She's also still nursing. I, personally, can't believe we made it past the first 6 weeks of nipple shields, supplemental nursing systems, bottles (thank you, NICU) and latch issues. Then there was over supply and overactive letdown. Next, we battled a dip in supply as my cycles returned and I had surgery. By the time Millie was one, we'd had thrush, plugged ducts, and more latch issues after her torticollis was corrected and then her first teeth came in.
Our struggles didn't end there, either. Starting the second year of nursing felt like a chore and I contemplated weaning on more than a few occasions. We did eventually night wean around 18 months and by then we weren't bed sharing any more. I still sleep very close to her or neither one of us sleeps well, but it's easier to convince an active toddler that you are NOT an all night diner if your boobs aren't right there in her face. We are practicing our own form of 'don't offer, don't refuse' but I don't feel like that's weaning as much as it's me just following her verbal cues now that she can use words for things she needs.
Just to clarify, I don't have thoughts of weaning because of outside pressures, but they sure don't help! I can tell by the look in a persons' eyes when they are going to launch into the 'when will you wean' monologue. Actually, I've become fairly adept at the shift and shift. It's where I shift around in my set and look uncomfortable while I try to shift the conversation onto something else. As difficult as it is for others to comprehend why we are still nursing, it is equally difficult for me to comprehend why it is anyone else's business. But I try to be diplomatic, for the cause, and inform or educate or just side-track. Depends on who they are and how much of my time and energy I'd like to invest.
Most days I just feel touched out and over extended on parenting. It's difficult to find other things to redirect her into doing so that we can head off the 'ninny, peas' and the puppy dog eyes, especially when I'm exhausted from chasing her around all day. Then there's her allergies which have caused her to change form in nursing. Now, she nurses with her teeth clamped to my nipple so that it doesn't go anywhere and she can take a few suckles and then breath. I know it's not her fault, but even when her nose is clear, this is how she nurses. I think she may have forgotten how to latch correctly but she's not quite ready to let it all go. And so my nipples have little holes in them, my breasts are covered in snot, and my shirt is hiked over my head so that she has plenty of 'breathing room.'
So, she's 2. I know the tone of this is less than happy, but right now, on this dreary day, I'm feeling a bit less than happy. I wanted to savor it; really suck in all of the baby goodness and enjoy the last. The reality of the whole thing is that it flew by, just as it did with the others. She's never been an easy child, so there has been little time for sitting back and soaking it up. It's been more of a 'get on this damn train now 'cause it's heading outta hear at 100 mph and it ain't lookin' back' kind of 2 years for us.
We couldn't be more in love with a child, but we also have never been challenged like this before. She's smart, she's high-energy, and she's so alive that everyone who sees her KNOWS that she will wear you out before she even gets started! They see the exhausted but loving expressions on our faces when we watch her go. Oh, she's one of those kids. Yup. She is and she's here and she's ours. And, wow! She's 2 already. I'd better start planning her wedding now because as fast as she goes, it'll be here before you know it!
Amelia, 9/17/09 in the NICU with Daddy
Amelia (in the foreground) 9/13/11 at the Zoo with her big sister