Suds careen off my round, shimmying derrière as I thrash my hands in the air wildly. My head is bobbing, my mouth is hanging open and my eyes look as if they just saw a three-headed unicorn.
My shower performance for my baby girl continues until the last of the shampoo is rinsed from the mass of lifeless curls that once visited the salon every six weeks. (Nowadays, my mane is cut and styled by: me, myself and I. And by "styled" I mean… managed to get a brush through my hair that day.)
Drops of water soak the bath mat as I lean out of from the shower and glance down at my blonde fuzzy-haired cherub in her pink bouncer, wearing nothing but a toothless grin and a diaper that likely needs some TLC.
"Did you enjoy Mommy's dance today?" I ask my lone audience member.
My 6-month-old mini-me, Violet, thrusts her arms in the air and sputters a cry that basically says: Your time is over, mama. Enough is enough.
My dance is over.
I am one of those people who need to take a shower every day. Yes, every single day. I sweat like a truck-driver in the Louisiana summer heat with no AC, and if my hair is not wet and brushed, I'm seriously afraid a small critter may take refuge under my mass of tangles and snarls. And the only way I can stop this… shall we say… strong postpartum body odor (and lasting affection from my husband) is if I take a daily shower.
The challenge? I must perform a solo number for my bundle of joy (who seems to fuss when she hears the water run)... with the shower curtain open… soaking my rugs, towels, and whatever else I managed to forget to move from the shower head's path of destruction.
You see, my daughter is starting to go through some separation anxiety. If she cannot see me or feel me, she will scream, take a breath, scream louder, then as if she were auditioning for a horror film, she will shriek until every human and animal in a 20-foot radius has appeared. And then she will scream some more because it's not Mommy's flushed face that she sees.
As I make a cup of the strongest coffee the local grocer offers, she is attached to my hip. When I clean up around the house, she is laying on a blanket on the living room floor, her eyes tracking my every move. If I turn the corner without popping my head around, a whimper will escape her sweet little mouth.
Her soft, roly-poly thighs dangle from my lap as I attempt to use the toilet quickly. Occasionally, she will rock back and forth, kicking the top of my shins. I laugh and try to be patient. I wouldn't want to be sitting on someone's lap when they're conducting business on the toilet either.
My daughter's need to be with me, near me or on me can be frustrating at times. Sometimes I just need space for a minute. But I keep reminding myself that this is just a phase. So, I try to turn her clinginess into a positive.
She loves you. I think to myself. She wants to be with you because you nuzzle her neck until giggle fits erupt.
I know it will get better. We've been working on introducing and sticking to a simple good-bye routine. We've been trying to only leave her with familiar people like Dad or Grandma when I have to go out. We've attempted letting her cry it out a bit, but I don't like listening to her cry when I know that holding her in my arms will soothe her immediately. I'm trying to figure out what works best for us.
So until she can realize that Mommy will never desert her, I guess I'll have to continue to step up my daily shower dance recitals. Maybe one day I'll get a standing ovation. 😉