it's mary from api. sorry you are still struggling with this. i was hoping it was really getting better for y'all.
i know you have tried staying up with your dd pretty late, but i can't remember all the particulars. i thought i'd tell you how it went with our dd (2.5) in hopes that it might help you some.
first off, early on, i gave up having any time to myself. i mean, i did initially try to do things like go to the grocery store by myself (when dd was 4mo or so), but after awhile i realized that was making me nervous and dd sad. you know my dd is _very_ attached, more so than your little rambler, maybe, so take all this as only my personal experience. don't know if it would apply at all to you and yours.
all that said, dd made it clear to us early (first week or so) that she would not sleep anywhere but the bed with us and my boobs nearby, so we quickly gave in and went with that in the interest of having a good night's sleep. likewise for naps i couldn't leave the bed until she was well over a year old. she had that "mama's not here" radar and would wake up fussing and crying if i tried to sneak away. dh bought me a laptop while i was pg, so i just took that to bed with us and did a lot of reading, too.
dd has always been a night owl, so we went with that, too. most nights she just goes when we go to bed. i usually hit the hay with her about 11 or 12 these days. sometimes, though, it's 1am, occasionally 2 or 3, but i am really beat if that happens. that's really rare these days. i just don't have the patience to try to get her to go to sleep at 7 or 8 or 9 if she's not sleepy. it does happen occasionally if she misses her nap, but more than likely she's down after 10. dh is more of a nightowl and will take over if it's a really really late night and i'm beat. i usually try for about 20 or 30 minutes tops to get her to go to sleep. if it doesn't happen in that time frame, my patience is usually gone and my nipples are sore so we just get up and play.
when she was little (less than 2 mo old probably) we discovered she loved to be bounced on our old antique bouncy bed with these really squeaky, noisy box springs. we also have a noisy old antique rocker, but dd preferred the bouncing although rocking was okay sometimes. sometimes dh still bounces her to sleep if she's having a rough night winding down. the bouncy bed saved us so many times. it was great for little hurts and for fussy times and for sleepy, but couldn't go to sleep times, too. maybe you could try something along those lines? the exercise ball with a little white noise (fan, vacuum, washing machine, dishwasher, white noise machine)? when i did the bouncy bed with her (not now at 34 weeks or so) i would sing "hush little baby" or sometimes another lullaby.
now, when it's time for bed (eyelids getting heavy, lots of nonstop babbling and talking) we have sort of a bed time routine. we brush teeth, put on PJs and daddy has to read books in the bed. (we don't do the bath at bedtime because she likes to take a shower/bath with me in the morning and it just seems overkill to have two baths in a day.) then we nurse and if she doesn't go right out i sing "hush little baby" and usually that does the trick combined with dh's gentle snoring. (he usually falls asleep for about 15 or 20 minutes and then wakes back up for another couple of hours). if she doesn't go out and is just too wound up (happens if we push a nap more often than at night) we just give up and play or daddy tries the bouncy bed or the rocker. i think maybe she came to associate "hush little baby" positively with the bouncy bed and being taken care of.
i think you or one of the other posters mentioned a child maybe associating nursing with boo-boos being taken care of and hypothesized that if the nipple wasn't in the mouth then the child was afraid that the boo boo wasn't being taken care of. maybe introducing another element, lullaby or white noise or something could help provide another positive association? dunno -- just a theory.
what time do you usually start trying to get her to sleep? if she's happy during the day maybe you could find someone she could stay and play with for an hour or so a day while you nap? it does a mama no good to be too sleep deprived. if that doesn't work out, maybe dh could be in charge when he gets home from work and you could nap then? if you being in the house doesn't work maybe you could go somewhere else. do you have family near here? or the car always works if you're tired enuf. your dd always seems so happy when i see her seems like something like that might work. i know our dd would never have cottoned to somebody other than dh. i was just able to leave dd with dh comfortably when i had to have a series of dental appts (don't put off going to the dentist for 8 yrs
) after dd turned 1.
anyway, i hope some of that might be of some meager help. see you 'round the neighborhood!
and hope that you can find something that works for you.
(edited to fix typos