Well, the last vestiges of baby-hood seem to have fallen away from my girl one by one over the past couple of months. I think of her just three months ago and it’s like she’s a different kid. There have been a lot of factors pushing her to change.
We have been nannying for a baby (that mother, thankfully, will be quitting her job in order to stay home with her baby. I am so excited to welcome J.J. to the ranks of full-time parents in January even though our house will be much different without baby N.).
J. had surgery. It was a minor procedure but he was out of work for a week and a half; then his wound didn’t heal properly and he had to go back in for a repair. Ick.
We are going to have another child! E. is going to be a big sister. Incidentally, I started nannying just around the time the morning sickness really kicked in. I’ve decided it’s much nicer to have crippling nausea and a newborn at separate times since they can be sort of stressful when taken both at once.
With such a sick, exhausted mommy, E. had to learn to do a lot of things for herself. Some of her new tricks include putting her own pants on, putting on and buttoning her coat, entertaining herself with books, puzzles and other toys for an extended period of time, recognizing almost all of her letters (even though she still won’t sing the ABC song for some reason only she knows…such is the nature of the stubbornness that runs in our family…)
But probably the most significant change is that the girl is no longer nursing. When I started breastfeeding her 2 1/2 years ago, I had no idea how important it would become to me. I did not push her out or even get to be awake when she was born (an emergency cesarean under general anesthesia due to fetal distress but that’s another post) and so when I met her I was…a mess. I didn’t know what to do or how to proceed. Is that really my baby? Who are you and why are you here? I signed a waiver saying I don’t have gonorrhea, so why does she have that goop in her eyes? Are you sure that’s my baby?
Then I started to nurse her. And things started to make sense again. Yes, she really is mine. She began to feel like mine. I really think the comfort of breastfeeding is what got both of us through those early months.
But now we are two and a half years in, and our nursing relationship has been steadily winding down. She was nursing to sleep every night, then every other night, then every third night…she was sick the Monday before Thanksgiving and nursed 5 or 6 times that day and then…nothing. She hasn’t nursed since then. She asked me for “mommy milk” once last week but was fairly easily assuaged with some extra cuddle time.
I am so amazed by my girl and not a little daunted at the task of keeping up with her as she grows. I hope to expand my parenting as she needs more space to be herself. Lately she’s been a bit squished as she pushes at the boundaries. The trick seems to be to find a way to let her grow into who God is making her without doing her the disservice of allowing her two-year-old emotional whims to determine how all of us will be with each other (I think getting overly frustrated and reacting to a child from that place shows them they are in charge just as much as caving completely and giving them whatever they want). And then with that completely figured out, I hope to bring about world peace…my only chance at not going crazy in the next few years is that one of these two goals is slightly more attainable than the other. 😉