Thursday, February 9, 2012

Maia Maia, nighty-night

Maia leans over in the bath to drink the bath water. "No!" I say, but that doesn't stop her doing it. She mouths the faucet, too.

I wash her soft back and her strong legs with a warm, soapy cloth while she stands at the bathtub's edge, holding on with one hand, the other keeping a toy crab in her mouth. She drools. She grins. She lets go and for a second, she's standing there, unsupported. She drops softly back into the water and I take the opportunity to wash her arms and underarms, her chest and feet. I'd play This Little Piggy with her toes, but there's no time; she's moving again, onto her hands and knees to get the magenta cup floating just a bit out of reach.

She sips at the water again, and I say "No!" again, and she looks thoughtful and says, "Buh." She often answers me when I talk to her nowadays, though I don't usually understand her responses. Occasionally I do. This is not one of those times, unless "Buh" means "Oh mother." She splashes at the water with her hands, watches where it goes, splashes again.

I wet her fine, still-sparse hair and her face, and wash her well to get the sweet potato off. Eric asked at dinner if he should bother washing her off, and I said something about getting the big chunks at least, and he took me at my word; there are still sweet potato splotches on her eyebrow, her neck, the top of her ear. She did enjoy being able to feed herself, though. She protests a little as I scrub, but not much; she's too engrossed in gnawing at her cup and crawling after the monster ducky.

I rinse her off and get her delicate bits, and then open the drain. I take her towel off the rack and tuck it under my chin. She sees it and grins, her eyes lighting up, and drops the monster ducky. I pick her up and place her against my chest to wrap her in the towel so we can sit on the toilet and dry her off. Today she twists in my grasp before I've even gotten her fully wrapped up. Is she unhappy and wants me to hold her close? No, she's peering at the shiny knob on the towel closet in the corner and trying to take it.

I try to turn her, but end up drying her face and head and feet in that position and carrying her, monkeylike, into her room. I deposit her on the changing table and keep a hand on her as I'm selecting a diaper and a sleeper. She gets up and starts exploring like a spelunker, arms spread wide against the wall, toes tucked into any cranny, perilously close to the edge. "I'd have thought I'd have intelligent babies," I tell her. "Why aren't you afraid of falling?" I gather her in, hold her high above the changing table, and blow on her as I send her down onto it--quickly, but with a soft landing. She's delighted, but the charm only lasts a second. I manage to get her diaper on her and adjusted properly after five or six of these. Then I'm too afraid, even if she isn't, to stay on the changing table, so she gets flown to the floor.

She picks up a cloth from the laundry pile and covers her head with it. "Where's Maia?" I say, and she yanks it down. "There she is!" I say, and we both grin. When the charm wears off she crawls next door, where her big sister and daddy are playing, and I follow, sleeper in hand. Then it's ChloĆ«'s turn for a bath and a good hair-combing; then Maia comes to me again for some milk, at least until she gets up on her hands and knees and finds she can't get her head down to the R.I.N.D.S. satisfactorily, and gives up in favor of trying to reach the lotion bottle. Then it's time for her Sleep Sack and a short book. She's fighting to get me to put her down before I've gotten two lines into her lullaby, so I cut it short and put her down and turn on her aquarium, which is what she wants. I whisper, "Sleep well," and leave her staring raptly, her face blue from the aquarium light. Before a minute passes I hear her I'm-falling-asleep growls, and smile.

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