Standing in the kitchen drinking water and reading a poorly pixelated printout "Basic Concepts in the Methodology of the Social Sciences" to teach my students tomorrow, I can hear the baby monitor: static, distant singing, the periodic click of the rocking chair coming to rest on the ground, occasional squeaks from the floorboards. Babygorilla sleeps better in his own crib, but when he wakes up he wants to get into our bed, between us. Once there, he'll flop violently onto his side, so completely asleep mid-flop it's like a switch has turned off. He'll lie comatose, the end of one limb touching either of us, slowly rotating until he's at such an odd angle I wake up periodically to make sure the blanket isn't covering his head. But sometimes he gets baby-insomnia and then watch out. No amount of water drunk the night before will stave off dehydration of such magnitude that by morning, my fingers are wrinkled.
The truth is that I drink in those moments stolen out of the norms of baby-parenting strictures and structures we resignedly follow, for all of our ultimate well-being (out of experience: babygorilla needs routine and daily structure to sleep well). But no bedtime routine substitutes for offering one's curved stillness and warmth as nearby comfort, watching the pretty black crescents his eyelashes make over his closed eyes, following the slow sideways droop of baby cheeks as his sleep deepens, while his hand snakes out, mid-sleep, and hangs onto my shirt.