It seems like so much has happened since I daylogged last, but most of it is not anything that would matter to anyone else, or even make interesting reading. I apologize in advance for that; but I want to keep a record of all these days. When I've read back through my E2 back catalogue, the writing that has been most precious to me has been that which I valued least at the time - the daylogs. Moments that I'd forgotten, feelings that I don't have any more, strange tidbits of information that would have been swallowed up in time.
Oh Baby Baby
Joshua is 6 weeks old, and he's still getting bigger and stronger. He weighs almost 10 pounds, and when he wriggles in your arms you can feel the power in his muscles growing. He especially likes wriggling at 6 in the morning when he wakes up for food and a nappy change - when I take him out of his basket he squirms and grunts with his eyes still closed, and his arms wave around and his face turns red, and if he doesn't get food in the next 5 minutes or so there will be tears. He can reach out and grab things now - it's not an exact science, but if he manages to make his hand encounter something, he'll grasp it, and then he can hang on to it for quite a while.
He's started smiling. It's the happiest and most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
I know it's too early for him to be talking, but it really sounds like he's trying. I had him sat on my lap facing me the other evening, his back leaning against my legs which were propped up on the table. We were watching The Lord Of The Rings for what must be the 10th time, but I was really watching him. For about two hours we had a conversation where I spoke softly to him and he replied with little coos and echoes in such a sweet clear voice. He held my gaze for most of an hour, apparently as fascinated by me as I am by him. Eventually he remembered that he is not an angel but a baby, and he got upset and hungry, and we had to settle him down. Sometimes he wants his mummy, sometimes his daddy. Sometimes he doesn't care who it is as long as they feed him or change him. It's a trial and error process.
Some days he's not so angelic. Yesterday he cried for most of the evening after I got home. The whole time from 7pm until midnight was spent with him being upset about one or another thing, loudly, in between short spells of sleep, and this carried on this morning. He went to the doctor yesterday and there's nothing wrong with him; sometimes he is just like this. Maybe it's the cycles of the moon, maybe he has more wind some days, or maybe sometimes the sheer unbearable isness of being frightens him. Who knows. But those times are trying. When he finally settles down, Jo and I have no energy or will to do anything together as a couple. We only want to sleep, or watch TV, and be quiet. We're giving each other a lot of support, and trusting that the difficulty of this time is a temporary thing, and that at some point we will return to some kind of life as a couple (who happen to have a child). It's just that when he cries — you can't do anything else. You can't ignore it and you can't rise above it. It affects you emotionally. It's as if your child's voice is wired into your bones.
Whistle While You Work
I named this daylog Running To Stand Still because of a discovery (or admission) I've made in the past few days. I have obsessive compulsive disorder. Now that I've admitted it, I can see that I've actually had it for a long, long time — possibly as long as I can remember, but I've ignored it or pretended it wasn't really what it appeared to be. The funny thing is, I was actually married to an OCD sufferer for 5 years, and although both of us joked about the fact that I also displayed many of the symptoms, neither of us ever really took it seriously. However, since Joshua was born, it's become impossible to ignore. Any obsessions and compulsions I had before have gone off the scale, and I've developed new ones. I'm reading a book on it, and they specifically say that many people develop OCD, or realize they have it, after the birth of a child — the reason being that OCD is an anxiety disorder, and the huge increase of anxiety and responsibility that comes along a new baby either triggers it or worsens it to the point where it becomes severe or incapacitating.
I won't go too far into the symptoms here, as I plan to write at more length about it later, as a kind of exercise in understanding it, but basically there are certain things I obsess on (e.g. fear of harm coming to loved-ones, either from myself or from accidents, obsession with death and what happens after we die and similar unanswerable questions, fear that either I will go insane or that I am already insane without realizing it) and in order to relieve the anxiety that these thoughts cause me I've developed certain compulsions (mostly compulsive game-playing, but also speech rituals, repeating nonsense words to myself, compulsive movements, whistling, etc). When I had lots of free time, all this stuff went fairly unnoticed because I just thought that was how I am and I never questioned it too much. But now that I'm so busy and required to function most of the time, the compulsions have actually started to interfere with my everyday life and are resulting in my not functioning properly — and I can't or don't want to stop them. Some of the recent compulsions, like the whistling, started in the hospital when Joshua was ill and in the intensive care unit, and Jo was exhausted and frantic, and I had to hold it together and talk to the doctors and talk to everyone in both our familes and just generally not be fucked up.
Anyway, that's all I want to write about that for now. It's a big thing on my mind and I will be looking for ways to deal with it, but I don't want it to become some kind of meta-obsession! It's worth noting that my girlfriend, my ex-wife, and my best friend all have OCD in some form, and that it runs throughout both my family and my girlfriend's. You'd think it would have occurred to me before, and in fact it did, but I didn't want to admit it.
This is turning into an epic daylog, so I'll finish up by saying that basically we are very happy at the moment. We're looking forward to moving house, and I'm really looking forward to leaving my current ass-boring job. I have the prospect of some web work that I can do from home when we get to England, and it will be a relief when we're closer to Jo's family and have some backup for looking after Joshua when we're going nuts and have to get out of the house. It will be good to be out of the city, which acts as a force multiplier for my obsessions due to its proliferation of daily rituals and sounds and its endless visual repetitions of the same patterns of windows, walls and roads. It will be good to have a complete change of scene, and to be able to bring Joshua on walks around the Yorkshire countryside. I get so excited about showing him new things and I can't wait until he can talk about them. I want him to have happy parents. There was nothing wrong with my own childhood except that for a lot of it, I didn't have happy parents, and I don't want to make the mistake my parents made, of sticking with a lifestyle that was making them miserable, just because it was what was expected.