The Little Whiles

Annabel just went down for her nap and I have a list a mile long of things I need to do. But as I was rocking her to sleep, I started thinking about something I’ve been wanting to write about. Rocking her to sleep.

When she was brand new, I read time and again how I needed to put her to bed sleepy but awake. However, she always fell asleep while I was nursing her before bed and there was no way that I was going to wake my sleeping baby up just so that I could put her back to bed. No way in the world. So I didn’t. And I feared that this meant a lifetime of assistance going to sleep on her part.

I was partially right. At 14 months, I still rock her to sleep (or pat her back in her crib) every night…and every day that I’m home with her for naps. Several months ago this had me at my wit’s end. When I was working full time and had less time to get everything done around the house, I wanted nothing more than to feed her, give her a kiss, place her in her crib and walk out the door without a peep from her. That never happened. She always wanted and needed to be with me as she was falling asleep. There were multiple nights when I let her cry it out because she was fighting me to go to sleep. It was complete torture and I just never could keep it up long enough and consistently enough to have any real effect. I was frustrated, but we made it through and eventually things got easier. There are still some nights when she puts up a little fight and I end up putting her in her crib to cry for a minute so that she knows I mean business. When I return, she is ready to go to sleep and I rock her to sleep.

So now here we are at 14 months and my perspective has changed a lot. I no longer fear that I will have to rock her to sleep forever. Instead I realize that these months are fleeting and it has come to be one of my favorite times of the day, rocking her to sleep. If I’m being completely honest, there are nights when I wish Nathan could put her to bed (she will not have it!) so that I could just get my night started. But inevitably, every time, I end up looking down at her little face once she’s fallen asleep and staring at her. I can’t bring myself to put her down immediately. I just stare down at her noticeably bigger face and think for the millionth time how quickly she is growing up, how this will only last for a little while, and how soon it will be that she won’t want or need me to rock her to sleep. And the thought makes me sad. So instead of seeing it as a chore, I now see it as a privilege. I cherish those quiet and still moments, just me and my girl, when all she wants to do is snuggle into me and fall asleep in the most comfortable place in the world to her….my arms.

And I thank my lucky stars once again that she’s here. That she’s mine. And that I get to spend so much more time with her now.

And since I don’t have any recent pictures of her sleeping in my arms, I’ll share these because I love them. And let’s be honest, sometimes I put her in the stroller and take her out on a walk just so that she’ll fall asleep. Yep, it’s true!

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