A couple weeks back I decided it was time to stop nursing Briggs. I was down to just one feeding at night which was easy – but it was time. I’ve never nursed a day longer than one years old but I think I kept putting it off because I didn’t want to get emotional with my last kid. It was easier to just not think about it.
The last night I nursed him, we were in his room cozied up in the comfortable chair. I started to do the math. In the 11 years since I had started having kids – I had been nursing a child for 5 of those years. (and over 4 years were spent being pregnant) 5 of the 13 years we’ve been married I have been nursing a child.
I was fortunate with my 5 kids that nursing came easy. I didn’t always love it. In fact, it was often inconvenient and burdensome and usually around 6 months I wanted to throw in the towel. It’s funny how it was about the same time frame with every kid. It’s just a lot. But 6 months was our magic month and suddenly it became easier and faster and less rigorous. And that was what I needed to go another 6 months.
I enjoyed the bonding time but didn’t enjoy middle of the night feedings. I enjoyed watching them fall asleep but didn’t enjoy pulling over on road trips for a feeding. I enjoyed the cost savings but didn’t enjoy when babies wouldn’t take bottles. There were great moments and not so great moments.
As I pondered just how much time I had spent in that chair or one similar nursing a child, I was full of gratitude and surprisingly very little sadness. I’ve had a good long run. Chapter closed.
He’s at the fun, but exhausting, exploring stage. He wants to see and touch everything and usually test it against his mouth. Every drawer is opened and it’s contents emptied. Cupboards are no longer safe. Our tub is full of items that he finds and throws in there. The q-tip box has been picked up multiple times. The bathrooms remain on lockdown.
He’s busy. And messy.
And then this picture reminds me what it’s like to explore a world where everything is a new experience. He saw the sun coming through the shutters and it was hitting his arm. He waved it up and down watching the light dance across it. Not quite sure what was going on. He stood there for a while doing the same thing over and over again. I often forget as I’m walking from one room to another cleaning up after him that he’s just exploring. He’s trying to figure out his little body and build experiences in that little brain of his. This particular day he played with light.
I took pictures of Briggs on his birthday – 52 weeks old. And he was grumpy. I tried to shoot some pictures and he was crying in all of them. I took a break for a couple hours, he took a nap, he ate some food and wouldn’t you know it round two was just as successful as the first. All crying pictures. I thought I might try another day, but a the week slipped by and I sat at my computer tonight clicking through all the photos. I found just one photo where he wasn’t crying or scowling. One. So I used it.
I almost chose one of the hundred crying pictures just because that is just how he is right now. But it’s the final capstone picture to the project and years down the road I want to trick myself into believing he was a content happy baby.
He wakes up most nights – multiple times, but we don’t get him out and he gets back to sleep on his own.
He’s not walking yet and he’s still a ways off. All of our kids tend to walk later.
He likes to dance – at least he bobs his head and shakes his bum.
He loves to drop things off the highchair. Not usually food – just toys. It’s a game he plays with his siblings – they put something on his tray and he pushes it off.
He loves to climb up the stairs – and although he can get down, instead he chooses to scream from the top of the stairs.
He loves balls – he throws them in front of himself and chases after it.
He says mama and Steve is working like crazy for dada.
He has stranger anxiety and prefers to be in the arms of mom and dad. He doesn’t like to be alone which makes it difficult to work around the house.
He is sustained by milk, table food and one breast feeding a day – which is coming to an end soon.
He had his first haircut last week – not that he has a lot of hair but it was enough on the sides and back to warrant a trim.
Briggs had a hard time falling asleep. I knew he wasn’t feel well, so I entered his room, scooped him out of his crib and cradled him in the corner chair in his room. We both worked to get comfortable in the chair. He laid on my chest as I slouched to rest my head on the back of the chair.
Briggs turned his head from the left side, to the right and back to the left over and over again. His wiggles slowed – he was awake, but still. I had one hand holding the back of his head and the other hand rubbing his back slowly.
He suddenly seemed really long; his head was on my shoulders and his feet were digging into my legs. He didn’t curl up the way he once had. Instead his legs dangled. As I was mentally lamenting his size, my back rubbing hand had stopped and my hand on his head started to massage.
I gently pulled the curls on the back of his head. His hair is getting long. I want to cut it, but part of me only wants to cut the top so I can keep his baby curls. The minute I cut his hair, he really won’t look like a baby – then again as I snuggled up to him, he didn’t feel like a baby. Not anymore. So maybe a haircut to match wouldn’t be so bad.
He’s lovable and kissable and he’s doing this squinty eye thing that has us all laughing. And with three more teeth popping through on top, he’s not getting a whole lot of sleep these days – which makes him an angry elf much of the time. And even as an angry elf he’s still kissable.