The other night, while I was settling down to a bowl of late-night oatmeal for a snack, I heard Robbie fussing via the baby monitor by the phone.
I'll let him settle himself back to sleep, I thought, as he so often does. Then, in the place of tiny sobs, I hear, "Milk. Milk. Milk. Milk." He's not putting himself back to sleep.
I go into his room and find him barely half-awake, but turning from side to side and asking for milk. I pick him up. It's been almost 48 hours since I've seen the kid, and it's nice to hold him again. He snuggles up against my chest. "You want some milk?" I ask. "Mm-hmm," he replies, and I carry him to the kitchen.
We had just a very little bit of milk left, as Kim was planning to go grocery shopping the next day, so I pour what we have left into a sippy cup and hope that it's enough for him. We go back to his darkened room and I sit in the glider-rocker, rocking gently and silently as he slowly--VERY slowly--gulps down his milk.
When he finishes the last of the milk, I take the sippy and set it down by the foot stool. His eyes are a little more open now, and he looks quasi-clearly up at me. I stand with him in my arms.
"Are you ready to go back to sleep?" I whisper.
"Mm-hmm," he replies. I carry him to the crib.
"Do you want your bear?" I ask.
"Bear," he replies softly. I set him down and put his bear down in front of him. He grabs the bear--whom he named "Grr"--around the neck and snuggles up to it. I also put his blanket over him and quietly walk away. He's facing the wall.
Just as I get to the door, he says, completely unprompted, "I wuvoo." It melts my heart. I smile. "I love you," I answer him, then close the door and leave him to his dreams.
My oatmeal was no longer warm. I didn't mind.