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By contributing mama Erin K. Butler

Lately, I have been committing a parenting no-no.

I’ve been rocking my 10-month old daughter Katherine to sleep at night.

It all started after she came down with a head cold and was heavily congested. Since she typically falls asleep sucking on her two fingers and breathing through her nose, this cold was throwing a major wrench in her routine. So I started rocking her to sleep, knowing it would keep her upright enough to breathe better and doze off.

Yes, I know this is not supporting independent sleep habits and will most likely come back to bite me in the near future, but when your child is sick all bets are off.

And honestly, I secretly love it. In eight short weeks we will celebrate her first birthday and I am not handling it very well.

She somehow went from this:

to this:

and I am having a hard time remembering all the time in between. Though I know it exists. I have photos. Millions of photos. I believe I am single handedly supporting Shutterfly.

Turning one will bring a whole new level of independence. Walking, talking, and the beginning of her making her own choices.

I am not ready for the day she would rather walk then sit on my hip, run ahead rather than hold my hand, and eventually asks me to drop her a block from the movies instead of happily climbing on my lap.

So, even as her head cold and breathing improves, I continue to rock. It’s the feel of her tiny fingers touching my skin, her warm breath on my neck and the sound of her gentle snoring that keeps pulling me in night after night.

Sadly, it’s no longer a matter of her needing me to put her to sleep; it’s my inability to let her go.

“I don’t want her to get older. I want to freeze this time. I want her to always fit right there on my chest and soon I know she won’t. How do we stop it?” I sob to my husband after every forbidden rock fest.

My husband just hugs me. He doesn’t have the answer either and I know he wishes he did.

There were times when she was a newborn that I wished away time. The sleepless nights, the round the clock nursing, the exhaustion that I thought would kill me…but it didn’t and now I wish it didn’t go by so fast.

I have had her birthday dress and invitations picked out for months and we can’t wait to see her take the first bite of birthday cake. But there will also be heaviness in my heart as she silently transforms from an infant to a little girl.

Her first birthday is far from the end of incredible things still to come but it’s the end of this part of her life, this unforgettable baby part. And I don’t know how I’ll live without it.

So for now, I hold on tight and rock.

16 Responses to rock-a-bye baby

  • Tully's Mama says:

    I can't tell you how many times I feel just like you. Tully's 2 and we're back to rocking. It works and that extra time and snuggle is just what a mama needs. Great post, EKB. I loved it.

  • Bitsy says:

    I just enjoy when my older children say thanks on Mother's Day and write me a poem. I do miss those baby days, though. Now I just look forward to holding grandchildren. Nothing better than holding a sleeping baby.

  • Alethia says:

    Erin, this was so perfectly written. I feel the same things you do and am having the same thoughts about Jack turning a year. We too do the rocking thing every night, and it didn't even start because he was sick. I started rocking him because that is what I though mothers do. I now have been worrying about how I will eventually break this habit, but have decided that I am in no rush to do so and will let him decide when we stop this ritual. I think we equally enjoy it!

  • Erin says:

    Oh, you bring tears to my eyes because my baby will also be one in just two short weeks. Time goes so fast. You are a lucky mama, what a cuite and I love her hair!

  • JLB says:

    Hand me the tissues please.

    "Who's that crazy auntie that won't stop crying over the 1 year birthday cake??" Yes, that will be me 🙂 Nothing more wonderful than holding your little girl, feeling you are the luckiest mommy alive- to have a treasure in your arms to love, kiss, and hold…and to rock to sleep for as long as you shall want. kisses to baby K.

  • JoLynn says:

    What a gorgeous little sweetheart!!! And those cheek's!!! Does that have something to do with breastfeeding? All three of my boy's were breastfed and all three have chubby cheek's!! Good luck the day of the party!!

  • Mary says:

    Oh Erin this was beautiful! I too am struggling with time passing and knowing that Jameson will be 1 in less than 3 months. It may be a parenting no-no but I say go for it and am jealous! J won't sit still for the snuggling anymore but when I do catch those moments where he rests his little blonde head on my shoulder I just want to freeze time. Katherine is a beautiful little girl and you will always be her number one, even if she doesn't want to hold your hand!

  • Renee says:

    Thank you for another wonderful posting. You expressed what so many of us feel, but we all lack your gift for words. Bedtime is my favorite time of day. When Em falls asleep, and rests his head on my shoulder… I stay as atill as I can and enjoy every minute. For now, I hold him as often as I can. I figure he'll let me know when he's ready to get down. Keep writing… 🙂

  • Laura says:

    Erin, your story was so beautiful. It made me cry because I totally related. I feel the same way — you captured my thoughts and fellings exactly. Now that my little one is 3-years-old, my husband and I find ourselves talking about how she felt, smelt, and looked as a baby. We never want to forget all those memories of her as a baby. It feels so long ago, and at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday. Katherine is just beautiful! Post more stories soon!

  • This is a sweet, sweet post. Don't worry, though; it doesn't have to get sad…my daughter is 13, and she has just become more and more wonderful each year. Just when you think you couldn't love her more, your heart will burst with new growth. (And I have yet to be denied in public; yesterday, she ran up to me in the hallway at her school and hugged me!) We are so lucky to have daughters.

  • Jenny says:

    You are so on the money with this one…but Siena and Katherine are the same age, and I'm still waiting for Siena to look like a little girl! I'd say little K is lucky to have that head of hair!

    But don't fret, I hear it only gets better. Until they become teenagers.

  • Jordana says:

    My older daughter is 2 1/2 years and we still rock her to sleep. It will be soon enough that she doesn't want us to – I say savor every moment – if it's not a problem, then it's not a problem. And I feel for you with the getting older. I remember feeling so sad when her newborn clothes were too small! Happy birthday, Katherine!! Congrats, Erin ( :

  • Heidi says:

    What have you done to the hormonal mess of a friend that delivered a sweet little boy 3 weeks ago. Hormones aside, it's the writing! Way to go Erin…and Katherine too! If you squeeze them a little tighter does it prevent them from growing? Oh wait, it probably causes bruising and calls from CPS. I guess you can never savor moments in pictures, just try to live in them a little more. Will treasure my sleepless nights much more- thanks!

  • Annie says:

    You captured exactly what I feel on a regular basis with both of my girls. I just want to freeze time and keep them in this precious, care free loving state. Great post.

kelcey kintner