I have a confession to make: I’m in love with man who is not my husband. I am completely, totally and utterly in love with my son.
From the moment he was released from my body, eyes already wide open to the world, I knew my heart was his. The first night after he was born, every time I closed my eyes all I could see was his face. I used to wonder how parents recognized their newborns; they all looked the same to me, their faces swollen, their features blurry and soft. I had my son’s face memorized as soon as I saw him, as if I had already known what he looked like and actually laying eyes on him was simply an act of recognition.
I love his perfect roundness, his soft weight on my chest like a breathing stone, sound asleep after eating. I love his tiny baby noises, sighs of satisfaction while he nurses, gulps and deep breaths. When he falls asleep his face relaxes into gentle curves, the corners of his mouth down-turned, cheeks drooping, eyelids heavy. He nuzzles himself into the curve of my neck, arms spread wide to cover my chest, my arms wrapped around him in return.
I was never a girl who was baby-crazy. I didn’t make goo-goo faces or baby talk, I haven’t had my nursery theme picked out since I was young. But now that I’m a mother, I get it, that complete absorption in your child, to the total exclusion of everything else. I’m still not baby-crazy, I’m just crazy about my baby.
You may be wondering about the name of this blog, since I have yet to wander across any other Pumpkin Doodles in this world. Pumpkin Doodle is my son's nickname. It started with me calling him "Pumpkin", which is a fairly common term of endearment in my family. After a few days of calling him Pumpkin, Doodle just…flowed. Pumpkin Doodle is the star of many improvised songs ("Pumpkin Doodle sings this song" to the tune of Camptown Races, for one), and cheers. My husband resisted at first but now he realizes the inherent appropriateness of the name. Somehow, my son just looks like a Doodle.
I come from a family of strange nicknames. It begins with my grandmother, whose official title is "Queen Nana", a name bestowed by me as the first grandchild. Queen Nana had extravagant names for her five children: my Uncle John was called "Johnnyissimo Chiang Kai-Shek", Aunt Jennifer was "Jenny Tori". When my mother got married, my father became known as "Jeffsonian Institute of Technology".
My mother's names for us weren't quite as elaborate, but my sisters and I are called Pumpkin, Petunia, and sometimes Petunia Buttons more often than our actual names. I've only just realized how much of the tendency to give nicknames I've inherited. In addition to Pumpkin Doodle, my son has been called Finny-bear, Finny the Pooh, Wiggle-worm, and many others. It's funny how I never thought I was very much like my mother, but now that I am a mother myself, I find I am falling into the same patterns I grew up with. Making up songs and silly nicknames was a big part of my childhood that I didn't consciously realize until now, when I see it manifesting in profound ways. I guess when it comes to being a mother, it really is a lot of subconscious behavior, learned or not. Either way, I hope I can come close to the kind of mother I had growing up.
Allow myself to introduce…myself. I am a 26 year old married brand new mom, and in my free time I am a fourth year medical student. My son will be six weeks old in a few days, and he has so thoroughly changed my life I almost don't recognize myself. And I like it.
Anyone who is married, a mom, or in medicine knows that there are good stories that come out of any one of those situations. So I'm thinking I'll have some good stories to share. And if not good stories, then at least pictures of a cute baby. It's a win-win situation, right?