From day one, Will has been about one thing: FOOD.
It used to be that he was all about The Boob. I remember at three months, when he was still eating every 2 - 3 hours, thinking, "This kid will never give up The Boob." However, he found out that there was Big Boy food, and his love affair with The Boob was history.
It happened slowly.
At first, he made it through the night without a feed.
Then he dropped an afternoon feed.
Then a morning feed.
Then the last feed of the night.
Then another afternoon feed.
Soon, we were down to just one feed. It was the morning nurse that he still had to have. He was happy to see M when he came to get him out of his crib in the morning, but he was looking over his shoulder for me. Well, The Boob, anyway. I could give him a quick good morning hug, but it was really The Boob that he wanted.
Two weeks ago, as I was happily nursing Will, M asked, "So, when are you going to be done with This?"
This is such a small word that encompasses everything that nursing has come to mean to me. Now, please do not get me wrong. I totally get why nursing just doesn't work for some people, whether physically, emotionally, logically, or otherwise. I make no judgments on whether or not someone breastfeeds. I, myself, went into it not knowing how it would all go and vowing to make it until six weeks and then stop if it wasn't working out. We did the occasional supplemental bottle, especially in the early weeks when we were dealing with his jaundice, so I am all for formula.
But, as I have discussed ad nauseum here, nothing else about procreation, pregnancy, or childbirth came "naturally" to me. Nursing was the first time that I got to experience this whole baby business without drugs or needles or a doctor standing by. It was a quiet time of bonding with my son. Even on a day when I felt like an absolute failure as a new mom, The Boob always helped, both him and me. Nursing was as much for me as it was for Will.
I have been sad each time that he has dropped a feeding, and through the occasional nursing strikes. I have always came to the same conclusion: Let him be the guide. He'll tell us when he's done.
So, that's what I said to M two weeks ago. He was a little discomfited by that, as our agreement had always been that we would be done at a year. I discussed it with my mom friends and they were supportive, but also said that I needed to figure out when I was done, in case he never was.
I worried, stewed, and fretted, knowing that I would probably not be done for a very long time. I will admit to a brief vision in my head of nursing him right before kindergarten- okay, maybe not, but I didn't know when that magical time would come for me when I was ready to let go.
Turns out, that I didn't need to worry about it. As usual, Will is leading the way, showing me what he needs. The past few days, he has shown little to no interest in his morning nurse. It's been the same pattern every time he's dropped a feed, so I know what's coming.
This is it.