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!