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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our Special Song

Sometimes parenting is a by-the-seat-of-your-pants deal.  Okay, it is oftentimes this way.  When my daughter was transitioning away from bottles, I found myself at a loss as to how to put her to bed.  It had been our ritual that I rock her, while giving her a bottle.  She wouldn't always fall asleep, but it was her cue that it was that time.  I'd place her in her crib and she would talk herself to sleep.  So when we decided it was time for her to move beyond the bottle, I didn't know how to give her those sleepy-time cues.

The very first night, I walked into her room with her, shut out the light, and sat down in her rocking chair with her.  Out of nowhere, I started singing her a song.  I'm sure it's a mixture of songs I heard as a child, or when I was a nanny, but it wasn't one I'd consciously thought of before that night.  I began singing the "goodnight song" as it has now become known.  I worked my way through our family, singing good night to each of them, ending with a good night to her.  Anyone who's heard me sing before knows I belong nowhere near a recording studio or Broadway, but she didn't seem to mind.  After the song, I kissed her and told her I love her, and placed her in her crib.  It worked.  She talked herself to sleep that night as she had so many others, and didn't even notice the missing bottle.

There came a time when she no longer wanted to cuddle before bed.  As she got older, our nighttime routine shifted to stories, shows and sippy cups full of water next to her.  So I was surprised a few weeks ago when she asked me to rock her and sing her "special song".  I had no idea she even remembered it.  I happily pulled her into my lap, rocked her back and forth and sang to her as I used to when she was littler.  She snuggled in close to me, closed her eyes and relaxed.  She's asked me several times since; it's kind of becoming our thing.

She and I have a running joke.  She climbs into my lap while we are playing and I tell her that I am going to keep her there forever.  She smiles up at me and says, "you're just kidding, right Mama?"  I tell her that I wish I could keep her there forever, but I know I have to let her go some day.  It'll be slightly easier to do, knowing she has things like these tucked in her memory.

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