The other night, while rocking my youngest child to sleep, my mind started wandering and I began to think about the distance our rocking chair may have traveled. No, I am not talking about the number of times we have moved it from one home to another, but the actual distance the rocking motion may have traversed over the years of use it has had in our home. I bought this chair over 8 years ago with our first child. It was a little more expensive than we could afford (which wasn’t hard at the time) but I was excited and wanted something nice for mom and baby. It may have been the most economical purchase I have ever made.

Five boys later this rocking chair is going strong, if not just a tad creakier. So I decided to actually sit down and calculate, as best as I could, the approximate distance this chair has ‘rocked’. And after running the numbers, I am feeling a little compelled to give some ‘props’ to the manufacturer, Dutailier^{[1]}.

So let’s get to it. I measured the distance traveled, per rock, to be about 2 feet (1 foot each way). I used the highest part of the back as the point of reference for the measurement. This is approximately the height where the child spends most of the time, so I thought it would be a good place to measure. I then measured about 33 rocks per minute, on average. With these two measurements alone, I was starting to realize that the distance was accumulating.

Since we have not been keeping an accurate log of how much time each child rocked over the years, the next measurement was an educated guess (although most Mom’s have a pretty clear picture of this measurement). So after some discussion with my wife, we decided that 60 minutes a day, for the first year and a half, was a pretty good average. For the first few months, it was quite a bit more than this (hours upon hours). But it tapers off near the 1.5 year mark. So 60 minutes a day seemed fair. Our current child child gets about 4, or more, sessions a day (15 to 30 minutes each) and he is nearly a year.

So how does this all add up? Well let’s just say that by the time our youngest is 1.5 years old, we will have travelled roughly 2100 miles in that chair. As the title implies, that is almost the same distance as a trip from Salt Lake City, Utah to New York, New York. That’s quite a trip (especially is you consider that trip with a baby, screaming or otherwise, on your lap the entire way). Each kid ended up travelling a little over 400 miles each, which is a little farther than a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles (California of course).

That’s roughly $0.10 a mile. I’d say we did alright.