Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pork chops and puddles

New Year's Day. A lovely day with my husband and son. Lunch out. Time at a busy park, watching my blond boy run around and nearly conk his head more times than I care to count. A walk in the stroller. Fun in the swing. A half-eaten dinner.

Nightime, I'm soaking in a bath of lavender and epsom salts, indulging in a cosy Regency mystery, but I can't see the pages because I'm bawling my eyes out. Because today's the day we finally weaned. 

I didn't plan it. I knew it was coming soon, but hadn't decided when. I was waiting for it to feel ready.

This morning when we would normally nurse I went in to get him from his crib, brought him a cup of milk and carried him around the house, postponing nursing a few minutes. I've been doing this for awhile, to loosen the habit of nursing right after waking up. 

I opened the refrigerator door and he wiggled out of my arms, wanting to get inside the refrigerator and explore. I hate this, but often let him do it anyway. He found a packet of leftover pork chops wrapped in foil and pulled them out. I figured once he opened the packet he'd lose interest, but instead he started eating the cold pork chop. (Yep, that's my boy.) He wandered around happy as a clam, eating his pork chop and showed zero interest in nursing. 

And I figured.... why not? Why not today? He's okay without nursing. He's happy. He's not asking for it. So why not today?

So, that's it. We didn't nurse. That simple.

But I didn't plan for this. I didn't know that yesterday morning would be the last time ever. I didn't burn it in my mind, the memory. And as I'm laying in the bath, that's why I'm crying. Because of all the memories, because of the things I'm afraid I'll forget, the things I've already forgotten, the everyday little things, the kind of things you don't take pictures or video of, the kind of things that fade.

The way I kissed his forehead while he nursed, the way he pulled away. The way I'd touch his baby soft hair. The way he sometimes smiled at me when he let out a little toot. The way his hands gently patted my chest. Or sometimes not so gently. The way he yanked at my bra strap or touched my face or pulled my hair. The way he wiggled and kicked his legs as if he had somewhere important to go. The way he would tug and demand nursing, or the way he'd make this charming little squinty eyed face, as if he could charm it out of me. 

In the early days I felt like a milk machine, as if I had no life of my own other than to feed him. Those weren't easy times. He seemed never to be satisfied. It seemed to take so much effort - I was concerned about schedules and latching and infections and drinking enough water and was he getting enough milk. It was all so stressful. But then after awhile it was so natural. And I hardly thought about it at all. No different than breathing. As if he was a part of me, and I a part of him.  
So many hours spent of my life.  So many ordinary memories. So much tenderness that will pass and morph and change with time. It was all going to happen anyway. Whether today or tomorrow or next week or next year. I decided. I knew we could both handle it. I knew it was time.

But it's hitting me harder - the emotion of it all - than I expected. I feel like that fall-apart-girl that I so often felt like while I was pregnant - crying at the drop of a hat, everything larger than life. I'll make it through of course, but pardon me while I turn into a puddle.

2 comments:

  1. Kuddos to you for extended breast feeding! I'm sorry that you are feeling the loss now though. They really do grow up fast!

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  2. I nursed my first for almost 11 months and the second for over 18 months. My oldest will be 30 next week and my youngest is 26. I still get a bit wistful when I recall those nursing days. Sweet times. Don't worry; you won't forget them.

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