Wednesday, 29 May 2013

10 months.....

.....And I'm a little bit heartbroken. Laurie has had his final breast feed. I always thought I'd be happy to give up. After all it can be a bit of a chore and nursing bras are indescribably disgusting. 

But when it came to actually giving him a cup of milk instead of snuggling up for our bedtime feed I needed to cry quite a bit. I didn't then and there of course, but later I did, once he went to sleep, hardly noticing the change and probably very pleased that he could actually hear Daddy reading Winnie the Pooh for a change.

Breastfeeding is this hugely amazing thing that I'm so thankful I was good at and able to do. I'm not evangelical about it, it's not for everyone, but it worked for us. I feel so proud that not only did I build my boys inside me, but I kept on building them - just me (and a lot of Green & Blacks) for six whole months. Even when I started to wean them I knew if they didn't eat as much as they should they'd be ok because I could feed them everything they needed.  

Stopping is so bittersweet. I am beyond happy to have my body back after all I feel like I've been pregnant or breast feeding for the last four years. But I will miss looking down at my sweet little baby, stroking his soft hair, feeling his little hand wrap around my finger for an extra bit of comfort, watching him relax, seeing him get fixated on the stitches of my jumper as he feeds, and that beautiful, dozy, milk-drunk state and the big cuddle at the end.

Letting go of that final feed was to give him his first true bit of independence - he doesn't physically need me anymore - and that's just heartbreaking. With Rufus I was more stoical. We were already planning to have another baby so it seemed less of a wrench. This time it's not just breastfeeding I'm saying goodbye to, it's babies. Laurie is my last baby, and while I'm happy with that decision it still makes me sad. I'll never feed another baby. That part of my life is over. I'm saying goodbye to my babies and becoming the mummy to two boys instead.

I know they need me still in so very many ways but that special thing that was just us, that no one else could do is gone and I'm grieving for it more than I thought I would. 

I'm trying to hold on to my baby in other ways and cherise every moment. Like when he crawls into my lap and tries to pull himself up face to face. When he's too tired to get there he lies his head in my lap for a rest, and I stroke his hair and scoop him up so he can tweak my nose and pull my hair like he wants to.

Or when he wakes up from a nap and just wants to lie on my chest for a minute and hear my heart beating. 

I know this is the first in a very, very long line of letting go's and I don't imagine for one minute it gets easier. I'm just trying to remind myself that wherever they are, whatever they're doing and however old they are they'll actually always be my babies inside and I'll always be their mummy - inside, outside, shouting from the rooftops. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Rufus two years and 11 months (but also eight weeks, 10 months, one year and four months)
Laurie nine and a half months (but also six weeks, four months and seven and a half months)

One summer, long enough ago that I don't really want to work out exactly how long ago it was, I took a women's writing course at UCLA. I got to sit in one of those desks with a table attached to them which would be an utter nightmare if you're left handed (although I'm sure they do left handed ones these days). I got to see where they filmed Buffy every single day because I lived right there on campus, I got to watch "soccer" games and go to Santa Monica on the bus. And I got to read a whole lot of American women's literature.

That was the first time I read Eleven a short story by Sandra Cisneros. At the time it was just another story in a long old list to get through before I could do yoga under the pine trees, go to Jamba Juice or sit by the pool. The second time I read Eleven was last week on a blog I came across and this time it hit me in the stomach and rang bells in my ears.

There have been times recently when I've found myself silently screaming in my head "Rufus - you are not a baby stop acting like one." Or "Laurie, for goodness sake you're nearly 10 months old not 10 weeks old go to bloody sleep."

I've been on a quest for more patience for all but about two of the years I've spent in this world and Eleven might just be helping me get some. I'm trying to remember the words of wise old Sandra every time my silent or sometimes not so silent screams well up in my mind/throat. I try to think that  when Rufus wants to hang off my leg it's just because actually my tall, lanky, gregarious almost-three-year-old boy is still somewhere underneath the shy little 10 month old who didn't like to leave my side. And that when Laurie wakes up in the night it's because he's still a little bit of that chunky, curled up newborn boy who just wants me to cuddle him and sniff his head which curiously always smells like biscuits.

And I try to give myself a break too, because sometimes I'm still the 21 year old me who makes me cringe when she speaks,  or the petulant two year old me that just wants to keep all the toys to myself and not share with Rufus when he's being horrid. I'm still the 28 year old me who desperately wants to lie in bed on a Sunday morning only to drag myself for a pub lunch and an afternoon nap. And I'm sure Mr Jones would agree that for at least one week a month I am very much my hormonal 13 year old self who hated boys and everything they stood for.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

And he's off

Laurie started crawling last week. Well I say crawling, but it's more of a tummy based heave, not dissimilar to what I'd imagine a WWII soldier dragging himself from the trenches with a sniper wound to one leg would look like. He's getting around anyway. Swiping Lego, breaking up puzzles, pouncing on the cat.

Rufus is less excited than the rest of us by this achievement, he stands and watches him and then says, in voice with just a touch of sarcasm : "we'll done Laurie". Every time I expect him to add: "you can sort of crawl, how totally not amazing, now sod off and leave my Lego alone." But luckily he hasn't.

Laurie has also reached nine months. This next stage is my favourite, nine to 18 months is when little people appear, walking, talking, laughing and being fun. I have three months left and I'm back to work. Which is sad because I know the best bits are coming. But then he'll be two and I'll be desperate to have others to share the tantrums while I sit eating cake in the semi civilised world of the office.

Laurie reaching nine months has also prompted the start of the "when are you having number three" chat. As a mother of boys I'm always asked if I going to try for a girl. Like that's even possible. Like if it were I wouldn't have ordered one in the first place - mainly because I had no idea how lovely boys are.

I have momentary panics when I flash forward 10 years and my house is full of teenage boys. That smell of lynx deodorant that never quite does it's job, combined in a heady mix of feral hormones, dirty sock and gawky too-big bodies. I'm not sure I want tribes of their friends lounging on my sofas playing video games and farting into the cushions. And I'm quite frankly terrified of what I might find in their bedrooms. Though actually it's already started - I was making Rufus' bed the other day when I noticed a mark on the wall - upon closer inspection I realised it was a collection of bogies. When confronted he said "I was making you a picture mummy!"

Sometimes I think it might be nice to have some girlyness amongst all that testosterone. I'll miss the fripperies, the hair clips, the bracelets and My Little Pony, crafting afternoons and tutus with stripy tights. But do I really want to swap lynx for impulse? Hormonal boys for PMT and I-hate-my-mum tantrums? For door slamming, boy angst and nail varnish in the carpet? Probably not.

I adore my boys and for now I get to be the centre of their world. What makes me sad is that one day they won't be mine anymore. Some girl will come and steal their hearts away from me - and while I hope they'll be happy I know I'll be a bit bereft. Without a girl I won't get to plan another wedding or be mother of the bride, I'll have to work hard to make friends with the women who are breaking my heart but hopefully making my sons happy. And I will try hard to keep them close without stepping on toes.

But still all of this couldn't entice me to have another baby. For one, it could be another boy to break my heart a bit more. Because you can't help but love boys, they're so cuddly and sweet and far less independent than girls. They seem to need their mummy more. For two, I don't think my body nor my mind could cope with another pregnancy. The sickness still haunts me and my stretch marks and crepey tummy are a daily reminder of the perils of being that fat again.

No. I'm done. My family is complete. I await the stench of lynx with open arms and imagine myself at 40 in bed with a book while daddy takes them to play some form of sport in the rain and all the mum's of little girls are sat in a cold ballet

Just please someone take me shopping so I don't suddenly decide that it 's ok to live in track suits and not own accessories.
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