Feeling Sentimental

Barring a potential medical miracle (or medical incompetence, whichever way you choose to look at it), we are done having children.  That knowledge has helped me survive many of the challenges that child-bearing and child-rearing has brought my way.  I literally chanted "I never have to do this again" throughout my third pregnancy and delivery and during many a sleepless night.  It was also my refrain throughout The Week of the Potty Training (also known as Hell Week around these here parts.)

But knowing that R is my last and that I will probably never again experience the joys of babyhood and toddlerdom makes me want to savor every last moment I have (except the potty training; there is NO savoring THAT). 

One of my favorite past times is rocking my babies to sleep.  When my son was little, I used to rock him before putting him in his crib awake every night.  We would sing, and when I told him it was time for bed, he would say "One last more."  That meant he wanted one more song.  I always obliged.

When my first daughter came along, we got in the habit of coddling her to sleep.  She was (and still is) the high maintenance one (no apple and tree comments are necessary) and I used to walk around her darkened room, bopping up and down, singing lullabies until she would finally relax enough for me to sit in the rocker and rock her the rest of the way to sleep. 

My third child loves to cuddle and snuggle, but she is willing to let me sit in the rocking chair instead of bee-bopping around the room like her big sister preferred.  She is going to be three in October, and I still rock her to sleep for most naps.  (My husband often takes over at bedtime.) 

As I was rocking her today, she started out as she typically does, distractable, asking questions, moving around, shifting from my right shoulder to my left, finally arranging herself sitting beside me, my arm behind her back, her head resting against my cheek.  As her chattering stopped and her breathing slowed and grew heavy, I felt my own body relax, knowing the battle was won and she would soon be off to dreamland.

That’s my favorite part.  Once she’s asleep, I’m always reluctant to get up and put her in her crib.  Today as I sat and stared at her chubby toes and her skinned up knees and her sturdy toddler legs, it occurred to me how soon they would be long and lithe and gangly.  It won’t be long before she outgrows her naps entirely and eventually graduates to a twin bed, and I won’t be rocking her to sleep anymore.  And there will probably be no more babies to rock to sleep for a very long time. (I am looking forward to rocking my grandchildren with great anticipation.)

I know there are great times to come.  I enjoy the relationships I’m developing with my older children.  But there is nothing quite like a baby.

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30 thoughts on “Feeling Sentimental

  1. This was a very sweet post. As anxious as I am to be out of the baby/toddler stage, I know I will miss certain things terribly. Right now I am actually enjoying my third baby very much and have been so sad to see her get older. Just this last week she’s become a toddling pro.

  2. I too love the cuddly lovey baby stage, but do not miss it! I am enjoying every step of my children’s day to day “growing” and don’t think I am willing to go back to newborn stage again.

  3. Jo-Lynne, below is a verse my mom stitched for me when my boys (who today are 26 and 23) were babies. I’m lucky enough to have grandchildren now, but they’re already 7 and 3 years old. Time is fleeting. Good for you for treasuring these precious moments.

    Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
    For babies grow up, we learn to our sorrow
    So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

  4. It’s a bittersweet thing for me, my baby turned 7 today. Seems like yesterday I was rocking her to sleep and now she is squeezed in next to me in my recliner. Time flies.

  5. I cried the day my baby went to her big girl bed and did not require that I rock her anymore. She is now 11 and I love when she comes and sits on my lap and we snuggle. I miss my baby but I love my big girl. Parenting is full of moments that make you happy and sad all at the same time.

  6. It is such a dichotomous feeling watching them grow, leaving beloved stages in your wake, and knowing “you’re done.”

    Know you’re not alone…our twins turn seven this September…and I am not looking forward to the day when they no longer want to pile into their dad’s and my bed as soon as the clock says 7-0-0!

    Hang in there…many of us are in the same baby-missing boat with you!

  7. Oh you are so right…there is nothing quite like a baby…especially once they actually start to “get” who you are! It is a little saddening that there will be no more babies here either, but looking forward to all the new joys life has in store for our family 🙂 (Once we get past potting training, of course!)

  8. Oh, such a lovely sentimental post. Out little son is our last too, and I find myself savouring these precious moments more and more. It is wonderful to watch them grow and develop, but so bittersweet.

  9. My “baby” just turned 6 last month and I know the feeling. She still at times will climb in our laps and fall asleep, I treasure those times.
    The baby will always be the baby.
    Thanks for sharing your story today 🙂

  10. My son is 10 months and somedays I feel as if I would like another baby then I remember how much I hate being pregnant and not sleeping at night. He will always be my little baby. Even at 16….I feel bad.. really bad for his future girlfriends/wife… Yes… as bad as it sounds, I plan on being THAT mom.

  11. My baby is 25. It seems I was rocking her to sleep last week! Now she is expecting my first grandbaby. I anticipate much rock-a-bye baby in my future. Life has it’s cycles, thank you Lord!

  12. This is so true. I was just thinking the same thing the other day. I love to cuddle with my youngest. He will be 3 in September. It goes by so fast.

  13. It’s nice to know that one day I may miss these crazy days filled with an infant and a toddler. Right now, it is comforting knowing that I may never have to deal with the sleepless nights and terrible twos again…it takes a post like this to remind to savor these days and not wish them away! Thank you.

  14. So true! Time passes by so quickly! I’ve been having these exact same thoughts lately (except that we still have at least one more little one in our future…).

  15. So so true! I love to watch my little girl sleep. As full of energy as she is during the day, and how much I pray for some peace and quiet, it is always such a beautiful sight to watch her sleep so peacefully! I sometimes think ‘what if I have another’ and then look at my three and say, nah, each stage is a blessing in and of itself! Plus, who can afford another princess girl! ROFL

  16. That comment Arlene wrote? With the cross-stitch? My grandmother had that somewhere and I had TOTALLY forgotten it! I probably forgot it because it didn’t talk about cats.

    But really, thank you, Arlene.

    So, you’re saying potty training is really done? I am relieved FOR you.

  17. We’re at that stage with our second (and our last) — my hubby does bedtimes with her and he won’t give up the bouncing her to sleep because, as he says, “she’s such a great cuddler”. sniff.

  18. Enjoy the moments…and as they change and grow, new memories will come along to enjoy. I think I enjoyed my kids at each stage they were at. No regrets. Sure there are times when I could have done better, but I never had the “I can’t wait until my kids are grown up and on their own” feelings.

    And now that I have grandbabies, well…they are the best. I LOVE them!

  19. I remember rocking my first to sleep, 14 years ago (sigh), what a sweet time. My 3 year old is too wiggly to to want to rock andymore.
    Enjoy them while they’re young.

  20. I couldn’t agree more. My “babies” are now 6 & 9, and one of my favorite moments of the week are when they come over and cuddle with me for a momemt or two. They grow up so quickly!

  21. I know exactly how you feel. Our baby (and last) is 3.5 and I love rocking her to sleep. And I love holding her long after she’s asleep. I am totally cherishing every moment because I know they go by too fast. I can’t go back and cherish those sweet, tender moments with our 14 yr. old, and I wish I had spent more of them with him. I had no idea it would go by so fast!

    And Happy Birthday by the way! From what I can tell, your big day was the 2nd? That makes me only 2 days older than you! Looks like it was a fabulous day!

  22. What a refreshing post to read! I’m due to deliver our first little boy next week, and some mothers are so blinded by the frightening things they say to pregnant women about raising children. (Ex: enjoy your time alone; you won’t get it again for 20 years. sleep as much as you can; you won’t be able to anymore. wear your best clothes; they’ll all be covered in spit up soon.) It gets to be depressing! I cannot wait to rock my little one to sleep and admire his feet and toes and hair. Very encouraging post and much needed. Thank you!

  23. I so know what you mean… my daughter is 2 now… and will be 3 the end of January. She’s my baby. But she’s growing too fast! My son will be 4 in September and if you haven’t guessed yet… I had them very close together. Wore me out…

    Now that my daughter’s older… I’ve been thinking more and more about MORE BABIES. 🙂 How on Earth did you decide on three? Especially when you have one of each sex to begin with. I’m really weighing my decision… its so hard… many positives and negatives (well, not really negatives… but “have to’s if”).

    I’m still deciding… but it’s hard. The freedom of having them more independent right now is blissful… but holding a baby… and smelling their new smell… AH. BLISS! (Besides… I’m in potty training hell with both right now! :P)

  24. Hi! This is the first time I’ve posted a comment on a stranger’s blog… it’s a bit scary! I have been exploring the blogging world, and find it so fun and interesting. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for the post – like someone else said above it’s refreshing to hear the “nice” side of motherhood.

    I am pregnant with my first child, due September 10, and am so excited, but yet don’t want to be disillusioned. I hope I love it as much as I think I will. I’ve been dreaming about this for my whole life!

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