We've always pulled out all the "sleep aids" possible for Son 1: nightlight, lamp on, music CDs playing, books to look at after we leave, stories prior to leaving, etc. It's really a wonder he gets any sleep at all, now that I think about it. Nonetheless, we've always used some or all of these things to help the process.
Then two nights ago, he says in his tiny voice: "I don't need any books." Then, as I was leaving his room, "could you close the door? And turn off the lamp?"
"...and shut the door all the way."
Um, OK, I say. It pained me to leave him in a room with the only light coming from his little sailboat nightlight. With the door completely shut. What if he wimpered? Or breathed loudly? Or turned over? Or worse, called out for me and I couldn't hear him in my room a whole 10 feet away?
But I obliged, and hubs and I spent the next 30 minutes scratching our heads. Our son had grown up overnight. Or, in not so many words, told us he's learned to live without all the crutches for sleeping.
One of my sisters who is a veteran mom and I mean that in the nicest way, told me once that when one of my children is crying, the reason is not as important as helping him not cry. So stop analyzing, she would say, and start comforting.
So I suppose I should stop analyzing my son's sudden desire to be alone with his thoughts, and add this to my list of the mysteries of parenting. Which is growing by the minute.