I had to blog tonight because I just spent the most precious thirty minutes of my life with Leif. It was incredibly special, and I want to remember it forever.
Recently, I decided that Leif and I were done nursing. As he was nursing to sleep that fateful night, we discussed the matter:
This is going to be your last milkies, Leif.
He answered with a twinkle of mischief in his eye.
You are a big boy now and all big kids have to say goodbye to their milkies. Zoe did it. Elliot did it, and Avery did it too
This time he smirked. I am sure he thought I had finally lost my mind.
Seriously, Leif, after tonight, there is no more milkies.
Aww, right, mom.
And then he fell asleep.
That was four nights ago, and Leif has not nursed since then. Sure, he has asked a couple of times; usually with a smirk on his face, but I simply remind him that he is a big boy now and then I offer him something else:
Let's get some juice. Would you like to watch a show?
And it works . . . with minimal tears. I am shocked. I think he must have been ready for this too.
Up until last week, I enjoyed tandem nursing him and Harriet. In fact, we were getting really good at it, and they were so cute nursing together! Leif would hold one of her hands, while she played with his hair using her other hand. Seriously, there is only so much cute one heart can handle and these two push the limits on a daily basis. But, very quickly, it became not-so-cute anymore for me. It became a chore. In fact, it made my skin crawl when Leif would latch on, and I found myself getting very frustrated with him while he was nursing. I knew immediately what this was - nursing aversion, and recognized it was a sign that my body was done. Feeling this way toward Leif broke my heart. I had surpassed my goal of nursing him until he was two, which was when all my other kiddos were weaned, and so I knew in my heart that it was time for us to move on.
To help Leif transition away from nursing, I built him a little nest in the corner of our room. I placed his crib mattress on the floor, put the two fleece blankets that I made for him and Harriet on top of it, then surrounded the bed with his bins of books and placed a huge basket of stuffies at the end of his bed. He loves it! I often walk in and find him curled up in his bed "reading" his books. Perhaps Leif will be my reader. Surely I will get at least one reader out of my five kids! The past couple of nights, Leif has asked to read books in his big boy bed and then sleep up in my bed, which I do not mind at all.
But tonight . . . oh tonight! Leif climbed into his big boy bed, and as he was going through his bin of books, he came upon my all-time favourite book to read aloud: Another Monster at the End of this Book (I do an awesome Elmo impersonation . . . just saying).
This is funny, mom.
And as I read it, he would shout: "turn the page" and then giggle as he saw how frustrated and scared Grover was becoming. Of course, we had to read it twice. Then Leif noticed his shadow, which lead to a rousing game of shadow puppets. When my alligator tried to eat his shadow head, Leif broke out into a belly laugh and it was infectious. I began to laugh too. It felt so good because ever since Mr. Level-Headed went to work in Nunavut, I find I am so busy taking care of the house and the kids that I don't laugh as much anymore. I always laugh. I love to laugh. Why am I not laughing? It's sad, I know, and clearly, it has to change.
Yes, Love. I will hold your hand.
With his tiny hand tucked inside of mine, Leif snuggled up under his blankets, laid his head onto his pillow and fell asleep. It was our shortest bedtime yet, but it was the most precious. It took every ounce of strength I could muster up to not scoop him back up into my arms and smother him in kisses.
I love nursing my babies, and yes, it is always hard to close the door on a phase in your child's life, but this new phase is good, it is really good, and I am going to treasure it for as long as it lasts.
Leif, thank you. Thank you for enjoying my favourite book, for laughing at my silly impersonations, for making me laugh and for reminding me just how much I love being a mama to you . . . and the rest of the crew.