A while back, I wrote about finding myself nursing BlueEyes while I was pregnant with Little Brother. I thought that BlueEyes would wean himself when my milk would dry up due to my pregnancy. But that didn’t happen. BlueEyes didn’t seem to care whether there was milk or not, he would just continue to nurse. And the closer I got to Little Brother being born, the less I felt like weaning a toddler who would probably not stop nursing without a fuss. And I didn’t want BlueEyes to get the feeling that he was being replaced by the new baby. So now I find myself tandem nursing a toddler and a newborn.
It’s not that we don’t have certain rules. I taught BlueEyes pretty early on that if he wanted to nurse he wasn’t supposed to pull on my shirt, but he had to sign (before he could talk) or ask to nurse. And a little later, I imposed the rule that I counted back from 5 to 1 and then he had to stop nursing, to stop the endless nursing sessions he would have. And now we have the rule that Little Brother always nurses first (although this is still a hard one for BlueEyes) and that BlueEyes can only nurse in bed, so before and after sleeping.
So yeah, five years ago I didn’t even realize this was a thing: tandem nursing. But it is, and now you know it too.
You know how in science there’s this fine line between needing to reproduce previous results and not wanting to do something that someone else already did? I recently reproduced part of this work from Prof-like Substance and all I can say is:”WHY DIDN’T I BELIEVE HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?” Because OMG 2 children is definitely more than twice as much work as one. And I am in the luxury position that when I’m home by myself with Little Brother, BlueEyes is usually at daycare and when both of them are home Dr. BrownEyes is also home. Because I honestly don’t understand how people do this by themselves or have more than 2 children… And I don’t think I want to reproduce the rest of that graph from Prof-like Substance, because it seems that has already been done by others.
I really appreciate that my parents tried to raise us with gender-neutral toys. My brother and I both had a doll (my brother had a boy-doll and I had a girl-doll, with actual boy and girl bodyparts!), we both had legos and we both had musical instruments. Of course this only worked up to a certain level, because my brother liked building things with legos, while I like playing stories with the lego-people (and later I really liked my barbies). But I’m really grateful for the message that you can do the same thing whether you are a boy or a girl.
I think this was easier back in the 80s, judging from the type of legos adds you had then.
|I think this add is awesome, it instantly makes me want to play with legos!
Nowadays, in some stores it seems that gender-neutral toys are non-existent in some stores (check out this post from Dr. Isis for example). However, we do try to give BlueEyes the notion that you can play with whatever you want. He has a doll, pans to cook with (but in our house cooking is not necessary a women’s job anyway), and trains and cars.
But last weekend we went to get him a helmet for on his balance bike. At target they only have helmets with Disney princesses or with cars. And BlueEyes liked the pink one with Disney princesses the most. On the one hand I wanted him to be free to choose which one he wanted, but I was also a bit afraid about the judgment from the older kids in our neighborhood and the kids at his daycare. So in the end I persuaded him into thinking that the blue helmet with a car on it was more comfortable than the pink one with the Disney princesses and he happily agreed. But I still feel a bit bad about forcing him into society’s strait-jacket of gender-marketed toys. Where are the gender-neutral helmets, Target??!
Last weekend, Dr. BrownEyes was away to a conference and BlueEyes and I were home by ourselves. When he was very little, those days would feel kinda lonely: being by yourself with a little baby to me feels like being by myself, but constantly being busy taking care of the little baby. You’re talking to the baby, but the baby doesn’t respond, or even acknowledges that you say something.
Now that BlueEyes just turned two, those days when it’s just us feel so much different. By now he’s a little person, and even though he hasn’t mastered the art of putting two words together to form a sentence, he can talk about many things (and even joke!) just using one word at the time. So now those days feel like I’m hanging out with someone: going to the park or the pool or just the grocery store, while chatting about the things around us. And that little person is not just someone; he’s one of my favorite people in the world. It’s crazy and weird how fast that has changed.
Today I came across this beautifully written blog postabout how becoming a mother changes you and makes you miss or even say goodbye to the person you used to be. The person who could do whatever at any time she wanted. Go and read it, because renegademamawrites it WAY better than I ever could. It seriously made me cry when I read it.
I recently came to the weird realization that have a baby doesn’t mean having a little piece or version of yourself. It is actually another person who just came to live in your house too. Even though he may have grown in your belly (or not, it doesn’t even matter). In the beginning he’s just laying there, sleeping and feeding, but now he’s growing into an actual person, who does all the things that other people do. He says “No” if he doesn’t want things, and can all of a sudden say “Sushi” and eat 5 pieces of California roll for dinner. It’s awesome. And a little weird if I think about it too long.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m an impatient person. I’m that kind of annoying person that will email you if I haven’t heard back a week after I sent you a manuscript. I like to do things fast and efficient. I think this makes me a good (albeit annoying) scientist, but it makes a pretty crappy parent.
BlueEyes has gotten to that age when if he doesn’t like something he will throw himself on the floor crying. So this weekend, I spent 10 minutes that felt like an hour sitting on the sidewalk waiting for him to calm down after I told him that we were not going to cross the very busy street during our walk. Before that, I told him I was going to put his shoes on, but he didn’t want to wear those shoes, he wanted to wear his Crocs. This would have been fine, had there not been a good inch of snow outside. So it was kind of a struggle, and I haven’t even mentioned yet that all of this was done on a minimal amount of sleep, because for some unknown reason BlueEyes has been waking up even more frequently than normal for the past week.
So I try to stay calm and patient and kind and understanding and loving, even though I thought I was none of those things. Apparently I am and apparently this is what having a child does to you. It shows you that you have what it takes to raise this little person. On a good day, that is.