DS2 has a vicious cough and hasn't been sleeping very well.
After one of his spats with his sister today, she went outside to play, and he decided to take a few spins around the kitchen island on his tricycle. (Yes, the kitchen is that big.)
His misery overcame him, however, when he saw his sister outside without him -- I had made them separate to prevent blood-letting. So he just sat on his trike screaming "I don't wanna!" over and over.
You don't wanna what? Who knows. He certainly didn't. There was no point in talking about it.
So I picked him up and sat him on my lap, holding him secure and rubbing his back. He nestled his head into my shoulder immediately, but he was still sobbing and sighing. Eventually all that subsided and he went to sleep.
When he was tiny, I carried him in one of those baby carriers you wear like a backpack, only you keep the little one in front, of course. We tried the sling but not one of my kids was ever comfortable in it, but the two younger ones loved the babypack. DS2 spent a lot of time in it, too, because I was always taking one of his older siblings to school or somewhere, and if he was in the babypack, he could just come along for the ride.
The one thing, though, was he always wanted to face in, towards me. This is required when they're tiny, because they don't have the strength to support themselves, facing out. It's OK for the wearer because their little legs are so short that they don't impeded your walking. Once they've grown and developed some muscle tone, you can wear them face-out. DD, like every other baby besides DS2, loved being face-out; she could see where we were going and interact with everyone, and being face-out put her legs away from mine, so I could walk without our limbs crashing into each other.
DS2, though, hated being face-out and cried and cried whenever we tried it. I couldn't even carry him face-out on my hip! He does have a slight depression in his sternum (I can't remember the technical term for it right now), and we think it probably just didn't feel good to him, having pressure across his chest. So I always kept him face-in, and he always loved curling up against me. Of course I would end up lifting him, in the babypack, if I had to do any serious walking, because his legs and feet were always smacking against my thighs... but it was still worth it to have him in the babypack!
I think being on my lap, like today, with my arms around him, holding him against me securely, must remind him of those days when he could spend hours with me, like that. And even as a big boy of four, I think it still must feel close to perfect, to be safe and warm and loved, all at the same time, and to be held just so, letting sleep settle over you because it is the rightest thing in the world.