rocking and such until she falls asleep. Only then would she tolerate being put in her crib to go to sleep for the night. If she were not sound asleep, she would wake up and not simply cry for 5 or 10 minutes and then go back to sleep; she would cry for as long as we let her go and be unconsolable unless we picked her back up and cuddled her back to sleep. As much as I love to snuggle with my little girl, there are times that I've been without a minute to myself all day long, in full body contact with her the whole time as she requires holding and snuggling and being attached at the hip almost constantly. By the time her bedtime comes around (and on many nights, long before that point) I really just need a break...a little time unattached to her so I can recharge for the next day of our conjoined interaction.
Dear Daughter has been this way since birth at both bedtime, and until recently, naptime as well. I tried a little Ferber method at naptime when she was about 6 months old, and it just didn't work. Zoe would only get madder when I finally entered the room and attempted to console her without picking her up (true "Ferber-style"). To make the problem worse, she went through frequent phases of waking up every time we attempted to lay her down, whether she had been asleep or not. Then she would cry and cry and cry and cry and never stop. If we picked her up to console her, the whole thing would often simply repeat endlessly.
Nap time got easier a couple months ago. After a story and little snuggle time, she is often fine going right to her crib, and she does not cry at all. I assure her "Mommy will be back" and she repeats "Mommy be back" and we blow each other kisses as I walk out the door of her room.
Until last night, bedtime has been a different story. Zoe has required being held and cuddled until she is asleep. The great majority of the time she will then allow being put in her crib and either will not wake up, or if she does, she will not cry for very long before going back to sleep. However, the more pregnant I become, the harder it is for me to hold her for very long in the rocking chair in her room as my tail bone begins to really hurt, and it is hard to stand up out of the chair with a baby in my belly as well as a 30 pound baby in my arms. Last night I held her a good long while before deciding that I really had to put her down and get a little break before going to bed myself. She resisted going to her crib and wrapped her little arms tightly around my neck as if clinging for dear life and cried like her heart was breaking. I finally just squeezed her and kissed her and told her how much I love her and assured her "Mommy will be back!" Then I layed her on her little pillow and covered her up with her blankie (which she insists on, even if it is 105 degrees outside) and tucked in her stuffed kitty cat beside her. In between sobs came a pitiful little voice with a broken heart stating, "Mommy be back!" as if assuring herself. She said it one more time as I patted her head and said "Night night, Sweetie!" and as I turned to walk out of the room came the little voice again between sobs, "Night night, Mommy!" without even raising her head off the pillow. No complaining, no standing up and screaming in the crib, just a pitiful little voice echoing a broken little heart, resolving to accept that it was time to go night night without Mommy. I didn't hear another peep out of her. While clearly broken-hearted over the event, never before has she been this graceful about it. I shut her door behind me and choked back tears.
Two years of longing to be able to put her in her crib at a decent hour and have her go to sleep without all the drama and trauma, and when it finally happened, it took everything in me not to run back in and snatch her back up out of her crib and hold her close.