A couple of weeks back, my son decided that he was all grown up ("I'm six years old, Mamma!") and therefore, I could not see him unless he was appropriately clothed. Ahem.
Now, here's a warning for my global readers before they read further: we still do many things differently in India, irrespective of how rich or poor we are. Toilet paper is still meant for expensive hotels and bathtubs are found only in the households of the rich. The rest of us make do with a bucket and plastic mug. So some of the stuff that follows may seem weird/old-fashioned/backward/whatever....just remember, I did warn you.
"So who's going to wash your bum after you go potty?" I dared him.
"Really? And how are you going to know whether you've done it correctly?"
"I'll check in the mirror!" (Before you start scratching your head, here's what he's done a couple of times in the past. He'll finish his job, clean up, run to the full length mirror, double over and check whether he's cleaned up right. To his credit, he always has.)
"Okay, and what about your bath every morning before you go to school?"
"I bathe myself on weekends, anyway!" he retorted.
"Yes, but you take half an hour and even then miss cleaning your back and behind your ears..."
"Mamma, pleee-ase! I'll learn that, too."
"It's cold in the mornings and I give you a bath in five minutes. How are you going to manage that? You'll catch a chill."
"I can do it," he insisted.
"You just want to see my bottom, don't you?" he said, eyes flashing triumphantly.
I was lost for words. He had a point. I love my baby's bottom. Who has kids and then doesn't love their baby's bottom? It's soft and bouncy and just so...baby-like. It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. That's why you get to see one in every commercial for a baby product: from diapers, to soap, to lotion and creme and talcum powder.
And hey, this is the kid who saw a TV commercial a few months back - showing a baby's bottom bounce - and wistfully asked his grandmother: "Is my bottom still that soft and bouncy?" When she replied that it was - because she takes real good care of him while I'm at work - he couldn't believe his luck!
"Well? That's it, isn't it?" he declared, pulling me away from my day dreams.
"Yes, it is. You're my baby. And I don't want you to fall sick by spending too much time in the bathroom early in the morning. In June, you'll go into the first grade and leave an hour earlier..."
"I'm not a baby! I'm SIX YEARS OLD."
"Okay, you can give me a bath on one condition," he said. Ah, he's come round, I thought. No such luck. "You can give me a bath if you keep your eyes closed."
Right...erm...okay...Okay? Now how am I supposed to give him a bath with my eyes closed? "What if I get soap in your eyes?"
"I knew it. You just want to see my bum," he said and stalked off.
Yes, you lovable little brat. I'm your mother! I want to see your bum and nuzzle your tummy and hang on to your baby days for as long as I can. I can't believe you're growing up so fast and it scares me like nothing else.
Soon, you'll have birds-and-bees talks with your father, try out your first razor, get your first real girlfriend...so yes, I'd like to enjoy your baby days - and your soft and bouncy bottom - while I can. And this is why I have the right:
* You've pooped in my hands, peed on my lap, thrown up in my face and I didn't get grossed out by any of that.
* I may not be the most cootchi-coo mom on the planet, but I'm still your mother.
* You still can't go to sleep at night if you don't hold my face, or hang on to my arm.
* You still want me to tell you bed time story, complete with voices.
* You still howl for me in the morning when Daddy wakes you up and even though you know I have less patience than he does. On most days, anyway.
* You hug and kiss me a dozen times a day and get upset if I can't return the favor immediately.* You still want me to carry you around early in the morning and whenver else it strikes your fancy.
* You still crawl into my when you wake up and bury your face in my neck for a good 10 minutes before you can be coaxed out of bed.* You still want me to kiss away your boo-boos.
And you tell me I can't see your bum because you're six years old???
You're growing up. And I'll have to get used to that. Excuse me while I go try...
Photograph from Freerangestock.com. That's not my son, but how I wish I'd taken a picture like that one when he was younger!