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:
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.