A few days before Ellie was born, Tomoko’s hormones kicked into turbo and she almost-weepingly asked me what we would do if she wasn’t a good mother. What if she had post-partum depression? What if she didn’t bond? What if she didn’t really like this parenting thing? In my great wisdom, I prescribed a tall glass of scotch and told her to call the psychotherapist in the morning, which, believe it or not, she didn’t think was funny.
Then Ellie arrived and Tomoko immediately took to her. It’s an amazing thing to see that happen: your basic, all-purpose, high-function, type-A, very successful New York career woman, within five minutes of becoming a mother, gets all gooey-eyed over the little one. Plus, she’s immediately an expert on everything: diapering, breast-feeding, cooing Ellie to sleep, the whole Mommy shebang. And I don’t mean an annoying expert—she’s good at it, comfortable doing it, and the baby is responding in kind. So far—and yes, we’re still in the blissful first couple of weeks of her life—Ellie is calm and manageable. And she eats like a horse.
I’m concerned, however, that Tomoko may be overdoing it. For example, last night Ellie woke me up around around 1 a.m., crying in the bassinet. I picked her up, did a bit of the daddy dance to quiet her, and was going to change her, and then wake Tomoko up to feed her. Before I could do that, Tomoko leapt from bed, swept Ellie into her arms, and took her into the room for diapers and milk, without a word or a complaint. I went back to sleep.
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and personally, I have nothing against extra sleep. Also, my work hours are considerably more flexible than Tomoko’s, so when she does go back, I’ll be the primary caretaker (in the hours after work; we’re getting a nanny, I think; recommendations?) not just for Ellie but for JP, too. This includes amusing them, feeding them (and us), doing whatever limited cleaning we ever do, and keeping everything together until she returns home from keeping the world safe for advertising.
But it just strikes me as unusual—and cute and nice—that’s she’s turning down nighttime help from the man of the house. I may have a keeper.