I know my daughter loves me very much.
But there are certain parts of me she loves maybe a little TOO much.
I am really proud of the fact that my daughter is closing in on 16 months now, and she is still nursing. I find that nursing past a child’s one year birthday these days is a real rarity among mommies. Sometimes I get the “are you crazy?” from other mothers who nursed their own children maybe three months, or six months tops (most I’ve spoken with gave up either when they went back to work or when their babies’ first teeth started emerging, which are both perfectly logical reasons). I just assure them that for me extended-breastfeeding has been a source of mama-baby bonding that I wouldn’t give up for the world.
That having been said, I sure would like to wean Emmy by the time she turns two.
And that having been said, it sure would be nice if she were at least night-weaned by now.
And that having been said, it would be REALLY great if Emmy weren’t TOTALLY booby-obsessed. You see, while other toddlers have binkies, blankies, wubbies, and noonies (I made that one up, but it sounds like something a child would love) to turn to as sources of comfort, my beautiful girl wants to hold mama’s boobies. All… the… time. Oh, but she doesn’t just want to FEEL mama’s boobies. She wants to take them out of mama’s shirt and play with them.
When I go to pick Em up from daycare, the first thing she does is put her hand down my shirt. Even If I am wearing a winter jacket, a zip-up-sweater, a button up shirt, a tank-top and a bra, she will somehow squirm her hand down and through all the layers upon layers of fabric until she has found what she has been looking for. She is a pint-sized girl on a super-sized mission. Sometimes I feel like saying “Hey, Em. Mommy’s got a face too, y’know?!”
When we go to the supermarket on the weekend, Em sees it as the perfect opportunity to try and expose mama’s nipples to the greater Upstate New York area. I don’t know if I get more embarrassed for myself or for the countless number of fellow shoppers who try to do me a favor by averting their eyes from my chest area. With Em’s hand very obviously fishing for booby while mommy tries to shop, we’ve made vegetarians take sudden interest in what’s on sale in the meat section, and grandpas take sudden interest in feminine hygiene products. We’ve got everyone scared that they are going to run their shopping cart smack into a classic Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction.
And I always feel bad for the folks who work behind the counter. They try to look me in the eye while taking my order, but they obviously can’t ignore the fact that my daughter is motorboating me as she looks for her booby-toys.
When we go over to friends’ houses to socialize, and Emmy spends half the time with her hands shoved down my shirt, talking to my boobies, I’ve got some explaining to do.
Now, I was never a shy breast-feeder. I am comfortable nursing Emmy in public, given that the people around me are ok with it. My father-in-law, a rather conservative fellow, would rather not watch me nurse, and he accommodates me by leaving the room when I nurse Em, rather than making me feel like I should be the one seeking out privacy. I think that’s great. Most of the time, when we are out in public, I will try to find someplace quiet and semi-private to nurse, but that’s because I don’t want Emmy to be distracted by the hubbub around her. If the situation calls for it, though, I am totally fine with whipping out the boob in front of perfect strangers for the sake of getting Emmy fed.
This booby-as-comfy-plaything is a whole different animal, though. I don’t really feel justified (OR COMFORTABLE) taking my boobs out in front of strangers just so Emmy can play or nuzzle with them.
I did try, on one horrible, terrible night, to discourage Emmy from seeking playful comfort in my boobs, and it did not turn out well. She couldn’t understand why she was suddenly being denied access to her breast friends! She screamed, she wailed, she clawed! I gave in. And then I went online to do my research, and found that most people say that mommies should NOT discourage children from seeking comfort in their breasts, as this may prove to be traumatic, and the whole booby-obsession thing is just a “passing phase”. Hmmm… my daughter’s passing phase seems to have lasted about 15 months…
Other people suggest wearing turtle necks. Really.. like, all the time? I really don’t like turtlenecks at all (they make me feel like I am in a permanent choke-hold), so that plan ain’t gonna work for this mama.
I’m totally open to suggestions on this one. I know that 18 years from now, Emmy will not be playing with my boobies as she researches which college she would like to attend, but I would kind of like to resolve the matter long before then.