oh my gosh. What fabulous, wonderful, insightful comments!Thank you all so much.
HannahSims, that is really great information about the crying. And I recognize that exact "venting" with dd. In fact, DH is better about having a complete "conversation" with her in this regard: she cries, "wah wah wah" and dh replies, "yeah, wah wah wah, you played with Madeline today". She isn't really crying, she is doing the baby version of "blah blah". And he validates what she is saying with the tone of his voice. It's really sweet and they are totally communicating. He says that she pats him on the arm while they are doing this. Which brings me to mumsymimi's comments about telling us about her day. Wow, what insight!
Let's see, Beanma, I have tried to let dd stay up late. And she is a night owl, it's something she inherited from me. The problem is, I have a sleep problem. I will go to bed one hour later every night, and wake up an hour later, so I have to discipline myself to get up at the same time every day. It's just too depressing otherwise, and we were missing storytimes and playgroups and other fun stuff. And I can't do the open ended day. I need an ending. I did that for almost the whole year, and it's getting me down, with the lack of a "nap break". What you described with your dd is exactly our scene with the nap - intense "sneak away" radar.
I haven't really nightweaned. I still think it's too early, and I just hate to take something away that she so obviously loves and needs. That just seems so unfair.
So here is where we are. We didn't really plan on doing this, but this was the one thing we hadn't tried: sleeping in the "dreaded crib". She had begun to take these really long 3 hour naps. I don't think she EVER took a 3 hour nap after 3 months old. Meanwhile, I was nursing her to sleep sometimes, but when that wasn't working I would call Daddy in to rock her to sleep. It seemed that she would fall asleep easier, faster and deeper in his lap. We went through a month of this, letting her sleep on Daddy for a couple of hours. Then we started putting her down, first on the bed, then we tried the crib. The first night we got her to sleep in the crib (no CIO) she slept SOOO soundly and so well that I layed in bed and wept and sobbed because I missed her so very much. I love sleeping with her. But she slept for 5 hours for 3 nights in a row, and those days she took 1 1/2 to 2 or 3 hour naps. I just couldn't believe it. My conclusion is that she wasn't sleeping well in bed with us AT ALL. I wasn't sleeping well, either. I actually think that she was sleeping so poorly (co-sleeping) that she has been overtired, heck, maybe for months. Certainly since 7 months. It was the last thing I wanted to try, but man, it is working. And she seems to love her "little bed". Her Daddy is able to pat her back to sleep, and on a couple of occaisions, she has done her monotone "sleep moan" and put herself back to sleep!
Now, I don't know how long this will last. And while I haven't decided to nightwean, I kind of have. But she has been making up for it by needing to BF a whole lot during the day and needing to snuggle. I don't mind at all, because I need that closeness, too, now that I can't snuggle her at night
Another conclusion is that although she needed better quality sleep, she also needs her loves and cuddles. I'd bet this is true of all babies. On a side note (I know, I am rambling now) my SIL said that her 12mo ds was crying to come back into their bed (she didn't want to co-sleep) and she said, "I checked him, and he wasn't sick, he didn't need a new diaper, he was fine. He was just manipulating us because he wanted to be cuddled". She was saying that her baby's emotional needs just didn't count. How terribly sad it was to hear that.
We will see how this goes for a while, IF it goes for a while. I sure do miss her. It's so weird having breaks.
Again, thank you all for your considerable time in responding to my woes. You are all awesome Mommies!!