Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weaning - And So It Begins

The other evening I took The Boy in my arms, settled into the rocker in the living room, and nursed him to sleep for the final time.  The weight of this moment was palpable.  He may be our last baby, and every last for him is a last for me.  That's hard.

I have nursed him since birth.  The decision to wean, although extremely emotional, had been made pragmatically.  Logically speaking, I wanted to nurse him for a year and he will hit that milestone on the 24th. Also, we have a wedding to attend which will require being away from the kids Friday night - Sunday morning next week and that made it seem like weaning him now was the right thing to do. Logic also reminded me that he is tolerating cow's milk well and relying on baby food less and less and therefore nursing is not a must anymore.
Sometimes I hate logic.

Because here's the truth of the matter: as I nursed that precious baby to sleep for the final time, I wanted him to stay little forever.  I wanted to bottle him up, soak him in, breathe his smell, stroke his silky hair, stare at his perfect profile, and rub his little pajama-clad back forever.  I didn't want to rush anything, and weaning was admitting that my baby was growing and that in one small way, he didn't need me anymore.

He fell asleep in my arms.  His hand, dimpled and supple, curled around the hem of my shirt.

His breathing was soft and steady.  I sat, rocking and marveling, and in that moment he embodied both of my children.  He was a tangible representation of motherhood and its changing nature.  During some days I daydream about an organized house, a basement purged of baby paraphernalia, and a daily schedule opened by having the children in school -- and during other days, I simply don't want them to grow.  I don't ever want to let them go.

I didn't want to let go that night.

I held him and soaked in the moment, rocking, thinking, and resting.  Finally, I rose, walked upstairs to the crib, and lowered him down for the perfect transfer.  He let out one soft cry, snuggled in on his belly, tucked his knees under him slightly, and drifted into an even deeper sleep.

I left the bedroom, took one step, and tears welled up in my eyes at the completion of one of our very first lasts.  We'll have many more firsts and lasts ahead of us, but right now, all I know is that my littlest baby is growing up.

God help me when I stop nursing him altogether next week. I just may find myself unable to hold the tears back.

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