I've hardly stopped to think lately. We've been so busy, and though Miss Manners says it ain't polite to say so, after all, everyone is busy she adds, we've been busy.
I have tried to make sure to turn from my tasks to look my husband in the eye. I have tried to take a couple extra moments for a longer hug or a hand on the arm or shoulder. It's not much, but it gets me to slow down.
I also try to look my son in the eye. Sometimes it feels as though I have many commands for him. We're so busy, there are so many things to do. This way, that way. Off to bed. Sit at the table. Please eat so you're not hungry later. I'm trying to be mindful and allow him his pace. To give him peace from his parents' business and busyness.
Last night I fell asleep in Beren's bed while putting him to sleep. Just like the old days. The infant days. Just like when I'd drift off with him on my lap while we listened to Leonard Lopate on WNYC's afternoon programming. He'd nurse and nap. I'd drift off, too. When I roused, he would, too. I'd be disappointed and refreshed. Ready for some awake solo time, but no luck, because baby and mother are in tune.
Jared murmured something to me. I heard him, but continued to sleep. Finally I woke. It's so dark I thought, could it be morning? I think he asked me to come to bed, but I couldn't move. I slept there until later in the evening or possibly longer. When I laid in bed, I heard Jared's breathing and wondered if I could fall asleep again. I did. Deeply, until 7:00 am, when Beren woke, nursed, and slept until 8:30.
Jared and I ate breakfast in the quiet. I love our quiet breakfasts together. I love that Beren sometimes sleeps through the night.
For so long, it was so hard. It's difficult to do without sleep. Memory loss, bad temper, hormones. For nursing mothers, we often hear the advice to wean, or to at least night wean, especially an older child.
While I was desperate to sleep, like most mothers are, this never made sense to me. Getting Beren back to sleep by nursing was so easy, and it didn't necessarily follow that it was nursing that made him wake.
I feel somewhat lucky to be an older mother, I think I'm a little less stressed out than when I was in my twenties. Though I am flattened and thrown by other's advice or 'good intentions' (triple quotes around """"good"""" because sometimes I wonder what people are really thinking). I didn't really have a plan for nursing. I didn't really have a plan for mothering. We just did it.
Among mothers I know, sleep and nursing are frequent topics of discussion. Beren tells me my nummies are empty sometimes. He's right. I'm slowing down and so is he. Other times, he'll break the latch to tell me something, like he'd rather I sing the song about "animals" (Dock Watson, I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground). Or, he'd rather Jared read about "diggers" than the story Jared chose. This many sound like no big deal, but it's a shift.
One day will be the last day he'll nurse. For all the times I felt put upon or was tired of nursing, I'll really miss it. It's been an great experience for me. For Jared and for Beren. It's been great for our family.
I can hear Rhonda at La Leche saying her oft repeated mantra, paraphrased here... A child's need for mother in the early weeks, months, and years is intense, not the early days, but the early weeks, months, and years...