Dear Offspring, you are two and a half years old today.
Today began suspiciously similar to the day you turned one and a half, the digital commemoration of which I read this morning, whilst you once again pinned me down and drained my life force as your first act of the day (META!). Unlike last year, however, now I have begun to envision the day when you don’t begin every morning with an aggressive and oft-aggrieved nursing session. I mean, you’re two and a half. Almost all of your peers left nursing behind long ago. Their parents all do a good job of pretending that whatever we do is cool, like they’re evolved feminist adults who respect other people’s breastfeeding choices, but I can tell that they’re all secretly (or not-so-secretly) wondering why we haven’t given this particular habit the boot as of yet. The answer is pretty simple. Nursing is still the most important thing in your life (tied as it is for #1 with the other important things in your life, which are ducks, costume jewelry, trying to climb the television, and running through the SPRINK-KEE-LER with glee until you realize YOUR HAIR IS WET! YOUR HAIR IS WET! and react accordingly).
If I’d wanted to wean you, I guess I should have done so two years ago, before you were old enough to know what was going on. In this imaginary version of events, you would have accepted a bottle (ha), and then had the bottle swapped out for the breast in increasing increments like “normal” people do it (ha), and since you never did something as UNACCEPTABLE and DISORDERED as nurse to sleep, and instead were put in your crib (HA HA) “drowsy but awake” (HA HA HA HA HA) from birth, this would have worked out great.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. As anyone who has ever met you can attest, you have the most intense (really, bordering on pathological) attachment to nursing in the known universe, and have since you were an hour old, really since before then; when I was too hopped up from getting you hacked out of my body with a knife for the first forty-five minutes of your life to nurse you properly, you were PISSED. AT. ME.
You still nurse to sleep to this day, at night and when you deign to nap, which has become less and less frequent, either because you’re growing out of napping or because our trip to the west coast for the summer threw you into such disarray that you decided to exact revenge. (Maybe you’re still pissed about me “waiting” 45 minutes to nurse you after you were born and you’re playing the long game.)
So that is how I ended up with a two-and-a-half year old who yesterday thrust a copy of her grandparents’ pinko magazine of choice into my face and proclaimed LET’S READ THE NATION! (you then got tripped up on the headline DEMOCRACY BESIEGED, but you gave it the college try), but who also still nurses and still regards the toilet with utmost suspicion. We’ll get there eventually.
Our breakthrough this month was that we had a long talk a few weeks ago about how Big Girls Don’t Nurse In the Restaurant (with “The Restaurant” standing in for all establishments that are not home). Upon your successful completion of a teat-free meal at the Glenwood, I strolled you over to the University of Oregon bookstore and bought you a “prize:” a massive oversized rubber ducky (quickly dubbed Squeaky) and a green-and-yellow pom-pom. These were the material-consumerist sealing of our sacred deal, our first ever conscious compromise: You now Only Nurse At Home. (To commemorate the august occasion, I got myself a prize too: two new brassieres of the distinctly non-nursing variety. Hallelujah!)
Speaking of which, here’s something you will definitely want to read about someday: YOUR MOM’S MONTHLY TIME. The only thing worse than having debilitating cramps and other sundry painful period symptoms is having to deal with that shit while chasing after a fucking toddler, so for the past two and a half years the Gods of Lady Curses had seen fit not to bless me with that particular blessed blessing since your birth. (Another excellent side effect of way-old super-aggressive nursing.) Until, for reasons I still don’t quite comprehend, this past month, whereupon I was returned to True Womanhood by way of–wait for it–debilitating pain and fatigue. Why am I telling you this? Why is this relevant? OH IT IS. Here’s why: Because until two weeks ago, you hadn’t had the occasion to see a tampon up close (or at all), and now you are fascinated by them. What’s more, for reasons neither your father nor I understand, you have made up a name for them: CLOODLES. (This spelling was phonetic. I asked: “How you spell ‘cloodles’?” and you told me DAT’S TOO HARD!) Anyway, you like to take the Cloodles and line them up, and then “draw” with them on the wall. Since they are wrapped up in plastic and don’t actually mark the wall, this is actually an excellent development.
And now, speaking of excellent development (that does not have to do with my boobs or vajayjay), this last month has brought a preponderance of INTERESTING SINGS, as you call them. You’ve figured out that Legos are fun, and can spend up to an hour (AN HOUR!!!!!!) fully engrossed, building STUFF AND SINGS with them. Until about a week ago, your repertoire consisted of A VERY TALL TOWER, but now you have branched out into all sorts of stuff, including houses and beds for your various animals. You have started asking A LOT of questions about what is going on around you, some of which you know the answers to (WHAT EVERYBODY TAKING? A BITE!!!!), and some of which you don’t (WHAT SHE DOING? WHAT THEY DOING? WHAT SHE EATING? WHAT HE PLAYING AT? WHAT ‘FRUIT SALAD’ MEAN? WHAT ‘FRUIT’ MEAN?). You are still mostly uninterested in playing with other kids, but make a lot of remarks about them once they’re gone (WE SAW ASHER! WE SAW COUSIN ASHER! ASHER IS A BABY!).
The other day you got obsessed with playing with my wedding rings, and a discussion of who’s married to what ensued. In case anyone was wondering, I’m married to TOYS, your father is married to SINGS, and you, of course, are married to EVERYSING. You still get pretty irate when you don’t get what you want, but your father and I are getting much better at respecting your feelings whilst still sticking to the extremely few guns we have (NOT LITERAL GUNS). Someday when you’re an adult, and you buy and fill your own kiddie pool, you can go in that kiddie pool at 11:30 at night to your heart’s content, young lady, but while you’re under our roof (er…my parents’ roof, actually), you’ll…well, you get my drift.
Our days here in Eugene are good.
You spend many mornings down exploring the Willamette River with YOUR FAZZER, or being spirited around town with your grandma to adventures at the Raptor Center (giant birds, not dinosaurs) and the Science Factory.
We go swimming at the YMCA, or we fill the aforementioned kiddie pool in the backyard and you whoop it up back there, tearing around the yard (alas, destroying your grandmother’s plants–we’ll pay to replace them, Mom), often bare-assed, just bursting with the particular joy that can only come from an Oregon summer well-lived. You are bigger, wiser, funnier, kinder, more daring and more pensive by the day. You are barreling toward three. You are a thirty-five-pound package of pure unadulterated human joy, exhausting as ever, impossible to quantify and contain, but triumphant.