So this is Zuzu's bedtime routine.
We have dinner. 6-6:30ish
We clean up dinner and have play time. 6:30-7ish
We put the baby in the bath around 7pm. By 7:15, she's usually dried and lotioned and in her pajamas.
Then it's time to nurse in the rocking chair, then read books (one random choice, followed by Good Night, Moon). Then we sing songs, snuggle, and typically by 7:30pm she's looking good and sleepy and it's time to put her in her crib.
If she's really wiped out, she'll lie on her side, sigh sweetly, close her eyes, clutch her hane (blanky), and drift off to dreamland.
But most nights she really fights sleep.
I'll gently lay her in the crib on her side and pat her back to say good night. But she starts squirming and then she's crying and rolling over on her tummy to push herself up. She then stands in the crib, screaming and crying.
I haven't even moved from my position next to the crib, so I lay her back down, where she closes her eyes for just one moment before she realizes she's about to fall asleep, at which point she starts screeching, rolls over, and quickly climbs up to a standing position.
And we repeat this several times with me saying things like, "No, honey, we're not doing this right now. It's night-night time. Just relax. You're obviously tired. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. SHHHHHHHHH."
Until finally I lay her down and she stays down and falls asleep.
She doesn't usually resist being laid down, but just when I think she's settled in the crib, she's resolute about standing up and crying.
Until she finally admits defeat and accepts sleep.
It's not like this every single night--there are a few nights when she lies quietly and falls asleep quickly. But we've really been seeing this routine frequently.
And I don't like it!
Our peaceful bedtime routine starts to feel like a battle. I dread the end of it and I miss the brief window of time when we had a seamless transition from rocking to sleeping in bed.
Here's the other thing--she loves rocking and snuggle time, but she rarely lets us rock her to the point of actually falling asleep. Unless she's sick or absolutely exhausted (she had one day when she only took ONE 30 minute nap at daycare), she doesn't fall asleep when she's in my arms (or David's). She'll relax, but when she's actually going to nod off, she gets really squirmy. She really wants to be lying on her side, and kind of spread out, instead of snuggled up on our laps. She started doing this when she was about six months old, and for the longest time she seemed very happy to be laid down in her crib to drift into dreamland.
But now... she gets fussy in our arms and seems to want to be put down so she can spread out and sleep on her side. And then she cries when we set her in the crib.
Does crying have to be part of the bedtime routine? Is this normal? Just a phase? I don't want bedtime to be fraught, but I've also found that David and I NEED a couple hours in the evening for just us after she's gone to bed, and since he's been working late so many nights we haven't been having dinner until 8pm (so much for our "family dinner hour" that worked so well for a while--damn the month of May and all of its after-school activities). We often find ourselves tired, hungry, and frustrated on the nights when the lay-the-baby-down-over-and-over routine goes on longer than usual. (Wednesday night I had to lay her down three times, and she fell asleep on the third try. last night she went down on the second try--other nights have been much more of a battle.)
Any ideas? Anyone perfect the bedtime routine and never have any issues with their children falling peacefully asleep in their beds with no tears? I don't believe you. But share your secrets.