A fortnight down, and we're all still alive. There have been tears, an extraordinary amount of poo (mostly Flumpy's and not mine, thankfully), many sticky buns (though not nearly enough), and fairly woeful amounts of sleep. But we're doing good. Amazingly so, really.
This is helped by the fact that Flumpy is, quite frankly, a superstar. A snortly, grunting, sleepy little superstar. In the interest of the complete honesty policy practiced on this website, I should probably admit that I'm really not that into newborns. Strange maggoty creatures, that are either really, really cross, or asleep, and move between the two states instantly and unpredictably. In my experience, the relationship with a newborn is all a bit one-sided - you don't get a lot back for all the effort you put in. Mainly - and this is the real deal breaker for me - they don't communicate at all. Except for screaming, which is frankly a pretty poor level of chat in my opinion. If they do deign to open their eyes, they stare at you with a cold and distinctly disapproving air. It's all rather unnerving. Just like I find it rather uncomfortable being in country where I don't speak a word of the language, up till now, the newborn phase has been something to be survived through. When they start to smile, it's like we're finally learning how to talk to each other - though it's not till the chatty stage of toddlerdom that I feel like we're getting fluent.
But Flumpy. My little Flumpy. Okay, there's part of me that can't wait for him to be two, so I can find out what he's thinking, how he feels, and what he makes of the world. But he's also pretty wonderful, right now. He's so warm, and tiny, and content to sleep on my chest all day long, while I watch endless crap on TV. His skin is velvet, his feet miniature perfection. Yes, he doesn't talk much at the moment, and his unsmiling gaze can be withering at times, but there's also something deeply beguiling in his complete and utter self-abandonment when he's in your arms, and the cute, small-furry-mammal noises that he makes. Squeaksnuffleeeep.
There are still times when he's bloody annoying, of course. He is a world-champion grunter, and seems to have an ongoing grudge match with his intestines - with the major battle going on every night between about 2am and 5am, which is rather less than delightful. He also has a fairly irritating habit of waking up in the night outraged at being so distant from the BOOB, and giving all signs of needing milk immediately, as in RIGHT NOW WOMAN! And then, the minute I have scooped him from the cot and into my arms, he's completely dead to the world again. It's as if I exude chloroform from my nipples (which would be a useful skill, certainly, though one I'd rather quell when dealing with a newborn in the early hours). If I put him back in the cot, then approximately 30 seconds later he's squawking in anger again. This process can go on for hours, and I've developed a range of methods to try to rouse him enough to get him to latch on, most of which are bordering on the unkind, such as blowing in his face and poking him in the collarbone. It's always fun to decide what constitutes acceptable cruelty, and what veers into the realm of abuse when you've only had 2 hours sleep in the last week.
Apart from that, though, he's pretty darn good. He would like to BOOB pretty much constantly (rather like his big brother, I seem to recall), but he's generally fairly polite about it, and keeps the screaming to a minimum. He just loves to be cuddled, and who can resist that? It's rather flattering, really, that all someone wants to do is be close to you.
Yep, Flumpy may well be the baby to convert me to newborns.
A lot of this is sentimentality, of course. This is, if future accidents and conceptive disasters are avoided, my last baby. This is the last time I have to deal with a newborn and all of the exhaustion, emotion, and mystery that involves. And for that I am truly thankful. Last time, with Lumpy, a lot of the experience was coloured by the fact that I was very aware that I was going to have to go through all this again, at some point in the future. All those sleepless nights, all those frustrations, they were just part one. Even when we reached milestones and achieved breakthroughs, it wasn't the end of anything. But now. This is it. And, for perhaps the first time in my life, I'm managing to live in the moment, at least part of the time. I'm stopping just to enjoy this. This sleepy little thing who finds my chest the most comfortable, safest place in the world.
This isn't going to last forever. In no time at all, he'll be wiggling to escape my lap, desperate to explore the world. But for now, he's all mine, and I'm all his.
Including these rather delicious feet.
Mmm. baby feet. Nom nom nom.