The house was quiet tonight with the exception of the constant hum of the central air. I hesitated to bathe you as the oppressive heat of the day would only be compounded by the warm sudsy water. But such is the ritual, and somehow watching you stretch and splash in the water each night washes away my stress, and soothes me as much as it does you.
With no other children demanding my attention tonight, I take my time dressing you for bed. I massage the Baby Magic into each of your tiny toes, your earlobes, the rolls of your thighs. Even with the sun still hanging in the sky, your eye lids are heavy. Quickly I swaddle you in your blanket, a habit for you since the day of your birth. You, my only baby who seems to need the comfort and security found in a few simple folds of flannel.
Greedily you eat, struggling to keep your eyes open. I stroke the peach fuzz of your soft, round cheeks and slowly you surrender. The suckling becomes slower, your breath heavier. At last I feel the full weight of your thirteen pound frame grow limp in my arms.
Quietly I lay you in your crib, tucking the "cozy" grandma gave you around your body. I stop for a moment in awe at how long you are beginning to look in what once was a spacious crib, too vast for my little baby. I close the blinds. 8:08 pm and the world outside is still buzzing, neighborhood children shrieking, a lawn mower motoring.
It isn't often that the house is this quiet. And for a moment, I'm unsure of what to do with myself. The dinner dishes are done, the baby is down and Tony and the rest of the children are out...football, dance, a late night bike ride. Eventually I settle on a new book and climb into my own bed. Before long, darkness sets in and I too fall asleep, weary from the heat and the constant busyness that summer brings.
I awake at one and lay awake, keeping an ear on the monitor, waiting for the familiar first strains of your cry. Silence. I turn over and watch the clock. 1:37 am, silent. 1:59 am, silent still. Sleep comes again, but I wake in a panic. 2:42 am.
I quickly make my way down the hall to your room, and reach for you in the dark. You stir and I feel grateful to find you warm and breathing. Followed immediately by feeling foolish at my fear. I tip the shutter just slightly so the pale moon light floods your room. Peacefully you sleep, arms flailed above your head, lips moving slightly in a subtle sucking motion.
I return to bed, but sleep fails me. My body has grown accustom to the nightly wake up calls at 1 am and five am. It isn't that I'm not tired....of course I'm tired, as most mothers with a newborn are. But that little burst of adrenaline won't allow my mind to quiet down enough for sleep. And so I lie there and I wait for you.
Finally at 4:29 am, I hear you softly coo. Again I make my way to your room and peek over the edge of your crib. Your eyes are wide and dark. Immediately you grin, and dimples blossom on each of your cheeks. I scoop you up, eager to hold you and feed you. We snuggle and eagerly you eat, vocalizing your thirst with every suckle. Ten minutes and you are finished, satiated and arching your back as you stretch.
I put you to my shoulder and pat your back. You lay your head against my cheek and I feel your soft breath on my neck. You sigh in contentment and soon you sleep once again. This time I am in no hurry to lay you in your crib. I rock you for several minutes and savor the sweetest sleeping baby, safe in my arms.
In your first month or so of life, I spent half the night awake with you. How I longed for the day when you would sleep through the night. But now that it's here, now that you consistently sleep eight hours each night, I find it bittersweet. The truth is, I miss you Baby Blake. I miss our middle of the night snuggles. I miss rocking and holding you with no time constraints and no distractions. I miss sharing the quiet peace of the night with you on my shoulder. I will forever miss feeling the closeness of Heaven surround us as we shared our daily night-cap.
Love you Blakers,