Amidst all the chaos wrought by a new baby there are some pleasures to be had, apart from the obvious ones of looking into the cradle and thinking 'I can't believe I made that!' and 'doesn't he look cute?' which, to be fair, shouldn't be riddled with guilt at all.
No, there are guiltier pleasures than these, pleasures which are red rags to the bulls of alarmism and caution, pleasures which, if you read the wrong books, are downright dangerous for the overall physical and mental health of ones offspring.
The first of these pleasures is the Sleep Which Dare Not Speak It's Name, by which I mean the pleasure of sleeping with one's baby either on one's chest or nestled on the mattress of the parent's bed. This guilty pleasure splits the baby world down the middle across a bottomless chasm. I have taken home leaflets from different classes which state respectively that one should never fall asleep with the baby in the bed and conversely, that having the baby sleep in one's bed leads to happy, healthy and contented little babies. The first leaflet cites the increased risks of SIDS, the second cites statistics showing that in general, parents will only roll onto and/or suffocate their own babies in bed when under the influence of drugs, alcohol or obesity. So, being a clean and sober person these days and not carrying around too much extra weight I have found it a wonderful thing to lie down in the afternoon with the baby next to me on the bed. We both sleep very well indeed and the opportunity to be able to crack open half an eyelid and see little C's face six inches away is a pleasure indeed. Equally, quieting him down after an energetic feed (you have no idea how much squirming excitement a good feeding can engender in a newborn) by having him curl up on my chest with his head to one side is something guaranteed to put us both to sleep, only to be woken by the sure hands of Dad lifting him up and putting him back in his bassinet.
Yes, Dad is on one side of the chasm on this while I am on the other, meaning that whenever his father is in the house, little C sleeps firmly in his basket. When it's just me, however, there may be a teensy bit of movement in this as having him lie on the mattress outside of rolling distance, outside of pillow or duvet distance but within arms length is one of the very nicest things about little C at the moment.
The next guilty pleasure on the list is that of the bottle feed. The gap between the two halves of the debate seems to be rather closer on this issue however there are those who would deny a tired parent the opportunity to have the other parent feed their offspring a little expressed milk from a bottle due to something referred to as 'nipple confusion'.
Now, 'nipple confusion' does not refer to man-boobs, third 'wolf nipples', outsized chest-moles or the look on the face of a soon-to-be transexual looking at a breast catalogue. No, 'nipple confusion' is the supposed inability of a baby to tell the difference between a rubber bottle teat and the real thing resulting in the rejection of one for the other.
I can safely report that Charlie has no confusion over this, he likes them both equally and I get a great deal of pleasure over being able to stuff his little face from a bottle before the long sleep of night time, topping up the breast feed and guaranteeing a good extra hour of sleep.
The downside of this of course is that to get the milk into the bottle requires one to hook oneself up to a variety of contraptions all of which conspire to make one feel like a dairy cow while not actually being very effective. Sitting in one's nursery with an electric pump attached to one boob and a baby attached to the other is a sure-fire way to bring one closer to Darwin and further from the sex-pot one is certain one was when one met the father of said baby.
This leads to my final guilty pleasure which is handing over a crying or poopy baby to it's father to deal with - a true pleasure indeed.
From guilty pleasures to ridiculous thoughts: here are a few of the more ridiculous things I have thought recently about my son:
1. He has a spine! Look at his spine! When did I grow THAT? Where did all that bone COME from???
2. He has ribs! Wow, I can feel his ribs! Who knew?
3. He's going blond. Nobody is blond in our family... he's not really my baby.
4. Is he breathing? Maybe I should touch him. Shit, I've woken him up.
5. He's breathing too hard! Does he have asthma? Maybe I should move the blanket. Shit, I've woken him up.
6. He hates my right boob.
...and so on...