Monday, August 4, 2008

When your kids break your heart

Last week was a hard week. I weaned Penelope (22 months old) because I'm out of milk. Still.

I comfort nursed her as long as I could (for at least 4 months with really low or no milk) but I got to the point where the 'suck, suck suck, and no swallow' just was too painful (and at times irritating). It had nothing to do with being sore from the pregnancy, that sensitivity ended long ago. If you don't know what I mean "dry nursing" gets quite painful after a short while because there is no milk let-down and there is no swallow break between sucking. She was sticking it out though and didn't mind, and either did I until it continued to hurt and I'd get sharp pains in my breast from nursing too long --especially during the night stretches.

I've never been this sad about a child weaning. I'm not sure why. I have that 'she'll never nurse again she's so big now' gloomy feeling.

The actual weaning went smoothly. She was as ready as possible because she didn't fight it hardly at all. Had she fought it too hard I would have given in. But now it's been a week and she is sleeping so good at night with us (in her own bed in our room) and she's less clingy on me during the day and wants to be carried around less. My left hip/back is less sore because I don't have the added weight to carry around as often. But, I miss her. I cried a couple times last week and almost nursed her when she got a cold and got hurt. It's such a quick fix for everything. That bond is a powerful, powerful force. She brings me her baby dolls to nurse still but she hasn't asked to nurse since day 3 or 4 of our "official"weaning.

Layla weaned for a short time before Penelope was born (2-3 weeks) but then started nursing again when Penelope was born. So I'm half thinking that could happen again, and I might let it. I'll just have to see how it goes. Tandem nursing was really rewarding. Watching as Layla and Penelope -eyes closed and both nursing on a side- reached for each other and held hands is a image of mothering I'll never forget. And a feeling I'll never stop cherishing.

Ricky was really sweet and helpful last week. I laid down with Penelope and Layla and got them to sleep one night, then I got up unexpectedly and told Ricky I was so sad for weaning Penelope and started crying. He wrapped his arms around me and explained all the things I already knew. :) That my body was telling me something if it hurt that much, that she is doing great and that soon she'd be back to snuggling with me. (She hasn't been very snugly or affectionate since there's no nursies to draw her in!) All that made me feel better. Just having sympathy and hugs made me feel better.

I also feel "bad" that I'm "replacing" her with a new baby. Which I never felt that way with Layla and Penelope. So we talked about that too. I think what we have here is me realizing that this is the end of babies for me. For real. We said we were done with Penelope, but there was always this unspoken (and sometimes spoken) aura of another baby being out there for us. So lots of emotions right now, changes in life in general right now, and finally I'm seeing how fast these kids are growing up. I'm getting older and I feel it, and someday my babies -and kids- will be grown. It's all too much for a hormonal 37 week pregnant woman to think about.

To top it off Layla turned 4 last week. And made me cry 3 times! Layla is a very particular child. She's moody, fierce, and has fluctuating attitude "problems." (She's me when I was a kid!) I planned her two parties (one with her friends at playgroup, one at home with her dad because he could not come to playgroup). I worked really hard on planning her exactly what she wanted, getting her presents, Etc..

Well when I went to give her one early birthday present last week she threw it at me and said she didn't like it. (My kids just DO NOT do stuff like that! But she did.) Her dad talked to her about it and she said she was sorry. Then once more she was really hurtful/mean to me because I told her no and she pinched my belly and made me cry.

I was SO close to cancelling her playgroup birthday party but kept it on anyway. At her party she had a lot of fun but wouldn't tell anyone thank you, which bugged me, but she did say it was because she was too shy. It's so strange how she gets shy and embarrassed around others but at home she's a crazy person demanding attention! At least she expressed her feelings to me and didn't act up about it though. I just told everyone thank you for her like she asked me to.

The next day was her actual birthday (Aug 1) and we had a home party (just us) she was happy and having fun. Her dad got home and gave her a present. Then the boys and I decorated her cake (a surprise cake decorated with The Littlest Pet Shop birthday figures). We came out to sing to her and she wouldn't look at her cake. Apparently we caught her too off guard or something and she was quiet and didn't want to blow her candles out. She looked miserable. We helped her blow them out and they re-lit many times because they were trick candles. That made her giggle at least. Everyone ate cake and ice cream, she said she didn't like the cake... and I went to the bedroom and cried.

Nothing I can do will make this child happy sometimes. This has been since she was a newborn... this personality is NOTHING new it's just finally hurting my feelings to the point where I cry. When you give so much of yourself to your kids and then they treat you badly it just sucks and hurts so much...plus I'm more hormonal right now remember.

Ricky talked to her again after he heard me crying. She came into the room and looked sad, then cried and gave me a hug. So we cried for a bit together. Then we talked. I told her I just wanted to make her birthday special and I didn't think she liked it and she was being so mean. She wailed, "I do like it! I do!" And that made me feel better. She's been much better and kinder ever since. Ricky told me he did not tell her to come into the room and hug me or say sorry. He just told her I was very sad and why I was. So she did that all on her own. Which made me feel even better!

Penelope just now woke up and crawled onto my lap smiling. She put her head down on me briefly and then she wants up. I'm not ready for her to get up yet. She and I are still getting used to this new weaning thing. We both look at each other like we aren't sure what to do because morning nursing at the computer was something we did everyday FOR SO LONG. So now we need to get up and color a picture and get some juice.

Too many changes around here lately... it's okay. It's just so different.

3 comments:

Mist said...

Oh how well I relate to this post! Hang in there, and thank you for being so honest about your feelings toward your children. Sometimes it's difficult for us as mothers to admit that our feelings have been hurt by our children or that we'd like to have them be babies just a little bit longer.

I'm on my last pregnancy as well, my 4th child, and there's definitely a different feel to it. A finality that's not bad, but not altogether welcome either. Crazy.

Mist said...

Oh how well I relate to this post! Hang in there, and thank you for being so honest about your feelings toward your children. Sometimes it's difficult for us as mothers to admit that our feelings have been hurt by our children or that we'd like to have them be babies just a little bit longer.

I'm on my last pregnancy as well, my 4th child, and there's definitely a different feel to it. A finality that's not bad, but not altogether welcome either. Crazy.

MsByn said...

I felt very much the same about weaning and finally making that decision to stop having more children. I was really REALLY sad for two years. Mainly because it wasn't my decision, although I did agree to it, finally. After 5 kids, my Dh was just too overwhelmed and stressed.

At any rate, even though I ached and longed for those baby days again, there came a time when something clicked, and I felt... I don't know, 'healed' from that hurt and as much as I enjoyed the baby years (and I really REALLY did), I am fine with having no babies. I am SO fine that I just adore these years where my youngest turns 8 next month and all of my kids are so much older (my oldest turns 17 next month!!) and I'm enjoying THIS 'phase' even more than I enjoyed the first phase.

I never EVER thought that would happen! This parenting thing is amazingly wonderful... how each year just gets better:) I love my kids so much. Its wonderful to hear someone else enjoy their kids so much!