DD is 6.5 years old. She's a high-spirited, high-energy, smart little girl. She has always always needed to have someone to bounce her energy off. She finds it unbearable to be alone. When I try to accomplish anything, from making dinner to talking on the phone for 5 minutes she _cannot_ let me just get the task done. I never talk on the phone unless DH is home because I find it simply too frustrating to try to carry on a conversation. (I'm not even talking about social phone calls, I mean even necessary ones!)
If I give her a craft or project to work on, she will work diligently on it but she needs constant commentary. If I leave the room to try to clean the house or do anything she will follow me and call out to me.
Bedtime is an absolute nightmare. DD wants to be snuggled to sleep but she's always had trouble falling asleep so that process can take anywhere from an hour to three hours. (We used to cosleep until I had my second child and the bed just wasn't big enough and no one was getting any sleep.) When we try to leave, even just for 10 minutes to get something done, she calls out, cries, gets out of bed, etc etc. All this happens very loudly, of course, so we always risk waking her sister.
My younger DD, who is 3.5, is much more self-sufficient. Now the girls share a room - our room is about four feet away, with the doors facing and we can all look at each other from our beds. Halfway through the night, the three year old quietly gets up , walks to our room, climbs into bed with us, and goes to sleep. But our older DD wakes in the middle of the night and calls out angrily to us until we go to her. Then we must help her calm back down to sleep. Some nights she is content to have one of us spend the remainder of the night sleeping in her sister's bed, other nights she insists that we sleep in her twin bed with her. I don't think, in her entire 6 years that she has ever slept through the night.
To add to this I worry that in order for me to get anything done around the house, it is my 3 yr old who ends up "entertaining" her sister. Of course, she loves it. They get along well and my younger DD adores her older sister. But I feel it isn't fair for her that always ALWAYS they must be interacting when they are alone together. DD2 loves to play imaginary play but when they are together, my older DD dictates what they play.
She's always been this way (as a baby never ever slept unless I was right next to her etc). I always thought she'd grow out of it, but she simply hasn't. Everything we try to help her is met with huge resistance. We've tried so many things! Complicating things, she gets fiercely jealous if she feels her little sister is getting different (she assumes better) treatment.
Does anyone else have experience with this kind of neediness? Do any of you have ideas on what we can do to make DD more self-sufficient and able to entertain herself and be content just "being", or at least entertaining herself???