Just a few weeks ago, I weaned Kiwi. Although I had a goal to wean her by her second birthday, I thought it’d never happen: She asked for milk all day, every day. Yet bit by bit, we decreased the amount she breastfed. Finally, there came a day when she didn’t nurse at all. And then there was another no-milk day. And just like that, weaning was complete.
Pretty much. (More on that below!)
It’s no secret around here that I’ve both struggled with breastfeeding and loved it. I nursed Peeper until she was 15 months old, and Kiwi until she was almost 2. But even though we’d semi-accidentally become an extended breastfeeding family, I was ready to wean.
Yes, I was ready to wean, but I wish someone had clued me in to some details about weaning I’d never heard—or read—about.
A few days ago, both the girls woke up at 4am. Eric tried to get them back to sleep, but Peeper was having none of it. “Yesterday Mama told me I have three days until my birthday. But now I have only TWO days until I’m 4!” This girl is just a little excited for her fourth birthday.
We’ve been talking about her birthday for a while now, but only recently has it seemed concrete to her. After all, concepts of months and weeks are a little abstract for a preschooler. So the week leading up to her fourth birthday, we talked about how many days were left until she turned 4.
And now that day has come. Happy birthday, my sweet, fierce, loving, compassionate, hilarious, sassy daughter!
A while back, I’d had a hard day: Kiwi had hardly slept, and I was tired. So tired. It was nice outside but I’d been at my computer all day, so I strapped her in the carrier, leashed up Finn and went for a walk. I decided to call my grandma.
She answered with a wary, “Hello?”
“Hi Grandma, it’s Sweet Dolly,” I said, using the nickname she gave me when I was little. She must not have my number programmed into her cell.
My grandmother immediately recounted her day—how she was watching boring TV, that she had walked along the beach in the Gulf like always and didn’t even need a heavy jacket, that the big log in the fire helped heat her house, that tomorrow was bread ministry, that she was dubbed the Potato Lady because she always served the spuds at the church soup kitchen. The details from her quiet life spilled out as if they’d been just waiting for someone to call and listen.
Then—almost out of nowhere—she said, “Thank you for remembering me!” She was nearly in tears.
Her outsized gratitude nearly broke my heart. And her gratitude was an important reminder to cherish your loved ones.
Forget roses and prix fixe dinners. This February 14, I just want a few handmade Valentine’s Day cards.
Because always chocolate.
Ever since I was a kid, Valentine’s Day has always meant friendship and platonic love. When I was in maybe 3rd grade, my younger sister lost all her valentines. All the tiny packs of candy, the Disney-themed cards, the hand-signed doilies—gone. She was heartbroken.
Later that night, I went through my own haul. I crossed off “Catherine” on every darn card and wrote in my sister’s name instead.
I then gave her a paper sack filled with cards from my classmates to cheer her up.
It should be no surprise, then, that when I think of Valentine’s Day, I don’t get goo-goo over the romantic aspects of the holiday. Instead, I melt at the memory of mailboxes made out of Kleenex boxes, carefully writing friends’ names on Ariel the Little Mermaid cards and the chalky taste of Sweethearts I choked down in the interest of reading the messages.
Now that I have kids, I get to relive the sweet, innocent side of the holiday—partly through crafting handmade Valentine’s Day cards.
The other day, my daughter made me cry.
It wasn’t because Peeper punched me in the eye (on accident!) while we were playing. And it wasn’t because she drew this picture of me.
(Yes, I’m so #momglam with my unibrow and lopsided boobs.)
No, it was because she said the words I didn’t even know I’d been waiting to hear.
Not too long ago I wrote about all the reasons why I’m a big fan of breastfeeding, in spite of the really, really hard stretches we’ve gone through to get to the pleasant parts. But the other day, when I was breastfeeding my toddler as we waited for Eric in the grocery store parking lot, I had to laugh. Kiwi kept standing up on my lap, turning her head to look out the window, and practically tap dancing all over me—staying latched all the while.
Breastfeeding a 14-month-old, I thought, is not like breastfeeding a baby.
But we’re still going strong. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to breastfeed—until it stops working for us, I suppose—but I’m enjoying it while I still have this special time with Kiwi.
In the spirit of celebrating what we have, then, here are 10 reasons why I love breastfeeding my toddler.
Not long ago, Peeper came home from gymnastics. She ran into the bedroom, where I was changing Kiwi’s diaper.
“We learned frog jumps!” Peeper exclaimed—and began bouncing up and down, landing with her hands between her feet.
Kiwi squealed. She rolled over. Coming up to her knees, she started to bounce, too.
The two sisters laughed and jumped like frogs and laughed some more, all the while watching each other.
That little scene perfectly shows the core of Kiwi’s personality—her exuberance. She is so in love with life.