I could ascribe this to the fact that she was almost two hours late falling asleep, so all her subsequent wakes were just on a delayed schedule; but since I'm an optimist, I'm going to say it's a good sign. A better sign is the fact that I'm sure I heard her starting to wake in the middle of that period (because of course, I wasn't asleep) and then settle herself back without me. Maybe that happens every night too, but don't take this chink of light away from me, okay?
So I'll stick with it for a couple more nights. I want to clarify that we're not night-weaning (as is obvious from what I just said) - I'm just trying to help her learn to get to sleep initially without the boob. Because I'm hoping this will give her the tools she needs to resettle herself in the night-time wakeups without my help. (She doesn't know what falling asleep is. As far as she's concerned, she just nurses, and feels better. So last night when she was exhaustedly wailing "I want mumeet," what she really meant was "I want to fall asleep," she just didn't know it.)
I don't want to deny her the breast in the middle of the night because I know I would never have the gumption for that. This way, maybe I won't have to because she'll work it out herself. I think this is what happened with Monkey, but I didn't realise it at the time and was under the impression that his night wakes just stopped on their own. Mabel is not growing out of it, and her night waking is much more frequent than his ever was: she wakes first after two hours or less, and every couple of hours after that - more often if I'm not in bed with her. This is what I'm hoping to change. (B and I are a bit tired of nookie babyruptus, for one thing.)
We are still nursing to nap, because if I spent naptime trying to convince her to go to sleep any other way, she'd just stay awake for the two hours and I'd never get a break. I've read that it's okay to use different methods to get kids to sleep at naptime and bedtime, so I'm not too worried about this - ideally, I'd prefer to break her association with sleep and the boob entirely, but that's not an option right now. And giving up naps is not an option either.
And to address the question of why now, I'll admit it's more because I'm ready than because she is. But she's recovered from her cold of the weekend, she's not specifically teething, and yes, she's two and a half, but that's just something we all have to live with. I don't think she's in any particular sleep regression right now. On my part, I feel like I can do it now. We're not travelling anywhere till July, by which time I would really like to have effected a change in how she sleeps.
I sent B up when she asked for him, but he got increasingly shorter shrift: I think having me there, she had to take me seriously when I denied her. (Of course, this was undermined when I finally did give in, but let's not think about that just now.)
I'm trying to address the things that were brought up in the comments, but I don't want to sound all defensive. I am defensive, of course, but I don't want to bore you by explaining every tiny justification running through my mind. Any more than I have. Already.
This morning in the car, Mabel announced that now she's two and a half she can go to sleep by herself. We talked about how it was a hard thing to learn, and how it was hard for Monkey to get used to too, when I did it with him. He graciously offered to let Mabel have a sleepover in his room so he could help her go to sleep. Maybe I should just shut them both up together and let them have at it.