I don't have enough for a cohesive post so here are some moments:
There I am crouched over the tub. Quickly squirting soap onto her belly, scooping it up with my fingers and trying to rub it in between Carys’ baby fat rolls. She squirms, splashes, and holds her arm into a tight strong curve that I can’t get soap into without fearing that I am going to hurt her. Then I catch it, the expression on her face. Her blue eyes wide, examining my face, learning from me what this is all about. I stop, afraid I have what I like to call my ‘nurse expression’ on, where I am caring for you but I am all business. It creeps across my mouth and brow, tightening everything up, when I am performing tasks like changing poopy sheets and clipping squirmy toenails. I relax and smile down at her, and start in on the litany of goofy things we say to infants. She relaxes and smiles back up at me, a little point forming in her top lip, a little, ‘hoo,’ coming from her mouth. Up to that point she didn’t seem to enjoy bath time. I have read statistics about how much children look at their care givers faces, it’s high. This is where they learn what life is all about; from the look on your face. Do you love them? Is the world a safe place? These implicit messages, when your parenting guard is down, are as clear as when you put them in a time out.
* * *
We are poised at the door ready to leave. I am about to make the final pull on the door and start ushering Emma out and doing the tricky dance of getting the car seat out onto the landing. Carys is making little grunting noises and wiggling around, she isn’t calm, but certainly doesn’t seem too upset,
“Work with us, Carys,” Emma says.
Shoot. This is what I say when she is blowing it up right in the middle of a moment when I can’t stop and rock her or nurse her. I’ve always wondered if I was a patient person. I guess if you have to wonder, that means you aren’t.
* * *
Pacifiers are lovely devices aren’t they? Except for the fact that children can’t actually keep them in their mouths. After racing across the room for umpteenth time, interrupting whatever domestic task what I was doing, to pop that merciful piece of plastic back in my daughter’s mouth I started day dreaming about some device that would keep it in her mouth. Some elastic or ribbon thing around her head that would keep it in place. I pictured the elastic as that silver stretchy stuff that comes on packages from expensive stores and with a bow to make it look like less a torture device and more like a cute baby accessory. This is probably akin to leashing your toddler.
* * *
I got to go workout all by myself the other day. It was glorious. I walked unencumbered through the gym. No carseat, no herding a small child. Just me. I ran, I lifted weights. It was great.
I was surprised at how fast I was moving. I kept a steady and quick clip throughout. Even as I showered, I told myself to relax and enjoy it. I did for a few moments and then moved on. Before I started dressing I noticed a sauna. A sauna? We have a sauna? Awesome! I went to go sit in it, just because. As I sat I forced my shoulders out of their habitual slouch, and breathed deeply to relax myself and my muscles. I sat for a moment and peered into the rocks that were giving off the heat and then thought,
“This is dumb, it’s summer.” If I want sweltering heat to relax my muscles and make me sweat I can just go stand in the parking lot. I was up off that wooden bench pretty quickly and out the door.