Monday 12 September 2005

hear me roar

When Paul said to me a few months ago that he might be asked to go to our Ft. Lauderdale office in September, I got a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. At that point, the thought of being alone to do all the parental, doggy, and regular household duties made me queasy. What if Jack got ill? What if he started teething and he screamed his way through the nights? What if Jasper got ill? What if I got ill? The months went by and the topic came up again in August. Paul asked me if I would be okay if he went - he was fully prepared not to go if that's what I wanted - and I said yes. For some reason, I knew I'd be okay. That didn't stop me from enlisting the help of my fabulous in-laws mind you, but I was surprised at how relatively calm I felt about the whole thing. Jack and I both got ill, and the most challenging thing was walking both baby and an energetic 36kg. Labrador Retriever until my in-laws arrived a few days after Paul left. It was weird being here alone at night and it was slightly unnerving after Jack went to bed and the house went quiet, but it was surprisingly okay.

I have a theory, somewhat akin to the notion that "what doesn't make you completely mental makes you stronger" (or words to that effect). Being madly in love with my son was never a problem, but pretty much everything else about new motherhood was a struggle. I couldn't breastfeed, couldn't deal with no sleep, had a lousy recovery from the c-section, and worst of all, I felt helpless and physically fragile. After months of being unable to do many everyday things, and when my strength started to return, my confidence grew. Everything suddenly seemed easy; I could sail through the day with Jack on my hip, no problem. The contrast was so dramatic, and I think that's because the early days were so bleak. Or maybe it's because Jack's such an easygoing baby. Hmm better stop now before I jinx everything.

We started baby yoga on Friday, which was fantastic. It's run by the same lovely woman who taught our antenatal yoga classes, and a few of my friends are taking the course as well. I think I'm starting to notice fundamental boy/girl baby differences - all the girls remained on one spot on the floor and happily let their mums bend, stretch, and rotate their limbs. Jack, as soon as he was placed on the floor, rolled halfway across the room and decided that it was much more fun to keep turning on to his tummy than stay on his back and have his limbs manipulated. The girls sat, Jack wanted to stand. The girls relaxed quietly next to their mums, Jack rolled over to the closest girl and gave her hands a nibble. The girls stared intently at their mums during songs, Jack's eyes darted around the room or looked at the mum next to me. Lord help me when he learns to crawl.

An interesting cultural difference became apparent during baby yoga.

Them: If you're happy and you know it and you really wanT To show it...
Me: If you're happy and you know and you really wanna show it...

It was like singing with a church choir, the enunciation was so precise. We are such lazy speakers. Tsk.

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