When Kids Grow Up: Giving Up “Snuggle Time”
It happened in an instant. For about the past three years, I’ve sat in the same rocking chair and rocked my baby boy to sleep. I gently rub his back, play with his hair, breathe in his beautiful baby (and now little boy) smell. His little legs rest over my lap and he just fits perfectly during this wonderful snuggling as we rock and rock and sing.
“Edelweiss.” That’s the song I’ve sung every night to him for as long as I can remember. In fact, just before a business trip about a year ago, we recorded it together so that he could listen to it whenever I’m not home. My husband still plays it any time I’m not home for tucking in. And still, I love listening to that recording and his sweet, innocent little voice.
There’s something about this nightly ritual. In this moment, I decompress from the day and find myself cherishing the slower breaths, the rhythm of rocking, the preciousness of snuggle time. I love how his heart settles, his body relaxes and just melts into mine. Even if the moment only lasts a minute or two, each night I fall in love with my son all over again.
And then it happened. One night I noticed his knees popped up a little higher. Was he still comfortable, I wondered? Did he grow overnight? And then, the saddest moment came: “Mommy, I want you to put me in bed to sing to me.” Trigger tears. Did he really just say that? This is our nightly moment, my time to be his universe and he mine. It never occurred to me until now that it would end. In fact, it’s why I’ve never moved the rocking chair out of his room. I thought the first night he requested I sing to him in bed that it was a fluke. By the fourth night, I knew it wasn’t – it was a new reality and snuggle time was ending.
Just for tonight, I told him he had to let me snuggle with him in the chair. He didn’t fight. He laid across my lap. No more chest to chest, but I could still smell him, kiss his tiny forehead. I rocked a few moments longer, just in case this was my last chance.
Everyone always says kids grow up too fast and you will blink your eyes and they will be moving out. There are times (like mid-tantrum) I wish they would grow up a little faster, but during snuggle time, I just wish I could freeze the moment. I can’t.
Remember to take it in, be present and enjoy the moment. It won’t be long before your child is the one doing the rocking.