Walking on the Moon
I went to the movies by myself a few weeks ago, right between nap and dinner.
I might as well have been walking on the moon.
The longest time I’ve spent away from Farrah is maybe four hours. This is 100% due to exclusive breasting. Ahhh, but you say, she is almost three years old! She doesn’t need to breastfeed. And I say in return: Tell her that. My child believes with all her three-year-old might that she needs me to 1) feel better and 2) fall asleep. Am I suddenly going to break that bond because she can eat a turkey sandwich? No. Breastfeeding has nothing to do with food at this point. She will not starve nor develop insomnia but she will be sad, and as long as I have a breath in my body I will not allow one tear to roll down her cheek just so that I can “take a break”.
Whoa! Shit. I almost fell off my horse up there.
It’s dramatic and even defensive but when sharing this fact-of-life with friends recently I was told “So, it’s for you then, the breastfeeding.” Except labor, birth and motherhood, I can think of nothing that has been less about me than breastfeeding. I didn’t even know that could be a thing until it was said directly to me and then just a few days later I read it in Wendy Wisner’s 10 Myths About Breastfeeing Older Children!
6. “After a certain point it’s for the mom, not the child.” “You can’t make a child nurse. Really and truly. Kids do it because they want to. You probably know that kids have this built-in desire to suck when they’re little — that’s a biological urge that starts with nursing (and is alternately satisfied with bottles, pacifiers, and thumbs). Most moms who nurse their kids do enjoy the coziness, and the flood of happy hormones, but it can also sometimes be annoying and bothersome. No mom does it simply for herself: she does it because it makes her child happy, and that makes her happy.”
I definitely enjoy the coziness – I said this about Arlo too as he approached age three still nursing – it is one of the few times I get to lie down and be still with my child, all curled up together. “Enjoy” is an understatement – it’s fucking glorious is what it is and if I’m not completely overwhelmed, I even think of it as a privilege.
Also, Farrah, like her brother before her, is reaching the stage where her daily nap is not always daily and while breastfeeding doesn’t guarantee sleep, it increases the odds. In that respect I guess you could say I benefit from breastfeeding as I
like need some personal space come mid-day. Ultimately though, it is Farrah who dictates our breastfeeding relationship; she started it; only she can end it. I’m cool with that.
Am I losing my mind though, you (and my husband) may ask, never having had so much as a typical work day to myself? Most assuredly. When I say going to the movies was like walking on the moon, I mean less like Neil Armstrong’s first step and more like Sandra Bullock hallucinating in the pod.
It was so unfamiliar that it was unpleasant. That’s how far from normal I feel when separated from my children. Going to the movies was unpleasant. I wasn’t worried about the kids, I wasn’t even thinking about them; I was just uncomfortable and disarmed by being alone, to the point of nausea. I could see my future and it involved me in a robe, several cats and fishing for newspapers. Homebound and pining for my children in other words. It was a bit of a wake-up call.
Six years is a long time to fall off the face of the earth. The time of my children’s total dependence is coming to an end and rather than the reverse happening, I need to get out more, and more frequently. The day will come when I will take a day but maybe I’ll just try to go to the movies again this weekend.