Some days I’m tired. Some days I’ve been up in the night and had a stressful school run and he hasn’t slept enough, snatched as his naps often are in the car or the sling, sandwiched between two school runs, both of which begin after he’s got so tired he doesn’t know what to do with himself (except sleep; he doesn’t do that in the day unless persuaded and there’s no time for persuasion at 8am when neither of the others have their teeth cleaned or their shoes on.) Some days the hours disappear and I don’t know where they slid away to, swallowed by hours of feeding and trying to get him to sleep. Some days I’m irritable, snappy, and long for sleep or an hour in which I am not responsible for a tiny human being who can do nothing for himself. Some days I remember when I thought pregnancy was hard work and think now how ridiculous that was. Some days he’s grizzly, tired, irritable and I long for the night and a few hours of oblivion.
But every afternoon I get into bed and lie him in the crook of my arm to get him to sleep for his afternoon nap. He gazes up at me, his blue eyes dark in the dim light, and his look is so trusting, so adoring, that I can feel my heart swell. Sometimes he’ll smile up at me because he can’t resist, even though he’s tired, and that smile of his, so perfect, so wondrous, so new, can bring tears to my eyes. And then he’ll gradually close his eyes and drift off to sleep (thanks to the white noise app that has changed our whole lives) and I lie here in the dim light of a curtained afternoon, trying to persuade myself to put him in his cot and sleep myself, but unable to tear myself away from the warmth of his small sleeping form. And I remember that one day soon I won’t have this. One day soon he’ll be crawling, walking, running away from me, and I will remember these afternoons, and the tiny perfection of him snuggled against me, and the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest, and his small, fat hand flexed on my skin. And I will remember that in those moments in these afternoons, I had everything.