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parenting after 40

Adventures in Weaning

Dublin and Juniper

My D-Man and Juniper

It was some gawd-awful hour in the middle of the night and I was nursing my little D-Man for the 3rd time—that’s right THIRD TIME—and that’s when it hit me, it was time for me to wean him for reals. I’d been threatening to do it for a few weeks before that, but hadn’t managed to pull the trigger yet. He’d been teething and refusing solid food, so he was relying on nursing more than usual. But that night, THAT NIGHT I decided that despite his teeth not being all the way in, IT.WAS.TIME.

Extended nursing isn’t for everyone.  I do not blame a woman one bit if she decides to close up shop after the first bite. Having your boob used as a teething ring, not so fun, I totally understand, I totally get it. Nursing a baby is one thing, but nursing a toddler is a lesson in endurance, patience and pain management.

I want to come clean and admit something: I didn’t do the extended nursing thing because I’m some sort of wonder woman, no… I did the extended nursing thing because boobies are the BEST TOOL EVER! They fix boo-boo’s, they are sleeping pills, they are anti-depressants…. They are magic. Take that away and I am left with an almost empty bag of tricks! That is why I nursed so long. However, that night I reached the point where I was willing to give up the magic boobies , because they were no longer worth getting beat up over…

On that particular night I had my pony-tail pulled, like he was ringing a dinner bell. “WAKE UP WOMAN, I NEED A SNACK!!” is what I think he was trying to tell me, but since he still doesn’t say much, I think he was improvising and the hair pulling got my attention pretty fast. He was in fine form that night. I got kicked in the face several times during his nursing gymnastics; my nursing equipment experienced the painful twists and turns that happen during that sort of circus routine.  Though he wanted to nurse, he was being very particular about where my hands were, so my hands kept getting swatted when they touched him. I think they were getting in the way of his wiggling. He so LOVES to wiggle!! He also didn’t want to be looked at, so he kept pushing my face away. FINALLY, after much kicking, wiggling, twisting and PAIN… when he fell asleep, I did my usual freeze-in-position-for-the-count-of-twenty and then rolled over and tried to fall back to sleep… but couldn’t, because that’s when his little sister woke up and it was her turn to nurse.

It was while I was nursing Juniper that I researched online how to wean a toddler… I came up with a game plan and this is how it played out:

Night one:  LEMON

I started the night out as normal. He nursed to sleep on my lap downstairs and Scott later carried him up to bed. I was tired and didn’t feel like dealing with the weaning thing, so like I said, it was business as usual. He woke up and nursed once, twice… and it was during the third time that half way through, I said with determination, “I’M GETTING A LEMON!!!”  So I went downstairs and squeezed lemon over my nursing bits and headed back upstairs to my little D-Man. He went to nurse, pulled back and made the I-just-tasted-a-lemon-face, tried it again, pulled back and made another face and then….  he rolled over and went to sleep!!!

Night two: LEMON

I lemoned up and it was pretty much a repeat of the first night and he went to sleep, sans nursing.

Night three: LEMON

“Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me…”

He latched on, but what… WHAT?!? He DID NOT STOP NURSING!! Noooo, he nursed, he only pulled away to spit out a bit of lemon pulp, but other than that, it was nursing as usual… apparently he somehow built up immunity to the taste of lemon!

 

Night four: BANDAID

20 years ago I was in a similar situation, trying to wean a persistent nurser.  The magic tool I used to dissuade her from nursing?? Bandaging up and telling her they were broken.   Sooo, I decided to give that another try and found the biggest bandaids we had in the house, bandaged up and when it came time to go to sleep, I informed him that mommy’s boobies were broken. He didn’t believe me, so I let him see for himself. After giving them a once over, he opted for cuddle time instead.

 

We are two nights in and so far we have had two nurse free nights… Tonight will be a biggy, will we make it three nights in a row?? I sure hope so. Juniper is a GREAT sleeper and if we can just get Dublin to sleep on his own, I might have some solid night sleeps in my near future!! YAY!!!!

If we tackle the weaning, what’s next on the agenda?? Adventures in solo-sleeping… coming soon! 😉

Juggling Knives

“It’s because he was our first.
I mean, I think we were very tense when Kevin was little.
If he got a scratch, we were hysterical.
By the third kid, you know, you let them juggle knives.” – Parenthood (1989)

Dublin out and about visiting all the germs!

Dublin out and about visiting all the germs!

When I think back on the first year of Sonora’s life, it exhausts me. I was the epitome of a nervous mother. I worried over everything. Was she pooping too much. Was she pooping too little? Was her sleep schedule messed up? Everything I could worry about… I covered it. For the first two weeks of her life, every day during the noon hour I called the on-call advice nurse regarding one of my concerns. Worry, worry, worry… I was so certain I was going to break her.

Fast forward 20 years and here I am with a one year old and shockingly enough, I’ve not called an advice nurse once!

I find it supremely ironic that the 22 year old me, in my fertility prime – eggs all youthful and agile, was way too immature to handle baby making with ease. It freaked me all the hell out. Now at 42, past my fertile prime, I’m a calmer mom. If Dublin drops a fork on the ground, picks it up and puts it in his mouth… I’m not panicking that I didn’t get to put it through three types of disinfectant processes before it again touched his lips. If another kid grabs one of Dublin’s toys with food covered fingers and sticks it in his mouth, I do not go all bug-eyed and have to quarantine the toy for x amount of days. If Dublin coughs, I’m not having to phone a doctor for fear he might not make it through the hour.

Like I said, it’s exhausting thinking about how scared and paranoid I was during Sonora’s baby days! Now, instead of any fear and paranoia that I might break Dublin, it’s with awe that I acknowledge his fragile tiny self… and amazement to see him tumble and grow into a healthy little man.

I’m not saying that 22 is too young to start a family, some women seem to jump into the roll like they’ve been parenting for years, no matter what their age. I admire women like that. However, for me it didn’t come naturally. For me it was a learning process… one that took me 20 years. Sometimes I think that for some of us, our first child is (unfortunately for them) our practice child. The one that we make so many of the mistakes with. By our 2nd child, we’ve perfected a few more things, including our confidence. Poor, poor Sonora… I had quite the learning curve!

Now-a-days the internet has become my best friend. It’s so easy to look up any parenting topic and dissect it this way and that. Something I didn’t have when Sonora was a baby. Twenty years ago, if I wanted to research a baby topic (from sleep schedules to breast feeding), I had to old-school it and read a book! Or, ask a friend. And sometimes those old-school ways aren’t readily available at 2:30 in the morning!!

I’m so happy Sonora and I made it out of her childhood alive… and though it took me 20 years, I’m finally left the scaredy cat mothering behind.