November 22, 2011

Yesterday, the day after his second birthday, we banished August’s pacifier.  Since he was 1 year old, he was only allowed to have it in his bed during naps and at night.  Despite these restrictions, he’s remained incredibly attached.  Yesterday was filled with crying, moaning, gnashing of teeth, slobbery wailing, pleading, less sleep than necessary.

Cruel? Send him to college with it? A stiff drink despite the nursing situation?

He stand-still-stopped a 30 minute wailing fit to inform me politely that his “boogies” were on my shirt, and then resumed, on cue.

Today is a new day.

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November 21, 2011

The hours I’ve spent sitting and nursing my newborn the past 2 months have provided extra time to browse The Pinterest.  Luckily the demands of my 2 year old keep the addictive draw at bay.  My mindless browsing has actually produced some crafty and fun projects for our home:

(an abridged list of Pinterest-inspired projects we’ve  completed:kitchen table makeover, burlap covered diaper boxes as toy bins, yard covered letters, cork board into chalk board, painting for Elie, chalkboard paint labels for mason jars, masking tape matchbox car roads on the floor, oil drip pan magnet board, baby girl headbands out of women’s tights, BANGS!)

Our latest DIY project was a cute wooden ruler-inspired growth chart for the nursery.  August is (so) tall and has consistently been above the 90% for height.  We thought his 2nd birthday would be the perfect time to start keeping track of his growth. (Elie will be added soon enough!)

   

Luckily my sweet husband doesn’t mind the ever-evolving project list:)  I think this turned out perfectly!  Josh and I both added our heights to the chart for comparison and already I’m in denial that my babies will ever be bigger than me!

(AJ 11/20/11–2 years)

November 19, 2011

los nacimientos (births)

we will never have any memory of dying.
we were so patient
about our being,
noting down
numbers, days,
years and months,
hair, and the mouths we kiss,
and that moment of dying
we let pass without a note –
we leave it to others as memory,
or we leave it simply to water,
to water, to air, to time.
nor do we even keep
the memory of being born,
although to come into being was tumultuous and new;
and now you don’t remember a single detail
and haven’t kept even a trace
of your first light.
it’s well known that we are born.
it’s well known that in the room
or in the wood
or in the shelter in the fishermen’s quarter
or in the rustling canefields
there is a quite unusual silence,
a grave and wooden moment as
a woman prepares to give birth.
it’s well known that we were all born.
but if that abrupt translation
from not being to existing, to having hands,
to seeing, to having eyes,
to eating and weeping and overflowing
and loving and loving and suffering and suffering,
of that transition, that quivering
of an electric presence, raising up
one body more, like a living cup,
and of that woman left empty,
the mother who is left there in her blood
and her lacerated fullness,
and its end and its beginning, and disorder
tumbling the pulse, the floor, the covers
till everything comes together and adds
one knot more to the thread of life,
nothing, nothing remains in your memory
of the savage sea which summoned up a wave
and plucked a shrouded apple from the tree.
the only thing you remember is your life.

-pablo neruda

 

I was able to breastfeed August into my second trimester of pregnancy with Eliana.  I knew that I wanted him to comfortably and naturally make the decision when he was done breastfeeding and, because of the new pregnancy, I prepared myself for the possibility of tandem-nursing.  I picked up an excellent book called Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond and learned all I could.  If nothing else, this was great education for me in offering other moms realistic and solid advice on the advantages and disadvantages of tandem nursing.  Although nursing a child beyond the first year is a rarity in our culture (a disappointing 22% of mothers even nursed through the first year), I am proud to breastfeed my babies and rarely shy away from an opportunity to talk about it.  I was very surprised by the number of people who expressed shock and concern that I was nursing August while pregnant with baby #2.  So much so that I often declined to talk about it.  (Luckily at that point August only nursed a couple times a day, usually at morning and night when we were home.)  This never deterred me from making the choices that I thought were best for our family but it did make me more aware of the perception of nursing in our culture and the need for more education.

As my pregnancy progressed and my belly grew larger, my milk supply naturally decreased.  August, never one to simply nurse to be pacified, stopped nursing.  If he expressed interest in nursing, I would allow him but as the days went by, he showed less interest and eventually stopped nursing altogether.  He was 18 months old.  I feel like the experience and process of weaning was perfect for both of us.  I never had to withhold nursing from him and we never had any tears over ending.  (On his part at least!  I’ll admit to mourning the loss of that special bond with him.  Nearly 600 days of nursing him every day is not easily replaced.)  I came to appreciate the few months break I had between weaning August and delivering Eliana.  I was nice to regain some ownership of my time and body (as much as you can while pregnant!) and prepare myself mentally for the unique nursing bond I would be able to develop with my daughter.

August doesn’t remember nursing.  In some ways this makes me sad.  That part of our relationship meant so much to both of us during the first year and a half of his life. I was prepared for the possibility that August would want to try nursing again once Eliana was born and he saw her nursing.  Luckily he’s never shown much interest in me nursing Elie and doesn’t seem to think twice about Elie “getting milk-milk”.  While I nurse Elie, he often sits with us to read books, sing songs and cuddle.  I appreciate that I am able to normalize breastfeeding for my exclusively-breastfed son even though he doesn’t remember his experience.

Shortly after Elie’s birth August questioned whether Dada could give Elie “milk-milk” or, for that matter, why he himself couldn’t nurse Elie.  It was fun to see him discover the obvious lack of resources the boys possessed although to this day, chests are referred to as “milk-milk”.  (For example, last night when August was drying off after a bath he let us know his “milk-milk cold” while pointing to his chest.)

I’m glad to have lived in an area with so much support for nursing mothers while I nursed my babies.  Josh has always been an unwavering cheerleader as have any babysitters left to deal with bags of frozen breastmilk.  Working while nursing is an obvious challenge but I’ve been able to work very part-time since having August.  At least twice now my mom has travelled with me for work training (when August was 7 months old she came with me to Colorado Springs for SANE training) or school functions (this month I was able to take Elie with me to grad school orientation with the help of my mom) so that I could have my baby with me and not interrupt nursing.  The statistics indicate that not all women have the support and education necessary to make breastfeeding possible.  I hope to play a small part in changing that.

November 16, 2011

This week Elie is 2 and a half months old.  I feel like this age is a milestone where we leave newborn behind.  My pregnancy has gathered some dust in my mind, the discomforts have softened in memory, my delivery has developed a haze of nostalgia.  It was long ago.  And now I have a child who coos and smiles, has a schedule and recently discovered her hands.  Soon she’ll be holding up her head, sprouting teeth and growing hair.  Our second and final baby is perpetually held in the balance of receiving my divided attention and inheriting every last moment of savoring imaginable.