I think it suits me, after all. I'm discovering so much about myself, my family, life in general. Although I came to this with an open mind and no real plans about how I'd do things, it turns out that I'm an attachment parenter, a babywearer, a co-sleeper. It does open me up to the odd lecture on routines etc, but so far its working for us. I knew before Jack arrived that I was determined to breastfeed, and that became even more important after "failing" at childbirth, but happily Jack is a determined breastfeeder too, and we're doing fine. My nipples are a little chomped at times though- his unsettled days mean lots of comfort sucking.
There are downsides- the total lack of money, uncertainty about my career future, not being able to drive for 6 weeks, which worsens the social isolation. Also the worry- the physical pain I feel when I think about the potential hurt and harm awaiting my little boy in the big wide world, the agony of his little cries when his tummy hurts and I can't make it better, the remorse of knowing my parents have gone through all this for me and I've been so ungrateful.
But oh wow the good bits are good! Our early morning cuddle sessions, flying him Superman-style around the bedroom and watching his concentration and pride at his improving neck control, they're the highlight of my day. I watch him for hours as he sleeps, his eyes and limbs flickering in some babyREM world, rolling through his facial expressions as practice for later on. I smell his head hundreds of times a day- the most delicious thing ever, and even his bottom is kind of sweet and not at all repulsive.
Today he smiled at me purposefully for the first time, as I tickled his tummy, and it was like a hit of the best drug ever- I just dissolved.
Simultaneously he's so tiny and helpless, but growing his own personality- he knows what he wants, and how to get it. He pouts when he's grizzly, puckers and smooches when he's filling his nappy, and makes goldfish faces when he's hungry- when I'm nearby but slow to respond, he'll talk to me with a characteristic "Ah!" which is obvious babytalk for "Get your shirt off now, woman!" The appearance of a compliant nipple will be rewarded with a chortle of satisfaction, known as the "titty chuckle", and a crocodilian lunge and snap. And after a big feed he'll loll off the nipple with milk running out of his mouth, eyes glazed and limbs akimber, a little drunken man.
"How are the dogs coping?", everyone asks. Better than I expected. Some of them LOVE him- Muddy and Bill just want to love him, and either struggle to contain their effusive greetings (Muddy) or sneak opportunities to surreptitiously tongue-wash his feet, the girls (Ziggy, Pink and Queani) are obsessed and sit around watching him sleep and breathe, just like me. Ziggy has transferred the puppy-guarding behaviour she displayed with the last litter of pups, and stations herself beside the baby bouncer, keeping other dogs away with silent displays of toothiness. Jack-The-Dog has just taken him in stride, and treats him like part of me, respectfully cuddling up on the couch beside us. The only one who seems ticked off is Joy the cat- she's highly offended at being cast off the bed and out of the comfy cot and bassinet.