A progression of separateness

Attention to cycles and processes, the nuance of motion and breath, sleep taking hold of your baby, sudden or slow. It depends on the night. Vague attention to “sleep windows”, but mostly just following a barely-sketched outline and letting him tire himself out beside you.

Sometimes he doesn’t nurse to sleep like he used to. He’ll roll away, sometimes with his back to you, and vocalize for his own amusement, hold his cloud in both hands or dangle it by its string, all the while intoning his baby chant of meditation, crinkled and red-orange glow in the darkness, but becoming smaller and more translucent, with longer pauses between.

You keep reading your book on your phone app, letting him wind down at his own pace. And eventually he’s silent, still, half rolled away from you, his cloud tucked under him or off to the side. You put a hand on his ribs like you used to do when he was newly in this world and so tiny, feeling the peaceful rise and fall. After a while you’re atuned to the sound of his breathing, though it’s easy to lose it again in the hum of the fan.

You move away slightly so you can rest the arm you usually keep outstretched above his head, tuck it close to your body for just a little while. If he rolls back over questing for you in his sleep, you’ll open yourself back up to him. In the meantime, you return to your book.

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