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.
You want me to sing? What do you want me to sing?
Somewhere Over the Rainbow?
Noooo. Twinkle Star.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?
Nooo. Hckry Dock.
Hickory Dickory Dock?
You Are My 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.
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