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The alchemy of parenthood

Before Bun Bun was born, I wondered what sort of father my husband would be, what sort of partnership we’d have as a family of three. I wondered if his lack of interest in reading books about babies and buying things for babies would translate to a lack of interest in caring for our very own baby. I worried that he’d defer to me on all matters, and plead ignorance when faced with caretaking tasks. But no! Thus far, he’s been amazing. Just as some of you suggested there might be, there was a magical transformation once Bun Bun was a real live person. Now he’s perfectly happy to read books about babies and tell me what they advise, while I smile and resist saying, I KNOW! I ALREADY READ THE BOOKS ABOUT BABIES! He’s been happily cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping: instead of laundry being a tedious chore, it’s now part of Caring for His Family and thus brings him a weird sense of satisfaction. He changes all the diapers, and in the wee hours after she’s been fed, he’s the one who changes her and soothes her back to sleep. He reads to me while I nurse, and has been an amazing source of support during the Days of Bloody Nipples.* He even keeps his temper when I’m awful. (In the middle of last night I growled GO AWAY! at him, and he totally didn’t take it personally!) I think it might have helped that my C-section forced him to take a super active role from day 1, so he didn’t get the chance to be deferential. And maybe it won’t last indefinitely, but while it does, I am certainly going to enjoy it.

Mr. Bunny and Bun Bun after her first bath. There’s a soundtrack to go with–I am now conditioned to tear up to this song.

So, in short, he’s basically turned from lead (well, maybe silver) into gold. And what about me? What kind of magical transformation have I gone through now that I’m a parent?

I have turned from person into milkbag.

I’ve read about this phenomenon, and, as with so many things, failed to understand what it was really like. In the mornings, Mr. Bunny asks what I plan to do with my day, and the answer is always feed our child. That’s it. That’s all I can hope to accomplish, and I feel pretty lucky if I can accomplish that.

Mr. Bunny is going back to work next week. And although this is not nearly as bad as it sounds (he’s the VP of a three-person company and has a super flexible boss, plus he works from home most of the time and is planning to work in a sort of part-time capacity while we see how things go), it makes me anxious to contemplate it. I feel like I’ll be left all alone, wandering in a misty, timeless world, just me, my leaking breasts and my baby.

*Things are going okay in that department, by the way. I estimate another two weeks and we’ll have this down. Please let me not be wrong. Also, RandomQuorum asked for specifics on the advice I got from the magic doctor, so I’ve put some stuff here.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wonderful to read about Mr. Bunny's central and active role in the care of Bun Bun. I love how new parents look to be completely in love with their baby. Sounds like you two have a bad case of it. Beautiful picture (and soundtrack) of Bun Bun and dad. And I also like the new one of you and Bun Bun. She already looks bigger!

    May 23, 2011
  2. Oh, this is great to read. I'm so glad Mr. Bunny is such a standup guy. He sounds awesome.

    May 23, 2011
  3. glad things are improving, dairy queen. the milk bag bit does get a bit better. or maybe i'm just more used to if you'll excuse me, i just noticed that i missed a spot when cleaning the crackly white blobs of dried breastmilk off of the footstool. company tonight, you see.

    May 23, 2011
  4. I know, the hubby transformation is amazing. Love it! Don't be shocked if the enthusiasm wanes a bit as the weeks and months progress (it did for us), but you reeeeally need him now, so it's awesome that he stepped up to the plate.

    May 23, 2011
  5. JB #

    There's almost nothing as sweet as seeing your husband holding your baby. I still listen in on KB putting Jackson to bed (which he does almost every night) to hear him read stories and sing songs to him as he puts him down to sleep. Love it.

    May 24, 2011
  6. I love hearing that the Mr. has stepped up like a champ! He gives me hope for my hubby! Glad to hear the feeding is going better – hope it continually gets better!

    May 24, 2011
  7. Thanks so much for that breastfeeding info Bunny! You've reminded me to book in for the breastfeeding workshop my midwife practice runs. I'm glad to hear things are getting better for you!Such a cute picture of Bun Bun. Hope my hubby has the same transformation when our little one arrives!

    May 24, 2011
  8. Happy to hear that Mr. Bunny is being such a wonderful partner and father. It must be sweet to see. I hope that you continue to improve on the milk bag front. It can't be fun to be in pain, but I am impressed by your perseverence. Bun Bun will appreciate it. Okay, no, she probably never will, but she should. đŸ™‚

    May 24, 2011
  9. Hmmm… interesting. I have a very good friend that is also an academic and I have to say that sometimes our relationship veers into 'frenemy' territory. We are in quite different fields, but oddly, I feel more competitive with her than with most other colleagues. I have no idea why. I actually interviewed at her uni two years ago, in a different department, and I was saddened by her lack of support. This is in spite of the fact that it would have brought me about 2000 miles closer if I'd gotten the job (I didn't). She didn't even come to my job talk. I chalked it up to her dealing with other stuff at the time, but, maybe she also did not want me there… that would make me sad if it were true. I wonder if this is a specific thing in academic female friendships? Oddly, I have many other academic female friends who I don't have this type of angst about. But we are not as close personally either… no idea. I think the therapy is a good idea. Let us know what you learn!

    May 24, 2011
  10. yaay mr bunny!! i can't picture you married to someone who wouldn't be awesome during a time like this. i'm sure my daily response when dh asks me my plans for the day will be "keep baby alive!". xoxo.

    May 24, 2011
  11. I am super duper glad that Mr. Bunny is being such a rockstar. This is first of all because you and Bun Bun deserve nothing less, but also because–and I'm only months late in making this comment about your post on your expectations of him–I totally disagree with the people who said to lower your expectations. You will all get the most out of being the family you know are if you and Mr. Bunny are as equally involved as possible. Lowering your expectations does a disservice to him and to all men (not to be dramatic or anything…). We call them our partners for a reason, you know? So I am positively delighted to read all this. And your daughter is a beauty. Keep enjoying.

    May 24, 2011
  12. Of course the Mister is as expected, flying through with beautiful colors. There is something about a parent and a daughter. Gets me right here.The book information shoot out is darling. These are those days you will pull out when you are old to marvel over.Mind shattering, isnt it?

    May 25, 2011
  13. High-five, Mr. Bunny! Glad to hear les boobees are on the mend, you dear milkbag. And, ZOMG! Bun Bun is sooooo sweet!

    May 25, 2011
  14. (Btw…my comment about should read "the family you *now* are…can't even blame autocorrect for that one…)

    May 25, 2011
  15. Dammit! Comment *above*. Shoulda stopped while I was only slightly behind.

    May 25, 2011
  16. This isn't on topic whatsoever, but I can't help but think about your MIL warning you not to expect a cute baby. She was so, so wrong. Glad things are going so well!

    May 25, 2011
  17. N #

    I'm so glad your Mr Bunny is doing well. I think his response is pretty typical. BTW- The cake is easy. All the recipes are from the Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book. The white cake recipe, lemon filling, and fluffy white frosting.

    May 25, 2011
  18. That's a good daddy. Sweet song, too. Very happy for you three, blistered nipples not withstanding. (Just can't get over the blistered nipples. Ow.)

    May 27, 2011

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