Saturday, September 19, 2009
Around 3am there must be the first snuffles that alert me to begin waking.
I enter the room quietly in slipper-shod feet. I am still asleep but have drifted from bed to kitchen to nursery. The cats snore, entwined together on the leather couch, a warm fur-mountain of tails and paws.
In Finn’s room I pick him up, sleep-limp still and heavy, a little caterpillar cocooned in his duvet-thick swag.
We sit in the lamps dim glow and he looks at me with trusting seal-grey eyes.
The bottle-teat enters his eager ‘o’ of a mouth, instantly stopping another whimper. His plump lips close round it, then back he goes to sleep, sucking so hard the bottle emits a faint whistle as the air valve does its thing. I let my thoughts roam, and they are pleased and contended thoughts. I am careful not to look at the clock, and have strategically placed a toy in front of it. To look at the clock is to think of sleep hours remaining, to not look is to sit heavy and suspended in a glowing bubble of time-proof matter, a candle-lit cabin at sea, the Tardis in deep space.
Finn slurps at a steady pace, his eyes mostly closed, but occasionally opening to check the Goddess (she who giveth and taketh away) is still attached to the sweet and warm drink
Five minutes, eight, ten, not really counting but measuring out heartbeats in mls of milk. The house ticks faintly with snuffly possums that’ve come back in after an early forage.
Replete, he allows a fine dribble of milk to escape his lips on each side, his ‘milk fangs’ we call them.
I pull the bottle back and dab his lips, glazed like plump doughnuts with a slick of milk.
When I pick him up for a burp his heavy head lolls onto my shoulder and he goes as soft as a kitten.
Ergghh. He says. Good boy, say I.
I fold him into the cot and tuck him tight as tight can be. Snug as a bug in a rug, my Dad used to say.
As I turn to flick off the lamp I hear his gurgling and satisfied snores.
The house closes in again around this little moment, this dream feed, like a shell round a nut.
I return to bed and am soon, again, asleep.