How dry I am
I guess I know now what an independent bookseller feels like when a major chain rolls into town. This week, the small but perfectly tailored amount of milk my body provided for Evan was pushed aside for the stuff you can purchase in mass quantity at the grocery store. The cup is officially in and I am officially out of business. At just shy of 14 months, my last baby is weaned.
Evan giggled with delight when I handed him a cup of milk at bedtime on Thursday night. He drank it down happily, chortled quietly to himself through the rest of the bedtime routine and drifted happily off to sleep when I left the room. He had no ambivalence about the switch, only excitement at the extra opportunity to drink from a cup. The following night, he even took the cup of milk from Paul instead of me, never even looking for me or for the breast he'd depended on only a few short days ago. "That means you did it exactly right," a friend assured me. "He was ready." And I know she's right. We weaned slowly, on Evan's timetable, and in the end he made the transition himself. I'm glad it was such a great experience for him. I'm glad that the cup of milk fills him before bed. But for now, I'm feeling a little empty.
For 4 years this month, I've been pregnant or nursing a baby. My body has been given over to my kids for so long now that I scarcely remember what it's like to simply do as I wish without thinking about the effects on a fetus or a nursing child. I'm delighted to bid adieu to the DD's that were ludicrously large for my frame and welcome back my old C's, though I suspect they'll bear little resemblance to their former selves. Slowly, I'm getting my body back, and though it will always bear the battle scars of pregnancy, childbirth and nursing, I'm hoping to look a little more like my former self again (I even bought a pair of size 4 jeans for the first time in as many years last week). I could grow to like this. And I'm sure I will, just as soon as my body stops aching to feed my baby.
I miss nursing. I miss snuggling up in the glider with Evan, struggling to find a way to fit us both on a chair that seemed smaller and smaller with every inch that he grew. I miss his excited babble as I unsnapped my nursing bra and gave him access to his meal. I miss the initial tug as he sought out a snack, the way both of our bodies relaxed as the milk started flowing, the contented sigh that usually slipped out of him as my nipple slipped out of my mouth when he was through. I miss the most obvious way I nurtured my baby -- no less important than the myriad other ways I take care of him and comfort him, but the one way that was uniquely mine to offer.
It was a good run, kiddo. I don't begrudge you growing up, though I do with you'd slow down just a little this week. Enjoy that cup of milk and please forgive me if I hold you just a little too tight while you drink it down. And as the old pun goes, thanks for the mammaries.