thank you everybody, i think what i've gained over the last 24 hours is a little perspective and the collective agreement that i need to chill out a bit about this : ) it's just so hard when i can see a tired, cranky baby in front of me and know that she needs a nap but won't have one for another hour or needs to stay up another three hours before bedtime. and to the well meaning commenter who suggested that mae is traumatised by being left to cry for so long that of course she does not want to go to bed - i'm not upset by your comment because, of course, you don't have all the facts and are just responding to the limited amount of information that i parcel out here and there in random posts when i feel the need to vent. yes, i have done controlled crying with mae, as recommended by more baby books than i can possibly list here. this was in july, before our trip, when mae was finally well after weeks of various colds which had left her with no night routine whatsoever, wanting extra bottles and to get up for hours at a time in the middle of the night. when she was sick, i was happy to oblige with all of this, gave the extra bottles when she woke up extra times and stayed up with her when she decided she was too stuffy to stay lying down. but when she got better, these things became a habit and i just couldn't function with the lack of sleep. we hadn't done a proper controlled crying regime with her before but i was ready to try it then, i thought she was finally old enough for it to have some results. the first night was brutal. she cried for two hours straight, with me going in routinely to comfort her. it was heartbreaking and hard but i was also at breaking point after a year of frustrating sleep issues. if this was going to be our salvation for continued good nights sleep for the entire household, i was willing to see it through. the next few nights she went to bed with no crying but would still wake up once a night and cry for an hour, wanting a bottle which i couldn't give her as part of the whole controlled crying package. on the fifth night she slept through and she had two good solid naps that day for the first time in weeks. i felt like everything had been worth it. over the next few nights she started waking again, first for fifteen minutes, then for thirty, then for an hour. by the tenth night i thought, "screw this" and gave her a bottle so both of us could get some rest. i felt supremely disappointed that we had gone through the whole thing for nothing. then we went to canada and once she got over the jetlag (and when she wasn't teething in winnipeg), she was in a great routine of one bottle a night and she kept up the two naps - the three hour crying jag i mentioned in my last post was the first few days we were in canada, when we were trying desperately to get mae onto canadian time instead of staying up half the night with her. it didn't work and it wasn't fun. we resorted to just waking her up at 7am every morning, no matter what time she had finally gone to bed and that worked like a charm. since we got home, however, things have been chaotic: sometimes going to bed at normal time, sometimes 8pm, sometimes 9pm and yesterday i put her to bed at FIVE PM because she was nutso from too short a nap and desperate for sleep. and no, these random bedtimes are not because she is traumatised by her bed. this is a kid who will play in her cot for a good long time when she wakes up and who goes to bed very happily when she is tired. we have a bedtime routine at 6:30pm of bath, bottle, bed and have since she was 6 weeks old with no variations, even on time. the days when she is up until 9pm, we still do the same routine at 6:30pm, put her in bed and then get her up again when it becomes obvious that she's not ready for sleep yet. someone mentioned in the comments "I dont bother trying to get him to sleep until i see the signs, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to "make" or "wish" he would go to sleep." and i can so relate to that. that is where we are at right now. she doesn't hate her bed, or even going to bed, or even sleeping, but she will not go to bed when she is not tired. no siree.
anyway, yes, i will relax - see me relaxing? the one thing i am going to try is to get her up at 7am every day again. some days she sleeps in until 8am and that is LOVELY but it's not helping either of us have any idea of when the elusive daytime nap will occur. in theory, if i get her up at the same time every day, and feed her at the same times every day and put her to bed at the same time every day, she will then nap at the same time, every day. in theory.
thank you all for hearing me out, even if you don't agree with the methods i have taken to try to help my child and, let's be honest, myself, get some regular sleep. i appreciate this space to vent and share and hear your experiences and your opinions. i do. i really do : )