The curling fingers wrapped around my finger.
The sweetness of a hot, sweaty head with slick curls on damp forehead all smooshed up against me, seeking human warmth, not heat.
The hand that reaches out in reassurance that we are present.
The little head, sprung up as out of sleep he falls and into life and energy and the big grin and good morning "Hiya," proudly speaking his intent to start the day.
The energy, oh the energy, the sleepy, drooping head, so relaxed and nodding, nodding until a dog barks and the spring is sprung as the sleepiness dissipates and the hand flies to his ear aside his cocked head with a "huh" and a questioning look as he seeks to know what is happening abroad and the settling begins again in earnest after the question is answered.
The gentleness of the touch and the strength of the touch.
The gentle play of fingers lifting small bites from the table, of collecting up tiny toys or stroking your face.
The rough and tough and soreness of rebellion, fighting unassailable truths that sleep must be gotten and nappies must be changed in order for health to be held. The strength of will, the power of little arms stretched out in protest and squeals that pierce armour of the toughest form that squawk "no" to whatever the parent wishes: shoes on, feeding time, bed time, "you can't play with that," it's dangerous or fragile or not ours, you can't, shouldn't, won't and the resounding "no" and "never" and "I shall not be moved," responses.
You set the limits and choose the battles, repetitions worth repeating in order to move along and grow and learn and we all grow and learn.
There are distractions and deflections and things put out of reach and places and times avoided and naps are sought at appropriate intervals and we all work for a common cause - peace though not often quiet.
Of course tempers fray and sanctuary is sought away from squeals and Daddy is called into play, "tag you're it" and sometimes "baby jails" can save your sanity but always resolve, resolution, the coming together again of mother and child in dramatic reunion, big hugs and sobs and "sorrys," "I love yous" and love always love always love.