Next to me in bed, my 5-year old is sleeping. His legs have kicked off the duvet and his right arm is slung across my chest. This is a new habit of ours whenever the Greek God(zilla) is away. He climbs in next to me, his pillow tucked under one arm and Bear snuggled tightly under the other, and we prop ourselves up on pillows to read stories.
Tonight, I allowed a midnight feast, only we feasted at 7.45pm. He does not care that midnight is many hours away, he just wants to eat crackers and cucumber in bed. It was also more of a snack than a feast, but for him the excitement comes from being able to do something that is usually forbidden.
I sipped camomile tea beside him while he munched away and talked about dinosaurs between mouthfuls. He is quite the expert now. Last week, I found him organising a bucket of toy miniature dinosaurs into groups of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores! For days, I tiptoed nervously around them, scared to disturb the order for fear of having to spend the day googling ‘is orange long-necked dinosaur with spikes and tail a carnivore or herbivore?’
We cuddled in and as his eyes started to close, I kissed him goodnight. These rare nights are a treat for us both. He will not always find the novelty of sleeping in our bed such an adventure. There will come a day when he just won’t like me as much as he does now. Or, at least not in the same way.
For the moment though, I am enjoying it. We have hung out together all day. Just the two of us. He’s been in a very playful mood and so I have too.
It is times like these that I can appreciate having an only child. I am happy we have reached this place. Although I had long ago accepted our fate on a personal level, I still felt guilty we were unable to produce a sibling for him until quite recently.
Tomorrow, the Greek God(zilla) will return and both normality and chaos, will resume. He will regale us with tales from his cricket tour, the runs scored by his team, or lack thereof; and all the inside jokes that you really had to be there to understand. His bat, gloves and cricket whites will remain in the hallway until everyone has tripped over them. Every cup, plate and fork in the cupboards will find its way to the kitchen sink. He will deny a hangover but crash out early from ‘total exhaustion, love’. Sometimes, it can feel like I have two children anyway.
But, it will be wonderful to have him back home. Tomorrow.
Tonight, there is no other place I’d rather be.