I feel your sharp elbows dig into my chest as you clamber over, getting closer to the page. The ceiling light is off and the walls are dimly lit from a bedside table. You slur your speech with the dummy you’ve outgrown in your mouth as you explain your fast thoughts about the images. I let you fill the blanks in the sentences you’ve assimilated so quickly. Your ravenous mind a sponge.
I am warm and cosy under the duvet in my bed that you sleep in whilst your baby brother needs a sleep companion. Giving mummy and me more rest than if we had to see to you in the night. And we cherish taking turns sleeping with you.
You flit and twist about, putting your head on my chest as I read, sitting up on your haunches leaning your forearms on my chest when an exciting page happens, getting close as I wrap my arm around your torso, holding the other side of the book again. Your warmth an exchange of energy like no other. Your hot little torso. Your warm hands. Your head and hair blocking the pages so I have to peep around you to read the words most of which I can recite from memory. You’re still awake, though you are ready for sleep and keep rubbing your eyes
Your inquisitive intonation and your utter security make me proud. Of myself, but more so of you. Sometimes I try to imagine what it feels like to be with a parent you feel so secure with, going to sleep with them there under the duvet. It must feel so comforting. This caring giant sharing warmth and love, every night.
You barely look at the pages of your old favourites as we read. Instead you fiddle with your cup of milk, or your toy car that you brought into the bed with you after your bath. You love to read them all the same. But the new books? You are transfixed by them and emotionally swept up in them.
I put my fingers through your curls as you lay your head on the pillow. I turn off the bedside light. I wish you good night and tell you I love you. Sometimes, you say ‘I love you, daddy’ in return.
You are nearly 3. We’ve been doing this for over a year and a half, and I will hold this with me forever. It is some of my most special moments.