Although Dr. B (our early childhood development specialist) has been noticeably slacking/super busy these days, because she is also my sister, I'm able to ask for advice under the guise of a friendly chat about her niece.
Below is a transcript of a phone conversation between Dr. B and myself concerning my recent issues with putting Mazzy to sleep. Well, it's more of an approximation of the conversation since I did not actually record it. Just be thankful it's not a reenactment of the transcript from an approximation of our conversation because that would be ridiculous. (Or so said the actors and camera people I asked to film it.)
PHONE CONVO TRANSCRIPT APPROXIMATION
ME: I'm having trouble putting Mazzy to sleep.
DR. B: Why? What's happening?
ME: She makes me read her a million books, she tries to escape the room, she stalls like crazy and then she won't let me put her down to sleep.
DR. B: What do you mean— she won't 'let you' put her down to sleep? Isn't she in a crib?
DR. B: So can't you just put her in the crib?
ME: No. After we finish reading, I need to rock Mazzy so that she relaxes. But she fights me and arches her back and—
DR. B: Wait. I don't understand. Why are you rocking her?
ME: I just told you. To get her to relax before bed.
DR. B: But it's NOT relaxing her, right?
ME: Well, it does eventually. She just has to give into it.
DR. B: Have you thought that maybe she's trying to tell you she doesn't like the rocking?
ME: She does like the rocking. It's when I sing to her.
DR. B: Mmhm.
DR. B: I think it's YOU who likes the rocking.
ME: It's not me. It's part of our bedtime routine. After we finish reading, I hold her while I rock and sing to her.
DR. B: How are you holding her?
ME: Like, cradling.
DR. B: You're standing and cradling her?
DR. B: Mazzy's too old for cradling. Just put her in the crib. She's not a baby anymore!
ME: What? No. She loves the rocking and the cradling. If I put her in the crib, then she'll just ask me to rock her.
DR. B: So, then why don't you put her in the crib and wait for her to ask you? If the goal is for you to rock her…
ME: THE GOAL IS FOR HER TO GO TO BED.
DR. B: Are you sure?
DR. B: Well, if you are not comfortable just putting her in the crib, why don't you try rocking her without cradling her? Just hold her like you do normally.
ME: Okay, fine. But she's not going to like it.
That night, Mazzy fought me when I picked her up but as soon as she realized I wasn't going to force her into a cradling position, she relaxed. I swayed and sang with her legs wrapped around my waist and her head resting on my shoulder.
I have always loved the weight of my baby's head on my shoulder.
This works, I thought.
Dr. B is brilliant.
It continued to work for the next few nights.
Then, at bedtime less than one week later, I finished reading Mazzy her books, hoisted her onto my hip, was three words into my lullaby when—
"Go in crib."
"Go in crib."
Song cut short, I placed Mazzy in the crib.
Per her request.
Same thing happened the next night.
And the next.
Apparently, Mazzy is indeed too old for cradling.
Last night, I went straight from reading her bedtime stories to placing her directly in the crib.
"Night night, Mommy."
With that, I smiled a sad smile, swept the hair away from her eyes, kissed her forehead and said, "You know your aunt sucks, right?"