Waking up to Snow

snow day

We woke up this morning, as we do every morning. Snuggled close, his little body draped over mine. He wiggles, he stirs, my eyes open, to catch his blinking, then staring into mine. He purses his little lips to give me a good morning kiss. He asks for “na-nas” which we have been doing for the past three hours, dozing in and out of sleep, but he wants more. I say to him, “we can do na-nas, but wait, I have to show you something, let’s go look out the window”. He looks at me puzzled. I say, “I think it snowed”… “No?”… “Yes, snow”.

We roll out of bed, our hair messy from the night’s tossing and turning, our faces warm from each other’s breath. My little boy is dressed in stripped footy pajamas, with monsters on his toes. I am dressed in leggings and a thermal shirt, my over sized socks sagging off my feet. We lumber over to his window, sealed shut with plastic because our house is old, and our wallets too thin to replace them yet. The shade is pulled down ¾ of the way, but leaves us enough space to peak out to the wintery world. Everything is white.

We stare. His eyes grow big. “No!”… “See, it did snow!”

I tell him to go look out the windows in my bedroom, the grownup bedroom, where daddy sleeps alone this morning in our big king sized bed, the bed we purchased just before our baby was born, the bed that is our family bed most nights. It is low to the ground, resting only on it’s box spring, low enough that my little one races over to daddy and says excitedly right into his sleeping face… “No!”

I stop to use the potty, in our little bathroom snuggled between these two bedrooms, in our cozy Cape style home. My son cries, loud aching cries for me, as he does every morning when I get up to pee. He looks for me, but stands paralyzed by his sadness right outside of the bathroom’s open door. “Come here!” I say, frustrated that this is part of the morning ritual. I get up carefully and whisk him into my arms and on to my lap to finish peeing, never with any privacy, and he looks out the window beside us as the curtain floats on heat rising from the radiator next to my bare legs. “No.” “Yes” I say, “But I think we can see it better from the windows in my room, let’s go take a look, help mommy pull up her pants”. And he does.

Finished with that ritual, we head into my bedroom. We look out the windows on the back of our house, into our blanketed back yard. We see the small patch of garden, which gets far too little light during summer months due to the big maples, and walnut trees in our back yard, now sparkling in misty morning light. We see his sand box, covered with this new substance, equally shapeable and thrilling to touch. We see the dark silhouettes of the trees, coated, peaceful in their new attire. I ask if he is hungry, if he is ready to go downstairs to eat. I am trying to avoid another nursing session, because we are working on weaning, and I know my fading milk supply won’t satisfy his growling belly. But he catches on, and runs to our big bed, scrambling over downy blankets and squealing for help and “na-nas”. I ask if he wants to snuggle, he vehemently shakes his head yes.

So we crawl in, under our big comforter, and towards the warmth of daddy. He pulls up my shirt, and I rest my head down on the cool pillow, which has been waiting for me all night. We snuggle, and nurse, and prepare ourselves for our day. I will call clients, and cancel appointments. Because when there is snow outside, the world should stop. When there is snow outside, and magic in the air, and little voices marvel at the beautiful new world, there is nothing more important than this day, this moment, this time spent together. I ask again if he wants breakfast, and this time I say “eggs?” that gets his attention. He looks up at me and nods. He wiggles out from the covers, and purses his lips again to give me a kiss. I kiss him and say “thank you, I love your morning kisses, can you give a kiss to daddy?” He looks in the direction that is the lump of my husband. Daddy rolls towards us, making the mountain of his body easier for our little boy to climb, E leans in towards him, I say, “give daddy a kiss”, and he does.

snow day
Waking up to Snow

 

Adventures in Night Weaning (Part 1)

E at 16 months, nursing when the sun shines

I was talking with a friend today, who has a baby several months younger than E. I shared my story of night weaning with her. I’ve decided to share it with you here, in hopes that it might be helpful. As you may know, I am a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment parenting kind of mama. You may or may not be these things. But if you are nursing your baby at night, and you are feeling like you may want or need to stop, I hope this story helps you in some way. 

E at 16 months, nursing when the sun shines
E at 16 months, nursing when the sun shines

It’s been about a month since we began night weaning. (Aside from our first, failed attempt in which I caved instantly).

I am happy to report (soooo happy to report) that Everett slept his first full night last night without nursing until the sun actually rose. So now that we are on the other side of this adventure, I feel that I have some perspective, a few insights, and the brain power with which to share them.

You see, it all started when…. I wrote this post. I was at my wits end with exhaustion. We have been breastfeeding, and cosleeping (in various forms, by which I mean rooms and beds) since E’s birth. At the time I decided I wanted to night wean, I was spending most of every night in E’s bed with him, nursing every 2-4 hours. My sleep was broken at best, but really with a little nursling at your breast for hours of the night, or crying because he can’t find your breast, or clawing at your face because he is upset he does not have your nipple secured in his mouth at all times, sleep is not just broken, it is shattered. So night weaning was needed, for sanity’s sake.

So we began. Not really knowing what we were doing. I had heard from other moms who’d done it that it took a few nights of letting daddy (or whomever is your parenting partner) do the wake-ups, letting baby cry in their loving arms, with you huddled in the other room trying not to burst into tears yourself. So that’s what we tried, at first. And that’s how I caved. E would scream his little head off so fiercely, until he was practically gagging, I would be wide awake and distraught, and daddy was the steadfast gate between us. No one was getting any more sleep.

After a brief pause from our attempt, we began again. This time we entered into the arena with a few new (and key) ingredients.

1. A sippy cup of water

2. Books. This is our favorite:

Our night time routine always includes a story. Everett climbs up into our big green rocking chair, and I join him, for nursies. We read this story, and we nurse. I tell him the nursies are going to sleep. I give him to daddy, and daddy rocks, or bounces, sings, and eventually gets him to sleep. E sleeps in his own bed, but it’s big enough for mama or daddy to join him when he needs us. At first E needed someone pretty frequently, and each wake up without nursies was a struggle.

For 5 solid days daddy comforted E at each wake up, offering water, and bouncing, and soft singing. E would fight for 5 minutes or so, and eventually fall back to sleep. (I should also mention here that E takes a pacifier, and that has been helpful, I know not every baby does, so we are lucky on that one). After the 5 days we started to see some light at the end of the tunnel. E started to accept daddy’s comfort. Until 5 am. By 5 am E was done with daddy. So even though it was still dark, and technically still sleeping time, daddy would bring E back into our big bed, and we would nurse. So as we started to see the light, the true test came. Daddy had to go away for a trip, and my turn came to be strong and stick to the rule that nursies now sleep at night.

(stay tuned for part 2!)