It’s been 6 weeks

 

SO it’s been 1 1/2 month since Luca showed up in our lives. And what a month it’s been. The tyke has grown 1.3kg and 7cm in his first 30 days, his face is fuller (double chin and all), his hair is long enough to tie a pig tail with, and he now has this perennial wide-eyed look as he soaks in the world around him.

For all the parental happiness, I’ve had my share of surprises. Not so much because of the life-changing experience everyone had warned us against  — we’re surviving that wave – but because I had fooled myself about both the recovery from pregnancy and the about the free time I would have after.

How did I ever think that the hard work would be over after the birth? I didn’t expect the following 2 weeks to be a long recovery after the training camp.  I had to walk turtle-slow, deal with breasts sore from Luca’s energetic sucking and feel my hips shrink back to their original position. And obviously from then on, there was no more deep sleep to rest and let my subconscious express its wildest dreams. So i was in a bit of a surprise. Luckily, I didn’t experience the post-partum blues everyone talked about (or maybe I am just a constantly depressed woman).  But there was no overwhelming, warm feeling of motherhood either. And I have to admit it took me about 2 weeks to start feeling attached to the tiny shrimp I was given to take care of.  I think in the first days, I would not have noticed if the nurse had exchanged him for another kid (except that "mine" was browner than the rest of the nursery). 

Then we went home, and I was in for another surprise. Knowing I’d be stuck at home with a baby sleeping 18 hours a day, I had carefully stuffed my todo list for the next 4 months.  I had bought piles of books, scheduled catch up time with friends, earmarked a hundred recipes to try out, shelved boxes of photo negatives to scan, planned to put together the photo albums still MIA from our 2003 trip to Israel and all the other trips after that and bought a CD to learn Hindi.  I had work to finish up, a career plan to reflect upon, a resume to rewrite, magazines bought by the dozens to educate myself on all sorts of new topics, house arrangements to finish up, etc.   What was I thinking??  Turned out I’m no super mom, I’m just the milk truck. Luca still feeds 8 times a day (down from 12).  It takes about 30 minutes to feed him, 15 more to burp and 10 to change the diapers/pajamas.  Add a bath, laundry with his special kid’s detergent (another great marketing gimmick), and that’s 8 hours of my day gone.  Out. Evaporated.  It’s a full time job, more so than an overscoped consulting case with a junior team.  After dinner the other night, Anand asked if I preferred to clean up the kitchen or Luca’s ass. Oh, that was an easy choice.  He thought I wanted to spend more time with the shrimp??  Take him away, have fun with the kiddo.  After a long day, I would much rather deal with dirty plates that don’t scream or look at me like they need something from me again  (read: milk from my boobs).  I closed the door and delighted myself in cleaning up the kitchen 🙂

And then, I also thought newborns would quickly get in some type of a rhythm. But Luca feeds all the time, at random intervals. So I can’t go anywhere without him.  Can’t plan a supermarket run, or a doc’s visit or a trip to the beauty salon or cook a receipe.  About 3 weeks ago, after I had just fed Luca, I left him with Anand and ran to the supermarket 4 blocks away. Bliss!  True bliss!  It felt so great — I could walk as fast or as slow as I wished, move both hands around if I fancied, hear voices and no cries. I had left Guantanamo Bay for an hour…

But for all the unexpected schmock, Luca’s been super easy.  He’s a well-traveled new born  – having now spent time in Paris and Burgundy & Geneva and Amsterdam. He’s now familiar with the TGV, knows his way around the metro, and can walk, eyes closed, through the Parc de Vincennes.  He’s fascinated by lights.  He loves his Finnish teddy bear "Mumin", though he doesn’t yet know how to grab stuff.  So if Mumin’s close enough to his mouth, Luca will spend the next half hour trying hard to suck or bite Mumin’s fat belly.  Or its sticker.  Or its tail.  Anything goes, really.   He loves taking a bath and calms down like a zen yogi when entering the warm water. He loves being carried around. And anyone’s arms will do, really, especially if "they" are singing.

It is obviously super helpful that Anand is as involved in his son’s life as I am. It seems like a long time ago that he didn’t want to have children. He strikes deals and bets with Luca (though training Luca to not pee during diaper change has not proved particularly successful yet…), sings him songs, makes him dance, asks him questions, reads the news every morning to him.  Luca’s already fully versed in NYTimes, the Economist, YouTube and tech novelties. And when a truly angry Luca screams, his father’s the most gifted to calm him down.

Of course we have our sets of debates.  Please send us your vote…  Debate #1: do we cut his hair?  Anand is voting for tying it up in a pony tail. I think his mohawk is already plenty cool and we could cut the overflow around the ears and the neck.  Debate #2: how often should we feed him? Luca’s ready for his next meal every 3 hours… feeding on demand seems a bit too much.  Debate #3:  is he too hot?  too cold?  While every book says parents soon learn to tell what the child wants from the way they cry, we don’t seem that gifted. And unfortunately there’s a design flaw with kids — they dont talk for 18 months.  Anyone arguing for intelligent design??

The smurf is growing fast and his nicknames are following his wild evolution. His pre-release code name was "cappuccino", as we didn’t know what shade of brown and white he’d come out with.  Then he came out indeed, a reddish color (huh?), tiny and his legs bundled under his stomach.  So he became the "shrimp". Then Anand discovered that if he gently rubbed his nose on Luca’s cheek around breastfeeding time (i.e. most of the time), Luca would react with a semi-snarling attempt to bite.  So was born the little "tiger". Eating so much he gained a lot of weight and then became the "lardon" (little chunk of bacon). 

And then there are those special moments I cherish.  I love it when he’s breastfeeding and the milk goes down the wrong pipe – he gets off the breast and coughs and pants and I love his surprised, struggling face (sounds mean, I know, but he recovers every time :-)). I love the noises he makes after he feeds – like a goat braying …though it’s a bit embarrassing in trains or restaurants as people seem to wonder what pet we’re traveling with. I love watching him lying on his stomach on his grandpa’s belly.  I love it when Anand is delighted to bring Luca in our bed, telling him it’s strictly prohibited to do so.  I love watching him sleep with abandonment in his grandma’s arms. I love wrapping him around my chest and waiting for him to wake up. 

It’s a wonderful time.

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