When my sister was a toddler, she was a bit...rambunctious. Ironically, the doctors originally thought she had a speech or hearing problem, since she didn't verbalize much as a baby. But oh man, once she started yapping...she never stopped.
Needless to say, my parents often had to discipline her. And as any parent of more than one child quickly discovers, what works with your first will undoubtedly NOT work with your second. So while a stern word of warning was usually enough to send me into submission, my darling baby sister would laugh or run away or keep right on doing what she wasn't supposed to.
One tactic that did work, however, was the pink chair. We had two pink rocking chairs, and Miss Thing was usually exiled to one of them for "quiet time." She would rock violently in the chair, toppling the lamp on the adjoining end table, until finally she settled down. On one afternoon, my mom forgot about her (since she usually whipped the chair around to face the window) until a tiny little voice piped up, hours later, "Am I done?"
Well, I have now inherited one of The Pink Chairs. But I don't use it for discipline. It took the place of TJ's glider when baby #2 came along. I insisted on still having some sort of rocking chair in his room, since rocking has always been our thing. We spent countless hours rocking in our old apartment in Jersey City, as I sang every showtune I could think of to soothe his ceaseless cries. During his toddler years, in the thick of particularly terrible tantrums, we would often retreat to rocking as his tears streamed onto my shoulder, and I'd sing the theme song to "Thomas the Tank Engine" to calm him down. Once the tantrums trailed off, he would still request some rocking at bedtime, after our prayers and stories.
The Pink Chair hasn't been utilized as a rocker for some time now. It's normally a catch-all for clothes or Lego works-in-progress, or where I read the latest "Harry Potter" at bedtime.
So last night--TJ's final night as a 6-year-old--I cleared off The Pink Chair. After reading about Professor Umbridge and her reign of terror, I asked, "Hey Teege...want to rock?"
He looked up at me, puzzled. "Okay," he agreed after a minute.
I hoisted his lanky big-boy frame up onto my lap. His feet dangled past my knees. I adjusted him so his head could rest on my shoulder, but gosh...when did he get so darn tall?
We rocked for a while. I reminded him how we used to rock a lot when he was younger. And I couldn't help but quote from a book we haven't read for a while now...
I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be
He laughed. "Oh yeah, I remember that book."
I squeezed him tight, and let him climb into bed.
Going downstairs, I realized, sadly, that this was probably the last rocking. He's so big. He doesn't need it.
At 5:30 this morning, however, a little voice woke me up. "Mom, I'm scared. Will you snuggle with me?"