Saturday, 17 December 2011

Every moment

I've been feeling quite reflective recently.
To be honest, things have been slightly bumpy with the sausage in the last few weeks. While I've never come close to wishing I didn't have him, and never stopped liking him, I really faltered in my confidence in my ability to be a good mother to him. He seemed never to be satisfied, and for a couple of weeks he just cried all the time - relentless, insistent, despairing crying that I could at best delay by holding him, but sometimes even that didn't work. I was starting to ask myself what I was doing wrong, particularly after each version of that conversation where someone asks your baby's age, and you tell them, and they say OOOOOO such a lovely age, you can really enjoy them at this age, can't you? And I'd nod and agree, and walk away thinking well, I love him, but I don't seem to be enjoying him that much. It was just firefighting and I was devoting so much attention to making him not-cry that there wasn't much left in the tank for anything more positive.
So it's a joy for me to able to say things have moved on. Whatever was troubling him (or me) seems to have passed for now and for the past week I have really, truly, actively enjoyed pretty much every moment with him. The cries have always made sense to me, and I've known what to do, or when there's not much I can do; I'm understanding his cues for feeding, sleep, or a change of activity; he is engaging so very much with me, so much eye contact and laughing and smiling; he has periods of at least a few minutes where he will sit in his chair while I get on with something, or where I can lean him on me and let him happily play with something. I feel as though we have weathered something significant - we've come out of the other side of a time when we weren't quite synchronised, when there was something he was telling me that I wasn't 'getting', and I'm reaping the rewards now in a baby who seems to like me almost as much as I like him.
Oh, and he's sleeping for the odd stretch longer than 2 hours at night now. Of course this makes a huge difference.

I'm not silly enough, or blindly optimistic enough, to think that I now have it nailed and it will be plain sailing right through to adulthood. The draft post that I've been writing in my head called "attachment parenting fail" may well still get an airing when it's been refined a bit further. I also know that it's not as if we weren't having plenty of nice times during that difficult period - it wasn't weeks and weeks of living hell, or anything close to it. But still, it feels as though a page has turned. Bliss! 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Home alone

It's day 2 of a week where Isaac and I are alone together, his daddy having gone away to do interesting things in hot places.
My learning points so far:
1. It's a lot harder when you don't have someone to pick up the slack, even if it's only of the "oh god, can you just entertain him for 10 minutes while I slump and stare into space?" variety;
2. Nights, on the other hand, have been easier so far. He's feeding about a million times a night but I don't mind so much when there's no one who's asleep. I appreciate that this is deeply irrational, and that there's no need for my beloved to be awake while I'm feeding, but clearly (from my reaction this week) it's been simmering with me, because really last night I felt quite serene at each feed, even though they were every hour;
3. The thought of the possibility of my getting ill is TERRIFYING. I felt dreadful yesterday, all shivery and achey and cotton-wooly, and went to bed very very early thinking oh god, this is it, I have the flu, how on earth am I going to look after the baby? Luckily I turned out to be fine but still the fear of breaking my legs, or something, pervades;
4. I have a new depth of respect for anyone who does this alone full-time. My baby is (obviously) gorgeous and wonderful and lovely, but he's also hard work and intensive and really, just a few minutes of being able to share his care (and I don't mean a few minutes is all the beloved provides, just that it's the sanity-provider) makes quite a difference to how exhausted you are at the end of the day;
5. I'm so glad that he's old enough that he's still going to know his daddy when he gets back. Again this probably doesn't sound too rational, as it *is* only a week, but I feel so confident that daddy will get the almost hysterically delighted reaction that he always does;
6. We had two awful nights just before this week, where instead of waking for feeds and going straight back to sleep, he woke, howled, refused to feed, howled, howled, howled, needing us to take it in turns to rock and pace. I was terrified this pattern would continue, but it hasn't two nights so far. I think it would actually kill me, doing it alone;
7. I thought that with all the time I would have alone in the evenings I could do lots of sustained reading, without the worry of being antisocial. So far I've not even picked up a book, though I've done some excellent wallying around on the internet, and have managed some studying (study books don't count as books). Still, three more evenings, even if you don't count the rest of this one;
8. I may be coping just fine without him, but I still miss him.