Monday, April 11, 2011

Times of Milk (and honey)

Being a little disorganised I missed World Breast Feeding week this year...  It slipped by me in a daze of nappies, toddlers, toast and feedings. However as breast feeding is such a big part of our lives and has been for the last hmm... twenty eight months, I thought I'd reflect upon Our Time of Milk. 
Now is an ambivalent time for me to talk about breastfeeding. 
On the one hand I love nursing the Poppet. She is presently just past eight months and snuggles into me looking angelic. She makes adorable appreciative murmurs and sweet grunts. I can admire the curve of her cheek, the sweep of her lashes, the delicate veins of her forehead, the dainty shape of her face for hours as she busily sucks. Off hand I can think of little that makes me happier than talking with the Poppet and feeling her warm weight in my arms as she feeds. 
Recently she started on solids and, as with the Sprocket, I felt that little tug that now she is more of the world than of me, whereas previously, apart from a little help from my beloved, I had provided sustenance for all that she was. 
On the other hand we have the Sprocket. 
The Sprocket is now just past 28 months and mummy milk is his favourite food, drink and basically activity and sustenance in all the world. 
He will bribe me for milk with chocolate or any other treat he thinks might work. He gives me big soggy kisses for milk. 
(Particularly enjoyable when, as now, his nose is in constant flow) 
He brings me books to read while feeding. Sometimes they are actually books I want to read. 
When that doesn't work we head into tantrum territory with screaming, wailing, stamping, tears, basically the works. 
I cannot remember the last morning when I did not encounter a milk tantrum within ten minutes of waking. 
As a wake up call I prefer coffee. 
We are trying to limit the Sprocket to a meagre 3 feeds a day. After breakfast, after lunch and after dinner. 
He is giving every indication of believing that this is gross cruelty and negligence. 
Sometimes I believe him. 
I know that in twenty years I will look back on this time with tenderness. I will remember the snotty nosed kisses, the offerings of books, I will remember the times when we are all curled in bed together and the Poppet and Sprocket are feeding like little bear cubs, holding hands and giggling at each other. I will remember how the Poppet tries to pull the Sprocket's hair and my heart will ache for what has passed. 
But now. 
Now I'd just like some sleep. 
I'd like not to have my breasts treated as public property and yanked from clothes, pinched and prodded. I'd like not to have acrobatics performed while the acrobat is attached to my person. 
But sometimes I wonder, if the Sprocket, like I, looks back to a golden age. 
For him, I suspect it was when the milk was his for the asking. When most days we'd lie down morning and afternoon and he would sleep and feed and I would sleep and read for hours at a time. When he would feed to sleep and feed to wake and the whole of our world revolved around him. When every little fall, every hiccup was met with more milk.  
Poor little Sprocket. It is always so hard leaving and looking back on the times of milk (and honey!) 

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