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February 1, 2007 / allyo

Love Thursday: Sing the goodnight song

When Jamie was sick last week there were a few times when I really, really, REALLY wanted to offer to nurse. When he cried for two plus hours for water, while I doled it out a teaspoon at a time, every 15 minutes. When he whimpered in my arms, burning with fever. When he clung to me safe in the knowledge that mommy would make it all right, not knowing there wasn’t much I could do except to offer my lap and my arms in comfort. The urge was physical and so strong I had to fight myself to not lift my shirt and offer my breast. I knew we’d both regret it, me because I’d hate it again as soon as he was well and him because he’d be reminded of something precious that he couldn’t have anymore. So I didn’t.

One night when he was just well enough for us to follow our usual bedtime routine instead of him just passing out on the couch at 7:00 he was having a hard time settling down. As he thrashed around the bed and I struggled to keep my patience I had an idea. “Jamie, do you want me to sing the goodnight song?” “Goodnight song?” he asked. And I began to sing “Hush Little Baby,” a song I’d sung to him since birth and that I sung the last 9 months or so of our breastfeeding relationship to signal it was time to stop nursing. I hadn’t sung it since we weaned but since I was pretty sure he had forgotten nursing thought it might still be familiar enough to offer some comfort. He was delighted. He sat on his knees, face looking off over my shoulder, and smiled. And giggled. “Mommy sing goodnight song!” he said, over and over. And then he laid down and went to sleep.

I realized that all those hours upon hours of nursing, rocking, snuggling, were still with us. The act itself was gone but the closeness, the comfort, the bond that was built throughout babyhood and toddlerhood is strong. And that I was seeing a belief manifest itself. That how we parent our babies and toddlers matters. The love we put into our relationship with these eccentric little alien beings manifests itself in ritual, in little silly private jokes, in touch and in song, and it stays with them always.

Knowing this and living with my two year old, knowing that this is the point in my own life when things began to unravel, seeing how needy and clingy he can be, how he needs those reassurances while simultaneously needs us to encourage him to stand instead of begging to be held, to coax him toward independence while holding his hand and kissing his grubby little face, I can see how in missing all that from my mother has gone in to making me who I am today.

Then when I see him clutching his blanket while he’s sick I know that while I’ll never regain those lost moments, I have my own rituals and traditions from my childhood that, as they become incorporated into our daily lives ensure that my grandparents will never truly be forgotten. I cleaned out my dresser last week and ran across a couple of cards with my grandmother’s signature. One was from 4 years ago and her signature was steady as was the little “pumpkin head” drawing she always wrote next to it. The other was from my birthday a year and a half ago, the last one she was alive for. Her signature was shaky and mr. pumpkin head’s eyes barely made it on to his face.

I’ve been missing her so much lately, but it’s comforting seeing how she lives on in that gesture there and this word here. And someday when Jamie is all grown up I hope some little trinket or note gives him the same feeling I get when I look at my grandma’s signature. That he’s loved.

Happy Love Thursday!



Leave a Comment
  1. bonggamom / Feb 1 2007 10:42 pm

    What a sweet, touching post. I remember how surprised I was that I really enjoyed breastfeeding my twins, and how difficult it was for me to decide that it was time to wean them. Your words resonated for me and surely will for many other mothers.

  2. Pastormac's Ann / Feb 2 2007 1:11 am

    Wow what a great post. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    Happy LT.

  3. Austina / Feb 2 2007 1:53 am

    You are doing a great job being a mommy. Just keep doing those things that you can only do. You know, there is only one person in this entire world that will call you mommy, Jamie. So as far as he is concerned you are the most magical mommy there will every be!


  4. Vienna / Feb 2 2007 2:09 pm

    This is a really sweet post. I feel the same way- and found that a song I stopped singing months ago was still a favorite of Jack’s, and he even knew the words (I had no idea that he remembered). I want to make memories with him that he remembers for a lifetime. Long after I am gone.

  5. littlemummy / Feb 13 2007 12:53 pm

    I love the silly little in jokes and rituals, like looking in the mirror in the morning, giggling and then giving each other a kiss šŸ™‚

    The scree is blurring, I’m welling up again, I’m not sure I can make it to the end of Michelle’s list šŸ™‚


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