Friday, January 29, 2010

rockin' my baby

the past few nights, the critter, who has long gone to sleep easily and well, has asked to be rocked before he's put into his crib for the night. and at first, i was a little conflicted: should i do it? would it set a bad precedent and take away his ability to self soothe? would i be committing to a lifetime of having to rock him before he could sleep? and in the end, i just told myself to shut up and rock that baby. he's almost not a baby anymore already, and soon enough, he won't want to be held and cuddled and rocked on his mama's lap. and sometimes, consequences be damned, you just want to rock your baby! and i LOVE rocking my baby. he lays his head down on my shoulder and pats my back with his little hand or sucks his thumb or babbles quietly to himself about the dinosaurs on his pj's (boom boom boom, mama). it's the sweetest thing in the whole wide world, and i would not trade for anything the fact that sometimes he wants me as much as i want him. that's being a mama, i guess.

last weekend, i was telling my mother about a day a couple of weekends ago when the hippie and i blew everything off to take advantage of a nice day. we took the critter to the park and out for ice cream and made him late for his nap so we could play with him longer, and it was SO WORTH IT! and my mother, who is usually pretty negative about things but sometimes surprises me, told me she thought that was the Right Thing, and that sometimes you just have to take what time there is. she told me it reminded her of the poem my sister had cross stitched to hang in her first son's room when he was born--something about cobwebs settling and dust going to sleep and rocking the baby. all we could remember with certainty was the last line, "i'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep." that conversation and that line has been stuck in my head for days, and i keep thinking about it while i'm rocking the critter. i finally went and found the poem from which it came:

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

and while i know it's a bit silly of me, i can't read that without tearing up a little bit. i'm going to miss my baby being a baby when he's all grown up.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful poem! thank you for sharing. Don't feel silly - brought a tear to my eye too.

sgeddes said...

What a great poem - thanks for sharing that. I had someone get on me last week for not letting my little one begin learning to self soothe and cry himself to sleep.
I'll probably only have one chance at this whole experience, so there is plenty of time for self soothing later.

Kristi said...

So glad you decided to rock the baby! Evey's taken to not sleeping since she's been sick, and though I'm so, so tired, it's been wonderful to snuggle and rock at night.

The poem is one that I LOVE and have been looking for a print to hang in Evey's room since she was born. If you find one, do tell!

Allegra said...

Thank you for posting that wonderful poem. I think I will print it out and frame it or something. Put it in S's room somewhere. My sweet girl is almost 2 1/2 and I admit that most nights, I still rock her to sleep. She has fallen asleep on her own, in my rocking chair (while I'm sitting on the ottoman reading her a book) and other places (her beanbag chair for one). I look at it this way, sometimes it's the only time in the day that is truly peaceful and our "together" time, so I am going to milk it for all it's worth, because, like you said, someday she won't want to snuggle. They become such individuals so early on that I see it as a small piece of her that still needs to hold on to me :)