My Learning Curve: The Rocking Chair Challenge

Our extraordinary therapist gave me an assignment.

She asked if I would accept the challenge of giving Bee 15 minutes of uninterrupted time in the rocking chair.

As my kids would say, “Not gonna lie,” that is a tough request for me.

Fifteen minutes of focusing on one child in the midst of a sea of children.

Fifteen minutes of calm and quiet in the midst of a busy day.

Fifteen minutes of sitting when I can’t read, make a quick phone call, or check my email?

I’ve been rocking Bee when I feel I have time, or with a book in my hand, or with other kids talking to me.  That’s my life!

But Bee had years and years of having no one to hold her, to cherish her, and call her their own.

She needs a bit of mommy-time all to herself. Deborah even encouraged me to seek her out, call for her and find her when it is time to rock.

Don’t we all want that?  We want to be so loved that somebody comes looking for us to take us in their arms and hold us close.

Bee may be eleven years old, but her heart has been wounded by not having a family.  She needs lots of love, holding, and heart-to-heart time.

My tired mommy-heart needs to give it to her.

We’ve had a sweet time in the rocking chair the past two days and I am determined to find a quiet moment today.

I’m going to throw myself into this challenge believing the rewards are going to be so sweet, and my daughter’s heart is going to be so filled, that I will look back and say, “That was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.”

Are you with me?  Do you have a child who needs to be rocked fifteen minutes a day?  Join me in the challenge.

Let’s open our hearts wide and see what God will do.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

43 Comments

  1. jennifer
    December 22, 2010

    please, please, PLEASE tell me what Deborah would suggest for the child who does NOT want to be rocked, held, touched, cuddled.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 22, 2010

      Jennifer, I don't know what Deborah would say, but I have one child like this, so I'll share my mommy-opinion. On occasion Eby will give hugs and be affectionate, but he often shies away from touch. In those instances, I tell him that it is time for me to hold him, but I let him sit on my lap with his back to me. Sometimes he will let me rock, sometimes he wants me to be still. He often won't let me put my arms around him and I don't force it. He prefers to chew gum when I hold him – it is calming to him. Fifteen minutes would be too long for Eby on a day like this, but five might be realistic. I would also read to him if that helped him to stay close longer. I would also consider offering a reward for lasting five minutes in the chair with you.

      Reply
  2. dawn
    December 22, 2010

    I should do this. I really should.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 22, 2010

      I know it's hard — but do it, just do it. Then email me and tell me how it is going. I have to believe this will have a huge impact on our kids.

      Reply
      1. lisa
        December 22, 2010

        i need to do it too and i appreciate your encouragement. i have an 8 year old who never had love before now, its scary for both of us but so worth pushing through the fear

        Reply
        1. One Thankful Mom
          December 22, 2010

          Lisa, it is scary – I know, but I am convinced that by the grace of God, these children have the capacity to heal. It is a long and difficult journey, but press on! The good news is that rocking will be calming for you too.

          Reply
  3. Andrea
    December 22, 2010

    Lisa I love this! I need a rocking chair. My N could use some rocking I believe. We have been working on sitting together on the couch holding hands or touching somehow each day. I can see a calmer side of him. Perhaps the rocking would be great….:) The trick would be to get him to sit still that long. 🙂
    Thank you as always for sharing your heart and family with us!!!
    Andrea

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 22, 2010

      Andrea, last night when we rocked, I put some music on that we both liked and we ate some Christmas cookies together. The time went by quickly. You can always give him a caramel to chew or some gum. That might help him stay in your lap longer. My problem is that I need a bigger and more comfortable chair! My Honeybee is getting big!

      Reply
  4. Andrea
    December 22, 2010

    That's a great idea! We are in the middle of re-doing some areas of our house perhaps finding a big soft chair would be a helpful addition. I think if I just let him talk to me for 15 mins straight he would be happy. 🙂 Thank you again!!!

    Reply
  5. Donna
    December 22, 2010

    This is something I need to do more of too. My little ones have to be pulled into my lap. They do not really seek it out at all. And to be honest they will do this with others still after 5 years and it hurts, it really does! This atatchment with kids from the hard places is long and hard.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 22, 2010

      Donna, I've thought a lot about how attachment goes both ways, from our children's hearts to ours, and ours to theirs. We can be tempted to pull back, when what we need to do is keep pressing forward. I've been mulling this over quite a bit lately. Keep wooing your children to you. You are a great mom!

      Reply
  6. Shonni Hassoldt
    December 22, 2010

    Such WONDERFUL encouragement…and yes, I do have a few that need that from me! I up for the challenge…

    also, I can’t help feeling that this will be getting me ready for our wounded little bird that will be coming home from China.

    As always, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!!

    loves,

    Shonni

    PS – I wrote a post yesterday about our walk with Aiden and his SPD if you would like to see it
    http://nationsaroundourtable.blogspot.com/2010/12

    Reply
  7. Tracey
    December 22, 2010

    We do this every night before bed!

    Reply
  8. Shonni
    December 22, 2010

    I forgot to subscribe to comments….

    Reply
  9. Lisa H.
    December 22, 2010

    I've been doing this some with two of my girlies as I can, but I"m going to take up the challenge and committ to doing it EVERY DAY for at least the rest of Christmas break….I think they'll LOVE it!

    Reply
  10. Kerrie
    December 22, 2010

    Oh. Sigh. Only another one of "us" knows how hard it can be to psych ourselves up for this. Ok. Me too.

    Reply
  11. Paula
    December 22, 2010

    I've been reading your blog for a long time, and we learned about the rocking chair from you and were already using it before we started seeing our adoption therapist. She was so thrilled that we were rocking together! Lots of times the twins resist when I take them in to rock, but they always end up calmer and soothed and better regulated… and miracle of miracles, so do I. What I need to remember is that rocking together can be nice before there are signs of trouble brewing… your challenge sounds like a great idea that could benefit us too.

    Reply
  12. Kayla
    December 22, 2010

    My two came home at much younger ages but they both needed lots of that type of quiet, one on one loving. With my son, he was my first child so I was dealing with having quiet my teaching job to stay at home and the pace of my new stay at home life (compared to the busyness of a classroom) was hard to adjust to. And sitting with him to rock or cuddle just because he needed was hard. It's so challenging to make yourself be still. I would find myself sitting with him and thinking "it won't be like this for long", reminding myself of how soon the time would fly by and that these times were important even if they felt like wasted time.

    Reply
  13. Dana@AdoptionJourney
    December 22, 2010

    Lisa – I'm sure it will be worth it. I just posted on my blog about what we've been learning about "touch" and older child adoption.

    Reply
  14. Lauren
    December 22, 2010

    When there's nothing to say, that would be a great time to sing hymns to her!
    She'll always find such comfort in the hymns (and be able to comfort herself later) with the beauty of the melody, words, and memories.

    Reply
  15. Heather
    December 22, 2010

    I used to do this a lot more than I do now. But I KNOW that my kids still need it. Thanks for the challenge! I think I'll take you up on it. Now I forsee another challenge though. Because I have 4 who need it so much, they are VERY disruptive during the other kids rocking time. Sometimes it feels more stressful than relaxing. Maybe this is why I don't do it as much. Have you had to deal with this?

    Reply
    1. Judy
      December 16, 2014

      Heather, this is my problem exactly!! How do I rock one with the other one disrupting continually? I feel like my time with each child is ruined, and it leaves ME feeling like I need rocked!! LOL Would love anyone's advice on how they deal with this. The daughter that is the most disruptive, is deaf and has limited vocabulary and understanding of language. Both daughters adopted at the age of 5, have almost NO ability to wait with any patience. sigh……….

      Reply
  16. leah
    December 22, 2010

    I started rocking after reading your blog a few months back. I put rocking chairs in the kids rooms and rock each before bed at night. I can see it helping Miss B feel more comfortable with my touch. But the biggest change is in my heart. After a LONG day and so little "love" to give her rocking forces me to shut off my selfishness and get cozy with her. It forces me to love her where she is at. I'm thankful for this non-threatening, easy to use tool.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 22, 2010

      Leah, I'm so glad to hear that. I think the benefit of rocking extends to the parent as well as the child. I've been finding that simply forcing myself to sit with Honeybee, even if we are sitting quietly, brings a feeling of calm over me.

      Reply
  17. Kim
    December 22, 2010

    Oh Lisa, this really ministered to me today! While I can't figuratively take my new adult friend who has left the streets and life of sexual exploitation to a rocking chair, how I want her to feel that time with me has been what you describe. I spent 5 hours with her yesterday, listening, walking through her day, listening, having lunch, listening… It was such a hard thing to give when I have so much to do for my family for Christmas. At the end of our time together she asked if I would pick her up for Christmas eve services. That adds 30 minutes to our commute to church – one way. I cringed. Your post here helps me realize she's just asking for more time in the rocking chair with loving arms around her. Thank you!

    Reply
  18. coffeemom
    December 23, 2010

    Ahhh….I need to do this. But it IS so hard. (whine whine whine). And really, I have more than one that could use this. Especially during this season of land mines…it's something I should do too. Finding the time is a trick, but also, with my teen that needs it…finding the time to rock and getting her to rock…hmmmm. OK OK OK…I"m gonna try…..w/ the ones who need it (tho really, don't we all?).

    Off to find coffee to get the cranky out and recharge. Thanks for this!!!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 23, 2010

      It really is hard. Yesterday Honeybee was unhappy about something and was a grump nearly the entire time. We stuck it out until the time rang, but it was hard since time is so precious. I figure I'm making an investment even on the days when it isn't pleasant.

      Reply
  19. Lori
    December 23, 2010

    Lisa, we have just received our referral for a beautiful baby boy(4 1/2 months old) and are starting to get his room ready! This may be a silly question, but is there a difference between the "glider" and a regular rocking chair? Or can you accomplish the same with either? First time mom and trying to figure some of these things out!!! I would love you input!

    Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply
  20. One Thankful Mom
    December 23, 2010

    Lori, congratulations on your happy news. In my family room I have a glider with an ottoman and a large rocker recliner that we call the "ugly chair." They are both wonderful. Gliders are great with little ones because the movement is nearly effortless and feels lovely. I generally sit in the rocker recliner with my bigger kids because it is cushy and they can lean into the sides more. Maybe you could have a glider in the baby's room and eventually a bigger rocker in a common area of your home. The beauty of the rocker recliner is on those long nights when you are up with a fussy baby, you can rock and then when he falls asleep, recline back and sleep with him. Russ loves the bigger rocker recliner and nearly always rocks the kids in it.

    Reply
  21. Heather
    December 23, 2010

    Fantastic idea! I'm going to do this with Isabelle; 5 years old; child #2 of 4, for a long time the only one without special needs, and now 1 of 2 without special needs, but one of those 2 is a baby. She needs the extra cuddle time!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 23, 2010

      Wonderful! Heather, I'm going to start a fun challenge for us after Christmas. Be sure to join in!

      Reply
  22. rebekah
    December 23, 2010

    I have been working toward more rocking chairs in our house, knowing that each of my 3 needs more rocking time. 2 of them need it badly. Only 1 gets it regularly at bedtime – the rocker is in her room.

    Thanks for the challenge – a push right when I needed it.

    Reply
  23. Lori
    December 25, 2010

    I need to take this challenge! My daughter (who I think needs this) is twelve and would not ask me, but I know she would love the opportunity. I don't have a rocking chair, but we will improvise.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 25, 2010

      Lori, Honeybee and I were talking about this the other day and she said, "It doesn't matter if you don't have a rocking chair. You just need a comfy chair and the mom needs to hug her kid." There you have it – just improvise.

      Reply
  24. Cindy
    December 26, 2010

    Lisa, this is so good. I also have done this and I appreciate your encouraging words of how to seek out the child to come sit upon your lap to hold and love. This is such a beautiful picture of how God desires us to come to Him so He can Love on us. As I rocked I sang a little song then I began to sing a prayer over them and God gave me specific words for them that was so healing to their heart. The 5 year old even fell asleep and such a peace came over them, it was just so beautiful. They ask me to "do rockabye again mom" and I am not doing this like I know I should, thanks for bringing this before my eyes:)

    Reply
  25. Angela
    December 29, 2010

    This is going to be such a challenge for me. We did 'bottle time' when the kids first came home and each of my 4 kiddos wanted it. This will be an hour out of my day. I know each of them need it, though (some more than others) and was convicted just last night that I need to be giving each of them more focused, intentional time, one on one time. This will be a discipline. Lets be praying for each other as we rock our babes.

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 29, 2010

      Angela, I'm with you on this. I know that Honeybee is not my only child who needs rocking time. After Christmas break I plan to try to add my other little ones, even if it means I'm spending an hour and a half each day for a time. I am praying for every mom in the Challenge – may God be glorified as we strive to serve Him and love the children He has entrusted to us.

      Reply
  26. Jennifer P
    December 29, 2010

    Your challenge keeps calling me back.

    I don't "want" to do it, I NEED to do it.

    I LOVE my children, intensely, primal, beyond imagination. But sometimes I don't "like" the tough ones, on a bad day. They have come from hard places, making them stiff and resistant to my feeble efforts. No rocking chair but we will make do cuddled up in the big comfy chair with no distractions….now how many can I fit in?

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      December 29, 2010

      Jennifer, I'm so glad you are joining us. Today, for the first time, it felt easier to rock. We enjoyed our time together more than usual — maybe it is working its way into my heart. Be sure to go to the link and sign up for the Challenge so I can add your blog to our growing list. I just popped over to your blog; congratulations on your son's adoption!

      Reply
      1. Jennifer P
        December 31, 2010

        Oh my! This is amazing. My husband bought me a rocker recliner today. I am setting it in a corner of my bedroom tomorrow now that I can take down the crib (Only place I can be alone with a kid in our busy house.) But here is the amazing thing: When the kids asked what the chair was for, I told them that it was for 15 minutes of rocking with just one kid. Well, here is the miracle. My oldest daughter came home from college today and asked what the chair was for. My "hardest" child announced loudly that it was for her 15 minutes with Mom. My daughter laughed uncontrollably because of the way it came out. The miracle? My hard child is already claiming "her time" and we haven't even started yet. I'll be blogging tomorrow about this for sure. Thanks Lisa. Right on the mark!!!

        Reply
        1. One Thankful Mom
          December 31, 2010

          So glad to hear it! I hope you love your new chair and find rocking to be a blessing.

          Reply
  27. Jill Daniels
    January 4, 2011

    I love this! We are bringing home our 6 year old son this month and what a great thing to do and take time to do in our busy life!

    Reply
  28. Elizabeth
    January 7, 2011

    Our daughter is 12 1/2 years-old. She was just placed with us four months ago, and YES, she needs and has been receiving some rock time. She even asked me if we could "get a rocking chair and you rock us. We're not allowed to sit on the chair unless we're being rocked." Ummm……sounds like she's ahead of herself when it comes to therapy.

    Thanks for sharing your challenge….

    Reply

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