He yawns and fusses a little in my lap, signaling his fatigue. This is the moment I've been waiting for. I begin the dance. Up and down, back and forth, until his little head nods to my rhythm and his eyelids droop. I settle him into the chair, turning on the vibration and gently bouncing it until his eyes close for good.
I start the water running. Hot. As hot as I can stand it.
I shed my stained clothes and step over the barrier, my skin crawling with a mixture of chill and anticipation. I immerse myself in the magnificent spray, letting it massage my scalp and drip down my back. I shiver in its deliciousness.
I luxuriate under the building steam, slowly massaging the lather into my skin and hair. I watch the suds slide down the drain, taking with them the smells of sour milk and unwashed hair. Rinsing away the sleeplessness of the previous night.
Do I have time to shave my legs?
I gently ease back the curtain and take a peek. Still sleeping.
I scrub and scrub, secretly hoping to annihilate the line of pigment that curves its way down my abdomen, and the one curiously lonely stretch mark I acquired during my first pregnancy.
Soon, too soon, it will be time to get out. I will emerge, renewed, in a billow of steam just as the first little whimpers start. I will quickly dry my hair and throw on my fluffy robe in time to scoop him up and drink in his special Mama smile, bright eyes, and new baby smell.
I am at once relaxed and revitalized. A fresh start.