The bee that stayed still
“Ares eat it.”
“Noooo, we’re not eating it, because we don’t know what it is.”
Saturday morning. 7am or thereabouts. “Nursing! Nursing!” he hollers, so open mouth, insert boob. Then he stands atop my preternally flat pillow, holding onto the bedframe for support, hovering over me, stepping on my hair and tells me he’s wet. For some reason, his night diaper has leaked, a rarity. Bleary-eyed, I strip him, carelessly flinging his damp sleeper and onesie and soaked diaper in front of the closet and feel my way to said closet to fish out his spotted onesie, olive green animal shirt and the mid-blue monster undies to change him into. I feebly attempt to open my eyes a little wider so I don’t walk into the already-wrinkled placenta print hanging on the wall at the foot of the bed.
I’m able to buy myself a little more shut-eye by convincing him to get his new tractor book from the library, since Raspberry, who has also awoken at this ungodly hour, has dashed out to get some books to read in bed. Yes, she dashes everywhere, even at 7am. “Get him some books too,” Lucas calls to her. She brings him a two Baby-sitters Club books. “I meant some books he can read,” Lucas chides. Beside me, I can hear him rifling through the yellowed pages of one of the Baby-sitters Club books, before he finally goes to get the tractor book.
To think that he’ll sit in bed with the book for another fifteen minutes is wishful thinking. Soon enough, it’s “Dawnie, wake up. Dawnie, wake up,” on repeat, until I get annoyed enough to literally roll out of bed to shut him up, because there’s little other way I can get out of it these days. He wants me to carry the tractor book for him out to the living room because it’s too heavy.
As always, raisins in his pink bowl at the little white table. With a metal spoon. He scoops out two large handfuls of raisins, littering the table and floor with a couple. As he bends down to pick them up, I surreptiously smuggle several back into the jar, because I think he’s got way too many this morning. They’re the expensive organic raisins and they have to last. He catches me in the act and like the fantastic parent that I am, I lie through my teeth tell him I was just helping him pick up some that he dropped. He doesn’t protest when I set down his little red polka-dotted cup of full of soy milk. Some days, he claims he doesn’t want any, but drinks it anyway. Toddlers are such enigmas. I’m glad this morning, he doesn’t yell about wanting to pour the milk by himself, hoofing it to the fridge to grab the carton with both his tiny hands, shaking it up and then spending five minutes trying to unscrew the lid so that he can pour the milk out into his miniscule cup with way too many glugs. He’s been foregoing his usual banana, as the bananas are currently too ripe for his liking, but he wants one today. I pass him the hand of three spotted bananas and he selects the one with the most dark lines on its skin. With a great deal of effort, he attempts to separate it from the others, but the ripe, fibrous stalk won’t give, even with his Herculean effort. “Do you want some help?” “No, Ares does it.” And he does.
I settle on the couch and wrap myself in the brown fleece blanket. Thankfully, it covers the enormous gaping hole in the knee of my pajama pants. I really should fix that. It’s a little chilly, but the heat’s not kicking on despite the windows having been slightly open all night. My eyes drift shut every so often, because I don’t do 7am (granted, it’s probably about 7:30am now, but I don’t do that either). Interestingly, when I was half my age, when all the normal kids were sleeping in, I was up and rarin’ to go this early in the morning. But that was a golden, pimply age before children, before I would happily sacrifice sleep at night in favour of several blissful hours all to myself.
Raisins and milk done, and half a banana abandoned on the dining table, he climbs up beside me and I offer him the second blanket, which he happily lets me drape over his legs. I can’t imagine the cold faux leather on his bare legs must be too comfortable, but he’s not complaining. He points to Nibbles: The Book Monster, by Emma Yarlett, which was sitting on the couch amongst a pile of books from last night. I don’t think he understands the fairy tale pieces but he likes the jagged holes the monster has made in the pages. We go through that, and then Fiona Roberton’s A Tale of Two Beasts; Dr Seuss’ The Eye Book; Emily Gravett’s Tidy (“Pete,” he calls this book, because of the main character. It takes me a couple of tries to figure out what he meant when he said he wanted to read Pete);” Steve Antony’s I’ll Wait Mr Panda; and Ciara Flood’s Those Pesky Rabbits. I toss each finished book beside me and as a pile forms, the books slide off the cushion that’s propping them up, creating a domino-like formation. It’s been a while since we last read so many books this early in the morning. I ask him if he wants Paul Bright’s The Hole Story, but he requests Genichiro Yagyu’s The Holes in Your Nose instead. The latter may have a page about royal underwear, but the latter has boogers, nose hair and a snotty gorilla. I grab Rosie Revere, Engineer off the shelf too, as I don’t remember the last time we read it. Eight books in one sitting is quite a feat and he gets restless. We almost made it to the end of Rosie Revere, save for two pages. My legs are stiff from having been in more or less one position for so long.
Raspberry emerges from the bedroom wanting breakfast and of course, he wants breakfast too, because two toddler handfuls of raisins, half an almost-too-ripe banana and an espresso-sized cup soy milk do not constitute a proper meal. Faced with the daily dilemma over what to give picky children for breakfast, I come up with the idea to have crepes, except we’ve neglected to pen the recipe into our book and it’s just floating somewhere out there in the digital universe. It’s well past nine now, and I go into the bedroom to see if Lucas has bookmarked the recipe somewhere. I can’t believe Ares and I have already been up for two hours. Despite having the whole bed to himself, Lucas is on his side, almost on the edge. “I’ll get up and make them,” he says, of the crepes. “Thank goodness,” I think to myself.
The epic pre-bedtime meltdown, spurred by my telling him to pee before bed.
Twenty-four weeks, four days
My nursing aversion was particularly intense tonight. Ares woke up as I tried to put him down on the couch. Usually, I’d enlist Lucas’ help to slide a pillow under him on my lap, but seeing that he was intently planning tomorrow’s class, I decided I would do it myself. This, of course, turned out to be a terrible idea, since Ares woke up barely ten minutes after initially falling asleep and demanded to nurse, which is all well and good, except that it took him ages to fall back into a deep sleep, which meant that he was nursing repeatedly for what felt like eons. And it’s not a good thing to feel like there’s an army of bugs marching all over your nipples when you nurse, and the only sensation you feel is a clawing itch that makes you want to remove your breasts by any possible means. Every attempt I made to slide a pinkie in so as to extricate myself was met with a wailing protest, “Nursing! Nursing!” he would howl, his eyes still shut. With my frustration bubbling over as the minutes ticked by (I heard Lucas’ watch beep ten o’clock and groaned both inwardly and outwardly), I was only too relieved when he finally allowed me to drape him over my shoulder and rub his back to fall asleep. Thank goodness he was nowhere near my nipples.
Weeks ago, nursing was simply unbearable because of the intense pain when Ares latched on. I’d wince every time we nursed (and it wasn’t even that often) and I dreaded the latch. Lucas tried to be supportive, reminding me to breathe whenever I squeezed my eyes shut in pain. Easy for him to say! When asked about it, the midwife said by the second trimester, my hormones should stabilize and it might not hurt as much any more. Well, she was partly right — I don’t get the searing pain and it doesn’t hurt as much. Um, yay?
It was actually almost exactly a month ago when upon investigation, I confirmed my worst suspicions that my milk had dried up. When I mentioned it to Ares, he suckled for a little bit, stared at the nipple and declared nonchalantly, “No milk today.” It would be a phrase he’d repeat every so often in the days following. It was around this time (or really, the week or two before) that we noticed Ares’ appetite had dramatically increased — he’s consuming about three times as much as he did before! At some meals, he actually eats more than Raspberry does. Who knew he was getting so much from breastmilk?!
Despite his increased food consumption, he still nurses about twice a day, sometimes more. He still night nurses, and also does so at bedtime. Occasionally, he’ll ask to nurse during the day, if we’re at home, or he might nurse to nap. I’m determined not to wean him, despite the pain and the aversion, as I believe he still benefits from breastfeeding. He may not be anything like Raspberry, who seized every chance she could to nurse, but he seems quite happy to continue. I’m sure he’ll be even happier when the colostrum finally comes in, whenever that will be. I know I’ll certainly be happier, especially if it means I don’t have that itching, scratchy sensation that accompanies a toddler’s mouth latched on to my nipple (I wonder if that’s a result of dry nursing?). My goal is to tandem-nurse after the baby’s born. In the meantime, I suppose I just need to grit my teeth and bear it, pains and aversions and all.
Breakfast, while the apple was getting crushed, before the bowl went flying on to the ground.