It's so hard to explain to people why John isn't being normal with Oliver. How do you tell someone "He's doing okay, considering he's not human." without sounding like a complete and utter nut job? Yes, he's scared...at least, I think he's something that would roughly translate to us as scared.Yes, that Oliver's frail and weak and he doesn't want to hurt him. But also because he's against humans. He doesn't like them (us?), their mucusy fragile existence. Everything he has an aversion to in normal humanity is amplified a hundred fold in babies. He won't eat or drink after you, and he doesn't want you to eat or drink after him -- and this translates into complete avoidance with Oliver. He has this 100 point allocation thing where he can only focus and be okay with one human at a time and that's me. So he can eat and drink and be around my human-ness and be okay - once his body adapted to mine and stopped breaking out when I touched him. "I don't like humans, but I like my tan."
Rereading that paragraph... it sounds crazy. It is crazy. In the most normal of terms I can think of, he's a germaphobe. But it's not a fear of germs that gets him. If you had to categorize it into normal, understandable, and socially semi-acceptable terms -- that's what you'd use. A closer, though mad, definition would be that he's a Vulcan, or a cyborg with an only semi-functional emotional interface.
Not that this is an excuse by any means, as we all have issues within our personalities that we have to overcome to live a normal life. To be accepted by society requires sacrifices in these personalities, to be loved, to have thriving long term relationships. We have to put away those parts of ourselves that surface from our deep dark id. So must he get over all his hang ups and just do it. Just be a father, just be the man I need him to be. Otherwise, everything will come crumbling down.
I got John to hold Oliver last night. He covered himself in a blanket to avoid the irritation from Oliver's skin on his own and sat in bed so he was fully supported. The movement of Oliver's head as he looked around, being able to feel the different valleys of his yet fully formed skull was too much though. So I moved Oliver around so he was laying against his chest, and this seemed to be okay. He was able to put his hands on Oliver's swaddled self without freaking out too bad, as long as Oliver didn't wiggle too much.
John gets upset - at the doctors who tell him he'll get used to it, to not be afraid - at the people that tell him he'll become more sure of himself. He wants to tell them he's not afraid, not unsure of himself, not worried about hurting Oliver... just extremely uncomfortable with his very existence. The burning sensation on his skin that happens when he comes into contact with Oliver's bare skin, the overload of synapses. But again... not only is it nearly impossible to voice the feeling for him in general, the way he feels he doesn't think can be recognized. I think he's right.
While I left the decision of when to have kids up to John as I was game from day one, and this decision we entered knowing the outcome would obviously be an Oliver or female counterpart... I don't think that John thought of the consequences or what having a newborn would actually mean. That is, until I was pregnant and he voiced that he didn't know how to be a dad. He couldn't handle the bodily functions in other people's kids, couldn't hold them, they bugged him... It would be the same for his own he assured me. Yet how many times has a man said that, they don't like babies, they don't get them - only to turn out to be a great father from day one? There's something about that tiny little bundle of half of them that melts the coldest of male hearts. Human ones, anyway.
That's what expected him to be, normal..human. To overcome his hangups likely caused from the years of physical/emotional/sexual abuse and to be a father. To see his son for the first time and look into his eyes and know that he was his and to do everything he could to be the best father. When that didn't happen I figured that maybe it was the hospital -- John's dislike of humanity causes him to dislike hospitals even more than babies -- so maybe once we were home, he would warm up to the little one. Then I figured that maybe when Oliver's umbilical cord came off, when his circumcision healed that would be the key. Then maybe when Oliver could hold his own head up. . . Yet none of these milestones yielded any result. They didn't even yield any attempts at getting used to him, of trying. Eventually John started talking to him, looking at him. Then letting Oliver wrap his fingers around John's. He started playing with his feet, "My footie!". He was able to prepare a bottle of formula or heat up a bottle of breast milk. Still, he didn't like seeing or hearing Oliver feed - said he smelled disgusting..forget about feeding him himself, or holding or changing or getting up in the middle of the night. So all of these basic care things fall on to me. I am the single mother with a back up dancer.
I work full time, I parent full time, I have to be a mother, a wife, a search engine placement agent ... and none of these things seem to have the ability to overlap. So I'll vent, and I'll dwell on things, and I'll get upset and want to leave or I'll kick John out of our room and make him sleep on the couch. Some days I can deal, I understand that John is broken and not going to be fixed any time soon. Other days are much, much more difficult. John thinks he'll be okay by the time Oliver is old enough to communicate -- three or so. He believes that he and Oliver will be the best of buds once Oliver stops spitting up after every meal, once he's potty trained, once he's able to look at the world and voice his concerns however basic. So, I'm on my own until then...trying desperately to speed up the process, and hoping for the best.