Rocking Chair

by Ginger on December 2, 2011

in Mom Thoughts

Come on buddy, it’s time to go night night.

NO NIGH NIGH Rocking chair.

Well, yes babe, we’ll do rocking chair first.

***

We didn’t really have a night time ritual when Jackson was a baby. We’d read a book most nights, or sing others. Sometimes a few minutes rocking, but more often than not, he just wanted to go to bed himself.

As he’s gotten older though, we’ve gained a process. There’s teeth brushing and flossing. There’s the drinks of water he wants (but only, in the most hilariously dainty way, from a never used for its intended purpose medicine dosage cup). There’s the game of night night, played on our bed, complete with cartoonish snoring.

The ritual shifts and changes as he goes through phases. For a while, bedtime required my attendance for up to 2 hours in a darkened room waiting for him to fall asleep. For a while, we always read the same book (Pinocchio, twice at least, if not 4 times).

The ritual now involves reading a book or two (though it’s not actually reading, more summarizing what we’re looking at on each page)–Dumbo or the Sword in the Stone are his current obsessions–before we start the “rocking chair” process.

No matter what else has happened in the day, I’ve been trying to savor our Rocking Chair time. I sit in the chair while Jackson brings me every single thing on his bed (two blankets, one small pillow, and at least two if not more stuffed animals). I send him over to turn off the light, leaving us with the nightlight and the starry sky turtle to light our little ritual. He climbs in my lap, nestles into my left arm while I cover him with the blanket, and we begin.

***

Sing momma.

You want me to sing? What do you want me to sing?

Rainbow.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow?

Noooo. Twinkle Star.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

Nooo. Hckry Dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock?

No. Sunshine.

You Are My Sunshine?

Yup. Sunshine.

***

I don’t know where I got the songs. I remember him being tiny and crying and trying to remember a lullaby, any lullaby. At one point, I sang him Death Cab For Cutie’s I Will Follow You Into the Dark, but that started to make me cry too much when I did it. Somewhere along the way I picked up my two fallback songs, You Are My Sunshine and Somewhere Over the Rainbow (though I really don’t sing that one very well), and as we’ve gotten into toddlerhood, I’ve added some traditional nursery rhyme songs: Twinkle Twinkle, Hickory Dickory Dock, etc.

For the longest time, I didn’t think he really cared about me singing to him. Until we started doing this rocking chair thing, in fact, it was something I only pulled out of my bag of tricks on rare occasions because he just never really showed much interest. Now though, he asks me to sing every night. He’s enraptured, curled up in the crook of my arm, face up to me as I sing.

***

One moar sunshine. One, one moar sunshine momma.

Ok baby, one more sunshine.

***

One day, when we sat down, Jackson said “Sing,” and I went through my entire limited repetoire, naming all 5 or 6 songs we normally sing. He was having none of them. So I asked him, “baby, what do you want me to sing?”

His response? Rocking chair. Said definitively, with authority.

I’m not a good maker-upper of songs (or stories, for that matter). N.C. is awesome at making songs out of anything, but me? Well, I clearly can barely remember the songs I KNOW, much less make up another one.

But the little man wanted a song about rocking chair, so, I tried to oblige him.

***

Rocking chair. Sing. Rocking chair.

“Rocking Chair. Rocking Chair. We’re rocking in our rocking chair. We don’t have to go anywhere when we’re rocking in our rocking chair.”

“Rocking Chair. Rocking Chair. We’re rocking in our rocking chair. Momma and Jackson sitting there, rocking in our rocking chair.”

***

I never said I was a songbird.

But it worked, and it stuck. Now the rocking chair song is in the same rotation as Sunshine and Twinkle. But to be honest, we almost always end the night singing the Rocking Chair song before actually getting in bed. The melody is simple but sweet and calm. And of course, what kid doesn’t like to star in their very own story or song?

It’s become, for now, our little ritual. Who knows how long it will last, but for now, those are a few moments of calm that I love.

I think he does too.

***

One moar Rocking Chair momma. One moar. Jackson happy rocking chair. Momma happy rocking chair. One moar happy rocking chair. Happy, happy Jackson happy happy Momma rocking chair.

Yes baby, we’re happy in our rocking chair. Happy happy Jackson.

Happy, happy Momma.

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Mama Durso December 2, 2011 at 7:58 am

Ginger, this post is beautiful. I’ve got misty eyes from reading it. I think you need to bookmark this one and every time you feel guilty about working and missing Jackson’s class party/recital/whatever, you need to come back and read this and realize what an wonderful Momma you are.

jana December 2, 2011 at 9:27 am

Oh my, this is so sweet, and so familiar. Lovely.

Ally December 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

This post brought tears to my eyes!! What a sweet little boy you have 🙂 It really makes me look forward to moments like that in the future with my little Sophie 🙂

Tara December 3, 2011 at 6:56 am

They’re good, aren’t they? I swear, kids know just how to sprinkle in the awesome with the frustrating. Every once in awhile, I get one of these nights, and it’s always amazing.

MommyBot December 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

This is the sweetest. I miss the snuggling and rocking so much. But then, now I have a little songbird myself. And that’s wonderful, too. A beautiful post. A treasure.

Sheila December 4, 2011 at 8:54 am

That is almost exactly what we do. I’ve always sung to my son a lot, but he has definite preferences when it comes to bedtime. All the Pretty Little Horses? Nope. Sleep, Baby, Sleep? Don’t even think about it. “We Will Rock You”? Oh yes. But I change the words to be about putting on pajamas.

He’s always asking for songs that don’t actually exist. One night he demanded a song about a musk ox! So I take the tunes of other songs and make up songs about whatever he wants. It’s such a fun time of day.

Ashley // Our Little Apartment December 6, 2011 at 5:45 am

Oh, this brought tears to my eyes! You did such a wonderful job painting a picture. 🙂 I love it.

I am a terrible, awful singer – but my singing somehow calms Gabe. (And remembering songs? Forget it! I’ve got – “Hush Little Baby,” “Rockabye Baby,” and this stupid Barney song – I love you, you love me, blah blah blah.)

kate December 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm

What a sweet post. I love hearing/reading the dialogue between you guys, too. I laughed out loud about the medicine cups for water because Beckett insists on doing the same thing. And, I reminisced on my early days of motherhood with Beckett and my inability to find a single song I knew all the words to except for Christmas carols and Do-Re-Mi. 🙂

Trina December 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm

So sweet! Thank you for sharing these moments.

clara December 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Love it. Really sweet.

I remember singing to my boys too; #1 was Misguided Angel by the Cowboy Junkies and #2 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Christa the BabbyMama January 19, 2012 at 8:07 am

I am not ashamed to say this made me tear up at my office. I never knew any lullibies, so my standard baby songs were I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Voi Che Sapete from the Marriage of Figaro, and If I I Loved you. (I used to do opera and theatre, so…) For a while, the Babby would say “Mama, stop singing…” Then she started requesting songs again. I miss singing to a baby. I love singing to my Babby.

Jennifer January 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I remember when my Big Girl was about that age, or maybe a little younger, she would say, “rock the baby?” She always wanted to be rocked before bed. I miss that sometimes.

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