I'm very happy to share with you, Reader, that Chloé continues to sleep through the night. Most of the time.
It truly is heavenly. The only [tiny] problem is that I've become used to continuous sleep, so that when she wakes up and I have to comfort her I'm unable to fall asleep, although it generally doesn't take long to get her back to sleep. A small price to pay, I suppose.
We have friends who are still fighting to keep their son (who is the same age as Chloé) asleep through the night, and I definitely see similarities with what we were doing before. It seems these kids are just taking advantage of what we give them. Fair enough. They figure, I cry, they come. I keep crying, they don't leave. Yeah. I have total control. We apparently didn't mind being manipulated - until this manipulation was helping no one. She wasn't sleeping alone, in our arms, or even in our presence. At that point, something had to change.
I'd like to tell my friends that at this point, they may have to let him cry a little. I didn't like the "cry it out" theory when she was 2 months old, and I know parents whose children at such a young age responded very badly to this method - screaming until they puked, for instance. But at 18 months, our kids can do and handle a lot more. And unless you've chosen to have your child sleep in your bed with you (and if this is still working for everyone involved), they probably need to learn to sleep and fall asleep on their own.
And I think this was the most important lesson. After learning that she could just lay down in her bed and sleep without mommy's or daddy's shoulder, everything became simpler. Going to sleep in the evening, and staying asleep in the night (which is often waking and going back to sleep again). She still cries a little, of course, but if she's tired, she sleeps.
Now if only I could sleep...