I rocked my child to sleep until she was 3 years old.
Just lost a lot of readers, didn't I?
She really does go to sleep in her toddler bed all by herself most of the time. She is the child of an insomniac though, and she just has some nights she has a hard time going to bed. These nights tend to frustrate her dad and me, because we kinda count on that hour or two to just do life stuff. Or pick lint out of our belly buttons.
Tonight she was at the hour mark, and I went in with compassion instead of frustration. I relate so much to that feeling of awakeness in the dark. I said, "DD, you're really having a hard time falling asleep, aren't you?" She agreed. I said, "You know what I used to do when you were a little baby?"
And contrary to every parenting tip in the book, I picked up that no-longer-a-baby little girl out of her bed, swaddled her right up in her comforter, and rocked her just like I did when she was a little baby. (Eerily, she started making mouth movements like she was sucking a pacifier. Can she remember?)
I gently lifted her back into bed, still awake, and tucked her all in and all around, speaking softly to her about when she was a little baby. The effect on her was mesmerizing. She became serious and thoughtful, like she was searching her little mind for something. All protesting and stalling and chit chatting melted away.