Friday, June 24, 2011

So Extreme!

So....are you still?

When will you stop?

Isn't he getting too old for that?

It's just for comfort, right?

I guess 12 months is the magical age for weaning here in the US. People have been asking me when I'm going to stop doing THAT (nursing, breastfeeding, AHHHH...why are breasts so sexualized - I'm feeding my baby!). When are we going to stop doing that. This is so much more complicated than I imagined. Just like I thought that my baby would WANT to sleep in a crib, that's what babies do, right? Also, nursing a toddler is different than nursing a newborn, and Eliot wants/needs to nurse a lot less than he used to, which is great! I am enjoying having my body back more of the time, enjoying not pumping at work. Sometimes it's like holding a distracted squirrel. He's twitching and grabbing and climbing and twirling and hitting, and often driving me crazy. But when he wants to nurse - that is all he wants. Sometimes there are no sippy cups or distractions that work otherwise. And I don't mind. I love the cuddle time with my increasingly mobile little boy, and I feel like it's a bit of nutritional insurance if he hasn't eaten the best that day....just because he's 1 doesn't mean my milk suddenly has no nutritional value.

Did you know that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years of age?

Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until 1, and then as long as mutually desireable between the mother and child?

Former Surgeon General Dr. Antonia Novello: "It's the lucky baby, I feel, who continues to nurse until he's two."

I have grandmas and mothers admitting to me that they breastfed until their child was 2, even 3. They concede their confessions to me in low voices. They miss it. They loved it. They hid it. They don't regret it.

I remember before I had Eliot that I was one of those people who thought "extended" breastfeeding was weird. I would whisper to my friend behing my hand, "They're walking and talking - what are they doing still breastfeeding?" Here I am eating my words.

The other day I locked Eli and myself out of the house for 3 hours and I was so thankful that he was still nursing because it was lunch time and he was hungry. I always have a snack with me.

I sometimes feel uncomfortable nursing in public though, and I'm sad I feel like that. I wish it was more accepted....I hope if Eliot ever has children his wife never has to think twice. And if she ends up feeding her child formula that nobody judges them for that either. While nursing he no longer tolerates a blanket over his head and he unlatches about every 2 seconds from some distraction - I'm sure I've flashed people. He rarely wants to nurse in public anymore though - that's too distracting for him too - but I wouldn't deny him in an emergency. I've had to grow a backbone, put up with stares of people who think it's weird or unnecessary. I'm an inactive activist - "It's normal! It's society who's wrong!" I want to shout. But I don't.

I guess I'm growing my mama backbone. I will put up with anyone's judgement/crap to do what I believe is in the best interest of my child. And if anyone EVER makes Eliot feel like what he's doing is wrong or weird they will be sorry. Mama bear says ROAR!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


They say that you don't really know how much your parents love you until you have your own children. And, my sweet boy, I have to tell you that they (whoever the heck they are) are right. You really don't. One day Eliot, I hope you have children of your own and think back on your relationship with your old mom....and give her a call (or text or email or whatever it is you kids will be doing 30 years from now) and tell her you love her (and here's me - HI MOM! HI DAD! Thanks for having me!!). Because this year; this crazy, time-warp, rollercoaster-y, whilrwind of a year; has been the most incredible year of my life. When you were first born I felt like the grinch - my heart grew right out of my chest. You made me believe in love at first sight. I have never loved another person like I have loved you, and this is not to discount the love I have for your father or anyone else because it's real and amazing in a different way, but my feelings for you, my protectiveness over you, my joy in your joy, my pain in your have changed who I am as a person forever. You make me want to be a better person, and that is the nicest compliment I can think of giving anyone. I hope to be enough for you, enough to raise you right. I hope to be able to always accept you for who you are, and help you to be the best you possible. I hope that I have the knowledge to know when to hold on and when to let go....but forgive me if I default to holding on when I don't know any better.

And seeing your father with you - this man who I fell in love with so long ago now - and how amazing he is with you and how he is the only other person in the world who shares in being your parent. I have fallen even harder in love with him through you. I've seen him, some nights, watching you sleep. Just as amazed as I am at the incredible person you are and the fact that something so beautiful and unique and incredible came from him, me, us. I've seen him hold you while you sleep, not putting you down on purpose, just to get a few more minutes (or hours) to spend with you. He loves to make you laugh, and he's good at it. He is so excited to be your friend. You should see how willing he is to make a fool out of himself around you - just to make you happy (and believe me, this is not a man to be a fool very often). He's spent hours blowing bubbles for you, hours blowing raspberries and making funny faces at you, entire evenings sitting outside and watching the cars pass by our house, and hours rocking you late at night when you can't sleep and I need to. He's changed for the better too. He's an amazing and loving man, and I couldn't imagine a better father for you. I did pretty good in the dad department, didn't I?

This has been the shortest and longest year of my life. I'm not going to lie, having a baby is hard work. I have had to summon up more patience than I ever knew existed, and I have survived on less sleep than I thought was possible. And I'm sorry if I failed you sometimes, wasn't the mother you deserve. It'll happen again though, and I hope you understand that I will always try to do my best. But oh, I don't want this year to be over. I can already see the face of a little boy in you, and I understand why mom's fight so hard against that first hair cut. In a year of firsts, I want to leave my baby a baby a little longer. I know you're not grown up yet, and I'll look back on one and wish I had it back too, but right now you're continuing on that trajectory of growing up way too fast. Where are you going in such a hurry?

Those first few weeks really felt like they stood still. I remember my friends talking about their 4 month old, their 6 month old, 9 month old, and I thought - not my baby, that's so old! It'll be forever until he's that old. I used to say things like "he's three and a half weeks," because you were a different baby to me within that half a week, because sometimes that half week made a world of difference. Day by day you break my heart and grow away from that newborn boy they placed purple and slimy and so very beautiful on my chest one year ago today. And here we are at one. When did years become so short?

Watching you grow this last year has been nothing short of a miracle. I'm not an expert in babies or human development, so I really had just a general idea that you would someday walk, talk, and interact. Watching you develop from this little bundle of grunts and random jerky motions into a smiling, laughing, grabbing, sometimes screaming, interacting, talking, mobile little boy...all within a year? It's the coolest thing I've ever seen. What an incredible difference the first year makes!

Sometimes I wonder what we did without you. I wonder why we waited so long for you, because it feels like you complete us. I love saying the word family, and it was you who made us into that. Although I miss the days when we could leave the house at a moments notice, stay out past 7:30 and sleep in past 6 am, you are more fun than any of that. I never realized what I didn't have. Because while we struggled to conceive I sometimes questioned if I really needed a child, not knowing how it would be, and if it was worth the heartache, the waiting, the wondering. But you have surpassed my wildest dreams. There is no word in my vocabulary, no word in any language for how amazing you are to me. You are worth any trip to the moon and back.

I hope you remember, and that you will always know, how all encompassing my love for you is. And even though I know in these coming years I will scream at you, you will scream at me, and we'll both roll our eyes at each other, get frustrated with the other, and sometimes want to be nowhere near each other, I will always love you. Always. And I will always be your mom, and somewhere in there you will always be that sweet beautiful baby I first fell in love with. I love you Eli, my big guy, my little bug, with all my heart and more. Happy First Birthday.

"You Were Born" - Cloud Cult
"Wild Thing" - Misty Miller

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This time last year

I've been feeling bitersweetly nostalgic the past month. I can't stop thinking about what was happening this time last year. How I was unknowingly 17 days away from meeting a baby that would change my life forever. How I was huge, hungry, and uncomfortable and so ready to be DONE. I was just so done being pregnant. And now how I miss it sometimes. How I was looking at 12 weeks off of work. How I didn't know how amazing and incredibly hard those weeks and this past year would actually be! I'm weaning from pumping at work, and although I can't wait to be done, there's something bittersweet about that too. I can't believe it's almost been a year. I can't believe it's only been a year.