I won the twiddling battle, but I lost the twiddling war. Many months ago, I wrote about the ongoing twiddling problem I was having with Baby V (read about it here: https://mrsodie2.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/twiddle-me-not/). A few weeks after I declared victory over Baby V’s wandering hand that pinched and tugged at my unoccupied breast while I nursed her, she got her first serious illness. All three of us had some sort of stomach virus that caused sudden vomiting and all-over body aches (https://mrsodie2.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/barfetty-barf-barf/ ). I had it first, then Odie, and in the middle of the night, my poor baby wretched and vomited all over herself and me. She was so miserable, I couldn’t deny her a little chubby baby fist full of nipp. But this has to stop.
I’m also going to finally night wean her. Lately, I am so tired, I can barely walk around. I’m short-tempered with my students. I’m not the mom I want to be because I’m too exhausted. I’m a lousy wife and a derelict housekeeper. However, I’m a bit proud that I’ve done “extended breastfeeding.” I’m a very crunchy granola kind of mom. Baby V, Odie and I sleep together in a king sized mattress on the floor and I let her nurse on demand. When she was an infant, this gave me MORE sleep, not less. I could put her on my breast, almost in my sleep, then return to slumber myself. It beat getting up, fetching a baby from a crib in another location, sitting down to nurse, then putting her back down and going back to bed, only to repeat the whole business two hours later.
Now that she’s an 18 month-old in the 95th percentile for height, she does a fair amount of kicking the hell out of both of us as she thrashes around looking for my nipple all night long. She no longer needs the calories of breastmilk every two hours, but she still wants the comfort and contact. The contact she seeks at least as much as if not more than sucking is TWIDDLING. Which is irritating at best, excruciating at worst (like when she hasn’t let me trim her nails in a while — something she’s as cooperative about as letting me put her hair up = not at all).
Last night I slept with my hand clamped over my left boob. It was a rough night. I keep hoping that Baby V will spontaneously lose interest in nursing like other babies I’ve heard of. NO CHANCE. She is so interested in nursing, which she calls “nummy nap.” She cheerily chirps, “Nummy nap!” when I show up at day care to take her home. She screams and cries “Nuh-huh-huh-mmmy nnnnnnnaaaap!” from her (still rear-facing for safety)car seat all the way home. Once we are home, she will not let me put her down without hysterical crying punctuated by shrill bursts of “Nummy nap!” If I want any peace, I must go right from the car to the “nummy chair,” whip it out and nurse her. After a few minutes, she will pop up, grin, and bright as a summer day become interested in the world around her again.
But now that Odie and I have agreed 100% to go forward with the plan for Baby Odie #2, I want to wean her sooner rather than later. I would be so sad if she thought she were being pushed out of mommy’s lap for a new baby. I need to do the responsible thing, the hard thing, and give her some transition time. These past 18 months of our nursing relationship have been so special to me that I tear up a little just thinking about it ending. But when I think of 2 year-old Baby V fighting my new infant for booby time, I tear up for a WHOLE different reason. I’ve read about “tandem nursing” before, but I don’t think it’s for me. As Murtaugh would say, “I’m too old for this shit.”
I don’t think Baby V will lose interest, but she might surprise me. She wants the “twiddling” so badly, she fights me for it at every nursing session (it’s only been two days). She fought less vigorously for less time tonight at “night-night time,” so I might be making progress. I’m hoping that her desire to nurse will wane without too much wailing and that she will develop an alternative self-soothing activity. Something that isn’t smacking me in the face, her current runner-up.
This parenting shit is hard. Now that she’s a toddler, the meltdowns are starting. Today, I took an empty Arrowhead Sparkling Water bottle away from her, and she went to Category Five toddler fury in seconds. And it lasted FOREVER. She suddenly had no bones, and every time I tried to pick her up or stand her up, she melted into a screaming puddle of misery, with full fists and feet pounding the floor action. Over an empty bottle.
Knock on wood, so far in this family we have found a virtually fool-proof cure for toddler woe: the backpack. Baby V calls it the “packpack.” Isn’t that so cute you could fart glitter? Sorry, wrong blog. Odie loaded Baby V into the backpack and took her for a half hour walk around our neighborhood while I tried to find a position to sit or lie in that doesn’t exacerbate the screaming misery in my back. I’ve had to stop taking Vicodin for my back pain in preparation for the little passenger, and so far, it sucks moose. As usual, when words fail me, I remember the gilded words of Homer.
Simpson, that is.
“My back is a club sandwich of pain. Only instead of bacon, there’s agony.”