At 21 months old, the boy is bursting with independence. He crawls on chairs and couches, he asserts his choices in food, toys and television shows, he helps with laundry, dishes and sweeping. Today he even fed the cats and I couldn't be prouder.
But today, tonight, I was also reminded of both his innocence and dependence.
The boy goes to sleep on his own, we change his diaper, apply a plethora of creams, give him some milk, read him some stories and put him to bed. He usually reads his books in his bed for about 10 minutes then drifts off to sleep. Tonight, he decided he was not ready for bed. He didn't want any books, he just wanted to play, so we let him. We told him it was sleepytime, we turned on his stars and left him to his own devices.
An hour later, he seemed to have finished playing, but was now banging on his bedroom door. The noise subsided and we assumed the boy went to sleep.
About an hour and a half later, we heard a long whine, not quite a cry but clearly something out of the ordinary. As I attempted to open his bedroom door, I realized that the boy has left his toys in front of his door, again. However, as I slid through the door I realized it wasn't his toys in front of the door, the boy had actually fallen asleep right in front of his door.
I immediately scoop up my barely awake little man and he nuzzles right into my chest. He certainly doesn't smell like 'baby' anymore, yet he smells delicious to me nonetheless. I sing him a song and ask if he wants another; he simply mutters 'don't' and snuggles closer. In moments he's fallen back into a deep slumber. He doesn't even stir when I put him into his bed.
The boy was 5 months old when we sleep trained him and he's rarely fallen asleep on me since. I'd forgotten how amazingly special it feels to hold him and kiss his forhead as he drifts off to sleep in the perfectness of momma's embrace. I held him longer than needed, just relishing in the moment, in his innocence, in his need.