Alright, the longer story.
Elsie is all over the place with this whole putting herself to sleep thing. Sometimes she doesn't fuss one bit, and only takes 10-15 minutes of just kind of rolling around and rubbing the sheet to put herself to sleep. Sometimes she still screams like crazy and I have to go in a couple times to rub her back. And sometimes she just sort of complains but eventually goes to sleep without any assistance from me. Thus far it is hard for me to find any correlation between something going on prior to a nap and her crying episodes. It is definitely more difficult for her to go to sleep quickly when she gets over tired, but I still have a hard time gauging her sleepy signs. She'll be yawning and rubbing her eyes after 90 minutes, but if I lay her down she is pissed and doesn't fall asleep until the two hour mark. So I don't know.
Nap length is also a place where we are struggling. I know this is the point where I believe we ended up forcing Ryann in to a two nap schedule to try and help consolidate her nap hours, but Elsie just doesn't seem ready for that yet. She doesn't freak out when I keep her up longer than two hours, she is really a good baby and takes it, but I can tell she is tired and I just feel bad. So we're still doing three naps. Unfortunately sometimes she only makes it 30-40 minutes, and then she is just grumpy. I usually let her fuss for 10 minutes if she wakes up before the hour mark, and sometimes she'll go back to sleep, but not always.
quite the view to wake up to... on the to-do list, figure out where to mount the camera
Bed time can be touch and go too. She either needs to fall asleep nursing and be sound asleep when I put her down, or be fairly awake. Drowsy doesn't work for her, if I put her down pretty drowsy that is when she cries the most. It is so incredibly sad. Where I've seen the most improvement is the middle of the night. That is the one time where she almost never fusses or needs any help from me. In general I have to feed her once, sometime between 3:30am & 5:30am. I much prefer 5am or after (obviously) because then I can just get up and go run or get something done when she is back in her crib. And those nights she usually sleeps until 7:30-7:45am. On the days when I feed her between 3:30-4:30am she is up between 6:30-6:45am. There have been a couple nights that she has gotten up twice, and one night where the poor thing really did try to put herself to sleep after I fed her, for over an hour, and just couldn't. So I ended up going back in and nursing her a bit longer until she was asleep. I felt so bad. But really the middle of the night has been pretty good.
I'm hoping that we don't ever really need to deal with night weaning, and that she just does it on her own. Plus, I really truly don't mind the 5:00-5:30am wake-up, because at least then I can go run knowing that she won't need me for another three hours. And I don't have to deal with pumping. Because I hate pumping.
Aside from freeing me from spending hours trying to get or keep Elsie to sleep, my favorite part of this whole ordeal has been seeing the positions she ends up sleeping in. She instantly seems older and bigger to me, not all swaddled up on her back. For the most part she sleeps on her belly. Occasionally she falls asleep on her side, and once on her back, but she never sleeps as well like that.
As much as I hate this process, I still maintain sleep training Ryann was one of the most beneficial things for our family, and I hope that in a few more weeks I feel the same about our experience with Elsie. I know that there will be many things that might bring sleepless nights, but for the most part I am confident that Elsie will be able to be more independent in the sleep department.