Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Apologize For This Post

To all the mamas who have experienced toddler breastfeeding and the intense desire to wean against your toddler's will: I feel you.
You're going to get this.

To everyone else: I apologize for this. Profoundly.
But, as they say, #sorrynotsorry

Lilla is approaching 21 months and she is still quite an breastfeeding aficionado. 
It's a serious pastime 'round these parts. (Pun intended. You're welcome.)

It could be an all-day affair if I allowed.
As in: We-only-break-for-solid-food-meals-and-Mickey-Mouse-Clubhouse.
And mamas, I'm tired. I'm so, so tired. And so are my parts. 

Apparently, not only am I tired, I'm worried

{I do not apologize for any of the above content; this is where it gets questionable. 
If you continue to read, you do so at your own risk. You've been warned.}

A few nights ago I had a dream. 
I rarely remember dreams, but this one had me waking up in a bit of a panic hoping to the heavens that it wasn't real. You know what I'm talking about...

I dreamed that Lilla was nursing and my nipple fell off.

It. Fell. Off. 
My right nip. 

I'll let that sit with you for a moment. 
. . . . . 

Isn't that terrible?

I was quite calm about it in my dream, although devastated. 
I took that poor, disconnected part and placed it in a baggie and put it in the fridge. For safekeeping. You know...until we could get to the hospital to repair the damage. 

And that's it. 

I'm so sorry. But I had to share that. 

I woke up thinking, "Oh ni... Ah, it's there." 
After the flood of relief I felt a slightly bemused pity for my poor subconscious.
She's worried for the well-being of my body.
Like, desperately worried.
That sweet subconscious of mine...she's sending me signals.
She's all, "Girl, this may not be healthy for you anymore." 

I'm picking up those signals, subconscious. Thank you for your concern. 

I have no idea how to wean this child. 
I've tried refusing her (she screams, loudly).
I've tried distraction, feigning injury, bribery, pretending I don't hear her requests, literally running good. She still gets what she wants. 
I even went away for 5 days and hoped against hope that she would forget and wean. 
She didn't. I think she got even more intense after that escape tactic.

So I breastfeed. And I slightly resent my daughter (let's just be honest here) and my subconscious weeps and I plot more ways to try and wean her. 
I'm thinking yucky-tasting Lavender oil on the skin in question will be my next route. 
Wish me luck, and send me all your fail-proof, stubborn toddler weaning techniques.

There's Lil. Thanks, Lil. You're awesome.

The contents of this post are in no way insinuating that women shouldn't breastfeed toddlers. In no way at all. 
I love extended breastfeeding. I think it's awesome and fine and right (if you wanna). 
The AAP recommends breastfeeding for 24 months at least. The world average of breastfeeding length is reported to be around 4 years. That's fine. Super great. Love it.

I'm a lactation counselor for heaven's sake. I'm in this for all the mamas and the babies. 
I'm a believer. 

And I'm done. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Making Room

My kids are still asleep. It's 6:55 am. This is an anomaly.
It means I need to get a pool. ASAP.

Last night, at 8:30, the kids were getting in bed and Britt, my incredible boy, caught a glimpse of one of our new neighbors and sprinted across the street. Basically, he coerced an invitation for a night-swim out of the grandpa-like man.
"I wanted to go for a dip anyway." He said, "Let the kids come over."
I promised it would only be a 15 minute swim and then he could get to bed.

So, I met Ann and Jim for the first time. While my kids romped in their pool in the dark.
Ann Windex'd her patio table and pulled out a chair for me. She proceeded to tell me every last name of each family in our neighborhood, their occupations, their kid's names, why they added an extra room to their house...
We talked about her kids and why Britt reminds her so much of her middle son. She told me it would all be okay if I could just channel that energy. I said, "How?" She said, "Find what he'll figure it out."

Jim will be 80 years old this year; he's a scuba diver. He taught Beck how to dive last night and held Britt while giving him instructions on how to kick his feet harder while he's sinking swimming.
"Stop holding your nose! It's not going anywhere! Only girls hold their nose in the water."
He says Britt will know how to swim laps by the end of the summer.

So...our 15 minute swim became 35 minutes and I just wanted to hug and kiss Jim and Ann as they waved goodbye to us from their gate and my kids jaunted home happy and wet and barefooted across the street.
And the kids are still sleeping.
That's why I need a pool. It completely wore them out.
Night swims need to be a regular activity.

But, you guys...I have come to a place in my life that I'm looking around and am really disappointed with the way I've been doing things.
I've said "yes" to so many good things - jobs (that I'm good at!), business commitments, scheduled kids activities, trips to here and there...the list goes on; so long.
I've said "yes" to all of these good things and I've left no room. There's no space in my daily life for the spontaneous "yes."

A joyful yes because that is the thing I want to do at that moment.
A friendly yes that builds new relationships and creates community.
A thoughtful yes that feeds the soul.
I can't indulge these yesses if there's no room.

My margins have been so tight in the past few years and somehow I felt accomplished with all of my "things to do" that I've missed the joy. It feels good for a minute to say Yes to something and fill a need for someone.
"Yes, I'll bring a dish to the event."
"Yes, my kids will be at that service opportunity."
"Yes, I'll take on that extra responsibility for the hospital."

They're all really good things. But they're not the best things.

Rolling around in my head so much lately:

I get so distracted by all of the good things that the best things go unnoticed and undone.

This is where my heart is right now.
I want to say yes to the impromptu night swim and get my kids out of bed and into their swimsuits.
I want to sit with the neighbor and talk about how God shouldn't be put in a box and there are many ways to seek and worship Him.
I want to invite a struggling young mom to my house and hold her baby and let her smell my oils.
I want to make bacon and fruit crisp for my kids for breakfast.
I want to play Memory with Britt and scold him for cheating and high-five him when he wins.
I want room. None of this can happen if there are no margins left.

I'll be making some changes soon.
But gosh, it's a hard thing to say "No" to the good things. Especially when those good things fill you up and make you feel accomplished.
But night swims and new neighbors and deepening friendships are worth it.
I'm struggling to push back the margins.
And the struggle is real.

What is your best thing?