We've made it through another day. Mikey has ceased his crawling, grabbing, gumming, pulling up, and otherwise creating mischief for the day. He has polished off his 6 ounce bottle, supplemented with organic rice cereal, and stopped rubbing his eyes. The tireless baby has finally tired. The infant sleeps.
After a brief negotiation with Shannon, it is up to me now to attempt a high-stakes maneuver, the transfer to crib. I smoothly stand up and hold the baby to my chest. He stirs but does not wake. I move with exagerated care like a ninja carrying a jar of nitroglycerin or a crate of Faberge eggs. To wake him and shatter the serenity would be a disaster. With a sigh, he nestles his sweaty little head (for he is a certified sweat-sleeper) into my chest and falls back asleep. We have passed the first obstacle.
This is one of the best feelings in the world, the feeling of your little monster, warm and drowsy, nestling against you. It lasts for a scant minute, the time it takes to get up the stairs and gingerly lower him into his crib (another treacherous step in the process). I linger for a moment at the rail of his stylish espresso crib and pause to look at him. I remember seeing this exact Hallmark glurge moment on television many times: the beaming parent staring down at the sleeping baby while a heartwarming orchestral score poignantly plays. The younger me would have gagged a little or apathetically flipped the channel, but the current me gets it. It's more than just a cliché. It really does happen. And, if there's anything sweeter and more deeply good than the visage of a sleeping infant, I don't know what it is.
I flash back to all the difficult sleepless nights: the crying, the failed crib transfers followed by hours of anxious rocking, reading, and cajoling. I'm relieved that tonight turned out differently. This was a perfect transfer. I must be getting pretty good at this parenting business. I turn and tiptoe out, closing the door behind me to keep the no-good cat from sleeping on Mikey's head or scratching up our rocking chair. The dishes wait for no man, so I head back downstairs toward the kitchen with a smile on my face..