Thursday, November 19, 2009

Boob Besotted

            Michelle must be exhausted, because she actually decided yesterday to try to sleep train Celia again. I say “again” because we already sleep-trained her once successfully, but then she un-learned everything when she got sick a few months ago and Michelle calmed her at night by breastfeeding.
            Lo and behold, it’s now a few months down the road, and Celia has kept up this little routine, pinning Michelle down to scheduled nursing episodes a few times a night. It’s interesting to me, as a dad, how subtly and sneakily this all happened, because I remember the last time Michelle finally snapped and decided to sleep-train Celia. She had been utterly exhausted and had gotten to that point where it didn’t matter how much Celia cried, Michelle was going to sleep.
            Well, it’s been at least three months now where we don’t have to hear much crying. As soon as there’s a little peep, out comes the breast and the baby is placated. But now that Michelle’s pregnant you can see the toll this is taking on her by looking in her eyes. I know she can’t take it much longer.
            Last night we’d just finished watching a movie downstairs with a friend when Celia started crying. Michelle said, “You calm her down. If it’s me she’ll just want the boob.”
            It’s funny that she now calls it “the boob,” because early on with Celia I used to tell my friends about Michelle “breastfeeding” and she said, “I’d like you to use the term ‘nursing’ because it draws less attention to my boobs.”
            “Okay,” I said. But over time her sensitivity (or sensibility?) crumbled, to the point where she just pops it out at Celia’s demand. I’m sure people in public places have seen them. It’s like she’s gotten to the point of weariness where it doesn’t matter anymore.
            Anyway, back to the story. I went up to check on Celia and change her diaper. She was happy to see me at first, but soon realized that there was no “boob” forthcoming, and started to freak out. She wailed and wailed, no matter what I did. I tried our older tactic of saying, “Goodnight,” and walking downstairs, but ten minutes later she was freaking out even more.
            “Go take your shower,” I told Michelle. “I’ll deal with it.”
            Michelle left and I went upstairs again. I tried rocking her. Singing to her. Nothing. She was hyperventilating at this point, so I brought her to my bed, turned on the light, and started reading a story to her.
            Finally, she started to calm down. She’s a sucker for a good book. But even so, she’d occasionally have to catch her breath for the next few minutes. The sobs had been so deep, even though she wanted to be calmed she had some leftover sobs that kept revving from all that built-up momentum.
            By the time Michelle finished her shower, I just handed Celia over and said, “Back to the boob.” Michelle nodded. We’ll give it another shot later, I suppose. For now, there is a comfort in knowing that she has a magic weapon that can placate our daughter in a matter of minutes.
            It’s so easy. So tempting. But of course, at the 3am feeding I’m sure Michelle will be thinking once again, “We’ve got to get this kid off the boob.”

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