I carry him high up on my shoulder down the hall to his room where the black-out curtains are drawn and it is quiet. He needs to be as far away from the distractions of people and cats and toys as possible. I am not even sitting yet when he starts holding me tighter, grabbing, and making impatient gaspy coos. He knows that chair well, and he is ready. His head is diving at my chest before I can even pull my shirt up or down enough for him to find what he’s looking for. We are well beyond the days of him needing guidance. He simply launches himself forward and latches on. I do nothing more than catch the back of his head in the crook of my elbow and watch his eyes roll back and close with relief and delight.

Then while he eats, I alternate between admiring him and wrangling his flailing limbs. He rubs his feet together and twists his legs and pushes against the chair of the arm. He wraps one arm around my side and rakes his fingernails up and down the chair behind me. His other arm shoots straight up in the air, and he holds it there for just a moment before letting it crash down on his or my body. “No hitting. Gentle hands.” I offer him my free hand to play with to distract him from his flailing. He wraps his tiny fingers around mine, and then my hand is flailing too.

But then he settles and we share a game of handsies. We gently caress each other’s hands. Then he holds my hand while I give his a few squeezes. While it lasts, it is quiet and sweet and magical. I let myself be fully in that moment, because in a flash it is gone. He is reaching out as far as he can and scratching my pants with one hand, while the other is still scratching the chair. Then his back is arching and he’s throwing his head back and latching and unlatching and staring and smiling at the ceiling and door and listening to noises coming from the other room and doing anything and everything other than eating.

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