Rock-a-Bye Baby

What used to be used for this:




Is now being used for this:


I ordered this cradle online, several days before Sophie was born. It was waiting for us on the front porch when we came home from the hospital, three weeks earlier than planned.

Andy ran out to buy some things we needed and didn’t have, things we planned on buying later that week. I remember sitting on our bed, holding Sophie and feeling terrified. And then, I had to pee.

Sophie’s crib wasn’t made, her pack-n-play wasn’t set up and her cradle was in pieces in a big, brown box. In my sleep-deprived, new-motherhood state, I had no idea what to do. Even though she was swaddled and couldn’t roll even if she wanted to, I didn’t dare leave her on the bed—all the books said not to. Putting her on the floor on a blanket also wasn’t an option—not with a jealous cat and 90-pound lab roaming around. So I did what any first-time mother who had to pee and didn’t know what to do with her four-day-old baby would do: I cried. And then I took her into the bathroom with me, gently placed her on the bathroom rug and peed, all the time thinking what a horrible mother I was for placing my four-day-old baby on the bathroom rug AND for peeing in front of her. (Note: I now know that most mothers with young children forget what it’s like to have the luxury of peeing alone.)

Later that evening my parents came over with dinner. Andy came back with lots of (pink!) receiving blankets, preemie clothes and cradle sheets. They calmed me down. My parents made up the crib. Andy put the cradle together. Sophie now had places to be placed when I had to pee.

But now it’s time for the cradle to be broken down and put away. Sophie spent her first two months in that cradle. And I spent her first two months picking her up and putting her down in that cradle, so many times in the middle of the night. I’d rock her in her cradle while half-asleep in bed. When I took showers I would roll her cradle right up to the bathroom door so I could peek from behind the shower curtain to make certain she was alright.

“She’s growing up so much,” I said to Andy last night, while we were putting Sophie to bed. “That’s good,” he said. “You want her to.” And he’s right. But for so long I wanted a baby. And now I have one who is too old for a cradle. It’s hard to believe that someday I’ll have one who is too old for a crib.

“What the mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the coffin.” —Francis Bacon