Love, Lullabies, and Watching Your Baby Grow Up

Love, Lullabies, and Watching Your Baby Grow Up (Photo: Small child in a thick jacket and hat walking on a sidewalk next to snow)

Opening my mouth, I started to sing the lullaby I had sung to my two-year-old every night for the past year. “Christopher Robin and I walked along, through branches lit up by the moon,” I warbled off-key. Locking eyes with his big blue ones, I saw him shake his head.

I stopped singing.

“You don’t want me to sing?” My voice went up a half-octave. Another head shake and a finger pointing to his crib.

Blinking my eyes and sniffling, I laid him down. “Okay then. I love you sweetheart,” I sighed, then touched his cheek.

Turning out the lights, I remembered a tapestry of the times I sang to him before. Sitting in his blue overstuffed chair, his small body nestled in the crooks of my arms. Him sitting up on my lap, his silky hair brushing against my chest. His body stretched out and little legs rhythmically whacking the side of the chair in joy.

I wondered how such a little person could break my heart so soon. Of course, he’s always tried to act older than his age, from his birth almost a month early to climbing on every piece of furniture in the house. But I didn’t expect him to tell me to stop singing until he was at least old enough to talk!

Logically, it’s appropriate to phase out the lullaby I used to wean him from nursing to sleep. After all, he’s in the middle of transitioning from being a baby to a full-blown kid. Although most of his language is incomprehensible, he’ll be putting together words into sentences soon enough.

In fact, we’ve already started to transition into a more “grown-up” bedtime routine. Just as we do with our older son, my husband and I now share with him what our favorite things were that day. He doesn’t have the words to share his own answers – yet. But the way he breaks out into a wide-mouthed grin when we mention things he enjoyed makes me feel like he’s halfway there.

Unfortunately, mama feelings don’t operate on logic. Watching him turn from a baby who I sing to into a little boy who speaks for himself inspires both a smile of pride and sniffle of sadness from me.

Of course, I know we went through this stage with my older son. Yet, it’s new and different all over again. This time, he’s it – there are no more babies after this. My status of a mama to babies is fading, the last glow of the moonlight before the sunrise.

Despite his rejection that night, I still sing to him at bedtime. It’s only the first verse and often, it’s just as I’m laying him down. It’s still there. But I know even these days are numbered.

While I adore watching him grow up, seeing these moments slip through my fingers makes me wish I had just a few more nights.

Isn’t that all of parenthood? Only a few more nights of the sweetest moments, the singing to our babies, the snuggles, the kisses, the “I love you”s, the laughs. A few more of those shining bright beautiful moments, and we’d be all set.

Thankfully, we will have more moments, a little more time, just as long as we arise he next day. So no matter if I sing to my son tomorrow or not, I hope as I open his curtains the next morning, I embrace whatever new beauty he brings my way.

Be sure to check out my essay on my experiences with House at Pooh Corner, the lullaby I sing to him. For more personal essays about parenting, sure to follow us on Facebook

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