Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Weaning: done!

Why have booby milk when there's chocolate ice cream?

I thought I'd give a quick update on the whole weaning thing.

In my last post, almost three weeks ago, I reported that it had been 45 hours since I last breastfed Phoebe, and pondered whether I'd ever do it again.

Well, I haven't. It's quite amazing. I haven't offered and she hasn't asked. Well, a few times she's made her milky sign but she's been quite happy with a cuddle, or a cup of milk, or a story, or snack. The time was obviously just right for both of us. In fact, dropping the last feed was much easier than dropping the morning feed.

I bought Phoebe a new no-spill sippy cup the other day and she now has a cup of milk at breakfast and supper. She also takes milk to daycare for afternoon tea.

For a week or two after we stopped feeding I didn't bath with Phoebe. I didn't want her to launch herself upon my naked boobies. A few nights ago we had our first bath together since stopping. She was interested in my boobs but not overly so. She cuddled and kissed them but didn't try to feed. It was as though she could sort of remember a relationship with them but not the details. Funnily, she also kissed Toby's nipples when she was in the bath with him. Funny girl.

So that's that and I have to say I'm amazed. There have been so many times that I've stressed about dropping a feed and at the end of last year I was really worried about whether I should try and wean before I returned to work. Then, after weaning all but two feeds, things seemed to stretch out for so long I worried that she'd be breastfeeding until she started school. I probably fed her for longer than necessary as it became such a part of our routine. As a working mother, routine is very important. If I didn't feed her before breakfast then she'd want to feed before I left for work. By this time she was covered in food and I was ready for work. So I'd offer first thing to avoid a messy late-for-work situation.

In hindsight all the worrying was unnecessary. When nature is allowed to run its course things just happen the way they're supposed to. It is difficult to surrender to that in this modern world where we are confined by society's expectations, limitations and schedules. Working may have made it easier to wean as for much of the time we were apart and I couldn't feed her. On the other hand it may have dragged things out for longer than necessary as Phoebe needed it for comfort, to make up for not seeing me so much, and I clung to the routine. In the end it didn't matter as it happened when we were both ready. I never got fed up with feeding Phoebe but I was ready to let it go. And she doesn't seem to have missed it much. It was one of the loveliest experiences I have ever had but man, I'm pleased to have my body back.

Friday, June 18, 2010

First sentence: "Hello Zadie"

I am so proud and excited. Tonight Phoebe said her first sentence. We'd gone outside to look at the moon (after she was pointing at her bedroom light and saying "mooh"). We couldn't see it because it was cloudy but we heard the familiar jingle of the cat's bell as she approached us. And Phoebe said, "eloh dadie".

I was super proud. This was just after bathtime where I asked her if she knew where her mouth was and she did. She also knew her nose, ears, eyes, hair and feet. At bedtime I asked her where Mammy's mouth was and she pointed at her own mouth.

"No, that's Phoebe's mouth," I said. "This is Mammy's mouth." And I pointed at my mouth.

I asked her again and this time she pointed at my mouth. I asked her where Mammy's ears are and she pointed at my ears. So proud.

I was seriously blown away by her ability to show me her body parts and I wondered whether she'd be learning it at daycare or whether she's just picked it up along the way. She could quite easily have gathered what nose and feet are from day to day conversations about her runny nose and putting shoes on her feet. But I've only really sat and gone through various facial features a handful of times, infrequently and not very recently either.

Anyway, it got me thinking that I should do a quick post about Phoebe's first words. A little Phoebetionary if you like. So here you are, in alphabetical order, with translations where necessary, a list of the words Phoebe uses regularly, aged 16 months.

baby - baby, doll
baa-baa - sheep, usually in reference to Baa Baa Black Sheep. She's not quite so good at identifying pictures of sheep just yet.
Beebee - Phoebe
brm-brm - car. Also used for any vehicle really, such as a picture of a train.
Dadie (Daydee) - Zadie (our cat)
dah-dah - water
Danda - Grandad
deese - cheese
Deedoe - Monty (our other cat)
dih-doh - tick tock. She sings this along to the song about clocks.
doh - dog
ee-i-ee-i - Old MacDonald had a farm
ello - hello. Technically this is not yet a word as she has only said it once or twice and usually with another word, such as "eloh Dadie". However, I have no doubt it will soon become part of her general repertoire.
moo - moon
mwore - said as she uses the sign, which is putting her fingers to her lips, hence the mw sound. It doesn't always mean "more". Sometimes it means "food". Or "different food to what you've just tried to give me".
nah-nah - banana
no - said with a Geordie accent (get in)
ta - thank you.
trhtrhtrtrh - cat
wee-wee - not sure she entirely understands what this is. She does say it when I'm on the toilet but she also pointed at the creek the other day and announced "wee-wee".

Friday, June 4, 2010

Before I had kids...

Before I had kids I used to hear people say "before I had kids I used to ... [insert activity of choice, e.g. dive, windsurf, snorkel, travel, read a lot of books, go camping, have friends over for dinner etc.]"

I always took this to mean that you have to give up your passions when you have children because its inconvenient, difficult to organise, hard to do without babysitters, there are too many other more mundane things to be done.

I thought this was a really sad state of affairs and I was determined to figure out ways to keep my passions alive post-children, including, getting a boat-sized sailboard so my kids could learn to sail on it (not because I'm a rubbish windsurfer and need a large board for stability. That wasn't the reason at all. Although it is convenient to be able to drop your sail and sit down for a little rest when it all gets too much.)

What I didn't realise was that whilst occasionally you might see a photo of you doing said activity (case in point: photo of me and Toby windsurfing just popped up on my digital photo frame) and think, "wow, I miss doing that, that was fun". And you might then go on to think about how you might do that activity over the coming weeks. And you might very soon ditch the thought because it is an organisational nightmare and it is hard to do without babysitters (and it's especially difficult when you have to wait for the weather to do the right thing too). Despite all that you don't actually really miss said activity. And it's not just because you're so busy doing all the other mundane things that you never had to do. Although you are. It's because your life is full of other things. I mean really full. Full to bursting. Windsurfing, diving, travelling, they're all really nice things but personally I'm happy to put it all on hold to spend every evening singing Old MacDonald with Phoebe at bathtime.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More on weaning: record 45 hours since last breastfeed

We're on the home run.

After my last post on weaning Phoebe flicked between one, two and three feeds for a few weeks, but mostly two feeds: morning and evening.

About two or three weeks ago we dropped the morning feed and she started having just one feed, either when we first got home from daycare (or wherever) or after her bath, but generally between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

Some days were harder than others. She'd want to feed mid morning if we were at home, or she'd have her afternoon feed and then still want a bedtime feed. Some days she'd quite happily have a biscuit and a cup of milk after her bath and others she'd angrily push the cup away from me.

Yesterday was the first day she didn't breastfeed at all. I don't expect that we are finished for good, especially as just three mornings ago she woke at 3.30am and demanded a feed. But it feels like a milestone.

For a while now I've been wondering how and when to drop this last feed. We only dropped to one feed a couple of weeks ago and I didn't want to rush it, especially as the old tetters get a little uncomfortable for the first couple of days. I was thinking that maybe it would just happen when my parents visit in July as there'll be so much else going on.

Then it struck me that I'm having my wisdom teeth out next Friday and I can't breastfeed on the really strong painkillers they'll give me. I figured it would probably happen then... but was also nervous about leaving it until then. The last thing you need when recovering from surgery with a sore swollen face is an angry, demanding toddler climbing all over you trying to rip your shirt off.

The last two days she has been in a gorgeous mood (when not screaming because she isn't getting her way, of course) and yesterday she didn't want to come home from daycare. It's only the second time that's ever happened. She's just getting over a bad bout of teething and nappy rash where she's been a bit clingy so this was a refreshing change. I was able to get her home and actually prepare some dinner whilst she sat reasonably quietly and had a snack. I really expected to have to stop what I was doing and breastfeed her but she was fine.

After her dinner she went in the bath and was still in a great mood. Then we had a change table tantrum. They're quite commonplace at the moment. She just really doesn't want to lie down and put her nappy on. Last night I actually put it on whilst she was standing up. Not easy. It was getting late so I decided to take her to brush her teeth instead of feeding her, fully expecting to have to then breastfeed her and clean her teeth all over again.

But no, she went to bed with no problems. Well, she cried a bit but she's having a little bit of separation anxiety. I almost always have to pick her back up out of her cot and give her a lovely long squeezy cuddle. It's a good thing for both of us and not surprising as we're apart so much these days. The initial placing of her into the cot just lets her know that it's bedtime and I'm leaving soon. Then she stands up and demands a cuddle. She'll still stand and cry after I've put her back again but I left anyway and after a few moments she settled and went to sleep.

She didn't wake up in the night and she didn't ask for a breastfeed this morning.

It has now been about 45 hours since I last breastfed her. I wonder whether we'll ever do it again.

Bubble bath

We've been having some fun bath times the past few nights. Phoebe has been in an absolutely adorable mood. Of course, she has the typical toddler split-personality and turns into Mr Hyde as soon as she's out of the bath and I'm trying to put her nappy on. But let's focus on the good stuff.

We've been singing lots of songs in the bath. She likes "Old MacDonald had a farm". They must sing it at daycare. She says "E-I-E-I-E-I" and that's my cue to start singing. (Or maybe she's just practising her Geordie language skills for when Nana and Grandad visit next month: "Eeh aye! Eeh Aye!" I'm just waiting for her to throw "man", "like" or "hadawayanshite" on to the end of it.)

So I sing Old MacDonald and she joins in with the "E-I" bit. I asked her what was on the farm.

"Baby," she said.

Novel idea. Farming babies. But I went with it. "Wah wah here, wah wah there." You get the picture.

Next verse. What's on the farm Phoebe?

"Baa baa," she said.

Excellent! A sheep. Now this is something I can work with. "Baa baa here..." etc. Phoebe joined in with the baa baas.

What's next, Phoebe. What's on the farm?


Another baby. Okay. Wah wahs again. Next?


Apparently there were four babies and a baa baa on the farm.

Another song we like to sing is one from her Gymbaroo CD. It goes,

"The grandfather clock goes tick tock tick tock.
The kitchen clock goes tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock.
All the little watches go tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick."

Each clock gets progressively faster. Phoebe sings along to the tick tocks and sways from side to side in time, which results in much manic bopping by the time we get to the little watches. We sang that song on the bike on the way home from daycare yesterday and I nearly toppled over when she started lunging left and right.

So, anyway, we were in the bath - well she was. I don't bath with her anymore on account of trying to wean her and her tendency to launch herself at my breasts whenever she sees them. So she was in the bath and we were having a jolly old time. She was standing up, so excited was she at our little sing-along. Then she let rip a little botty burp. She looked at me with a little smile on her face. I tried to keep a poker face. Next thing she let rip a proper fart. Had a little giggle at herself. I tried very hard to maintain my poker face but jeez it was funny. Then another louder fart and a proper belly laugh from Phoebe this time. Well, I couldn't help myself and had to have a little giggle along with her. Then she squatted down into the water, farted again and made bubbles. You can only imagine how hilarious we both found this.

So there we were laughing away, oh isn't it funny when Phoebe farts, when all of a sudden she pooed. Apparently it wasn't funny any more. She turned around to see what had happened. It broke up in the bath water and then she did another one. She was surrounded by tiny little floaters and completely freaked out. Full on tears and she was practically climbing up the side of the bath trying to get out. Funny girl. That's the second time she's pooed in the bath and lost it. One can only hope this means she'll be easy to toilet train. Or perhaps just completely inconsolable whenever she has a little accident.