Give Me Some Skin

One of the things that has completely surprised me as a mother has been RR’s skin. I’ve heard the phrase “as soft as a baby’s bottom” and I figured that would be true. I think most baby phrases are except for “sleeping like a baby” – that one is a giant, steaming load of crap. Unless you mean either “moans, groans, gasps and hollers while sleeping” or “sleeps so soundly that you think she’s dead and can’t enjoy the silence” then you’d be right about sleeping like a baby.  That’s unfair of me. Those phases lasted just a little while. Right now, “sleeping like a baby” means “sleeping until exactly the moment I relax into sleep and then calling down the devil upon us while you cope with your newly sprouting front teeth”. Glad we’re squared away on that.

Other than her bottom, which is suitably soft, I didn’t know the rest of her would be so soft. Soft isn’t the best word for it. The skin on her back doesn’t feel fragile or cushy, the way I think of the word soft. It feels like crushed velvet woven with satin. It has a nowness, a weight, a resilience. It’s the sort of thing you want to touch all the time, but I slip it to myself in small batches. It’s too rich almost, a little unreal. The rest of her is smooth and blushing pink under cream but it’s nothing compared to her back. Her hair is fine and silky too – I hand keep my fingers out of it, poor thing – but when I think of babies from now on, I’m thinking how lucky their parents are, to have a baby’s back to brush their fingers over.

Lately I’ve been struggling with the inevitable changes her skin is going through as she grows and gets more mobile. First, I noticed her calloused knees from crawling around our hardwood house. Then a tiny bruise on her calf where she bumped into a toy while cruising. The occasional scratch when her nails get too long (the ones on her face are the worst to see). And then, most recently, the hot pink of her fist sunburn across her nose and cheeks (mild, I promise. I’m still beating myself up about it.) I massage in lotion where I can to smooth the roughness, keep her nails trimmed, slick on sunscreen. And I try to see these changes as badges of life. She’ll get a scar, freckles. All signs that’s she’s sidling right up to life and pressing flat up against it. I’m excited for her, even as I mourn the inevitable loss of her velveteen back (and my right and her patience to touch it).

Meanwhile, I soak up every last second of every shower with her. And, since she’s not a cuddler, the even more rare times when she lets me rub her back softly while she relaxes. I try to cement that sensation in my memory so that I can call it up when she’s older and hollering about the keys to the car. I’ve never felt anything more perfect.

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One Response

  1. I love this post. Love it.

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