I ran across this TED talk on Facebook a few days ago and it has stuck in my mind ever since.
I think what really resonated with me was the part about aesthetic gratification, that at the end of life people find pleasure with simple stimulation of the senses – the smell of baking cookies, the feel of a dog resting its head against your leg, the sensation of inhaling a French cigarette.
This made me think of Miss Z because aesthetic gratification is the way she enjoys the world and the way we enjoy her – those simple sensory pleasures associated with Z.
The feel of Miss Z’s head resting against me as she sleeps.
The rare smile that lights up her eyes and lets you know that she is truly happy. Or the evil glare she gives you when you do something she doesn’t like.
The smell of her clean hair after a bath.
The warm, happy, fulfilled feeling when I see Miss Z and her sister snuggled up together.
The contentment when Miss Z is healthy and happy and just being part of the family.
Even the tingle of dread that comes with the smell of a stinky, dirty nappy.
And equally importantly, it is moments of aesthetic gratification are what make Miss Z happy.
She loves to feel textures against her lips and face – especially smooth, cool satin and the rough terrycloth of a towel.
She loves the full-body pressure and security of a big cuddle and being held as she falls asleep.
The simple act of holding her hand can calm and soothe her.
I’m sure the smell of her bedroom – the laundry detergent from the freshly washed sheets laced with a hint of dog – reassures her that she is home.
And the sound of Music for Dreaming lets her know that it is time to relax and sleep.
The warmth of the heat lamps in the bathroom and the sound of Katy Perry and her other favourite singers means it is her favourite part of the day – bath time!