Saturday, March 14, 2009

Toward weaning

I had a good talk today with the teacher of our parent-child class at the Waldorf school. The point was mostly to talk about my son's readiness for the extended day (12-3) next fall, which I'd like to have him in after the 8:30-12:00 three-day kindergarten. I explained how frustrating our afternoons can be when we leave the PC program or another thing on another day that ends before lunch. He always wants to go outside or to a park or something else when his body needs to just eat and rest. We have not had consistent naps for six months now, but lately he's even added, "I don't want to have rest time." Then later, after we've spent 90 minutes or more of just quiet down time -- some time reading books, sometimes a little nursing time (while I read or work on the computer), some time with him playing quietly on his own while I put away laundry or sit at the laptop -- he'll occasionally say, "Oh! We forgot to have rest time!" I think he'd benefit from a consistent ritual that had him separate from me, but I haven't had any luck creating that here in the house. About a half-dozen times over the past several months, I've taken him to a sitter's all day, and he's napped there, going to sleep on his own on her bed or couch. Not so with me!

It seemed adequate to have just some quiet lull in the day when I could get him in bed by 7:30 at the latest (sometimes even an hour earlier than that), but now with daylight savings and longer days, I feel like he's just going to get worn out if he doesn't rest. And so will I! Yesterday I tried to tell him we could go back out in the car to a further-away park later if he would spend some time in his room alone -- even just reading or playing. He resisted even the mention of it, so I didn't fight it.

Anyway, when I mentioned the issue of nursing and my conflicting thoughts on weaning, the teacher, though she was respectful and said it was up to us, of course, made the point that some of our push-pull issues might dissipate once we wean. When she said back in Sept. or Oct., "Well, he's outgrown his need for [nursing]," I firmly disagreed. But my husband and I are both feeling like she might be right now -- that this intense, intimate connection to me is interfering with his developing sense of self as an individual.

The way he talks about my body and nursing has lately gotten beyond just a little weird toward downright embarrassing and inappropriate (I'm saving some of those quotes for another day, maybe for a piece I'll try to send out). He's started to say at least once a day the past few days, "I'm going to stop nursing when it's my birthday," and yesterday he asked, "Is this the last day we're going to nurse?" Today and two days ago, we nursed only before bed. He asked to nurse in bed in the morning (he's coming into bed at some point in the morning and going back to sleep), but we never did nurse when we came downstairs and we didn't in the afternoon, either. (Yesterday I went to an attachment parenting meeting and actually nursed him there -- first time in public in a long while; I think he got the AP vibe!)

I'd suggested a month or so ago that we might stop nursing after he turns three, but I wasn't sure how hard and fast I wanted to be about it. The Waldorf teacher says, "He's looking to you to set boundaries. The decision needs to come from you, and you need to be comfortable to stand by it." I still don't know if I want to do a weaning party after his bday or to have his bday be the last day since he's saying that. Another friend and former LLL leader suggested that it's easier to wean when it's warm out, and of course it's gotten chilly again here, so that seems far off (even if the crocuses and daffodils are blooming, and the magnolias and pear trees are budding).

Someone at the API meeting suggested Becky Bailey's book I Love You Rituals. I think we need to figure out something that is special between us that is not related to my boobs or my body. I was thinking maybe a massage or a little song or prayer. I just read through the book description at Amazon and am purchasing a used copy in another window. We only have 10 days before he turns three!

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