I know in your blog you said you don't want to leave her to cry, and others would agree with you on that. Afraid I'm old school and at 20 months would be leaving to cry - she's enjoying your attention with the leg rubbing. But I guess that's not much help since you don't want to do that.
Sorry not a dad but a mum! Do you think maybe she's overtired? Is she napping enough in the day? Could you give her something (quiet) to play with when she can't sleep. Or invest in a nightlight projector - I have one for dd (only 8 weeks though) but she loves it! It sends her off too sleep, and your dd could probably press it to play again if she wasn't asleep when it finished. Ours is a Winnie the Pooh one from tesco if you do want a recommendation
This will pass - it doesn't feel like it - it never does - but before you know it shell be sleeping all by herself. Just don't do what my uncle did and have her in with you to sleep. His ds won't go in his own bed now because he's never had to. He's 11!!!
My 3rd is 2.6 now and still more likely to wake me than his baby brother. However around 22months we did do gradual retreat, so i started by stroking him in the cot for a few days and gradually moved out of the room. There were a few nights where i slept on the sofa in his room (at 7months pg) and when he woke up told him to go back to sleep.
After a week he stopped getting up in the night for hours on end and after 4 weeks i could pop him in bed and leave the room straight away, during that time we went from sitting in there for half an hour or so to gradually spending less time settling him.
He didnt like it at first and was quite angry that i wouldnt engage with him while he was going to sleep, hes very stubborn, which is probably why it took so long!
Like i say, hes still not fantastic but we probably get around 4-5 nights of sleep out of him now.
Its crap! None of my first 3 were good sleepers untill they dropped their day time nap.
I has this with my DD when she was 20 months too. At that age she understood what I was saying to her, so I would say - mummy will stay with you if you lie down. If you don't lie down, mummy's going to leave the room. And then followed through by leaving if she didn't lie down. I'd then stand at the doorway where she could see me, and repeat "mummy will stay with you if you lie down". It was a right old battle of wills and yea there were tears of rage. But now, she gets into bed, she lies down straight away and I stay with her til she goes to sleep. It used to take up to an hour but now she's asleep within minutes.
It's not the same as controlled crying because at that age, they understand you better. They know what they need to do to get you to come back.
Her routine is pretty much set. She has dinner between half 4 and half 5, bath time, story and finally bed. Nap time in the day is inconsistent, sometimes she naps other times she goes through the day wide awake.
I think one of the issues is that her 8yr old sister comes in from school around 4ish and obviously not seeing her all day, she gets very excited!
I allow them to play together but the oldest does have a tendency to make her a little bit hyper.
The nightlight projector suggestion is an excellent idea! I will look into that later on today.
At end of the day I know its just a stage most children go through and I am happy to just battle my way through.