Zen is in the process of weaning from breastfeeding and it almost feels like it’s my first time because when Shammy weaned I didn’t get to stop breastfeeding since I was tandem nursing.
This time when Zen is done it will mark the end of a very special chapter of my life.
I started using the “don’t ask, don’t refuse” approach to weaning which leads to a very gradual and gentle process. I then added some nursing guidelines and will refuse nursing at other times such as when out in public. It was liberating to no longer have to plan my wardrobe around ease of boob access. It’s thrilling to not wear a bra that is designed for nursing.
Until last week we were down to nursing twice a day, first thing in the morning and at bedtime. But then his brother moved into his own bedroom and we started the process of moving Zen into a toddler bed in our bedroom and that seems to have boosted his weaning speed.
Suddenly we are down to once a day… if that. I always thought that the “before bed” session would be the last to go but he no longer asks to nurse before bed and will nurse in the morning, if he remembers. Until this morning he went 48 hours without nursing, the longest ever. And when he did he only nursed for a few minutes on one side.
With Shammy I was blessed to have a clear memory (and a picture) of his last nursing session that I cherish whenever I think back to his nursing journey. With Zen I fear that I just won’t know that it was the last time until it’s too late. Every now I wonder “is this it?”
I thought that I would be more emotional about this process. And while I’ve had my emotional moments and was sometimes tempted to offer even though he wasn’t asking; overall I feel ready. I’ve been breastfeeding non stop for over 5 years and can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t lactating so this shall be an interesting transition.
So I end this post with a poem that I had shared on this blog 3 years ago but is even more relevant to me today:
Wean Me Gently I know I look so big to you, Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have. But no matter how big we get, We still have needs that are important to us. I know that our relationship is growing and changing, But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness, Especially at the end of the day When we snuggle up in bed. Please don’t get too busy for us to nurse. I know you think I can be patient, Or find something to take the place of a nursing – A book, a glass of something, But nothing can take your place when I need you. Sometimes just cuddling with you, Having you near me is enough. I guess I am growing and becoming independent, But please be there. This bond we have is so strong and so important to me, Please don’t break it abruptly. Wean me gently, Because I am your mother, And my heart is tender.
~ Cathy Cardall
It looks like Shammy has weaned. He had been working towards it for a while. For months he would just nurse for a few seconds every other day. During the count at the Big Latch On he had his longest nursing session in months but after that he didn’t ask to nurse again. I thought he was done until exactly a week later he asked again, and then again about 4-5 days after that. By then he seemed to have forgotten how to latch on properly and he hasn’t asked since. That was over 2 weeks ago. I am grateful that we were able to share this journey for just over 3 years despite our rocky start.
I would have gone into a full fledged weaning depression if it wasn’t for the fact that Zen is still breastfeeding. Until recently Zen was a lot less interested in nursing than Shammy was at his age but lately he seems to have picked up his brother’s slack. Shammy will regularly encourage me to nurse his brother by saying “please please give Zen milkie” while not interested in having any for himself. I don’t know when Zen will wean but at least I know that it is many months away and it will be just as gradual and gentle as Shammy’s process.
As the breastfeeding journey with Shammy ends I have started a new “formal” learning journey with him. I have finally gotten off my ass and started homeschooling him, I must admit that I am intimidated by the process and just playing it by ear right now taking it a day at a time. He has a very good foundation of preschool knowledge already so I am starting easy by just reviewing things that he already knows. Right now he is enjoying a trial to ABCMouse.com and he likes it although I wish there weren’t so many art activities as he gets sick of those very quickly. He loves the puzzles, books and songs. I will probably buy him the annual subscription as soon as I can raise the money.
I have converted my old laptop as his homeschool laptop and we also do some hands on work with worksheets and activities. So far we are taking it easy doing about 20-30 minutes of computer curriculum and another 20-30 minutes of hands on lessons/worksheets/activities. The rest of the day I just try to reinforced what we covered through daily life activities. Today we are reviewing the number Zero and the circle shape and he is having fun identifying all of the circles throughout the house while I write this.
I still need to figure out how a lefty will teach a righty how to write without confusing him but I just need to research it since I know that I am not the first one with this problem. Zen is very interested in what we do and even though I am not homeschooling him yet he will probably end up ahead of the game by picking up what he hears/sees during his brother’s lessons.
A common concern when people think about homeschooling is socialization and I admit to have shared that concern. While the socialization myth has been debunked I was still concerned about the boys not having much interaction with other kids. I am blessed with knowing lots of local homeschoolers to network with in the addition to local groups that organize field trips, playdates and sports so the opportunities for socialization are very diverse. Sadly I am unable to participate in those activities because we only have 1 car and the extra expense from driving hubby to work and back to keep the car to attend activities is cost prohibitive.
Thankfully they get to play with other kids 1 day a week when they go to daycare while I work. I don’t think that they are learning anything from daycare, if anything they are losing their good manners by going but at least they get to play with other kids their age for a day. A local friend and fellow homeschooler shared her thoughts on the socialization subject and I no longer feel so bad for being stuck at home with them.
“What is socialization? a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
Do I really want them learning that from other misbehaved, ugly mannered, mean spirited kids that I don’t know anything about? Do I want MY kids mimicking some of those terrible behaviors I see from other kids at times? No. I want them to learn their behaviors from a set of people I know what to expect from behaviorally, morally, and their language (cuss-wise and grammar). Mainly meaning other adults that I hang out with. If they have kids then my kids can play with them!
I try hard NOT to go to the park when there are a ton of kids there. It scares me sometimes! I don’t want my kids doing the things I see some of those kids doing. I don’t want them hurt by other kids that I have no control over. I want them to learn to play nicely and be fair, careful and considerate of others. They don’t learn that from other kids that are needing to learn the same thing but don’t get it yet! (**disclaimer here…I don’t think ALL kids at the park are little monsters. But quite a few ARE. I have seen it enough to be wary**)
My kids do play with other kids at church or with their cousins occasionally but for the most part they play with each other! And me! They learn from what they see so I am careful to try and let them see how I want them to act more than they see how I DON’T want them to act.
It is pretty hard sometimes because you can only control so much BUT I see the results all the time!! I get so many compliments on how well behaved my children are. THEY get so many people tell them how well behaved they are. And I can see the effect in them when they hear others talk about that! My kids feel so good when they are complimented about it. They glow from the praise! And they take care of each other! They worry over each other! They love each other! Yes! There are days when they are mean and self-centered and hurt the other one but these days really are like speed bumps.
So I don’t worry about socializing them with other kids too much! They know how to play with others BUT they also know how to interact properly with adults (and AS decent adults when the time comes)!”
This 3rd trimester seems to be flying by, 37 weeks today! I guess it’s a good thing since this round has been a LOT more uncomfortable than my first pregnancy. Despite feeling crappy in one way or another 24/7 I still don’t have the “I’m sick of being pregnant” feeling that a lot of moms talk about. I’m sick of feeling crappy, of swollen feet 24/7, I’m sick of not being able to clean my house even if I want to, I’m sick of having small tasks such as picking toys off the floor leaving me in pain and gasping for air but I’m nowhere near sick of pregnancy itself. Does that make me a masochist?
What I think does make me a masochist is to agree to go to Disney World so late in pregnancy. I had done pretty good at keeping swelling at bay until that uber hot day waddling around a park. Now I have permanent cankles as a souvenir but it was worth it to see the look of absolute joy in my son’s face when meeting his favorite Star Wars character Chewbacca. Chewie was a good sport and gave him a hug before posing for photos.
I’m excited and terrified at the fact that I’ll soon be tandem nursing. Even though Shammy has made great strides in his weaning journey, he is down to nursing twice a day for a short time I’m afraid that he’ll regress to close to a newborn pattern once baby is here. Meanwhile I still enjoy our bond although I admit that sometimes it’s not comfortable, we’ve been having latch issues recently and it’s hard to nurse while having contractions but it’s hard to resist when he asks nicely. Plus he’s still getting lots of immunity from it, he’s been exposed to sick people, even his father was very sick and they had very close interaction yet Shammy remained perfectly healthy, can’t beat that benefit!
Something that I’m a little anxious about is sleep after baby is born, not about how much or when I’ll sleep but rather WHERE I’ll sleep. Right now we have an awesome cosleeping arrangement with a king size mattress and a full size mattress together on the floor, everybody has plenty of room to roll around and lots of room for a new addition and if Shammy rolls off the bed it’s only an 8 inch fall that sometimes doesn’t even wake him up. However when Shammy was born I had a horrible time getting up from a regular height bed, I don’t see any way that I could possibly get up from the floor at least for the first week or 2. I’m dreading having to sleep in the crappy futon but I may have no choice unless a recliner mysteriously shows up in my front door.
As much as I love that Shammy has been able to rear face in his carseat this long and I would love to keep him that way, he is at the max for height for his seat rear facing even though he has many pounds left for weight. Sadly there are few carseats that I can buy that will give him many inches to grow AND fit in the backseat of our car and they’re out of our budget so this month we get to turn his seat around at the same time that we install a second carseat. I admit to feeling a little heartbroken about this but at least he was able to make it to the month of his 2nd birthday rearfacing thus meeting the minimum safety recommendation.
My nesting urge has been stronger this round but it also has been somewhat unconventional. Instead of being obsessed with cleaning (I’m upset enough that I can’t clean what I want) I’ve been nesting by stocking up on consumables like toilet paper and trying to pay some bills in advance to make it easier on hubby while I’m not working.
When people ask “are you scared?”, they usually refer to labor and birth but to be quite honest what I’m terrified about is being home alone with 2 kids for a whole day.
Given my slow rate of writing this is most likely my last post this pregnancy, the next one will probably be a birth announcement, agh!