Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Return to Nursing (A Toddler)

Today was nearly a perfect day.

I woke up a little groggy. Bedtime was a struggle last night- I had foolishly put the little down to nap in the evening, and as a result she didn't go to sleep until after 11pm- a record for her, I'm sure.

She woke up well-rested, but I sure wasn't. No matter- her upbeat mood and the beautiful, almost autumnal weather soon put me in a right mood! The house was in dire need of cleaning, and so we headed off to Wal-Mart for cleaning supplies. DD was amazingly patient. We hit the gym after for a short work out, and then headed home to spend the rest of the day outdoors.

My younger cousin came over and splashed in the pool while I washed the floor, and then we sat out in the sun and had a picnic lunch. After some more out-of-doors fun we headed inside to prepare the much-celebrated brownies, which have been in the pantry and much-eluded to for quite some time.

DD did an amazing job of baking the brownies pretty much herself. She saw on the box we needed two eggs, and cracked them into the bowl herself (no small feat!) She poured in the brownie mix, placed muffin cups in the tin, helped me preheat the oven, and stirred in the applesauce and walnuts.

Then we sunned out and read while we waited for them to cook.

When they'd finished, she was so, so excited. I expected her to gobble her first muffin up as soon as they'd cooled (I know I wanted to!) but she was showing unexpected restraint! When I asked her why, she said she wanted to wait for her friend, who soon appeared... we decided to share the twelve muffins amongst her four friends. It felt so good to walk with her outside, distributing them amongst all of her friends at her decree, my little girl making sure no one was missed. The sharing seemed to her just as great as chocolate brownie muffins!!

Later, as we lay in the beautiful-but-brisk-for-summer day, reading and basking, I realized she seemed a little out of sorts. When our dog ran by and clipped her accidentally, knocking her over, she burst into tears and was super frusterated.

For the first time in weeks- maybe months- I asked: "Do you want to go have some boobies?"

And, almost relieved, my almost-three year old breathed, "Yes!"

We collected our things, snuck indoors, and arranged ourselves on the bed, me with pillows propped behind me, her draped across my lap. We nursed on one side, then the other. She told me she was a baby, and motioned that she was going to bite my nipple- "Oh no," I told her, "Babies don't bite! They don't have teeth!" "Oh!" My girl said, thinking. She made sucking motions with her mouth. "Like this?" "Yes, like that."

On her second side, I fell into peace. From our bedroom I can see our kitchen window, a bit of a shrine to our life- pictures tacked up, driftwood I hand painted with a reminder, "Be Here Now." I was at home, at peace with the life we've created. I was at peace. I was so thankful to be exactly there, and looking down, my girl's eyelids had fluttered shut, and her sucking fell into that familar rythm, just as she had countless times since she was first born.

It is a timeless ritual, a comforting scenario, one I don't see dissapearing from the patchwork of our life anytime soon. One I don't want to go.

Today, I experience a return to - and a new peace with - nursing my toddler. Instead of reading a book, or having a bath, or watching an episode of something, I'm going to return to this soft timeless tool with her... I wonder if some of her out-of-touch tantrums and general frusteration will be solved by the salve that is breastfeeding.

I'll keep you posted :)

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