It's the middle of the night. Natalie has been sleeping for 5 hours, Karsten and I for a few less. Natalie starts crying. At first, it's just a few unhappy sounds. Then, it get's to be more and more complaining. I'm thinking "Argh, Natalie, just go back to sleep". It's not going to happen. After a few words wispered under my breath that are probably not quite pg-13, we both get up. Natalie is in her crib, with most of her fist in her mouth. She's teething again.
I pick her up. Karsten gives her some pain medication. He starts our "Baby-CD" as he leaves the room. It has five sweet, quite songs. We always play it at bedtime.
I hold Natalie tight. During the first song, we walk around the room. Natalie does not want to be held, does not want to listen to the music, just does not want to have her teeth hurt. I give her a teether, and that calms her down somewhat.
During the second song, the pain medication starts to kick in. Natalie calms down. She looks at me, then reaches up to give me her teether. For a while, I walk around the room with a baby in my arms and a teether in my mouth. For a second, I smile, thinking how silly we must look if anyone could see us. Then I smile even more, thinking about how sweet and generous my little Natalie is. Even though she still is in some pain, she wants to share the one thing she has right now with me.
During the third song, Natalie starts to doze off. About midway thru, I sit down in our rocking chair. It's a stealthy operation we've done many times before. It involves standing in front of the chair rocking from side to side to simulate walking, then switching to rocking back and forth to simulate the movement of the chair, then finally sitting down as smoothly as possible. We're experts at the maneuver, and Natalie only reacts to it with one deep sigh.
During the fourth song, Natalie is sleeping in my arms. I know I can probably put her in her crib now, but she's just soo darn cute. I decide to spend just a few minutes looking at her, sleeping so peacefully with me. After all, we usually put her in the crib after the first song. So I'd better listen to the rest of the CD plus the first song again, so we follow the routine - at least that's my excuse.
During the fifth song, Natalie is dreaming. I can see her facial expressions change with whatever she's dreaming. I see something like surprise and interest - she must be doing one of her favorite experiments. Then, her mouth curls up in the cutest little smile ever, and she totally melts my heart.
We listen to the first song again, then I put Natalie back in her crib. She doesn't even react to the kiss she always get's before she goes in the crib, or to me whispering good-night. As I go back to bed, I curl up to Karsten and whisper a quiet "Thank you". "For what?" he replies, half asleep. "For letting me take care of her tonight" I answer, and I think "For letting me share the night with Natalie".