After two days of the new prepared-proactive-card-glue-and-glitter wielding mothering approach, I'm delighted to announce that life is definitely better. James is enjoying the increased stimulation, variety and more undivided attention.
I'm enjoying feeling supported (by my prior preparation). I always have ideas, options and supplies. I can't begin to say how much better that feels, as though I'm not struggling to keep up. I don't know why I didn't do this before. I don't even know what's significantly different now. I'm just more prepared and more present. Those two things have helped enormously.
So yes, he still watches television. He still screams for his soother. He still has moments of boredom and frustration, but all those are somehow less invasive in our (individuated) psyches.
So I'm not the best mum, but I feel like it now. I finally feel like I am the mother I would like to be.