The intimacy

Tonight, in the bath, the hippo water toy got rough with my breasts.

Well, that’s how my toddler saw it, anyway.

From the time he was able to take a bath in the tub, my baby boy and I have been taking baths together. He’s pretty much never in that bathtub unless I’m in there with him.

At a certain point, he became very interested in grabbing ahold of my nipples, hard, and yanking, hard, and the pain made me yowl. “Soft, soft, gentle, gentle, with Mama,” I would say, locking eyes with him. “Ouch! That hurts! No, no!”

It took some time, but he now leaves my boobies alone (for the most part). But tonight, when we were playing with this wall-mounted bath toy, one in which there is a hippo that squirts water in a long stream, far from its mouth, hippo hit my boobie again and again with his water.

I was laughing, but my boy was not. He looked very serious.

“Uh-uhh-ahh!!” he said to Hippo, giving Hippo the wavey stop sign with his hand. As if to say, No, no, Hippo, be gentle, gentle, soft, soft with Mama’s boobies.

I don’t know how I kept from laughing. It was hard. But I managed, and I thanked S for protecting my boobies from naughty Hippo’s games (even though I was the one pushing the button that made the water squirt).

In reaction, S got very soft and gentle in his body language, and he took his flat palm and very, very gently and lightly patted my nipple, concentrating on being soft, not hard, concentrating on not hurting me.

“Thank you, baby,” I said, continuing to struggle to not grin. “That’s very nice of you to be so soft and gentle with Mama.”

Some time passed…we pointed at each other’s belly buttons and said that’s my belly button, that’s your belly button…and then he got a devious grin.

Uh-oh.

He reached out, lightening speed, grabbed my nipple and yanked with all his might.

This is life with a 14-month-old.

But what I came away from this incident with the most is our sense of intimacy. Our bodies were literally once one body, and there is this way in which we are together, bodily, that is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.

He sticks his hands in my mouth and touches each of my teeth, my gums, and my tongue, and I’m just like, Oh yeah, that’s totally normal and fine, and let him do whatever.

He sticks his finger up my nose. He loves to explore the crevices and canals of my ears, and I’m like, Go for it, little buddy, yeah, that’s a nostril, that’s an earhole, isn’t that cool?

When he finds the Rasta peace sign that I had tattooed on my behind when sixteen on spring break and he thinks it is so funny (ah, he has no idea how funny), and presses it again and again, as if it were a button, I laugh, too, and let him keep pressing it as long as he likes.

When he feeds my belly button milk, juice, water, when he feeds it crackers, I say, Sure, go ahead, yummm, yummmm, my belly button was hungry! Is your belly button hungry, too?

I kiss him all over. Every sweet, soft spot—his neck, his belly, his cheeks, his toes. I tickle his hip bone. I massage his tiny plump little toes. I hold him like an itty baby in the crook of my arm and croon love songs, or hoist him over my shoulder like a sack of cement, or let him ride my hip like a cowboy who has mounted his horse (how I LOVE that feeling when I swing him up, and he lands astraddle my left hip, like he’s part of my body), or hold his sweet warm body flat against my belly as I walk or when I rock him and sing to him before sleep at night.

I’ve never felt anything like this before. This level of intimacy.

When I fart, he makes a fart noise. When he farts, we both laugh. When he has a snotty nose, I suck it clean with the nosefrida, and he wants to suck his own snot into his mouth and fights me for the tube. At the end of the day, our clothings are covered in dried, crusty, disgusting globs of food. Our hair is tangled and sideways. We both sorely need to brush our teeth. Our fingernails have crud under them. We are a mess.

And then after the bath, tonight, he was on his back, sticking his little foot into the air so I could put a warm sock on it. Something happened–I don’t know what it was exactly, but we both stopped talking/singing/squirming/doing stuff for a moment and just looked into each other’s eyes. I leaned over him and smiled. And that’s when he reached up and literally cupped my face in both of his hands. He pulled my face toward his face. And he kissed me softly on the lips.

I…I don’t know what else to say. That’s it. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Afterward, we gazed at each other like two people in love, which we are, and then Dada came and swooped him up, off to bed, and the moment was over.

But I will never, ever forget it.

I love you, son.

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. I long for a day when I can look at my baby eye-to-eye in these intimate moments that you described. Beautiful post, my friend.

    Reply
  2. Wow, that made me tear up. That’s beautiful.

    Reply
  3. This is so lovely. Q is something of a nipple twiddler as well, although he tends to do it with the opposite nipple whilst nursing. At times I find it weird, sweet, painful, funny or annoying, depending on how he’s doing it. We’ve been trying to teach him “gentle” and “soft” (particularly when it comes to the dog) but he’s not exactly understanding those concepts yet. Hopefully soon! My nipples could use the break!! :)

    Reply
  4. I just melted into a big pile of goo. I love this so much.

    Reply

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