We are just 2 weeks short of Naama's 2nd birthday, and tonight I bathed Naama by myself for the first time! Guess you can say it's a Chanukah miracle since this happened on the 6th night of Chanukah.
I went into the bathroom with Naama and my husband so we could watch her sit on the potty before her bath. Naama decided peepee wasn't coming out, so she got up and walked to the bath. As usual, I turned to leave so my husband could bathe her.
I turned to face Naama.
"What is it my love?"
"You want mommy to bathe you? ", asked my husband
My husband and I exchanged surprised looks.
"OK", said my husband and he left the bathroom.
I have placed Naama in the bath before but I never bathed her. I guess I just never tried, since either my husband or Mary Poppins bathe her, so I figured if it ain't broke dont fix it, plus I was always a little nervous Naama may slip when she stands in the bath so her bottom half can be bathed, but apparently I don't give myself enough credit because I was totally fine bathing Naama.
I didn't actually intend to completely bathe Naama, but once I got started, I just kinda went with it, especially since my husband was still clearing the dinner dishes in the kitchen.
I knelt down by the bath's edge, soaped my hands and started to lather Naama's chest and arms. When I washed under her neck she broke out in giggles and looked at me so happily. I can't explain it, but in that moment, we connected. That bonding moment between mother and child is what I had been missing by not bathing her or just periodically hanging around as someone else bathed her.
Naama laughed harder as I washed under her arms.
Hearing our laughter, my husband walked into the bathroom and asked incredulously, "you're bathing her? wow! go mommy! You're ok?? you can handle this?"
"Yes", I said.
My husband walked out of the bathroom
"Alright Naama, what do we wash next?" I asked.
She stuck out her leg for me to wash.
"Now it's tushy and private part time" I said.
This part I was a bit nervous about, because Naama had to stand up so I could soap her properly and I was afraid she would slip, but I had nothing to worry about. Naama stood up slowly and stood still as I washed her, guarding her back with my free hand.
I can't believe I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to stop Naama from slipping in the bath that I let my fear prevent me from bathing my own child for so long!
When Naama was younger it was more of a concern, but now, washing her as she stood in her bath was as easy as a walk in the park! and even if she did slip, it's not like she couldn't have slipped when being bathed by my husband or Mary Poppins, in fact, she has slipped by both of them! Disabled people need to give themselves more credit.
Towards the end of the bath, my husband came in to take over so he could take her out and towel her off. As I got to my feet, Naama burst into tears.
She wanted me to take her out. I comforted her, telling her mommy was staying there with her and daddy was just going to take her out and towel her off. She continued to cry, but when she saw I wasn't going anywhere she calmed down.
Naama wanted me to put her moisturizing lotion on. It was such a warm feeling putting the lotion on my baby with her soft baby skin and small body parts.When I got to her back and tushy, my husband said "don't forget to kiss her yummy tushy!"
Apparently Naama was used to this routine because when she turned on her stomach, she thrust her tushy high into the air. It was so cute I couldn't help myself. I planted a big kiss on each smooth butt cheek.
Tonight, when Mary Poppins went to draw Naama’s bath as she usually does on Sunday and Tuesday nights, Naama looked at her, shook her head and said “No. Only mommy.”
Mary poppins and I looked at each other in surprise. Naama LOVES Mary Poppins. She must have made a mistake in pushing her away. Again I turned to leave so Mary Poppins could start the bath.
“No! Only Mommy!"
Ok I guess Naama wasn’t mistaken.
Mary Poppins looked at me questioningly. I filled her in on the first time I bathed Naama a few nights before.
“That’s great! You don’t need me then!”
I smiled and told her I’d prefer to have her around just in case.
I drew Naama’s bath and lifted her into the bath as Mary Poppins looked on.
“I’m very proud of you, said Mary Poppins.
“Thank you,” I smiled and began washing Naama.
To hear such praise from Mary Poppins was very special and meaningful. Mary Poppins began as a nanny when Naama was 4 months old, a time when I was nearly completely dependent on someone else for baby care. Mary Poppins took me under her wing, teaching me, encouraging me and strengthening me to care for my baby despite having Cerebral Palsy. Slowly but surely I reached this point, this moment where I am able to bathe my daughter on my own. A far cry from the helpless, useless mother I felt like as I watched Naama’s previous nannies lovingly bathe her as I only watched.
Tonight, Naama smiled shyly at me nearly the entire bath and she didn’t make a peep when I brushed out her knotted curls and rinsed her hair. Even when I accidentally poured water over her open eyes, Naama just kept smiling at me and Mary Poppins. It was like she knew my bathing her was irregular and something new for me, so she wanted to be on her best behavior.
“It’s so beautiful to see the two of you like this,” said Mary Poppins.
“I’m thrilled for you and not offended in the slightest that Naama prefers you over me. It’s the way it should be now”, she said.
Afterward, I wondered what triggered the change in Naama. I realized the week we spent together during Chanukah break from daycare made Naama feel much closer to me. We went to the park every day. We went for pizza and her first ice cream cone and we played games and did many activities at home, just the two of us.