Monday, July 12, 2010

Leaving the Nest

A few weeks ago, we discovered a nest of Robins under our second-story deck. What was originally thought to be a complete nuisance and mess, turned into an amazing experience for the kids (and for me). We were able to spy down on the nest from between the slats of the deck, while the chicks remained safely out of reach. Many important lessons were learned (along with dozens of questions asked) : Mommies always come back, Moms and Dads work together to feed their babies, babies birds chirp/ our baby cries, birds eat worms and bugs, respecting nature, etc. It's been fun for all of us to enjoy watching them grow up.

Although I knew the day would eventually come when the chicks would leave the nest, I was shocked when one morning I saw the birds readying themselves to plummet off of the second story! "Wait, you're not ready! You're too small! It's dangerous out here (I saw a hawk take a grown bird down right out of the sky a few months ago right outside my kitchen window), It's too hot out here! Wouldn't you rather stay in your nest a while longer? WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER!?"

This little one took the plunge the morning we were leaving for the day. It was just sitting in the sun of the driveway, out there all alone. I thought I would have a panic attack! I know I got a lump in my throat. Josh got a plastic shovel and put the bird back into its nest. But when we came home in the evening, the nest was empty and the chicks were nowhere to be found.

This experience wouldn't have been so difficult for me, had it not been coupled with this next one. Diddles has been cutting teeth for weeks now. Honestly, could two front teeth take any longer to break through? On Monday I was nursing her before her nap and she bit me. Then she bit me again and I yelled, "Ouch!". I put her in her crib with a bottle. After that, she refused to nurse. At first I felt bad that I hurt her feelings or scared her from nursing, but after several more attempts, I realize she's just done nursing. Just like that. Done.

"Um, excuse me Mom. I'm done."

Most of you know my history with nursing, and after my experiences one would think I would be rejoicing and throwing myself a party at this blessed event! But, I'm surprisingly sad about it. Aside from the fact that she's likely our last baby, I guess I just didn't think she'd wean herself so...suddenly. It's like I didn't have any time to prepare for it (physically or emotionally). Not only that, but since she hasn't sucked her thumb or taken a binky, I've been her only comfort. I tell you, nothing... NOTHING can soothe this baby like nursing can. It's magical.

I'll miss watching her eyes roll back in her head the second she starts eating, and the way she would pluck at my shirt or pull on my hair (well, I maybe won't miss that too much). I'll miss how she rubs my cheek and makes that humming sound while she eats. I'll miss the soft little lecture I would give her about how she needs to eat and then go sleep and stay asleep "all the nights". I'll miss laying down on my side and reading a book or quietly watching TV, or just staring at the wall. Nursing was forced quiet time for me, that's for sure. I'll miss staring at her eyes and smoothing her hair while wondering how in the world I ended up with this adorable dark-haired baby. I'll miss squeezing her leg chunks and feeling proud that together we made that chunk happen.

But, babies grow up. Haven't I learned that? They learn to feed themselves, dress themselves and speak for themselves. Like birds, they take off when they are good and ready and there's nothing much I can do about it but smile and wish them well.

...and get a good night's sleep...
and put away my nursing bras...
and quit consuming large amounts of ice cream at 9:30pm...

I guess we'll both be just fine. :)

*Stay tuned. I'll be posting our fun week with Nana, Papa & Abby later this week*


Cara and Steve said...

What a tender story... it makes me wish that I had tried longer/harder to nurse Grace. My pump and I have become pretty good friends over the past 6 months, but reading about your experience makes me wish I had those same sweet moments with Grace... a pump is just not the same. I nursed Grace all but maybe 5 weeks, and then starting pumping because she would take forever to eat (sometimes 45 min). Maybe with the next little one things will go better. She really has grown up; I'm so excited to see her next week :)

kthom said...

My goodness she is a darling little girl with beautiful DARK hair! Love it.... Very impressive nursing span my friend!