It’s always funny to see what topics come up among the company of women. They typically bend towards kids if you are a mom (which I used to find so annoying until I became one and now find it strangely soothing to commiserate with others), but also span through marriage, the upkeep of a home, friendship, fashion, etc. Though I’ve come to love these conversations, I continue to try and be careful about doling out unsolicited advice, especially on parenting. For one, I’m a parent of 1 and he is only 2 years old. I can in no way claim “expertise” on anything. But on the other point, I never want to be THAT PERSON who has an answer for everything or who claims their answer is the only solution.
A subject that has come up recently is the fact that my husband and I still rock our 2+ year old to sleep each night. Now, without getting into the many schools of thought on sleep training, this is apparently very bad as it doesn’t teach your kid to fall asleep on their own and this is apparently the end of the world and they will then spiral into all sorts of other hellish behaviour like thumb sucking and biting. They will then become the social pariahs of the playground, have no friends, end up on drugs and eventually become serial killers. Okay, so I broke off into a bit of exaggeration with that whole last bit, but really, I have been absolutely shocked at the reaction when I share this bit of news with people. You’d think I was committing some kind of abuse!
Sleep training has been fairly smooth for my husband and I. We tried various methods, including the whole cry it out method and frankly, I couldn’t handle it and neither could Little C. The theory that they will stop in 15-20 minutes and eventually surrender to bedtime immediately just did not come true for us, and I was a ball of anxiety and tears listening to that poor little boy scream for FAR LONGER than 20 minutes when all he wanted was daddy or mommy. I’ve heard the various schools of thought and yes, they do make sense to me. I just knew that it was not working for us.
The part that I have found particularly interesting is that no one has ever asked me WHY we rock him to sleep. The answer? BECAUSE WE LIKE TOO. Gasp! Can you believe it? But it’s truth. While daddy is usually on bedtime patrol, occasionally Little C wants mommy and mommy only, and bedtime for us is mostly blissful. There is something super fulfilling about holding his little body in our arms and lap, rocking quietly and watching his body slowly surrender and go limp with blissful sleep. We carefully lay him into his bed, kiss his warm little cheek and whisper “I love you. Night night.” And that’s it. Yes, it takes a good 15 minutes of our time but for us, it is precious and [rare] quiet time with our son.
I’ve been off bedtime patrol for a few months as being very pregnant, I can no longer get out of the chair with him in my arms without possible disaster. But tonight, daddy was out and I got to put that little one to sleep and wow, I loved every single minute of it. 23 minutes to be exact… but it only took that long because I didn’t have the heart to lay him down. I could not stop staring at his beautiful face. That baby soft skin with long, thick eyelashes resting sweetly on his little cheeks. I swear in that moment I saw this:
As a mom, I think I will always see this when I look at that little boy. He will always be my baby. My precious little weeks-old baby. That’s why these bedtime rocking sessions and all the other little parenting decisions we make are so important to us. Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone and we don’t claim it to be perfect parents (note: those don’t exist) but we have such confidence in this aspect of our daily routine. It’s precious time that we just don’t want to give up. Things may change when baby #2 arrives and we are okay with that. For the time being, man, there is no joy like a sleeping baby on your chest.