Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dream Feed

I pad down the narrow hallway and enter the dark bedroom. In the blackness, I feel for the sound machine. The patter of rain abruptly stops and the room falls silent. I reach into the bassinette and my hands find the swaddled baby with ease. I take him out of the room. His head angles back and his lips purse, but he is still fast asleep.

I walk down the hall to the nursery and place him on the carpet using the animal footprints as a marker so I know exactly where to put him when I'm finished. I unswaddle, careful to keep the fabric in the correct position for his return. There isn't enough room between the crib and the dresser for all the fabric. There is a lot of fabric. This baby, not yet five months old, is the size of a nine month baby. Two legs shoot up in the air, and he rolls to his left side. They shoot up again, and he rolls to his right. Over and over the baby gymnastics. I fire up the computer and watch him roll. This is my favourite part.

I heft the boy onto my left shoulder and grab the breastfeeding pillow. I sit down on the computer chair, unhook my bra and put the baby to the breast. I read blogs and try to comment. I can type with two hands if he's feeding well, one if he's not. He's usually not. I question the need to stay up late doing this if he going to barely eat. He shoves his hand in my shirt. He is one of two men who can get away with such a bold move. It's a lovely hand.

I burp him and a trickle of milk rolls down his chin. I switch sides and he starts to rub his left ear obsessively. Is it itchy? I sit him up to burp him again and he rubs his face against the receiving blanket, settling in. He is sleeping sitting up. A toe twitches. An eyebrow raises. A soft smile passes his lips.

I put him back on the swaddling fabric and his eyes fly open. Now he is awake. He squawks and struggles, but I swaddle on. No sleep for the unbound. I try to make sure it's tight enough to give Houdini pause. I shift him deftly to football position and sit back down at the computer. I read some more, the baby's head jiggling on my leg. If I want to comment on a post now, I must hunt and peck. I hate long verification codes.

Eyes are closing slowly and I hear a wail from the Boy's room. I pause, heart in throat. Silence. Was that the end, or the beginning?

I continue jiggling. I'm falling asleep myself. Soft, rhythmic breaths. I get up and walk down the hall. I turn the sound machine on. I fumble around till I find the rain setting. I tiptoe out. As I leave, I hope the lazy feed is enough to nourish.

And I hope the swaddle is tight, or it's going to be a long night.

9 comments:

Christine said...

sigh.

this was indeed a dreamy picture of those lat night feeding and wanderings of the mind.

thanks for sharing this little picture with us.


Running on empty

Kyla said...

I used to just put the kiddo next to me in bed and nurse while I slept. Geez, I'm lazy.

This was a lovely post.

kittenpie said...

Oh jeez, I remember those nights. Makes me wonder what the heck I'm doing, going back there... but I keep reminding myself that it gets better, we got through it once, we can do it again. Take heart! We mamas are a tougher breed than we imagine.

ourlittlefunnybunny said...

I loved reading this...brought back a lot of memories...and also put a little fear into my heart!

Gabriella

Mad said...

Yes, there are hazy memories in this for so many of us. Thanks, No-Mo.

Lisa b said...

Here's hoping it was a tight swaddle.

bren j. said...

A moment perfectly captured.

Mimi said...

Ah yes, this is just how I forgot that I actually remember it. Beautiful.

Holly said...

mommy of 2 previously-swaddled bundles over here! somehow one arm always poked its way out...

PS. My 'little' guy was 19 pounds at 4 months. What is in breast milk nowadays? lol...