Chloe is a leaking sieve and that means the flesh eating saliva is back and making my poor nipples raw. Desmond has a pretty consistent loop he's in. It goes, Play -> Hit (lots of times) -> Get hurt -> Nurse. Sometimes the loop goes super fast. He will throw the ball once, run over and start hitting me, fall down, cry and ask to nurse, all within two minutes.
I'm ok with it most of the time. We sing ABC's when I don't have a lot of time to nurse him. But on days like today when my nipples are so sore, its so hard for me to say Yes. I have been saying yes quite often, despite the discomfort. These are the thoughts that have been running through my mind, encouraging me, nudging me, to nurse him as he needs it. Maybe it will help you too.
This originates from La Leche League. It means support your child and help them achieve their goals. In my case, I support Desmond by nursing him when he asks. He is at a point where he's having some very big emotions. Nursing helps him navigate them. It's easy to get angry when a small child hits, or stubbornly does the thing you just said for them not to do. I've found that at those times, he's needing something. He doesn't want to hurt me. He doesn't want to throw things and hurt something else. He needs something but doesn't know how to express it yet. It helps me immensely to remember that.
Breastfeeding selfies; I don't have many of them. I should because I'm a big breastfeeding supporter, love to talk about it, and love to photograph it. There are very few times when I don't have a device handy while nursing either. So how why don't I have more of these? Well, the answer to that has changed over time.
When it was just Chase and I, I was very shy. When I breastfed Chase, I couldn't look him in the eye. It was too intimate for me. Back then, I was a very reserved person. Sharing feelings or talking candidly about my thoughts didn't come easily. My shyness affected so many aspects of my life. Work, my friendships, my marriage, and the relationship with my child. I remember those early days. Having a baby was so new and confusing. I didn't know how to feel. Or how to act. Kissing Chase felt strange and awkward. The pictures you see now of me gazing at my nurslings while breastfeeding, it was a slow progression.
I was scared of breastfeeding in public. Most times I tried to nurse a bunch before we left the house, or I'd feed in the car. When we were out, I'd use a cover - or try to anyway. The few times I did nurse Chase in public, I would get cold sweats from the fear of being confronted. It never happened. Or at least by the times it did happen, I was much more comfortable and the only responses I've ever gotten were positive. A waitress even stopped my husband on our way out of a pizza place to tell him how awesome it was that I breastfeed. That was cool.
So I don't have many breastfeeding selfies. At first, because I was extremely shy and not very confident. That has slowly morphed into not having many opportunities to take selfies. With three kids, multitasking is the norm and being able to take a selfie is usually not part of the activies. But anyway, it's almost Thanksgiving and this is sounding way more sad than I wanted it to be. Ah well. Can't always predict where a post will go but I'll leave you with this. Three breastfeeding selfies of Chloe from the day she was born to a couple of days ago. They are grainy, not properly focused, and not the best framed shots. But hey, they are are few rare selfies that I am thankful for.
Sorry for the long lapse in posting. There's a lot going on, which has taken my attention away from writing. Also, to the creepy guy that's sending me requests for private videos on every social media network he can find me on, stop please.
Breastfeeding has been tough for me lately. Having three kids is tiring. The nights have been challenging; which have been making me extra tired and grumpy. Chloe and Desmond are both needing me very much, day and night. I haven't been very good with taking care of myself so my body is very taxed.
But to quote one of my favorite video games: "Blah, blah, blah. Everybody's got problems."
In other (more happy news) Chase has asked to nurse again. He's nursed twice in the last couple of days. I've read that older kids may ask to nurse after being weaned for a long time, and then giggle and run away (or something similar). I haven't come across an account where a 5 year old will start nursing again after being weaned for a little over a year. Not that he's back to nursing by any means. He asked, latched, and nursed for a few seconds before moving on. His latch is very weak and not at all "correct" but it doesn't hurt. He first asked when he was very upset and looked a little surprised when I said yes. Overall, it seems to me like an experiment, not so much a return to breastfeeding. Either way, he's comforted by the experience so I'm happy.
On another slightly unrelated note, my husband has taken up a photo a day project. I am thoroughly enjoying them! I'm waiting to see a breastfeeding shot show up! There's 2.5 nurslings in this house, you'd think a few would pop up! *Hint Hint, Nudge Nudge* :)
Desmond will be turning three in two months. Not many kids get to nurse that long, but does that matter? Does it matter that he is nursing longer than the average?
What about me? Does it matter how long I want to nurse Desmond? How long do I want to nurse him? Every time he asks to breastfeed, I grimace. Its uncomfortable, my nipples are sensitive, and I have two other children that need me. Having three young kids is difficult. But if I was gone tomorrow.. If they were gone tomorrow.. Would I have wanted to nurse him happily that last time?
There will be a last time. I don't know which moment will be the last, but the end is near. I know that. Instead of making the end a miserable battle of weaning, saying no, making a point to express how much I don't want to breastfeed him, I will remember that it could be the end. I will make that moment sweet. Then, it will be a very peaceful close to an important time in his life.
I watched a TED talk about the four taboos of parenting. It was done by a married couple that founded a parenting website. Their mission was to "tell it to us straight." I was intrigued. Yes, tell me straight. Write an article about how much our children need us and how important it is to meet that need. Write an article saying that our children will only be young once and to be gentle and kind to them. They *will* grow up (you know) and we hope that when they do, we will be welcome to visit them often.
I have been under a lot of stress lately. My husband and I are building our software business, without venture capital money (the usual way to start in software is by acquiring outside funding). We will be using our own nest egg to fund our business. It's both exhilarating and very, very stressful. One of many initial steps is to lower our monthly expenses as much as we can. When I look at my three children, so happy and unaware, I want to preserve that. I don't want them to feel our financial burden. I don't want to live in a bad neighborhood with roaches; that's what the realtor was offering us. Place and after place that looked like they should be condemned. Arg! I’ve become snappy, irritated, with reactive No! not now! way more than I really intend. Under all the stress, I want to be kind, compassionate, accommodating, fun!, and happier than I've been.
It's much easier to be kind and generous, when I see generosity around me. It’s a good practice; to see in other people, how one aims to be. That doesn’t mean changing your life completely, or moving to a new group of friends. I suppose it could, but often it means changing what you chose to give notice to. One of my bridesmaids, whom I’ve only kept loose contact with over the past 6 years, has been helping me find a place to live. She too, has 3 children, and a full time job. Life is busy for both of us. For the past month, she has been sending me listings, advising me on which parts of the city are safe and which should be avoided. Her input has been invaluable. My husband wakes up and makes coffee for us every morning. He brings me food and water late at night when I'm in bed with the little ones. He does most (he would say he does all;) of the cooking. He does laundry. He loads the dishwasher. Chase holds every door open for us. Desmond runs to grab diapers or towels whenever I need them. Time, kindness, generosity, love, these things are not a zero sum game. If you give all you have, you will discover that you are left with so much more than you ever imagined.
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