It's been busy around here. Anthony's been traveling a ton (lots of trips up to Dallas), we flew to Kansas City for Christmas where we saw two sets of great-grandparents and two sets of grandparents (all separately) and we drove all over Missouri to do it. Literally hours after we got back to Austin Anthony was off to Dallas again and won't be back until around 3 pm on the 31st (our 3rd anniversary). My sister also flies in tomorrow night for all of us to do our Christmas on New Year's Day.
In all of this hustle and bustle Hollis has leapt ahead in developmental skills. He knows four baby sign language signs ("more," "cookie," "all done," and the newest one, "hungry"), he prefers to walk, has whole baby conversations with himself complete with inflection, he can almost feed himself, he has fine motor skills, recognizes people, says "NO," like a champ, and he sleeps like an exhausted puppy throughout the day.
He's also totally weaned himself.
It's over. The beautiful, special connection I had with him that no other living soul could share is now finished. I had no idea I would feel such sadness about this. But I do. I feel like weeping that my baby is now a toddler and no longer needs me in such an intimate, profound, and powerful way.
I know I'm sounding ridiculously selfish, but I can't help it. I know it's natural, normal, and utterly right for him to be growing away from me, I just wasn't prepared for my own feelings about it. Before I ever had children I knew I was going to nurse my babies, but I always put the accepted 12-month cap on it. I used to say so flippantly, "Oh God, I could never nurse my child if he could ask for it!" and I'd curl my lip in disgust at the thought.
But he's just a baby!! It's not gross or weird! We are one of only a few modern day cultures that thinks nursing should have such an early expiration date. Most cultures recognize the powerful bond it nurtures between baby and mother, and like a pebble dropped in a lake, its ripple effect on all the caretakers in a baby's life and on the baby's psyche and constitution. I deeply and profoundly believe we cannot better nature. If the situation demands it, then by all means, lets use science, but there's nothing more incredible than using your body the way it was intended. And I have also become a believer in believing in my baby - a person who has not been influenced by snide remarks or peer pressure. I trusted that he would know what he needed and he would let me know. And I was right...
He just learned how to ask to nurse by knocking on my chest as if it were a refrigerator door and my boobs were little helpful elves who came out to see what he needed. But each time I offered him an "elf," he would turn away or even cry at the idea. I was still lactating... a little, but after the 5th occasion where he asked for, then refused, my breast I decided he was looking for comfort from me and not necessarily a chance to nurse - and so I stopped offering him a morsel. That was before we left for Kansas City on the 22nd.
And today, as I got in the shower I noticed dried milk in my nipples; clogged, thick, and over.
As of today, I can no longer nurse my baby and it breaks my heart. But I'm also, somewhere deep down, filled with glee that it was natural for both of us and completely trauma-free. He loves Cheerios, bananas, and the special baby goulash that I make for him. He lights up when he sees me and seeks me out when he needs a soft place. It's all I could ever ask for and so much more.
But oh, I am so sad. I feel foolish and hysterical for being such a puddle.
He's so sweet and wonderful and precocious and and and. I am so lucky to be his mother, to be a part of his life...
I'm still sad...