Thursday, January 24, 2008

Holding on (to the Bean-girl)

I still rock her to sleep for her naps.

She's three years old, and I know she should be able to fall asleep on her own. At her preschool she readily joins the other children in nap time; she finds her own nap cot, lies down, and is out within a few minutes (so her teachers say). She's been able to do that for over a year, since she first made the transition to toddler naps in her old daycare center. But at home . . . she wants to be rocked. And her father and I have not been able to say No.

We don't want the fuss of a battle, or of making her cry. And she's so easy to rock to sleep: just five minutes or so in the rocking chair will do it. And although I can't speak for my husband . . .
I know that I like rocking her to sleep. I like holding her. I like feeling her against me.

She's getting so big. She's all dangly limbs spread out over me, not the compact weight of her infant sister. The dangly limbs go limp against me, her head rests comfortably on my shoulder, and her breathing deepens and slows. The hint of a snore. Her flying, tangled hair is in my nose, smelling of Johnson-and-Johnson's baby shampoo.

I won't have many years of this left. Soon she'll be closing her bedroom door on me, asking for privacy, pulling away from my touch with embarassment as she runs off to meet her friends at the mall. Already I can see her flying away from me; she's spending more and more time playing alone, independently, without the need for me by her side. Soon enough she'll be rolling her eyes at square old mom as she text messages her friends (or whatever it is kids will be doing at that time). She certainly won't be coming up to me with her arms raised, calling "I want to go up on you, Mommy!"

So yes, I still rock her to sleep. I still hold on, enjoying the feel of my first baby in my arms, the sweetness and the softness and the hardness of those growing limbs. The warmth and weight of her. I hold on, knowing that one day I'll no longer be able to.


TheMusingMommy said...

ahh, this is so made me cry! I agree...keep holding on because soon -- too soon -- you won't be able to.

arduous said...

What a beautiful post. You write so eloquently about motherhood. It makes me cry! :) In a good way.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a mother should ever feel guilty for wanting to rock her child. And you are right - she won't always want you to rock her. So I say, keep it up!

I rocked my now five-year-old until he was about four. He still is very affectionate, and kisses and hugs me freely. I hope that he always remembers our sweet, special times together.

You are creating such wonderful memories with her, and for her.

The bean-mom said...

Ah, thanks, all. And Ophelia, it's so nice to hear that you rocked your first child until he was almost four! I admit sometimes I feel a little embarassed admitting to other people that I still rock Bean-girl, or "baby" her in other ways. So many "shoulds" in how we're supposed to raise our kids and make them grow up. And then it's always nice to hear that (shhhh!) yes, your friend or neighbor is also ignoring the "shoulds" and doing the same as you!

ScienceMama said...

She already thinks she is better than you are...

But really, this is a wonderful post. I love the image of long-limbed Bean girl sleeping on her mama.

Life As I Know It said...

Hold onto it as long as you can!
We rocked our oldest until he was about 2 when he didn't want to anymore. But until he was 4 we sang him to sleep. Twinkle Twinkle and You Are My Sunshine.
Now, at 6, he sometimes doesn't even want to be tucked in!

Rana said...

"I hold on, knowing that one day I'll no longer be able to"

and that will be the day of the Return. the return of sneaky cat!