I was a lumberyard manager back in the day. I didn’t know it, but managing those clowns turned out to be great training for my job as a parent of young children. One of my favorite tricks, when I had to ask one of the guys to do a job I knew he was going to hate, was to tell him he couldn’t go home until he got that task, and about 4 others, done. The yard ape would always throw a fit over having so much to do. I would let him complain for a while, and wait for the horror of it to sink in. And when he was at his lowest point, I would let him off the hook, “Just kidding, just do X and you can go.” With great relief, he would bound off and happily get the job done.
This same trick can be used to get a restless baby to go to sleep. Here’s how it works: I start out by rocking the baby. This hardly ever gets him to sleep. He wants nothing to do with being held, and he thrashes around, elbowing me in the face and kicking me wherever he can. So we move to Phase 2; I put him in his crib and let him cry. Sometimes, he will cry himself to sleep. Usually, though, he’ll cry until I go get him (he’s lasted an hour before). So I let him cry for a while; long enough that he is beyond desperate to be held. Phase 3- I go in and let him off the hook. I pick him up, and he is so damn glad to see me that he melts into my arms, and bounds happily off to sleep.