(From the archives- December 2008 when my first child was two):
My son will be dancing, running around, laughing, climbing things he knows are not to be climbed. He will refuse hugs, and push away a kissing face with indignant protests of “Nooo Nooo!”
And then something will change. His little eyelids will droop and he’ll start to pull his ears, rub his eyes, and scrunch at his hair with little toddler fists.
“Are you tired, sweetie?” I’ll ask.
“Noooooo” he’ll say, shaking his little head for good measure, and then he’ll climb up into my lap. “Mama, NURSH!” he’ll say. “Peeeeeez?” and he’ll sign “nurse, please” as perfect and as sweet as one could ever hope for.
And he’ll nurse, and we’ll cuddle and I’ll get all of those kisses and hugs in that I missed across the day. This is our time.
Or maybe he’ll be feeling rotten with teething pain, frustrated with not being allowed to play in the toilet, and utterly miserable in a way that only a two year old can feel. Maybe he’ll have spent the day yelling at me, refusing to do anything, and trying to write on the walls. Maybe he’ll have spent more time in time-out than in time-in, less as a punishment and more because I’m worried that his little head is going to explode.
And at some point the two of us will look at one another, both equally miserable about this day of ours, and equally sad at how frustrating this world can be to a little explorer that is not yet able to explore independently…
“Mama, NURSH. Peeeez.” My little ragamuffin will say, and crawl into my lap to cuddle and reconnect as sweetly as you please.
I’m convinced that breastfeeding, and the closeness and reconnection that breastfeeding offers is a crucial tool for parenting through the tumult of toddlerhood. It’s a comfort both to mom and child. It’s a reassurance of love. It’s an availability that might otherwise fall away to all the chores that we have to do, the websites we feel we must read, the work we need to accomplish.
There are people that say we’re babying our toddlers, a concept I can’t quite fathom. They are babies still. Confused, frustrated, often emotionally unstable little babies that need us more than ever, but whose little egos can’t quite allow them to admit that in their quest for independence.
We’re told that we need to let our children grow up. To some, this might mean throwing our children in over their heads in order to teach them to swim. To me, it means gently allowing my child to use me as a life raft until he’s ready to swim on his own, so that his first strokes can be confident and effective instead of tear-stained, snotty and panicked.
He is only two. He is too young to be on his own. I encourage his independence at this age, I do not require it. As with any milestone, his weaning off of the breast and off of that need for intense comfort, shall be met at his pace, his time, and as he needs.
To me, that is motherhood.
- Behavior Toolkit
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- The Mommy Wars
- Sadie on The Beauty of Ordinary Mornings and Dirt-Covered Princesses
- Allie on Sleep and Wake Again
- Jessica on Reasons Why Our Children Smile
- sarah on “Boob Design” Maternity & Breastfeeding Giveaway
- sarah on Keeping Our Connection
Quotables“Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~Thomas Edison