There were any number of unexpected benefits and drawbacks to life in the cocoon. Friends-- even from as far away as LOS ANGELES!--seemed much more inclined to drive down for a visit, at least with the baby as bait. On the other hand, eating almost all of our meals at home, we accumulated a lot of garbage. And, as people in competitive professions, both of us felt some concern about losing our place at work as a result of our stay at home.
After two months I was about ready to get back to work, although I still feel a wrenching when I leave each morning, and I hurry to get home in the evening (often stopping to pick up pizza or Chinese food) before the baby goes to sleep for the night.
My wife decided to stay at home for another month or two before returning to work part time. Since then, we have continued to live a modified cocoon existence, staying at home most evenings but strolling around the neighborhood during the day. We try to keep the weekends clear to be together. Last week we all traveled in a moving cocoon--a jet--to a family wedding in Florida with no untoward results.
Looking back, I have no regrets about the experience. Whether or not all this time together enabled my son and I to "bond," as the psychologists say, I don't know. It was fun and satisfying and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Mark I. Pinsky, who covers religion for The Times, lives in Long Beach. His son, Asher, is now 15 weeks old.