the honeymoon…er, babymoon…is now officially over.

Dave went back to work last week, after taking Oscar’s first two weeks at home off so we could figure some of this parenting stuff out together. this practice period, which was apparently not thunk up by us, is officially known in cutesy parenting magazines and msn articles as a babymoon. and our two weeks was a babymoon to beat all babymoons – the Fiji resort vacation of babymoons, i daresay.

we had unseasonally beautiful weather, a happy, sleepy baby, and two weeks to hang out and clean out all that scary shit in the shed between naps. heck, we got to nap! and i had a willing volunteer for the diaper changes, even the 3am ones…it was dreamy. we even took the boy on his first road trip – to his grandparents home in new brunswick – and heard barely a peep out of him the whole way. he even slept through the night once. i started to feel as if i’d landed in pleasantville…and while half of me was looking over my shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop, the other half of me got comfortable, cocky even, in this happy routine of sweetness and light.

then Dave went back to work and all hell broke lose. literally. some nasty stomach bug must have wormed its way into Oscar’s little digestive tract during one of those truckstop diaper changes on the trip back home, and about an hour after Dave departed for the office, Oscar woke up screaming bloody murder and leaking explosive green stuff all over. nice timing, my son. i swear your father paid you off.

he kept this up for six straight hours, only working himself into an exhausted sleep about half an hour before Dave returned home. that night and the next day…same thing. the doctor’s office assured me by phone that he wouldn’t die and that since he had no fever and wasn’t dehydrated i should just keep him home and keep an eye on him.

in truth i pretty much had an eye and a hand on him at all times, trying to soothe him, to rock and pet out the gases making his little face wrinkle up in sudden squealing grimaces. but patting and holding and carrying a baby takes up an amazing amount of hand time – the time, in other words, that one used to have to do things one never even thought about, like surfing blogs or buttoning one’s pants after peeing. or entertaining/disciplining the cat, who’d seemed quite okay with her new furless brother during the babymoon but became inconsolably jealous once he began howling and demanding my constant attention, thus leading her to bite my ankles and add her own lamentations to the general wail. plus eat the plants, unless she too was being petted. hand time, i now realize, has a price above rubies.

five days after the end of the babymoon, though, i feel vaguely relieved. Oscar’s misery has abated, and he’s gone back to sleeping, at least some of the time. the cat has stopped acting like a spurned lover, and i’ve gotten both my hands back long enough to sit down and type for a few minutes. i’m still exhausted…but i’m starting to accept that as a state of being. and i’ve stopped looking over my shoulder, waiting for the pretty, brittle facade of the babymoon to crack.

it rained all week. i changed all the diarrhea diapers. my cat appears to resent me deeply. and my poor baby cried and cried and cried, and i couldn’t do a damn thing except hold him…which meant my kitchen turned into a pigsty and my biggest accomplishment all week was a load of laundry. but i did it. and i didn’t completely lose my mind.

now i feel like a real mom.