At 6 a.m.


The bedroom door opens at 6 a.m.  My husband brings Henry into our room as he gets ready to leave for work.  It's Friday and I have the day off and my goal is to get Henry to sleep in so I can sleep in.  "He's still pretty sleepy" my husband whispers as he hands him to me.  I pull Henry close to me and he immediately cuddles in and falls back asleep.  After a few minutes, I uncurl him from my body and place him next to me so that I can roll over and fall back asleep.

As soon as he's away from the warmth of me, he is stirring.  He's turning this way and that, rolling and shimmying like a snake trying to get comfortable again.  I grab his blanket and put it around him tightly and rub his back trying to entice him to fall back to sleep.  It doesn't work.  He's curling up into the fetal position, head pushed against our headboard as he does when he's trying to feel the comfort of being confined, the way he's liked to sleep since he was a newborn.  He asks me to "tickle" his arms so I lightly run my fingers up and down his arms and then over his belly and his back, just the way my mom and grandma always did to me.  It's comforting and it gets him to relax and close his eyes.

Eventually I pull him back into my arms and pull him close, tucking his head underneath my chin.  I "shh" to him in the rhythm he's liked since he was first born and pat his bottom.  "Shh shh shh shhhhhh".  I can feel the flutter of his eyelashes against my chest and they're slowing.  It's working!  It's working!  And then it's not.  He squirms away from me and pops his head up.  When he sees the shadow of me in the darkness, he puts his head to mine and lays down but just for a minute.

It's starting to get lighter in the bedroom as the sun starts to break through and I figure this is my last chance to get him back to sleep.  I pull him to me once again but this time I hold him even closer the way I know he likes.  I pull his blanket up over him and put it over his ear with my hand cupping it in place, the way I do when he is trying to fall asleep and it's noisy.  I whisper "it's bedtime" and kiss his forehead.  I feel his eyelashes flutter one last time and his breathing slows.  His mouth drops open and I know we've made it.  He's asleep.  I check the clock and see it's 6:58.  Back to sleep in under an hour.  I'll call this one a success.  I close my eyes quickly unsure of how long this will last.

We don't open our eyes again until 8:10 a.m. when he rolls over, says "hi" and gives me a kiss.