Thursday, 26 August 2010

Eleven O' Clock

At eleven o' clock every night my baby wakes for a feed. I hear his strangled groans crawling down the stairs and I drop my toothbrush in the sink and run up to reach him before the grumbles break into screams.

In the semi-darkness of the bedroom he lies with his legs and arms flailing, his little body tense, his face screwed up in distress.

"Shhhhh" I say, kicking off my shoes as his sobs start to swell, "Shhhh," lifting his warm, floppy body into my arms, "Hush little boy," as I kiss his downy head and bury my face into the warm fold of his neck, "Shhh little one," as I breathe in the sweet scents of talc and bubble bath, "It's OK," as I settle myself on the bed and lay him across my lap.

His sobs break into staccato cough-like cries and he kicks impatiently as I rearrange myself, then he's curving his back and opening his lips and all his sobs are silenced by sucking.

I stroke his hair and watch his eyes roll in ecstasy as his short, frantic sucks change into long, slow gulps. For a while, his free arm flails frantically and his body jerks fitfully as he struggles to snatch his breath, then gradually his sucks become slower, his breathing becomes more even and finally his breaths are slow, his sucks are soft and I know that he is sound asleep.

Some nights, I lower him straight into his cot, come downstairs and continue brushing my teeth, but other nights I sit like this for a few minutes, silently watching him suck in his sleep and pondering the mystery of motherhood.

Because in this little nightly ritual when I'm neither too tired nor too busy to have missed it, dependence and devotion have met, and both mother and baby are fulfilled.

My days are filled with countless blessings and immeasurable joys but I think that right now, eleven o' clock might just be my favourite time of the day.


  1. I am in awe of your mindfulness and ability to enjoy the moment for what it is. I spend so much of parenthood wondering how to sort out the things which are not working, that I forget to enjoy what is. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Your post just brought back all the joy and wonder of that time. The feeling of a satisfied, well fed baby asleep on you cannot be beaten - these days the only time I have something similar is when one of them has a nightmare and I snuggle them back to sleep. Not quite the same!

    I found you via Alice Magpie. Your blog is lovely.

  3. Such a magical, nurturing time. Exhausting but sadly fleeting. I enjoyed the peace of night feeds when the world was still and sleeping.