Saturday, January 23, 2010

The End of An Era

The funny thing about wishes is that they may actually come true. Even if you speak of them out loud. I learned that lesson the hard way over the past two weeks.

It seems that Nate must have been peering over my shoulder when I wrote my last post, which if you'll recall, concluded with my quandary of weaning. Because he made the decision for me.

Our last nursing session was at naptime on January 8th. My little booby monster weaned himself almost overnight.

It happened rather abruptly. He never resisted the breast, but he would toss and turn, constantly pulling off, uninterested. He seemingly lost his focus - or will - until he stopped asking to breastfeed altogether. Where he used to lift my shirt, claw at my bra and "assume the position", he was now content to cuddle in the nook of my arm with a story. I figured it was a fluke and at any time, he would come to realize what he was missing. But that time never came. Just like that, the bond we shared for nearly 18 months was over.

Many would assume that I could now exhale. No more fearing how the process would go, or questioning whether I would damage Nate's psyche. No more wondering how long it would take for my cycles to return to "normal" so we could try to conceive a sibling. You'd think I would be shouting from the rooftops with a daiquiri in hand - and not a virgin one. After all, he basically ripped the band-aid off for me. But I guess I underestimated the pain of the aftermath.

I've found myself more sorrowful than celebratory at this sequence of events. Perhaps it is because it happened so quickly that I didn't have time to say a fond farewell. Perhaps I feel a smidge of guilt that our last nursing session was short and sweet and part of a routine, instead of an extra special consummation. Maybe I feel angry at myself for any of the times I thought nursing was an inconvenience or nuisance. Or maybe I always assumed I'd be the one in control of the cessation and the self-weaning caught me off-guard. Or it could be that it's just one more shred of evidence that my son, my baby, is growing up and becoming more independent. Honestly, it's probably a bit of all of the above.

But I miss it. With all my heart. I long for that unabated closeness. Sure, we cuddle and hug more these days, which is comforting. I am forced to find creative ways to fill the void. And I should note I am beyond proud that we made it for as long as we did. My initial goal was 12 months and we far surpassed that. But I am also mournful. Each day that passes, the feeling of his suckling and his tiny fingers wrapped around my breast become more and more fuzzy. I cry almost everyday, thinking how I'll never again look down to see him smiling as he feeds from me. I have beautiful memories that I will cherish forever, and I know I must close this chapter to open another. But I am struggling. Sometimes, I wonder if I've developed some sort of post-weaning depression. If that exists. I also wonder if my past with infertility has anything to do with why I am taking this particularly hard. But I've read that weaning can put your hormones in flux so I'm hoping my equilibrium will be rediscovered soon.

So, emotionally I'm a wreck and physically, it's not much better. Despite stuffing cold cabbage leaves in my bra for days a la Ariel, I've somehow managed to form plugged ducts on both sides. I have painful, firm lumps underneath the surface that are very sensitive if touched (or headbutted or rolled on, as my son loves to do). I've been taking hot showers and massaging regularly but they are still present. A sick, irrational part of me is kind of glad that my breasts haven't yet completely deflated into saggy pancakes. I guess I'm just trying to hold onto the last remaining proof of our breastfeeding journey. It's so hard to say goodbye to such a positive experience. I thought I was ready. I thought I wanted this. And I know all good things come to an end. But would I ever really be ready?

My son has saved me in so many ways. And he continues to rescue me from myself. It's bittersweet situations like this that really make me see how challenging parenting really is.

It's the end of an era.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How Dare I

...just sneak in and post a cowardly Wordless Wednesday after not updating for over 2 months? The nerve. But seriously, the world has only just now stopped spinning fast enough for me to check in with the handful of you who still keep up with my sweetness. I'll try to play catch-up and let you know what we've been up to the past 8 weeks.

We moved into our new home on December 5th. It figures it was the first snow of the year that day, but we all survived and we're starting to get comfy. We've met the neighbors and they all have small children - 3 years old or younger. It's truly perfect for us. Although I've made my husband promise we will not move again for a VERY long time. As a matter of fact, I'd be happy staying here until my kid(s) put me in a retirement home. Just because I HATE moving THAT much.

Christmas was busy but fantastic. We hosted two family get-togethers at the new place and it went smashingly. I got a new Coach bag and wallet, a new coat and a Snuggie (woot!). DH got some gift cards, video games and some books. And Nate got plenty of toys that he dumped aside for the boxes they came in. I only wish the day had lasted longer. I feel like we just decorated our tree and now it is out next to the trash.

Nate is growing and thriving. I can hardly believe he'll be 18 months in just under 3 weeks. He looks less like a baby and more like a big boy everyday. He's still not much of a talker but he is becoming much more expressive so I think a vocabulary explosion may be around the corner. His newest words are "apple", "Grandmom", "dog", "more", "mine" (gotta love that one) and "night-night". Once, he even said "DJ Lance" when watching his favorite bizarro TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba. He can identify his ears and belly button. We're working on nose, mouth, eyes and other body parts. If I hand him a brush and tell him to brush his hair, he will follow my instructions. He can also clean his ears with a Q-Tip (with my assistance, of course) and brush his teeth. He's also starting to give kisses but he often turns away when I get close. Stinker. It's amazing how much he picks up, and how fast. Which is precisely why we now have to be extremely careful about unbecoming language. The last thing I want is for him to repeat sailor-speak after Mommy curses during Guitar Hero.

But, with the good comes the bad. The "terrible twos" have arrived a bit sooner than anticipated here at Chez Sticky. Nate has at least one major temper tantrum a day, usually after a well-deserved "N-O", involving throwing himself on the floor, flailing limbs and screaming at the top of his lungs. It's happened in public a couple of times, to the point where I've had to leave the premises. Yes, I was THAT mom. He has quite a temper and it can be rather. unpredictable. When we took a trip to visit Santa, he was a perfect angel waiting in line but flipped out at the sight of the round, jolly fellow. We did get one decent picture, in which he looks disgusted at our attempts to distract him with glorified dog toys. Just this past weekend, we attempted to get family portraits done but after a particularly horrid meltdown, we left on the brink of tears, empty-handed. As much as I hate how quickly time flies, I can say with certainty, I will NOT miss this stage. It's so hard because I feel like he is too young for a spanking or time out or other methods of behavior modification. So, I am unsure how to handle the situation. Most of the time, I just ignore him and walk away. He will usually come running back to me because he doesn't want to be alone, and most times, he will forget why he was so worked up in the first place. But I do feel chained to the house because of this difficulty. Thankfully, he is sleeping through the night consistently from 8pm to 7am so I can at least have some much-needed me-time.

One last thing...we're still dipping our toes in the water to TTC #2. Nate is still nursing twice a day (at naptime and bedtime), which I believe is interfering with my cycles. I'm only on PPAF #3 since August. Both cycles before the current one were anovulatory, so I'm not expecting much in the way of a surprise BFP. I'm considering calling my OB/GYN about a prescription for Clomid but it would mean weaning. As in the end of our nursing relationship. I just don't think Nate is ready to give it up completely yet. And I feel selfish for even thinking about forcibly weaning him just to try for another baby. So, basically, I'm undecided and I think a call to the doctor will at least give me some options to think about.

All in all, that's been our life the past few months. I've missed you all and plan to write more often in 2010. New Year's Resolution: regain the blogging mojo.

Wordless Wednesday: Baby, It's Cold Outside