I experienced a lot of emotions today. I felt more than I expected to feel but then again you never know what to expect when you journey through each passage from babyhood. With each breath they take and every night that passes you assist them in leaving you, in shedding any memory of their constant dependence, until one day they stand free.
Today, we celebrated a big passage for Camden. We celebrated her weaning off of the breast (at almost three years old that makes Camden and I very rare in America). It was her final hold on babyhood and she has officially let it go. We’ve lightly attempted weaning her a couple of times but she was never ready before. With her personality type I figured it may be best to go cold turkey. She doesn’t do well with dragging things out. So, Tuesday morning while we were getting ready to wake up I broached the subject like I have been for about the last 6 months. This time I could sense that she was ready. I asked her if she wanted to make this the last time we nursed and she said yes. I told her that if she wanted to be finished we could celebrate with a “weaning party” the next day.
So we had our last nursing session. I tried to memorize it. Tried to make it special. Tried to lock it deep in my heart so I would never forget. She lingered a lot longer than normal and in the end said a very dramatic good-bye to each one. It suits her, she is a very dramatic girl.
We moved forward a lot smoother than I had expected. She fell asleep in the car while doing an errand and I was able to transfer her to her bed just fine. That night she went to bed easily. She did ask for “nee nee” once but I reminded her that she was done and that we’d have her party in the morning. No tears, no protest. Wow, this might be it.
Next morning she shows up in my bedroom and hops into bed. “Can I have just oooonnneee nee nee?” she asks. “We’re all done with nee nee.” I say. “Today is your weaning party!” She smiles and says “hooray!” She looks at me with puppy dog eyes. “Just a little bit of nee nee?” I smile back, “how about some chocolate milk?” She dashes off the bed, “Ok!” Hmm, this is really working. No tears yet.
We get some breakfast and set off to make her a cake for her party. This is where I enter the point of no return. I have officially crossed over from one of those mainstream people trying to be crunchy (hippie) to someone who will never be accepted as mainstream again. I am most definitely, 100%, without a doubt, one of those people. Today, I made my daughter a cake in the shape of breasts. If it weren’t for the fact that it was my own daughter I would be shaking my own head at myself. Who does that? Well, me I guess. As long as I don’t have to smell and I can shave I guess I will consent that I am a “hippie” as my husband so adamently tries to convince me. He tries as best as he can to stay in his mainstream world and rolls his eyes at mine every now and again. Oh well, he’s coming this way whether he likes it or not. Mwha ha ha.
Yes, she is baking and babywearing at the same time. That’s my girl!
While the cake is baking and I’m cleaning up Mariah Carey is playing in the background. Camden is dancing and asks me to join her. The song “You’ll Always Be My Baby” is playing. As I’m dancing like a fool I realize that the words are amazingly representative of my current emotions and I fight back the urge to tear up as we spin out of control in the playroom. It is hard not to want to wrap up that moment and repeat it over and over.
Anyway, I finish the cake and then it is time to get Camden down for a nap. Hmm. Normally she falls asleep nursing or falls asleep in the car while I’m doing errands and then I transfer her to her bed. I don’t have time to do errands because I have to get the house clean before the party. I attempt to utilitze the bedtime routine for naptime. I read her some stories and sing her a song and tell her it is time to go to sleep. She looks at me incredulously. “I want nee nee.” Crap. Here comes the breakdown. I take a deep breath and put on a happy face. “We’re having your weaning party today!” I remind her happily. “Would you like water or Kix?” She stares at me for a minute. “I don’t want a nap.” Phew. This turned into a battle for naptime and not nursing. I was able to convince her that I would set the timer and she could come out when it went beep, beep (an old method we used to teach her how to go to sleep by herself). It worked. She was out within 15 minutes.
She woke up from her nap happy as can be and was excited for her party. We got ready to go and met a few of our friends at the local Children’s Museum. It was our first time ever going and the kids had a blast.
After the fun at the museum we headed back to our house and ate snacks and had cake. I placed 3 candles on the cake. One candle to represent each year of our nursing relationship (we are just shy of 3 years). One of my friends convinced me that the cake needed nipples. We added some hippie M&M’s (dye free). Wow. The cake reminds me of the Friends episode where Rachel has a bakery make her daughter’s first Birthday cake in the shape of a bunny with her daughter’s picture on it. Except the bakery screws up and puts her daughter’s picture on a cake in the shape of a penis. All I could think of was Joey’s line of “is it bad that I want to eat this?” LOL.
After the cake, we celebrated by painting Camden’s and my friend’s daughters fingernails. A very big girl thing to do that would solidify her passage to being a big girl. She received gifts from our friends of fingernail polish and a fairy skirt for dress up. It was a wonderful day and I am thankful that I have friends that are weird enough to want to celebrate it with us. :)
This evening Camden went to sleep without any struggles. It looks like the weaning will be official. I am both relieved and a little achy to hold onto this last stage of babyhood. It’s hard knowing that your baby is ready to move on. I do my best to know when to step aside and let her find her way. I try to trust her enough to let me know when to nudge her forward and when to grab her hand again. So far she knows herself better than I ever could and to me that means I’m doing something right.
Here is a link to our first attempt at a weaning party.