Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Am Milk, I Am Red Hot Kitchen

Look, son, we've got to talk. And this is going to involve more than the names of facial features and types of fruit, so I need you to pay careful attention.

This thing you're doing right now, the refusing to eat real food in my presence? It's not good, honey. In fact, it's really quite frustrating. I know there's a lot going on right now, with the moving and the teething and the injection of five vaccines at once. I know that, as your mama, I am your safe harbor and font of never-ending comfort in times of uncertainty and pain. But the font, my love, is about to run dry.

Trust me, this realization is even more painful for me than it is (or will be) for you. I expected weaning to be a gradual process, like it was for your sister. First dropping night-time feedings, which would lead to better sleep and a generally better mood during the day, making it easier to cut down those sessions as well. But so far, the only time we've consistently cut out is getting-into-bed, and that only works out because we've usually just nursed through Miss M's bedtime book, story and song. Even the getting-ready-for-school feeding that we got rid of months ago has crept back into the routine lately. So instead of a gentle tapering, we've actually been amping back up to circa-first-birthday levels. And, I have to admit, it's making us both miserable.

The moment you see me, you want to nurse. The moment I sit down, you want to nurse. The moment I place food in front of you, you want to throw it on the floor. And then nurse. And that doesn't even begin to cover night-time, when your pitiful dinner-eating leads to all-night hunger and thus, all-night nursing. It's like you're a little milk junkie, incapable of thinking about anything but your next fix. You scream, "Nursie! Nursie! Nursie!" in my ear. You pull at my clothes. You cry and fuss and whine and flail, and will do so for an hour if your need is not met.

But only, apparently, when I'm around. By all outside reports, you are a happy, playful, well-nourished child. For everyone else, you eat like a champ, play and explore on your own, and are a general delight. I know that it's very common for toddlers to save up all their angst for mom, but in this case, it's hard to ignore the biggest factor that's making our shared time difficult. When you see me, you don't notice the cuddling arms or soothing voice or any other maternal offering. Instead, you see a woman in a cow suit, and you are focused like a laser on the udders.

And so, my baby boy, after twenty months, the milk truck is about to stop making deliveries. It is so much more bitter than sweet for me (the reasons above are sufficient; I won't trouble a one-year-old with the associated aesthetic nosedive I'm about to undergo), but I really don't know what else to do. I want you to be happy and healthy, and I want our time together to be the best that it can be. This is going to suck (no pun intended), but I've finally come to accept that things are going to be a lot better on the other side.

I'm sorry, baby. I love you so much.

Post Script: In a stunning display of empathy, Mr. Baby spent all of last night eating. And eating. And eating. Maybe it was the Tylenol given half an hour before dinner, or maybe he just knew I'd had enough, but he filled his belly about to bursting and then peacefully went to bed, barely deigning to nurse beforehand. Knowing that he was at least physically fulfilled made it easier to deal with his night wakings without succumbing to nursing. He went all night without feeding, and more importantly, without totally melting down. Fingers crossed for a new precedent ...


Sarah Jane said...

Laughing, but oh, man!

Stacey Greenberg said...

i want to know who sings the song this post was titled after.

Unknown said...

I know it's hard and it sucks, but I think you are right.

(It's Garbage, SG.)

Unknown said...

I didn't leave that comment above. Sassy Molassy stole my identity and left that comment.

LCrane said...

When G was 18 mos old, my ob advised me on my first visit when pregnant w/V that I should stop breastfeeding. I was worried it was going to be horrible trying to stop, but the next time G wanted to nurse, I said, "Sorry, there's no more milk in the boo," and she just smiled and said, "Okay." That was it! (She always asked for the "boo," not "nursie" like A.) Sorry to hear things are ending the way they are -- good luck! By the way, V is now 7.5 mos old, and she is starting the biting phase. :-( ugh.

cjaxon said...

I just weaned Connor about a month ago. We went cold turkey, too. It was effortless for him, heartbreaking for me. I did cheat and put a little strawberry flavoring in his milk. It wasn't as bad as I had feared (we did gradual weaning with my daughter as well). Be strong!!

---and just 'cuz it is hilarious, my captcha is "tubmat"!!

Sassy Molassy said...


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