Rocking, Not Sleeping

Rock 1

Little Hannah, you have just drifted off to sleep.

You might have drifted off 2 minutes ago, or 20 minutes ago. I’m so tired, and would love to take that advice that is so readily handed out to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” I should be sleeping, but I’m not.

Instead, I’m smiling at your little fist that is clutching the fold in my shirt. Your other arm is slung over my arm, swaying along with the rhythm of the chair.

I’m listening to your newborn breaths, quick and shallow, except for the occasional squeak. When I put you down you will start grunting, and I’ll start wondering if you’re about to wake up and trying to give you the pacifier that you have spit out and rejected. But, for now, rocking keeps the grunting at bay, and we can both relax.

I want to close my eyes, but instead I am staring at your little face. Your eyes open periodically, flick around the room and then close again, sleepily. Your mouth is a tight little line, opening sometimes to get more breath, for your lips to settle into a round O like you’re drinking from a straw, or for a sweet smile to appear, slowly spreading across your face from one side to the other.

I am trying to get you to lay flat across my shoulder, or my chest, so that I can get a good burp out of you. But you immediately push against me just enough to tuck your legs up under your body. You simultaneously slide your arms down, stack them on top of one another, and then plop your chin on top. I want to laugh at this baby version of the old school “senior portrait pose,” but it actually looks sweet on a baby. It just draws me into staring at you even longer, and rewarding your plump cheeks with kisses.

I know that I won’t be able to get a burp out of you like this. You’re curled into a sleepy ball on my shoulder, and instead of straightening you out, I settle in to rock.

Pretty soon you’ll stop folding your legs under you in that newborn baby way. You’ll be too long and too heavy to sit so high on my shoulder. You’ll become more alert and less willing to ignore the distractions and drift to sleep in my arms.

So, for now, I’m breathing in your baby smell, singing softly to you, smiling in the dark, and rocking, not sleeping.

22 thoughts on “Rocking, Not Sleeping

  1. oh, how perfectly precious. the picture and the post. such sweet and thoughtful writing. love it. makes me want to turn back time so badly.

  2. absolutely precious. i remember the momma zombie stage. and i remember thinking all the time i should be sleeping instead of such and such. : ) she's beautiful… soak her all up!

  3. Oh, I relate with this post so much! There have been times recently where I have my little one (8 months old…not so tiny anymore) in my arms and I'm tired, but I just can't sleep because I want to stare at him and take him in. They grow to fast!

    Stopped by from gussy!

  4. I stopped by from Gussy Sews… such a sweet, sweet post! I don't know if it's my own lack of sleep or the realization that my little one is almost out the "falling asleep on my shoulder phase," but this brought tears to my eyes.

  5. i wouldn't sleep if i were you either! my littlest one is only 6 months old and i already immensely miss those newborn days. your hannah is precious!

  6. I love this Erin – so sweet! My mom has a handmade picture with a quote about rocking your babies because "babies don't keep!" Love that you're loving life with your two kids. Thanks also for your comment on my post! I am so excited to be rocking my own little one here very soon. And I agree, that turquoise nursery is awesome – thanks for sharing! 🙂

  7. Just came across your post today. I had a little girl in April and it breaks my heart that some of those things have already passed for us. Beautifully written.

    Our World. One Day At a Time.

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