His grunts and whines echo from the baby monitor on the bedside table. A quick glance at the clock never reveals morning; it's always between 12 and 3am.
I pull myself from bed and tip toe into the hallway. A two-year-old sleeps nearby and I certainly don't want two little ones awake in the middle of the night. I slip into the darkened room and feel my way to his crib, the light from outside illuminates a hungry 7-month-old, sitting up and still half enveloped in the swaddle from bedtime.
I pick him up and hold him close to my chest. I make quiet "shush" noises in his ear to keep the protests of an empty tummy quiet long enough to duck back into the adult's bedroom.
We lay back down in bed and snuggle under blankets. His tiny hands are often like ice as he rolls toward me, flailing and frustrated that I'm taking more than 0.005 seconds to settle next to him.
His small warm body is curled into mine and I hear the satisfied sounds of eating. I know his eyes are likely still closed and soon we both fall back to sleep. I'm too tired to move him back to his own bed and honestly, I don't want to. It's a quiet, blissful time of bonding. I'm most grateful for breastfeeding during these wee hours of the morning and although most give a tiny look of pity when I reply "not yet" to the sleeping-through-the-night questions, I'm secretly glad. I don't want my baby to abandon our nighttime routine just yet. I love it and wouldn't change it for the world.