So here's how nap time goes. I tell him, "Dylan its time for a nap" (mind you, I have already given him a 15 minute, 10 minute, 5 minute and 2 minute warning), to which he promptly replies, "No!" and then shouts, "I donwanna!" all the way up the stairs while crying. Soon after I leave his bedroom, the crying stops.
About ten minutes later, I hear his doorknob turn and say very loudly and meanly, "Dylan, get in bed!" Another ten minutes go by and the door opens about a half an inch, enough for me to see one of his eyes peeking. So I lumbar loudly towards the door, it shuts quickly and I hear his little feet run for his bed. Then in about five minutes, the door starts to open again and I charge into his room, pick him up, give him a light swat on the butt I doubt he can even feel through his diaper (and to which he replies with a violent scream) and tell him, "Go to sleep!" while placing him in his bed. A few short minutes later, I hear him dump out of his bucket of cars, which he proceeds to play quietly with for an hour and a half before emerging from his room, faking a yawn and giving me a big, all too charming smile.
So why go through this little dance if he doesn't even nap? Because I keep thinking he might. By 5:30 every night he becomes unbearably grumpy or has trouble keeping his eyes open. He has even fallen off his stool while eating dinner before because he fell asleep mid bite!
So today, it was about 12:45, and we had been through the first 20 minutes of this little production when I thought, "This is incredibly stupid. He's been up since 6am, he's been yawning for half an hour, he's been running around all morning, I know he's tired." So I open his door (which sends him running for his bed--as if that's ever solved anything), pull up his quilt and sit down on the floor next to his bed. I say nothing else, but just start to stroke the side of his face and sing. After 4 or 5 primary songs, he was fast asleep and snoring just a little bit (he's had a slightly stuffy nose the last couple days).
He's never had any trouble going to sleep on his own. The first day we sleep trained him, he cried for an hour before he finally gave out and went to sleep for a nap. That night, he cried for 30 minutes before going to sleep. The first time we decided not to get him out of the crib during the night, he woke up once, cried for 20 minutes, went to sleep and has pretty much slept through every night without interruption since then. He can soothe himself to sleep just fine. But if he needs a little attention to wind down in the afternoon and go to sleep and it means a better evening for all of us (not to mention not having to play this silly game every day), I'm happy to give it. And I'm happy to have him asleep!