Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Weaning and the Vibrating Massage Tool

            “Are you seriously going to breastfeed two kids at once?” I said to Michelle a couple of months ago.
            “Oh, Celia will probably wean herself when I hit my second trimester.” Michelle looked like she knew what she was talking about.
            I haven’t read all the books, so I’m totally at her mercy. If she tells me her breast milk gets more bitter in the second trimester, I think, “Sure, why not? It kind of makes sense.” This whole childbirth thing is like watching the science channel. Every day there’s a new little tidbit of information that sort of makes sense, but did I know that was the natural order of things before all of this? Most certainly not!
            Sure enough, Celia has been giving less and less time to the boob over the last few weeks. In fact, a couple of days ago Michelle told me, “She went to sleep without breastfeeding at all!” She had a huge grin on her face, reflecting my own.
            There are a lot of advantages to weaning early – most importantly, anyone can placate the child, not just Michelle. But the disadvantages are also plenty – much higher food bill, and the need to spend more effort making sure she’s getting all her proper nutrients. We can’t just feed her toast and cream cheese, this girl needs a balanced diet!
            Last night was a landmark. I went out to read one of my poems at a Christmas performance, and Michelle put Celia to bed, apparently with no problems whatsoever. The amazing thing is, Celia slept completely through the night!
            This is one of those huge moments that every parent dreams and longs for. A full night’s rest for both parents! Wow. It’s been fourteen months, but finally the day has arrived.
            This little girl is growing in leaps and bounds. Most recently it’s been psychological developments that amaze me. Yesterday she was running around the house happily, then all of a sudden burst into wails. I came running over to see that she had a little vibrating massage tool in her hands. I checked her fingers – nothing wrong.
            “What’s wrong?” I called to Michelle upstairs.
            “She got scared.”
            I looked at Celia with new appreciation and held her in my arms. I picked up the tool and pushed the side button to turn it off. Then on again. “Look Celia. On.” With the roller vibrating, I touched it to my cheek and made funny faces till she smiled. “On.”
            Then, I turned it off. “Off, Celia.” She looked at it, then at me. “You try.”
            She reached out and pushed the button. “On,” I told her, then did the little goofy thing on my face again till she smiled. By the ninth on/off shtick she was grinning again, and ready to be put down.
            As she weans, I think we’re going to see more independence develop, and also more need to be comforted when she encounters strange new things.
            I haven’t read this in any book. I just have a good sense of the obvious. And I’m going to make sure that I’m there for her to show her the down-to-earth nature of what probably feels alien and scary.
            Let’s face it, this is just another opportunity to be goofy with my kid. Can’t complain about that!

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