Re: nighttime help, how to get her to cosleep?
Ok, this is going to sound dumb so please don't take it the wrong way but if she gets in bed with you and goes nuts playing, then bringing her in bed is obviously not helping so don't do it? How does she go down at bedtime? I mean, do you rock her to sleep or just put her in bed awake or what? I think babies are really receptive to routines and "cues" so if you can do the same thing when she wakes up in the middle of the night that you do at bedtime, that might help some.
How old is your daughter? What is waking her up? Has she recently (or is she about to) hit a big milestone (talking, walking, crawling, etc.)? I know that with DJ, when he hit those milestones, he would wake up in the night and get so "excited" about practicing that it was hard for him to wind back down and go back to sleep. Luckily with him I had the secret weapon (he *ALWAYS* nursed to sleep!) I think James is going through the same thing now. He wakes up and crawls around his bed, practices signing, talks and sings, etc. I usually try bringing him into my bed but if he doesn't settle down pretty quickly, I move on to something else (I can't risk him waking up DJ too!) Basically, I try to keep everything as dark as possible, talk in a soft voice, etc. I remind him that it's still sleepy time over and over. Lots of times I can put him in the sling and he'll go back to sleep pretty quickly. I think because he's kind of squished in there where he can't really move too much, it forces him to relax and wind down. Also, he's always loved going to sleep in the sling and now that he's bigger, about the only time he gets in there is when he's going to sleep so it's kind of a cue for him.
How much sleep is your daughter getting? James has recently taken to waking up at 4 a.m. ready to play for the day. No matter what I do he's not going back to sleep. I've tried keeping him up later but it doesn't really help...his internal clock is just ready to go at that time. DH gets really frustrated by it but I know this too shall pass. If I don't feel like fighting it, I'll just take him in the living room and put him down to play while I lay down on the couch and doze. It's not great sleep because I'm still listening out for him but it's better than nothing.
When you go on the trip, if you're driving, I'd recommend taking a pack-n-play or something like that. It won't take up much room in the car and if you're not used to co-sleeping, it will probably be well worth it. Otherwise, check with the hotels...I think most of them have cribs or something available if you ask for it.
It's not a quick fix solution, but I have heard lots of people recommend the book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. You might find some suggestions in there.
Good luck...I know it's frustrating...hang in there and enjoy your vacation!
Barbara - Unexpectedly back after a long hiatus...anxiously awaiting #6!