Sleep Like a Baby

July 22nd, 2021

Asher is taking a nap. He is lying on his back, his mouth open, and his cheeks rosy. His breathing is steady. From a distance I can see the gentle rise and fall of his chest (and his big belly). The chubby fingers of his right hand clutch the edge of his blanket. Asher’s body is near to me, but his mind is far away.

It fascinates me to watch Asher sleep. If I look closely, I notice many things. Occasionally, he will cry out in his sleep, and then relax again. Sometimes, he flashes a smile that fades away almost immediately. He is generally on his back with his arms spread out wide. That position makes him appear like Christ on the Cross. If I am near to him at the right time, I can see the movement of his eyes as they dart back and forth beneath his eyelids.

What do babies dream about?

Karin gets Asher to sleep by holding him in his arms. I lay him down on the bed and put a pacifier into his mouth. Both techniques work.

Asher fights sleep. He struggles to stay awake, even though he’s tired and whiny. When I have him in bed, he kicks his legs and sucks ferociously on his pacifier. He hangs on to a bib or a the edge of a blanket. Asher grasps two fingers on my right hand, and holds them tightly. his hands are remarkably strong.

Slowly he fades. His eyes close by degrees. His breathing becomes more regular. His legs grow still. He hangs on to one of my fingers until the very end. Even after he has fallen asleep, his tiny hand keeps a vicelike grip in the end of my pinkie. It is only when Asher has entered the deepest part of sleep that he finally, slowly, lets it go.

He needs my hand to feel safe. He needs to know that I am with him until the end.

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