Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Of Weaning and Whining

Little Toot and I face an impasse: he wants unfettered access to my breasts 24/7 and I want to reassert my boundaries. That is to say, I want him to get his nourishment and sustenance and nurturing from food. It's time that he starts eating emotionally. I'm literally and figuratively drained.

Breast-feeding came back in vogue after two generations of smoking to keep the baby small, getting knocked out for birth, propping a bottle so as to not distract from feather dusting and the resulting reduced I.Q. and a host of other negative side effects that resulted from the neglectful baby experimentation. Explains a lot, doesn't it? Anyway, this generation has decided to do Everything Better Than the Stupid Boomers and tries to comply to the Boomer's and feminism's competing standards: breast feed until the kid's voice changes, while simultaneously going back to work within 36 hours of popping the inconvenient lump of tissue out. How to reconcile these issues has yet to be adequately addressed (but good news! the Equal Rights Amendment is making a come back and history is already being rewritten, as David Frum notes, he calls it "fascinating strangeness"). Oh well, troopers like me try to span the expectations divide.

While I despise the woman on woman best mother competitions associated with this topic, I'm still an unapologetic nurser. Rare ear infections, no tubes, rarer antibiotics (associated with Breast Cancer in women), smoother sailing when the kid does get sick, and of course, the emotional closeness and kid confidence that results from nursing. This last assertion is difficult to test without double-blinded study. My kids might be just the same had they been bottle-fed, that we'll never know, but I do know that a frazzled kid, a kid with a boo boo, a kid who is having a bad day calms down with nursing. It's not just the nutrition as a baby that nursing helps, it's the toddlerish difficulties that get smoothed out, too.

At a certain point, though, the child asserts his will and starts to proactively open the store for business. This can lead to uncomfortable situations. Nothing like a kid yanking up a t-shirt and trying to pull off a bra during a card party, hypothetically speaking. Weaning must commence.

But how to do it with a kid who seems so happy? I'm a little gun shy after weaning my daughter on her second birthday and her taking up thumb-sucking the day after. Maybe I should have nursed her longer. Maybe she wouldn't have been so traumatized. Maybe I have had every brain cell sucked out and can no longer think rationally. Who am I kidding? The kid is two. And kids will do whatever they can to extend infancy. Heck, most people are still trying to extend infancy.

Whining. That's what will be happening in these parts for a good long while. Whining to go with the weaning. Happy Birthday Little Toot!

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