It's 9pm, and I am spent. Exhausted. Pooped, if you will. J's still working. A's been fighting night sleep, fighting naps, making him tired and cranky and me tired and ineffective. We've left a messy wake behind us all around the house- dishes, dirty clothes, avocado caked high chair- and just the thought of cleaning it up makes my head hurt. Our "bedtime routine" ended an hour ago, without the sleeping baby the books promise. He's got itty bitty bags under his itty bitty eyes. He's fussing, then crying, then fussing some more. He's dry, he's clean, he's fed, he's a perfectly moderate temperature. Yet, there's no quieting him, much less lulling him to sleep. Finally, I'm out of ideas (we've bounced, rocked, sung, cuddled). I set my squirming, tired baby in his bouncy chair, throw my pillow on the floor beside it, and sprawl out on the floor, my hand resting on his pudgy belly so he knows I'm here, he's not alone, I'm trying.
I close my eyes, listen to his grunts and cries as they start to quiet and slow. The noises taper off, it gets quiet, and I lay there afraid to move. I'm sure he's fallen asleep. Sure of it. I sigh, relieved, settle into my pillow- the mess will wait. Just as I doze off, I feel five tiny, warm fingers reach out toward my hand (still on his belly)....then those fingers wrap around my thumb. I lift my head, squint to see. In the darkness, I see a sleepy, gummy grin looking right back at me, unwavering, happy. I stifle a laugh, wonder if he's even truly awake....then a giggle. A happy, content, "gotcha, mom" giggle. A tiny, unconscious confirmation that he's happy, I'm not doing so badly, he knows he's loved and cherished even in the witching hours.
Seriously, being his mommy is so, so awesome. So fulfilling, even in those moments where I don't think I have one tiny ounce of patience or energy or affection to give.....five tiny fingers and one sleepy giggle change it all, turn the mood all around, remind me how fortunate I am. How blessed. Still tired, but mindful that he won't be tiny forever, those fingers will grow, the smiles and giggles saved for friends, for girls, for fart jokes. For now, they're ours to cherish, day and night.
A video of Anderson today. He's mastered the high chair and is eating like a pro. Carrots, avocados, and apples so far. Sweet potatoes and peas beckon in the week to come. And just this week, he likes toys. Reaches out for them, shakes them around, tosses them down and looks surprised that they're gone. They reappear, he throws them back down. Aahhh, mommy fetch. Something tells me this "game" will lose its' appeal (to ME) rather quickly.