Well, we’re about three weeks in to Project Baby Bousquet!
And: So far, so good. Despite my initial fears when I first saw the little one, babies don’t break if you look at them wrong. From being scared to touch him, I feel much more confident in handling and cuddling him, and am learning quickly about his likes and dislikes.
Likes: being held on the chest, rising and falling withyour breathing. Snuggling. Being tucked in papa’s arm hollow at night watching Season Four of Shameless on TV. Hates getting soaped up but LOVES getting submerged in the warm water in his bath. (Calms instantly, throws his arms out, and enjoys the spa.) Loves waiting til you have a clean diaper on him and are just about to close it up when he lets loose a long poop. I swear he smiles at the end of this. Loves two am post-feeding cuddle time, being together in the wee hours in a silent dark house, as I snuggle him back to sleep. Loves his blue BEEP BEEP pajamas with the orange car on them. Loves dancing around he kitchen to the Buena Vista Social Club. Loves looking at the flags we have hanging in our house, left over from cruise ship days…well, probably the brightly colored stripes, really.
It is possible that I am projecting my list of Likes on him. At least the pajama-part. 🙂
Dislikes: Gas bubbles, farts, being wet. Waking in the night alone in his enormous crib (I know cosleeping is bad, but it feels so awful to put this tiny baby in the big crib so far away from me.) The getting-naked and getting-soaped part of bath night, also known as Baby Spa Night. Being naked in general. The taste of his vitamin liquid.
Personality (that I can see so far): tolerant, mellow, curious, slightly insecure, cuddling-oriented. His dad and I are professional cuddlers and super oriented to physical contact, so this is hardly surprising.
He is sweet, soft, smells amazing, and is tolerant of my huge thumbs trying to figure out the complicated button systems on onesies. He’s changing so fast already…when people don’t see him for a couple of days, they tell me how different his face looks already. I take pictures like it’s my job, but it’s harder for me to see that since I spend so much time with him every day.
Things I do notice: he is definitely more alert, for longer periods. Sometimes he just sits calmly and looks at the world for long periods of time. I wasn’t prepared for his preternatural calm in these moments, and the intelligence and curiosity in his eyes. Sometimes he seems very old. Then he falls asleep and he looks completely guileless and pure and angelic. It’s fun to hang out with him!
Other changes: he definitely has days (or periods during the day) where he is fed, changed, clean,dry, warm and degassed…and yet still fusses and the only thing that calms him is being held. I’ve taken to dropping him in his baby Ergo carrier to keep my hands free, and usually, he is the carrier for about five seconds before he completely passes out against my chest. The Ergo bundles him up warm and safe, and then holds him close where he can feel my breathing. There’s even a little hood thing that you can put on to make it darker, quieter and more protected. And then I can move around the house and get stuff done, even go out into the world a little, if I time it right so he’s fed and so I don’t have to whip out my boobs in public.
I like that he wants to be held, even if it keeps me from doing a lot during the day. It’s sweet and I’m treasuring these moments where he wants to be so close to me, where I can breathe in his sweet fresh baked bread baby scent. It feels good to be able to comfort someone so easily, with your voice or your touch.
The initial flurry from the birth is subsiding, and we’re starting to settle into family life, into something more normal. Mathieu is working a ton at the moment – springtime is busy for the vineyard, and the work is varied: some days they are treating the vines against fungus,other days he drives the tractor turning over the soil. Yesterday he was blending wine, and then delivering a shipment to Frontignan. He seems happy, and happy to come home to the little crevette. I am proud of him, of all the things he does, of his growing confidence. He is kind to me, and my sleep-deprived slightly fragile self…which I need, actually. You spend so much time as a new mama devoting everything you have to taking care of this tiny helpless thing, that you forget to take care of yourself sometimes. It feels like diving in a deep pool of warm water, to have someone cuddle YOU for a change at the end of the day.
I tuck into his arm and bury my face in his shoulder and we wrap our legs around each other. We put on a movie, at night, and never finish more than the first twenty minutes before falling asleep on the couch in each other’s arms. I wake with the TV screen blue, the house dark, the baby asleep.
I am tired. I sleep in little bursts, and spend a lot of the night curled on the couch with the light slanting in from the hallway to keep Mathieu from waking, the baby making his little noises. Sometimes I need to take him downstairs and bounce on my yoga ball to calm him. He soaks through his pajamas at least once a night, and I move like an automaton getting the fresh clean onesie over his head, my eyes heavy and half-swollen shut with sleep. It feels better than the insomnia I had for most of the pregnancy though – it’s sleeplessness with a purpose, not the endless staring at the ceiling, watching the clock change minute by minute. I check him continually, obsessively, even when he sleeps in the night, terrified and listening for the sound of his breathing. His dear little bright eyed heart shapêd face is so precious to me…I can’t imagine what life was like without him anymore.
My eyes are red. My boobs hurt, I have spit up on my pajamas, I wash my hair quickly in the sink in the morning instead of full showers to keep an eye on the little guy. I look forward to my hour walk every day, but miss the baby the entire time, always hurrying the last fifteen minutes out of concern that he’s hungry.
Basically, I love all of it. Everyone tells you how hard it is, for the first month…but it’s not, really, so far. I know there will be many hard moments to come, but as of now, joy is tempering and coloring the hard stuff, making it all still feel like a grand adventure. It’s been joyful and happy and content. The sense of shared purpose and gentleness and humor that has grown between Mathieu and I is extraordinary…being a new parent with him is so cool. We are kinder to each other, we see each other differently, we are grateful for each other, we are proud of each other. We have always been in love, but the love has taken on a new dimension. We always talked about growing old together, but that too feels more complex and deeper now.
Three weeks in, but so far so good.