Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Breastfeeding and the 2008 Election: Will they really end soon?

Well, that's a first.

My son got up and went out into the world today without nursing.

Is this the same kid I had yesterday?

Since he had a mild cold a few weeks ago, we've regressed with the night waking. When he asked to nurse in the night then, I indulged him but whispered the rule change even in the darkness of his room at 3 a.m.: "Okay, because you're sick and I want you to get healthy." Now, a few weeks later, he's still waking once or twice during the night instead of sleeping through as he was doing before. We help him get back to sleep without anyone lifting a shirt before 5:00 a.m. After that, if he wakes and asks to nurse, I typically go into his room, nurse him, and then fall back asleep for a bit longer.

This morning, he called out "Mama" at 6:30 and didn't whine or come charging down the hallway into the bathroom when I said I'd be there after I peed. I should have known something was up then. He was taking it in stride, standing up when I entered his room. He explained in the clearest prose you could imagine from a 31-month-old that he needed to get off his pajamas and put on new clothes because he'd peed. His jammies were dry, but the diaper was super wet (which I hope is a sign that we're ready to move to tackling #1 on the potty. For #2, he has mostly left the diapers behind, so to speak).

Still groggy and looking for a slower start to the day, I gestured toward the bed. "Well, do you want to snuggle? Or just get up?" "Just get up!" he declared and proceeded to tell me about how he had to get ready to go to his sometimes-babysitter and her grandson's house where he knew he was headed today.

Okay. But really?

The morning continued down the path of its smooth start. We read The Peace Book while his dad tried to drag himself out of bed. Then I made breakfast while my son played well, having nary a pre-food meltdown when I tell him to get out of the refrigerator. What is going on, I thought?

Should I point out that we'd forgotten part of our routine? "Don't offer, don't refuse," my La Leche League books say as one pre-weaning strategy. I've pushed off his requests before, sure. I've also refrained from offering other times even though I knew he might get upset when the easy window had gone by leaving him instead to beg for mama milk just as we needed to get out the door. My husband said the other night, after I left for a tutoring job without a just-before-dinner or just-before-bed final nursing (though a plenty long one at 4:00 p.m., thank you very much), my son realized his chance was gone. His eyes got big as the lightbulb went off with a poof and sad, with a sad frown, "I wanted to nurse!"

But today, on this Election Day where I'm already holding my breath, I didn't say a word about what my son was missing.

Neither did he.

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