Don't Retract Pack

Bedtime Dances By Candlelight

By Danelle Frisbie © 2011

There are some moments of mothering that are just too special to share with anyone but the little ones with whom you live them. Others seem almost too splendid not to offer an outsider a glimpse of, if for no other reason than just to let new moms-to-be know how pristine and blissful even the otherwise trivial and mundane times are with a securely attached baby. And how fleeting these days are... how few of them we really have to hold and nurse and rock and sing to our little ones. We only get this one chance to tenderly care for this new human life, quickly growing and changing right before our eyes. To wrap our love around them and meet their every need, protecting and comforting all the while, as we let them develop their own wings to fly. We have this one shot to 'do it right' and soak in every breath of this beautiful little child.

I suppose I must preface this with a secret confession. What seems like eons ago, while living a never-dull life as a single woman plowing through graduate programs and tackling all the amazing adventures and challenges that crossed my path, I would occasionally take an evening to just sit at home, turn off my phone, put on some tunes, light some candles, and sing (often accompanied with dancing) ~ solo ~ in my living room. There was some sort of healing that came from this blessingway into whatever followed the next day. On more than one occasion, one specific song tugging at my soul would be set on 'repeat' and played over and over and over again. (I cannot be the only one in the world who has done this, right?!) In any event - now with a family who often needs their early evening shut eye for even earlier mornings that come too soon, and an energy level that isn't quite up to par with my years as a 20-something-year-old, these singing and dancing and reflecting by candlelight nights don't come along too often. But tonight... oh, tonight. It was heavenly. 

My son, all 31 months of chubby goodness, finished getting his 'night-times' on, just as a gentle, sweet song started drifting out from iTunes. It begged me to hum along to its not-yet familiar tune, as my sleepy son toddled into the other room to retrieve our apple soy candle. He brought it to me with a sweet smile and glisten in his eye. He loves candles (which could scare me if I recollect too intensely my own brother's fascination with fire when we were kids...) But I figured why not go with it, and do something he and I have never done before - drift into dreamland by candlelight.

So we turned off all the lights. Placed the candle on a little bench by our rocking chair. Set iTunes on repeat (ah, yes, good thing he doesn't mind my song selection at the age of 2). We struck a match, and as the flame flickered, we rocked, and nursed. We snuggled and sang. Drifting deeper, one lyrical line at a time. The moonlight now taking my place, with its solo dancing on our window pane, and our candle answering back.

This is the really good stuff that mothering is made of. 

And I wouldn't trade it for all the sleep training or early bedtimes or parent-directed-schedules or premature weaning in the world. I only have this one chance. And if there's a single thing the decade of my roaring 20s taught me, it's that you can sleep later. For now, soak it all in, and dance (with your baby)!



  1. I love this. It brought tears to my eyes. How right you are! ♥

  2. So very sweet <3 I love that photo at the end!

  3. What a good reminder! Thank you :)

  4. Very lovely photo of mother and child. This inspires me. As I have seen this photo I couldn't help myself but cry. I remember my mom, she is the best mother in the world. Every mother will do everything even to the point of sacrificing themselves just for their family. For them the family is their life.

  5. This is beautiful! Aren't these moments wonderful? They are the ones we hold tightly in our hearts to keep with us forever. Then we pull them out and remember sweetly, when our little ones are no longer so little. Thank you for reminding me to seize these moments every chance I get.

  6. I truly love this. There is nothing more in the world I would love to do than to gently guide by children to sleep in such a loving way. Do you have any advice or articles on guiding MORE THAN ONE to sleep at a time? I have 4 kiddos aged 30 months to 6.5. I used to guide by twins (the oldest) to sleep gently. Rocking them, holding them, etc. Then when my next one came along, the twins were 2. I would nurse the baby down, but this is when things got complicated...the 2 yr olds could never go down on their own. I know 2 is still SO very young. But bedtime has been a battle ever since. Now I have another child that I have nursed to sleep, and still do, but the older 3 struggle with going to bed. I'm so tired of the struggle. My husband and I want them to go to bed around 8pm so we can have some time together, but we never get it because the kids won't go to sleep until after 10pm. Our life has become a struggle and their is a strain on my marriage. I think part of it is the internal struggle my husband has with the ingrained 'how I was raised' need to have them do as they are told vs gently sending them off to bed in a peaceful and loving manner. It is a struggle I understand. An to be honest, there are times when I think life would be so much more peaceful right now if I HAD done some sort of sleep-training, strict baby schedule sort of thing. I KNOW in the long run my children will be more selfconfident and have so many other benefits to my nurturing, but there are nights when my husband and I desparately need some privacy to just FIGHT. But we can't because the last little eyes close SO late that we are to exhausted to discuss anything. I know this comment has gotten long and thank you for reading. This is the ONE area of peaceful parenting that has gotten us stumped. Nights are NOT peaceful here. They are stressful, cranky, and desparate. So, if you have any ways to peacefully put 4 kiddos to bed (one that still nurses to sleep) when there are only 2 adults (but very often only 1), I'd love it. Yes, they all go down together. I've tried putting the littlest one down first, but then the others wake him when they go to bed. I try putting the littlest one off until the others are sleeping, but like I said, that is usually after 10pm. When my husband is here, I nurse down the little one while he tries to divide himself into 3 for the oldest ones. I know this too shall pass, but I want our children's memories of bedtime to be ones of calming and peacefulness.

  7. So very true. I only wish I'd slept with my older two kids as long as I've slept with my youngest. Knowing he's my last has me soaking in every precious, sleepless moment.

  8. huckleberryabcsApril 08, 2012 3:41 PM

    This is so right! I do this, personal music/dance therapy that as grown to include my children. First, while pregnant, dancing with the big belly was soothing for tired hips and muscles (I had a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions), and then with my baby those difficult evenings, and now that they are older, it is magical for a grumpy toddler as well as a sweet connection as they develop their own relationship with the music, learning to partner-dance or go solo.