Delicious to me.
Monday night I filled the tub with hot sudsy water, cracked open the french door to draft the room with fresh air, and carefully lowered my aching body into the soothing comfort of weightlessness only found in water.
I had a long scary day at the hospital and was looking forward to a little quiet, me time to decompress after the drama of the day.
It didn't take long before I heard him calling to me: "Mommy, Mommy 'ere ares you?".
He quickly found me in the tub and was stripping down in no time. I'm not a real lover of the tub except for when I'm pregnant, so he was so excited to see that I had entered his playground. "Mommy in the hot tubby?"
I don't know when it happened, but sometime over the last few months, his little legs have gotten long enough that he can swing them up over the tub ledge and get himself into the tub. He quickly sat down and was surprised to find the water nearly touching his nose. He giggled, not sure if this was really the tub as the depth made it feel more like a swimming pool.
Soon he found delight in rolling his toys off of my swollen belly, squealing each time an errant ducky or pirate or boat splashed into the water. "Baby stuck mommy?" Indeed, it does feel like the baby is stuck.
He made a game out of my protruding belly button, using it as his microphone to call all pirates back home. "argh, mommy! no cry stuck baby!"
Later I slathered him in Baby Magic before dressing him in his pajamas. Even though technically he isn't my baby anymore, the smell of that lotion on his skin transcends me back to the first days and weeks of his life.
In the middle of the night I hear him call to me: "Mommy 'ere ares you?"
And so I go to him. I go to him more often than I actually sleep through the night. At 2 1/2 there is no reason for him to be waking at 3 or 4 am. But he usually does, and somehow I have failed to find frustration in our late night visit.
As I enter his room, he immediately greets me with a flood of words: "Hi Mommy. Hold you Mommy? Rock you Mommy? Just one minute?"
Ah, he knows the routine. But more importantly he knows I'm a sucker for his sweet cuddle request.
I pick him up and immediately find myself enveloped in his small arms. I sit to rock him in the overstuffed chair and smile as he tries to find comfort in my lap in spite of my growing belly. Eventually, he gives up on his preferred position of knees tucked to chest, head resting on my shoulder, and allows me to cradle him as I did when he was a newborn babe. Within minutes he is sleeping soundly and I quietly tuck him back in bed.
I often have a hard time falling back to sleep. I'd like to blame it on pregnancy induced insomnia and the inability to find comfort. But truthfully, after a visit with this little love, I can't get him out of my mind. I love this age. I love his innocence, his budding vocabulary, his need for me still. I love him with a fierceness that feels foreign and yet familiar all at once. It is that ache deep within my heart that I faintly recall feeling when Cole was a toddler and I was expecting Rachel. I wonder and I worry: will I love the next one just the same? Of course I know the answer. I am well aware of the magical ability of a mother's heart to expand exponentially within just minutes of giving birth.
And yet, for the moment. Miles in all of his deliciousness, has stolen my heart.