The last few nights, as i rocked my little man to sleep, i have been thinking and thinking about the "sleep process" for us mothers of babies.
I have many friends who i go back and forth with on sleep habits of babies. There are so many strict methods. Theres the Ferber method, and the baby wise method. I know there are so many other methods, but they seem to be the two that i know the most about. And even though these methods work and babies sleep through the night (or at least fall asleep (cry asleep) fast) i guess i don't know if it really works. Babies are not robots. Just because they fall asleep doesn't mean they are going to stay asleep. And personality plays such a big part. I have parented my three babies the same since they were infants. Well, not so much parented them the same, i have used the same method to get them to sleep. I rock them. Oooooo, now i know a bunch of you just gasped because that method is so terrible. To you, i say Whatever.
Anyone who knows me knows that since Jeromy and I had our first baby together, i have not slept through the night. Seriously. I can count on one hand the amount of nights that i have went to bed and slept uninterrupted. My gosh, I used to nurse Ruby to sleep and then panic about moving from the couch to her crib. It was like she felt the drop in elevation and would cry and i would have to start all over again. I remember worrying night after sleepless night that i would never sleep again. I spend hours upon hours rocking Ruby in front of her crib. Standing and rocking in the middle of the night is not an easy task. I would feel dizzy and just want to fall to the ground i was so tired. But, alas, i would rock her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...
Then Laney came along and we bought a cheap glider. I was getting smart. I knew there was no way i was just going to "lay her down" to sleep, so i planned ahead. I knew i would be going from one room where i was standing rocking my baby to the other room where i got to glide my other baby to sleep. And that's exactly what i did. Like a stealthy ninja, i would go from room to room in the middle of the night, making sure i had my hand in the door so it would shut silently. I would turn the knob before i pulled the door for complete peace. It worked. I mean, i felt crazy, but i didn't wake anyone after i rocked them for the 98th time that night. I felt desperate to get sleep. I would even bargain with God. Please, just let me sleep through the night, give me a few hours, i can't do this... But before you knew it, i would be up rocking someone back and forth, back and forth. I would remind myself that i was mad at God. (i know, totally lame) the only thing is, i would forget and that next day as i sat down to pray, i would say Ooops, that's right, I'm mad at you. It was bad. I was tired, and it was bad. The rocking had to stop. Or i was going to take a long walk off a short pier, if ya know what I'm saying.
Well, woudlnt' ya know it, along came Junior and we got smarter yet, we got a lazy boy recliner to put in his room. Hey that glider was nice for a few minute, but after a few hours, my behind hurt and i wanted to scream. The recliner. That was going to be like a little cloud. Plus Jeromy promised me that if he just had a recliner, then he would have no problem getting up and rocking the baby. This was going to be good. I was going to have back up for the bad nights and a comfy spot to rest my weary body. Well, wouldn't ya know Junior wasn't the best sleeper either? Funny. (But totally not in a haha way) So i rocked, and rocked. Alone that first year because he only wanted me, and how could Big Jeromy argue with that. (In fact, he never actually followed through on that promise) Nice, huh? So rocked we did. But for some strange reason, i didn't have the overwhelming feeling i did with the girls. I savored my time with him. I didn't care how many times a night i had to get up, this was my baby. My sweet little boy. It may have been different because i knew this would be the last one i would be rocking.
When Laney was a baby, and i visited a friend of mines house. She was admiring the baby stage and reminicing. I'll never forget that conversation. As we were talking about sleep habits and i was complaining about my lack of one, she chimed in "but don't you just cherish that time alone with her?" I remember thinking, Cherish? Ummm, no! I have plenty of time alone with her, i am ALWAYS rocking someone!! Well, that was years ago now, but i still think about that conversation. She was so right. That is the advice that adopted as my own. Enjoy that time rocking them. They are only young once.
As i rocked Junior to sleep this afternoon and watched him slowly drift into neverland, i felt so content. This is what motherhood is. These are the moments that are gone in the blink of an eye. Why would i want to "Ferber, or baby wise" my baby? I want to hold them. They are my heart. It is such a special thing when you can hold, snuggle,connect, just bond with your baby. Sure there are critics. I have ALOT of them, but i don't care. I believe my kids have benefited from the love and security they have found in my arms.
A friend of mine is a mother to 4 and has been very strict with her kids. They are so well behaved and wonderful , but she never was a fan of rocking.(and she does just about everything right) She just didn't do it and her kids never seemed to need it. They slept well because of the routine they had become accustom to. They are loved dearly. But now this friend is adopting a baby and we talk often about the excitement of it and how things will change and what she will do differently. And one of the things they recommend is, sleeping with your baby. Creating a bond. She says its going to be different. Her parenting style will change with this one. It is so important to "attach" with your precious new baby. They are new to the family and have to attach or there may be some unusual struggles and one way they do that is being very hands on....rocking them.(Gasp!)
Now, that's adoption, but as i sit and think, i wonder, if that's the best way to connect with a new baby you are adopting, wouldn't it be a great way to love your babies all the time. Rocking. Comforting. Loving.
It doesn't matter how you get a baby or why you are holding them, i think there is not greater joy than rocking those precious souls to sleep. And hey, i may have to do it until my kids are 22, but that's alright with me. I will know that their schedule comes before mine, and it always will...even in the middle of the night.
So, rock on mothers who rock.. I know we are few and far between, but as i sit and see it with my own eyes, they grow up so fast. Its an age old saying, but a true one. These years are gone in an instant. And i don't want to look back and wish i had spent more time holding my beautiful angels in my arms.