Monday, February 8, 2010

In the other room, the laptop idled

In the darkness, his face looked like the image on the ultrasound monitor. The soft rounded closed eyes. The thumb at the mouth. I couldn’t remember the last time I held him while he was sleeping. It had been too long.

Now, his body was much bigger, stretched across mine diagonally, like a pageant sash.  My arms wrapped around him, my hands feeling the soft stubble of his blanket sleeper and his warmth. His breathing, though, was noisy. Rhonchorous, like I imagine his lungs underneath. Horns. Percussion. The music hitting all the wrong keys. His chest heaved as he breathed in and out, in discomforting noise.

I rocked.

I rocked and thought that this might be the last time I’d go through these mothering motions. Comforting an uncomfortable baby to sleep was a power I enjoyed. Is this really the last?

I didn’t want to disturb his hard-won sleep but couldn’t help but stroke the side of his face in a moment of mother adoration. To lightly brush his warm forehead, blushed with fever.

The time marched on in that rocking chair. I wondered what time it was, and what time I should get up and place him back in his crib.

Just another minute.

Instinctively, I pulled him into me a little bit tighter. Don’t grow up so fast. Be well, but don’t grow up so fast. I need these moments to slow down too.


  1. You'll still have those moments (although not in a rocking chair) even when he is all grown. As late as age 16 or so he wanted his head in my lap when he felt rotten. Just a few months ago when he was discouraged about feeling bad all the time (final diagnosis - acid reflux)he wanted his Mom and Dad on the couch with him. Subble is 18 now. He says that he hates being alone in the house when he is sick...and could Dad or I come home early (I managed it). I think that we all need those who love us when we need comforting - no matter how old we are.

  2. KayTar is nearly 5 and we still have these moments...strange to imagine they'll ever come to an end. I've spent so many nights just like this. Even BubTar still wants middle of the night cuddles when he is under the weather. It does seem like a special power.

  3. My son, now four, has had a run of GI Bug/ear infection the last few days. I can empathize. He hadn't thrown up in a couple of years, and wasn't able to verbalize well the last time he did, so it was like a new experience for him. He sat in my lap by the toilet, looked up at me, and said, "Mommy, I'm scared." I looked him in the eye and told him he would be fine, it would all come up, and he would feel better. Rubbed his back. Offered him a smear of toothpaste when it was over, and told him he could come to my bed in case it happened again (it did, and he made it to the toilet).

    And no matter how much you worry about them, the power to comfort feels so good. Don't worry - it won't go away anytime soon. I notice yours is still in the crib. And I still need my parents, so that too is comforting, right?

    God, KC, experience aside, this is amazing writing! Makes me want to check the publications page and see if you have any!

  4. Beautiful writing, KC... I can feel and smell my own children when I read this post.

  5. Anonymous- I'm glad to hear that it doesn't end when they grow up. Having the 2-year baby itch. (Son 2yrs, 9 mos younger than daughter. He just turned 2.)

    Kyla- Along with kissing a booboo and making it instantly better. That's power.

    Gizabeth- You're right about the parents part. I called mine today to vent and felt better afterwards. Thanks about the writing - was inspired by the scene.

    Mommydoctor- Thanks -wish I could bottle that feeling/smell. (perhaps not the audio)

  6. Kellie (general surgeon)February 8, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    It brought a tear to my eye. I have one who is 3. He will most likely be the only one. I spent many a night in his room holding him (still do when needed) because it does go by too quickly.

  7. I'm with mommydoctor, KC your post was beautiful and makes me want to be cheek to cheek with my kids' soft ones right now. All the senses are involved. I hope the holding (and smelling!) each other doesn't go away.

  8. Nice post. Good reminder that time at home is what it's really all about.

  9. Good Lord, that is lovely.

    I'm so glad you had your moment. I secretly love it when my little one has a cold and needs to snuggle to fall asleep.

  10. I'm going to have to restrict your posts like I do Tempeh's... I won't read them with eyemakeup on..... they make me cry. :)

  11. KC, Love it and boy can I relate since my baby is the same age as yours. She woke up at 4:45am today. I went in and told her it was still night and that I would rub her back if she would get back on her belly. She said, "I want to snuggle." Of course, that worked. I have a feeling I am going to be getting that line every day at 4:45am now. :) How can anyone say no to that? It does go by fast.

  12. I've been dealing with my feverish & croupy 2 year old for the past few nights. Each time I find myself outside pacing the block with him coughing, me desperately longing for bed, I remember that this time is fleeting. Some day he'll be grown up and won't need me to take care of him anymore.


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