knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Monday, March 31, 2008

An elegy to nursing

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been weaned. Can we please all observe a minute of silence.

Thank you all for you kind sympathies. I am still sorting through all the shock and mixed emotions. I keep thinking, "This can't be happening! He was so young!" and "What did I do wrong?" "Are my boobs not good enough?" And the sad truth is, we may never know. We sought a comment from the involved party. As of publishing time, he was not responding to inquiries.

All the nursing mamas I know tell essentially the same story. Babies having to be weaned at 24 months, or beyond. And not willingly. My baby? At 13 months. he's too busy for food that's not portable. I just...never expected him to wean me. I'm so depressed. What am I going to do now with all those hard-earned skills? Where does it fit on my resume that I can initiate and conclude a nursing session in a crowded restaurant without attracting notice or ever flashing the public? Le sigh.

This baby doesn't even want to nurse at night before bedtime. Not that he's relinquishing his grip on my boob though. He doesn't want it, he just wants to know that it's still there.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Mothers Without Milk support group.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Letters to Liam - Months 12 & 13 (delayed due to a severe case of writer's block)

Dear Liam,

At 5am morning, I woke up to a chorus of MAMAMAMAMA.MA.MA.MAMAs coming through the monitor. I poked your father. He didn't move. I pried my arm out from under a cat, shoved another cat off the blanket between my knees and climbed out of bed. I made my way upstairs, brushed my teeth, and opened up your bedroom door. You were sitting in your crib, talking to the stuffed doggie. You looked up when I entered and when you caught sight of me, your face became suffused with delight and you breathed, 'Mama'. I picked you up and you began the morning ritual of tucking every available part of your body into mine. I stood smelling your baby goodness, looking at all the new snow and thought, yes, this is what life is for.

Your job, it seems, is to teach me how little I really know about life. So much has been unexpected this year. Right from the start, you began to take apart THE PLAN and reshape it. It wasn't always fun, and I wasn't always willing to go along, but now that we've arrived on the other side and I'm getting a solid seven hours of sleep every night again, I can begin to regain perspective on the whole adventure.

It's not possible to prepare for an emergency birth. And no one can be prepared for the double whammy of finding out that your new peanut of a baby will need two major surgeries before he turns four months old. For a while, I simply walked around in a fog of incomprehension. What finally shook me out of it was realizing how little you were going to pay attention to any of it. You had more important things to do. For those of us who never left your side in those dark days after each surgery (your Daddy, Gigi and I) it was a remarkable, life-altering experience to watch you cope with pain, confusion, innumerable needles, bleeping machines, and the inability to see for four days. Your fortitude, and your stunningly quick recuperation are things that I will never, ever be able to forget. You are an inspiration to us. And we treasure you.

This month, you have discovered being naked. You are a born naked baby. But since you have not yet learned how to take off your own clothes, your favorite time of the day is the ten minutes you are allowed to run around stark before your bath.

You are your mother's child and you get very very angry when you pick out books to read, but we can't read them right away. This inevitably happens right before we have to leave for school. Your brand new bookcase is already full. This makes me happier than I can say. 'Goodnight Gorilla' is still the hands down favorite, but your handbound, one-of-a-kind 'Liam & Lulu' is coming in a close second.

Your favorite word? Cracker. Or more precisely 'cRACK-errr'. You know where they're kept and you're willing to wait. Also, because it was your birthday this month, you got to try ice cream. Which you liked vastly more than the Amazing Time Consuming and Complicated Birthday Cupcakes that took Lulu and I an entire day to whip up.

Oh wait, did I mention your birthday? We gave you a vintage 1975 Fisher Price Sesame Street Clubhouse complete with Little People. Your reaction was precisely what I was looking for. It's the first thing you head for every morning. God, I love that toy.

Your actual birthday party was postponed for a couple of weeks while Grandpa finished his chemotherapy. We knew that he would be finishing around your first birthday. The last few rounds were really tough, and I needed to celebrate you turning one along with his being done with it all. It felt right. Your party was riotous and so much fun. It felt really good to collect all those people together. And you know what? It was worth the wait. Because your Grandpa is ALL BETTER! YAHOO! I feel like I can take deep breaths for the first time since August.

This coming month is going to be busy. For starters, we might get to see the ground again. There's still over two feet of snow in our yard, but one can hope. Second, the wonderful Megan who takes care of you is going to have a baby sometime in the next 35 days. And once that happens, you'll be going to a new school. It's going to be tough kiddo. Hang in there. You're also going to your first Sheep & Wool Festival. I'm hoping that carrying you around will prevent me from buying mad yarn.

Last month, I entered you in a photo contest. Imagekind was inviting entries for the best baby firsts. I sent them this and this and this with this entry:

To: Imagekind Contests
Subject: First Moments Contest

Today, February 18th, 2008, our son Liam turns one-year-old. Being our first baby, we're a little camera-happy. We've taken a whopping 2094 shots of him this year! With so much raw ammunition, it wasn't easy to select our favorite 'firsts'. In addition to celebrating the first step, the first solid foods and the first bath, we have a lot of pictures that celebrate the fact that Liam underwent two major neurosurgeries before he was four months old...and came through them just fine. In the end, we decided that our favorite firsts were the ones that chronicled the huge experience life can be in your first year. They are: 'Liam's First Day at the Beach', 'Liam's First Experience Touching Grass', and 'Liam's First Funny Face'. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

It kind of sums up this whole year, the first year of your life. And guess what? We won! It's kind of proof that I am not the only one who thinks you are that most beautiful, most remarkable, most perfectly individual baby who ever was. I am so glad you are mine. Happy birthday, little bean.



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Because we've been through enough already.

My father is cancer-free. Clean CAT scan. I'm walking on air. That is all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

songs for bedtime

If I have to listen to another inane CD of lullabies sung in an unsteady soprano, I'm going to lose my mind.

Love Minus Zero - Eliza Gilkyson
The Wind - Cat Stevens
Crazy Love - Bob Dylan
Under African Skies - Paul Simon
Blackbird - The Beatles
Wading in the Velvet Sea - Phish
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters - Elton John
Sweet Baby - Macy Gray
Rue St. Vincent - Yves Montand
When You Wish Upon a Star - Joe Henry
Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
Guyute (Orchestral) - Trey Anastasio
Takk... - Sigur Ros
Mockingbird - Peter, Paul & Mary
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
All the Tired Horses - Bob Dylan
Jamaica Farewell - Dan Zanes & Angelique Kidjo
Waiting on an Angel - Ben Harper
You Will Be My Ain True Love - Alison Krauss
Redemption Song - Bob Marley
Forever Young - Bob Dylan