My oldest daughter is almost 6. About 5 years ago, I broke her. I didn't notice at the time. It was only a tiny crack, surely it would mend itself and my cookie would be fine. Oh no. High temperatures made that crack larger and larger. When my younger daughter was born, my mistake was brought into light.
Bedtime became an hour long affair on a good night. What was wrong with her? Why doesn't she stay in her room? Why does she fight sleep? Maybe it's just the new baby, maybe she needs more mommy at bedtime.
2 years later, my 2 year old sleeps like a champ, my 4 year old thinks that sleep is a horrible horrible thing that should be avoided at all costs. Even the sanity of her mother.
I knew then that it was me. It was 100% my fault that my oldest daughter hated bedtime. She spent the first 4 years of her life falling asleep on me or by me or with me. I couldn't change this behavior in 2 nights. This was going to be a fight. One of us would come out alive and not remember a thing. The other one would be traumatized beyond belief.
She doesn't remember the nights I spent crying outside her room begging who ever would listen to wave a magic wand and make it work. I cried more than she did.
My younger daughter came out fine in the sleep department because I spent so much time working on the oldest that I didn't have time to break the baby.
It has been almost 2 years since I started trying to fix the problem I created. My youngest is still a great sleeper, my oldest is getting there. She comes out of her room for something and USUALLY goes right back with only a passing, "good night, mommy."
My begging was answered, a magic wand was waved, albeit very slowly. My daughter sleeps now, because I had the courage to stand up to myself and fix ME. I enjoyed holding her as a baby. I enjoyed laying with her in her toddler bed at 2. Did she need me there? ABSOLUTELY NOT. That was all about me. And it is not fair to my children to take the easy way out. Sometimes, I want to go cuddle with a girls after I put them to bed. Luckily, I have gotten stronger and I know better. I'll cuddle with them in the morning, when we are all not in danger of breaking anything.