Every morning, I wake up with Casey as he rustles the featherweight comforter that shelters us while we sleep. I plead for a few more minutes of sleep and grumble when he doesn’t comply. We make our way to the kitchen, following the cat, who has been nudging us for attention since dawn’s light first peaked in from behind the curtain. Down the hallway, left into the kitchen and across the tiled floor. He points with tiny fist. He knows. The repetitive acts of daily care.
He wants to be picked up, held. He wants to see. He is learning. With twenty two pounds on my left hip, it is harder to go through the motions but he cries and bounces and pulls on the knee of my pajama pants when I put him down, eager to see and smell and help. With one hand I pour out the remnants of yesterday’s brew. Rinse the pot, swish and swirl the water until it runs clear. 10, sometimes 12, cups of fresh filtered water, poured carefully into the waiting reservoir; alert for spills, and cats beneath my feet. Yesterday’s grounds are emptied into the garbage. A fresh filter signals a new day. The bag of coffee is difficult to open with one hand but he cries and bounces and pulls on the knee of my pajama pants when I put him down.
Do you want to smell the coffee?
He hasn’t even put his nose to the bag yet. I put it closer, around his nose and mouth so he can smell and taste the sweet, robust scent of morning.
Yummy, coffee. Does it smell good?
His two-toothed grin melts my heart. There is a smudge of grounds below his bottom lip and he simply stares into my eyes with his two-toothed grin, happy with our simple routine.
Some days the hands,
Of domesticity, free me
from my worries of the mundane.
by hot, soapy water, find perfection
in the spotlessness of a dish.
My hands find purpose,
In the simple, repetitive acts
Of daily care
Domestic Bliss, achieved.
His tiny naked buttocks as he waddles down the hallway in all his glory.
A sight to behold.
Water still runs from the faucet as I lift him up and over, into our blue bathtub.
He tries to catch the water as it falls into the tub and hands it to me.
An empty gesture but given with love and a two-toothed grin.
Will you sit for mommy?
The tub is filled, just a few clear inches, and he sits in water that is slightly too hot but he doesn’t mind. His skin is pink from waist down where he sits in water that is slightly too hot but he doesn’t mind.
Slippery fingers knock his bath time book into the water from where it sits, perched on the soap shelf. Open to the first page:
Hey! Hey! What do you say! It’s time to take a bath today!
That’s a Pink Pig.
That’s his paintbrush.
Bring your Ducky. Bring your Boat. Bring your toys that like to float.
He point to each picture. This? This? This?
That’s the ball. The duck. A whale. The Boat. Where’s the ball?
He knows and points it out.
I sit next to the tub. The grit of unswept kitty litter underneath the towel that I have spread across the floor, reminds me of the things I didn’t cross off my list.
I sit and I watch as he scoops and pours and practices washing himself.
This? He is leaning far over to see over his protruding Buddha belly.
That’s your penis.
This? (Back to the book)
That’s the ball. The whale. The boat. The Duck.
Gently Scrub from top to toes.
Where are your toes? Your knees? Your nose?
That’s your penis.
Now I kiss you on the nose! All done!
He leans up for his kiss. I miss his nose and my lips brush the space between his nostril and his cheek.
But he is not done and I sit and I breathe and I stare and I think and I answer his questions and dodge his splashes and laugh with him as he makes up his little games and tell him he’s silly and tell him I love him.
This? This? This?
The duck. The boat. The Ball. The whale.