I still rock Gabbie to sleep almost every night.
That isn't to say that she can't fall asleep on her own. She totally can, and does, every day at nap time. Then there are some nights when I know she's really tired, but she just can't seem to settle down in my arms. She twists and turns, flip-flops between sides, and starts to get cranky. On those nights, we take her upstairs, give her a goodnight kiss, and tuck her into her crib. She usually flips over and falls right to sleep. And even though that's kind of nice some nights, I still find myself missing the cuddle time, since it's hard to pin her down when she's not falling asleep most days.
The other nights, though, we have a routine of sorts. When she's ready to go to sleep, she walks up to me and lifts her arms. Then, with her head nestled in the crook of my arm she pulls the hand of that arm down around her back and grabs my other arm and pulls it around her. She wants, it seems, for me to hold her tight, and I, of course, have no problem with this. Once she has me in position, she usually drifts off within a minute or two. If I dare move my arm to do something ridiculous like move my hair out of my face, she looks at me and waits patiently until I'm done. Then she puts my arm back to where she wants it.
Sometimes she rubs my arm while she falls asleep, which is adorable, but also tickles a lot. I take it for as long as I can, but some nights it tickles too much. Then she can't fall asleep because she's not being held right, and those are the nights when she usually either falls asleep on her dad or in her crib.
Lately she's been waking up at around 5:30 in the morning, and we've been bringing her into bed with us for extra cuddles until it's really time to wake up. And just like at night, she snuggles up to me (or to her dad some days) and pulls my arms around her until they're arranged just right. And then we both drift back off to sleep, cuddled up tight.
Even though it's time consuming and sleep interupting to get her to sleep, and back to sleep, this way, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Soon enough she's going to be to big to rock to sleep, or not want to crawl into bed with me for a cuddle. She's only a baby for such a small portion of her life, and I'm determined to get as much of this in as I can. And I'm also glad I have this space in which to write about this, so that after she is too big for all of this, I can look back and remember more clearly how things are these days. Things are wonderful.