I knew we had made a mistake within three steps.
It was a rare night in our household, where it was nearly 9PM and my little guy was still crying in his crib after 30 minutes. My husband had just come upstairs to find me at the computer, trying to shut out the crying, nerves frayed, and gave me some much needed relief when he said, "this isn't normal...we should go check".
So we walked in, and I saw Jacob turtled on his "pillow" in the corner of the crib, not standing as I'd expected. ::sigh:: Wrong move, mom. Confirmed after he sat up, glared at us, and shouted "No, Mommy! No, Daddy!" before continuing to sob.
But, we were in, and there was no turning back. So I shooed daddy out, picked up my sweet baby boy, and sat down in the rocker as he frogged me, his sobs turning to gentle hiccups as he relaxed. We sat like this for a long while, me just smelling his hair and kissing him way, way too much above the ear.
After a little bit (who is to say, time was standing still), I whispered to ask if he was still awake, he lifted his head and just looked at me, exhausted.
"Do you want to get back in your bed?" I tried gently. He shook his head no. "Do you want me to hold you like a baby?" This is our code for his favorite pre-bed position since he was six weeks old, roughly. He didn't answer, but leaned as far to his right (facing me) as he could, and I let him relax. Holding him in my lap, his head on my left arm, with my right arm supporting his legs, his left arm draped over mine, he finally succumbed.
And for the first time in over a year, I got to watch my baby fall asleep.
Y'all, nothing else matters. This was a gift, and I would have gladly given up chocolate and cheese for a year of holding this child while he slept in my arms.