March 22, 2006
Looking Back at Peter's Fifth Week
Tom's touch on my thigh awakens me. He stands dressed for work beside our bed. The cradle is pulled up next to me, and Tom nods his head at it for me to see Peter grinning and cooing at him. It wasn't his first grin, but it was the first in his new routine of greeting us each day with smiles.
That first tender morning, one of those moments that I will return to in my mind until the day I die, I looked at the pacifier on my bedside table and remembered when a thermometer had been there instead. Our efforts to conceive had been fulfilled, and the honeymoon had finally begun.
Mother & Child
After a month of surviving motherhood, at last I began to enjoy it.
Until that point, my love for Peter produced only stress as I tried fretfully to meet his needs for food and sleep. There was little time for introspection. With the necessities in better order, though, I could spend vast amounts of time dwelling on the dimple in his chin.
Finally his constant activity was a source of joy rather than consternation. I listened intently to his goo's and ga's. I watched with pride at his wiggling, his slicing the air with his arms and forever kicking those long skinny legs. And that smile-- oh, that smile!
I say that as if there were only one smile, but Peter has many. Anytime he smiles, it's an energetic affair. He opens his mouth long, then spreads it wide, then opens and closes his lips, all the while undulating his head like Stevie Wonder.
And those sounds he makes while nursing! He grunts and growls and punches a tiny fist in my breast, then his eyes roll back as he settles in to nurse contentedly.
It is all I had hoped.
Father & Child
Greater than I had hoped has been watching Tom in his new role. Throughout the pregnancy, we'd both been a little nervous and excited about what was to come. He was nervous, I was excited. When Peter was born, we traded. A few days after Peter's birth, Tom cozied up next to me in the narrow hospital bed and said, "Isn't this the best that life has ever been?"
As I struggled in pain that week, zapped by the c-section, he relished caring for the baby. He was an expert swaddler after one lesson, burped Peter like a pro, and became the family photographer.
Seeing him take Peter's pictures to work, cheerfully learn how to fasten a cloth diaper, and pridefully push the stroller around the neighborhood has been almost as great a joy as becoming a mother.
That's not all. He's a better husband. Well, maybe that's not the best way to put it, but I'm getting to see new sides to him. I mean, not only was he willing to go to the nurses' station and ask for extra disposable panties after my c-section, but he was the one to dry me off and dress me after my first shower, when I could still hardly move.
He was my encourager when I felt inadequate as a mother, my comfort through Peter's sleeping issues. It's been a long time since I let anyone take care of me. It feels good.