I would say its expected a bit, some tossing a turning at times. Each day he has different experiences, growing pains, amount of nap, food eaten....so every bedtime is a little different?
I know its frustrating that they don't always snuggle down and drift off when its time...but we can't expect every night to be identical.
How 'bad' is it? 20% of the time for 20 minutes?
Your wriggler sound like my second who refused patting, rubbing or bouncing and preferred a clam hold when he was ready!
your presence seems to be all he needs. it's very common for children to need to wind down. as mine get older, it seems to be taking longer. they are actually full-on jumping up and down on the bed until the minute they crash!
I've been watching my son's patterns and it seems like he has a much harder time falling asleep when he doesn't get his naps at daycare (he is in a room with a baby that cries and wakes the kids up sometimes). He's been cuddling with me and passing out (or so it seems), then after about 5 minutes he pops up and starts babbling. I guess he forgot to tell me something before going to bed. He gets very restless until I hold him tight (the clam hold?) which he fights for 5 seconds and then passes out. I'd say about half of the time it takes between 45-60 minutes for him to get down, and the other half about 15-30 minutes. My biggest problem right now is that I do such a good job making the room comfy and getting him to sleep so I fall asleep too. I guess there are worse things than getting to bed early (even though I regret it in the morning and see the mess I didn't get to clean up and the homework I didn't get to do).
What is the calm hold? I really thought you meant clam hold because I was actually calling it that before you posted that by mistake. I kind of hold him in my arms and let him spin and fuss but don't let him get away - kind of like my arms are the clam shells and he is my squirmy pearl. I can usually tell if it is helping or just making him more mad - in which case I let him go to wriggle it out.
I've been debating on waking up early to get my stuff done but he's been noticing when I leave the bed and then he wakes up early too. I think I'm going to stop taking classes after I'm done with these so I can submit to getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night with my son. I know, torturous. hehe...