"Yes, little love. I am here. Good morning sunshine. It's a beautiful day today." I move my fingers softly over her golden hair, tracing hearts on her forehead and running a tickle down her nose. I kiss her cheek. She moans again.
"Mama, I hurt."
"I know your hurting sweetheart," I whisper "let's just stretch out your legs gently and get you out of this wet diaper. Then I will give you your meds and run a bath for us."
I pull the covers from her, removing the cocoon of warmth that has surrounded us. Disconnecting her feeding tube from her stomach and removing the oxygen prongs from her nose, I lift her to the end of the bed and set her down, propped gently on a fluffy pillow. She lets out a contented sigh, stretching her legs straight and pushing her body as hard as she can against the pillow.
"Ha!" I laugh at her. "Must feel good to get straightend out after a night of sleeping on your side all curled up against mama." She mews a little sound at me, as if in agreement. I dash to the other room and start the bath water. Nice and warm. Returning to her in seconds I say "I've got the bath going, soon you will be floating in the nice warm water and I will sing to you."
Pulling the snaps of her sleeper open the fabric presses against my fingers in all it's baby softness. What will I do when she doesn't fit in sleepers anymore? I wonder. Removing it from her is similar to undressing a sleeping person, or someone who is unconscious. Her limbs twist easily and fall under the influence of gravity and I must be careful to withdraw each one with care. Removing her diaper she flinches. I notice a redness around her inner thighs where her beautiful baby chub has deprived the skin of oxygen and a rash is forming. Every day I am careful to clean and dry my little love, and yet still we fight these darn crease rashes.
Determined to win the war of the crease, Anaya and I climb into the tub. I hold her floating in the water, using my knees and feet to position her so that I can use my hands to wash first her stoma (G-tube opening in her tummy), then her body, then her hair.
Her back arches and her legs push against the wall of the tub, a firm and deliberate movement on her part. "Push! Push! Push!" I encourage her and she pushes again. Taking a deep breath in she relaxes. Her skin is flush, her lips reddened with highly oxygenated blood from the exertion. She sighs and in that sigh I hear her thoughts.
"Feels Good! LOVE floating! Love Pushing!"
Curly waves of wet golden hair float around her head and I wish I had a camera handy. My fingers find the knots in her neck muscles and I massage them gently, working from her shoulders and up her neck to the base of her skull. Like anyone else Anaya enjoys having her neck and head massaged. "mmmmmm" Contentment.
Cleansing finished it's time for swimming like a mermaid. I begin singing songs from "The Little Mermaid" starting with "Part of your World." Many of you may remember this song from your youth, or your children's youth. Many may remember it from the last time I got good and drunk at the Procter Community Hall Karaoke night more than a year ago. That was the first and last time I drank that much in the past 4 years lol. I ended up singing "Part of Your World", solo, with no music. And I had fun doing it. Lots of fun. But enough about that.
The walls surrounding the tub echo back my voice and the water surrounding us gives it a richness and a vibrancy that can only happen in the shower (some of you may know what I mean) Anaya sighs and floats, occasionally pushing her legs against the end of the tub, while I raise my voice in a sunny salutation of my little love. I allow the song to take me completely, expelling love and frustration, joy, hope and despair.
"I want to be where the people are. I want to see, want to see them dancing, walking around on those...what do you call them? Feet....Up where they WALK, up where they RUN, up where they Play all day in the SUN, wandering free...wish I could be, part of that World..."That's the Camara sweetend condensed version.
Oh! Baby needs me got to go.