Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweet 16

For the past month I've been prepping everyone in our family (mainly myself) for the conclusion of my 16 month run with breastfeeding. I can't believe it's been 16 months already. And while I am so proud of myself, I am so sad to see this phase end. It has been such an amazing experience with Mia. I'm not sure who cherished it more, me or her. Every single day we were taken to a place where nothing else mattered, just mother and child, in the purest of forms.

And while her body has been changing and growing everyday, her eyes have been as big and brown as they were the day I first met her.

The worst part? People treat breastfeeding a 16 month old so very, very different than breastfeeding a 1 month old. That irks me. It's just the same--okay give or take a 10 lb. and 13 inch difference, but the intent is still the same.

No matter how I try to defend it, I do know in my heart that it's time to stop. And I also know that my sadness is not because I want to breastfeed until she's 3--no way---my sadness is because Mia is no longer a baby. A fact that I've tried hard to ignore. I've held on to her infancy as tight as I possibly could. And as much as I don't want to, the time has come to let go.

It's seems so much easier than it actually is. In fact, I've postponed this very act for the past 3 months because I wasn't ready to face it yet. But homegirl ain't gettin' any younger and not to mention her grill consists of like 13 teeth already....so clearly I have no choice. But how?

Since applying sequin nipple pasties probably isn't the best way to wean her (albeit hilarious), I figured I should probably put a little more thought into it. So we spent some quality time at a local bookstore. My hope was that if she picked out a couple books that excited her, we could replace our pre-bed nursing time with some pre-bed reading time. Sounds like a good idea, right?

We entered the kids section at Barnes and Noble in search for the perfect night-time replacement and all she wanted to do for the first twenty minutes was get chased down the aisles.

While running like a drunken fool Mia stopped in her tracks as one particular book caught her attention. Immediately she wanted to show me the book. In fact, barely even able to stand from excitement, she grabbed five more copies and stumbled towards me. Okay, I get it Mia...this is the chosen book. After having to explain to her that nobody needs six copies of Missy Kavanaugh and Sarah Gurmans's gripping novel entitled Babies she conceded and was thrilled that she got at least one copy.

After making several other purchases, like Jamie Lee Curtis's Big Words for Little People (because Bella LOVES this book, as do I), Bob Dylan's Forever Young, and a $5 Twas the Night Before Christmas we headed home.

Mia was so excited to explore her new book. She proudly showed it off to her sister and her Dad. It was adorable to watch. In fact, I remember thinking how thankful I was that this book was going to be a perfect transition tool.

We sat together and opened the book.

She loves animals, so it came as no surprise to me why she chose this book. On page 1, aloud, I read this:

Page 2.

Ahh, how sweet. Some sort of badger or squirrel or weasel I think.

Giggling, Mia fumbled to page 3 and aloud I read this:

Ahh, how sweet. Mommy Panda teaching baby Panda how to chill and grub some bamboo.

Page 4.

Page 5.

Mia laughed at this particular page because she noticed that the crocklet was sleeping. Apparently, an exhausted reptile is hilarious to a toddler. What? Okay. Whatever, I'll play along. I laugh with her, and of course my laugh makes her laugh even more. And there we are, merrily laughing along. Then I turn the page and see this:

Page 6.

In my mind I heard the sound of a car come screeching to an excrutiating halt. EEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mia stared at the picture in amazement. I, on the other hand, let out the biggest laugh. I couldn't help it. Of course! Of course! Of all the books, on all the shelves, this, this is the book that she chose! But suddenly my laughter was interrupted by the sad, piercing, pathetic look on the poor, little, itty, bitty, piggy who didn't get any milk from her mommy.

She just kept staring. Directly. At. Me.

And as funny and ironic as this moment was, it was also terribly heartbreaking. (I'm pathetic I know). Trying my best to hold back the tears and ignore the pain that's obviously welling up in my throat, I fumbled to page 7 and aloud I read this:

and we both turned to the last page:

And seeing this family of Emperor Penguins was all I needed. I started wailing right then and there. I couldn't control myself. Thoughts of devotion, sacrifice, endurance and patience filled my head. I sobbed even louder.

My dear Mia, in this moment I realized that your father and I are much like these penguins: we'd huddle together and protect you through the most terrible of storms, no matter the cost.

However, I also realized there comes a time when I need to let you go. Tonight, I nursed you for the last time and wept through it all.


  1. trying not to ruin my make up but the tears are making that impossible. Beautiful G. You need to write a book.


  2. My computer was broken when you posted this, but I'm so glad I got to back and read it now. I nursed Hunter until 14 months, and he made the decision to quit, not me. I loved nursing, and I miss it so much. Now that Hunter is 3, he's closer to me than ever, still snuggling up against my chest at night, we fit together perfectly to cuddle, and his motions don't even stir me, b/c they are so natural. Just know, I feel your pain, and sadness. Good work nursing so long, mommy!



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