I am a weaner
I can think of several things my 8-month-old son finds more fascinating than nursing:
The dog walking through the room, signaled by jangling tags. A referee’s whistle on TV. The doorbell, kids yelling “Go Fish!”, flies buzzing, spiders batting their eyelashes, the whir of satellites miles above us.
He starts to nurse, then moments later he pops away to look, listen, smile, pout, squirm.
I gently prod him to finish his snack, but he has other ideas. My arms are soft, warm, and safe. He’d rather be scouring carpet for crumbs to mouth.
I put him down on the floor and he creeps away, across the room to his sister’s dollhouse. There’s a bathtub to gum.
His mouth has been claimed. He guzzles from bottles. He smacks smashed bananas off rubber-covered spoons and gnaws on his fat fingers. Teeth are starting to erupt and they are sharp. He’s bitten me a dozen times. It’s painful for both of us, this growing.
One day soon I’ll wake up, go through the motions and commotions of the day. I’ll go to sleep and wake again.
It will hit me, hard.
My baby didn’t nurse yesterday. He tried avocado, though. My baby didn’t nurse yesterday, but he drank from a bottle which he held himself. My baby didn’t nurse yesterday, but he looked at me in a mirror and said ma-ma.
Whose idea was this, anyway? I have no idea if it was his or mine or etched into his DNA that now would be the time he’d move on. I can protest it all I want, but I cannot change how the moments flash away. I can smile back when he looks at me in the mirror and notes ma-ma standing there.
Oddly, she’s holding a baby who just said ma-ma, too.