There are other moments, too, that suggest you're doing things right, and that bring peace and warmth and comfort.
Yesterday Liam didn't nap. Mind you, he's fifteen months old. He needs to nap, but he didn't much feel like it. Because he was mostly on his best behavior, instead of trying to force it I provided distraction until he had an early bedtime.
He watched Labyrinth with me for the first time- more on that later from this David Bowie fan- and even though he wasn't paying attention the whole time, the hour and a half did include some cuddling, dinner on the couch, ignoring the movie, and rapt attention to the goblins who sang and danced. And of course, attention to David Bowie himself because whose kid do you think he is?? Liam knows what's important.
When it was over I started the bedtime routine, and I knew he was eager for sleep. We went through the steps quickly, and we cuddled on the couch again for his bedtime story before he finally fell asleep.
I read Goodnight Moon. Three times. Because when I was done the first two times, he turned the pages back and looked at me expectantly. Then we read I Love You, Mommy. Then he handed me Goodnight Moon again.
Just after I began, "In a great green room there was a telephone, and a red balloon...", he reached up without looking and touched my cheek as I read softly to him. His fingers traced my cheekbone, my cheek, my jaw. His soft fingers played on my skin, and he grazed over my lips. He didn't stop touching my face until the story was over, then he turned around and leaned into me, meaning he was ready to sleep.
And that was it.
I forgot the guilt, his tired fussiness earlier in the day, my own fatigue.
He's my baby. My toddler baby who is growing up fast. Who loves me. Who touches my face when I read to him. Who knows how much I love him.
He was asleep in less that five minutes and he slept all night.
(I know, I know. Sticky sweet. But sometimes that's how I