Saturday, February 06, 2010

Another Milestone

At 19.5 months and with a little gentle encouragement from me, Ella has nearly weaned. She hasn't asked to nurse during the night for a week (and she did still wake up), and tonight was the first time she has fallen asleep at bedtime without nursing. She asked a couple of times, but settled for a sip of milk instead. I expect her to continue asking for a while, but I think within two weeks time she will be fully weaned.

I have a mixture of emotions about it. Mostly I'm proud - proud that we nursed this long and proud that the transistion from nursing to sleep to cuddling to sleep has gone smoothly over all. There have been some rough nights when we had to back up a step, but she has handled it amazingly well. That is more a testament to her readiness than anything I did through the process. I also have a little anxiety because nursing fixed so many things, but when I look back over the last few months I can see we have already started finding alternatives when she doesn't feel good or just needs some one-on-one time. There's a little bit of sadness at the fact that we started weaning when she was finally able to use a word to ask to nurse. There's a little worry that she's no longer receiving my antibodies, and thus extra support for her immune system. And finally, there's satisfaction.

I'm so glad I continued nursing her past a year. Nursing a newborn is intense - intensely emotional, intensely time-consuming, intensely confusing, intensely satisfying, and intensely empowering. But, nursing an older baby into toddlerhood is just fun.

If there is one thing I'm struggling with about this transition to a new phase of our relationship, it's my identity. That sounds crazy, I know, but the first thing I identify with about being a parent is "nursing mother". Now, when that thought pops into my head, I have to remind myself, "Oh yeah, I'm not really anymore." It's a lot like my small identity crisis when I weaned from pumping for her when she started drinking cow's milk. I'll move past it. Weaning doesn't mean she needs me any less; it just means she needs me differently. We are at the start of the next phase of our relationship.

Farewell sweet nursling, hello beautiful, little girl.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bye Bye January

January was a horrible month for us, so I am happy to see it gone. Ella was sick and working on three new teeth that still aren't in yet, I was sick, and work was ridiculously overwhelming for me and Dave both. We are hoping February will be better. Two days in, and we seem to be on track.

This is the first time in two months that I've had access to my blog from work, so I thought I'd do a quick update while I stuff chicken tacos down my throat and think about something besides the thousand work things swimming in my head.

Ella's vocabulary continues to expand, and now she can finally tell me when things are wrong, such as "teeth hurt" or "eat". It's wonderful. Her memory and ability to understand things still amaze me. She really doesn't forget anything. She's becoming more and more independent, which means she wants to help with things around the house. She takes her laundry to the basket, cleans up her spills with a dishtowel, throws away any trash she makes or finds, and helps load/unload the dishwasher. She is starting to use the potty now, too. Last week, by her choice, she started going bottom-naked around the house so that she can easily use her potty, and she's doing really well with it. She now consistently asks to get out of the tub at night to potty, and even when we are out of the house, she asks to potty before she will go in her diaper. I'm very excited about this development.

Her hair is finally long enough to put it in pig tails and she really doesn't look babyish at all anymore - except maybe when she's sleeping. She's become a little girl right before my eyes. I'm loving every minute of watching her do or say something new every day.