Troutdale, OR, USA
From New Beginnings, Vol. 28 No. 3, 2009, p. 19
Every year around my children's birthdays, I reminisce about how their faces looked when I met them for the first time and all the sweet moments we've had since. I try to remember what they looked like when they first said, "Mama," and how they swayed and stumbled when learning to walk. Many of these memories involve nursing. I'll never forget how their deep blue eyes looked when studying every inch of my face while cuddled at the breast.
My son weaned at two when his sister was born -- a combination of low milk supply and busy days. However, he seemed satisfied with the time we had had in this special way. His little sister is still my "nursey girl." I lovingly call my daughter "wild woman." She's the sweetest angel with dirty feet and blueberry stains on her face. Quite often she has her hands on her little hips as she tells me exactly where and how I'm supposed to "nursey" and what will happen if I don't comply. I did ponder weaning when she stopped in the middle of nursing to tell me that two horse legs plus two horse legs equal four horse legs. Did I really hear my nursling do addition? I'm discovering that nursing is allowing for some comical situations that I could never have imagined when my daughter was just a wee baby all snuggled up in one arm.
While fidgeting in my lap, trying to get into a comfortable nursing position, she said, "my hair is bugging me! I need it cut off because it's in my way!" I almost giggled, but knew by her stern expression that she needed my complete sympathy. I composed myself and told her that we could get her hair cut shorter in the back and leave it a bit longer in the front so she could still have braids or pigtails, something I knew she would still ask for. I had visions of my little angel in an extravagant salon with stylists swirling all around, busily making her into something she's not. Or maybe something I wasn't ready for. I wondered if this meant she was gearing up to wean. I was starting to wonder if she should wean. She has always been adamant about what she needs so I felt confident that she would let me know.
It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea of getting a "nursing haircut." I started thinking that a child who asks for a salon appointment to remedy her nursing dilemma could just as easily stop nursing. But I made an appointment. I'm still not ready for glamor so I made the appointment at a salon specializing in children's cuts. Of course, she loved the whole experience and promptly cut her dolls' hair off. She says she likes them much better with short hair. The best part was getting a fancy pink bow placed in exactly the right spot, with fairy dust sprinkled on top.
I have to admit that she does look super cute in her new sporty hairdo. And she's much more comfortable, which was the goal. She continued to nurse without skipping a beat. I realized that my daughter wasn't trying to grow up too fast or move on, she was simply trying to figure out how to fit in my lap despite growing bigger. Maybe she's a bit of a wise woman, too. Children need to be near us and able to explore at the same time. Given the opportunity, our little ones will let us know when the time is right to move forward. Our job is to make sure we don't complicate things with our big adult ideas.
I'm still not sure what's in store or what amazing idea she'll come up with next. However, I feel more confident in letting her take the lead and trusting that she'll move on when the time is right.