I can hear her through the monitor clicking her tongue and repeating, “da-da-da-da”. I see her on the screen playing with a crib toy. She’s awake for the day and ready for her first bottle. I walk into her room and she’s peeking at me over the bumper, anticipating my arrival.

Her body is still warm from sleep. I feel guilty unzipping her sleep sack and releasing the last bit of warmth that surrounds her. She smiles happily when I look down on her and she pumps her arms in excitement. After I unsnap her sleeper, I lift out her plump, soft little feet and regardless of how crunched I am for time, I lean over to nibble on her tiny toes and blow raspberries into the arches of her feet.

When I have to lift her bottom, I use one hand to hold onto both ankles, just as I’m sure everyone has ever done and ever will do. However, when I do it, I can’t help but think of how we would carry live chickens on the farm. It’s a thought completely out of context, but EVERY time I change her, that odd memory comes to me.

Once she is changed, she quietly waits until I’ve snapped her sleeper back up and on cue, she lifts her arms towards me, an instinctual motion that is utterly irresistible. Once I have her close to me, I nuzzle her neck causing her to giggle. Even though she’s hungry, she tolerates my delays with such sweetness.

I’m so lucky to have these moments that are anything but routine.