Tag Archives: reruns

Listen (again)

This post was first published in September 2011, when Dash was five and Mabel was two years and ten months. I’m wheeling it out again as my contribution to the Irish Parenting Bloggers’ blog march for National Breastfeeding Week in Ireland – head on over to Mama.ie for a full list of everyone who’s taking part,and a great giveaway too.


This morning Monkey announced that he wasn’t going to cry today. He went off to school with his Dad and wished me goodbye with aplomb. Reports from school were good: he still wanted to be walked to his classroom, which we’re not supposed to be doing at this stage, but he sat down and permitted a hug with nary a wail. I’m so pleased. There may, of course, be a relapse on Tuesday after the long weekend, and others to come, but I think it’s a good sign.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Instead, let’s talk about extended breastfeeding. Here, let me drag out my soapbox. Comfy down there? Need a seat? Don’t strain your neck, okay? I promise it won’t take long.

I didn’t really even register that Mabel counted as “extended” for quite a while. When you’re still nursing the big one too, you have to assume that the little one is legit, and the big one is just along for the ride. And technically, I’m not even sure when extended starts – after one year? After two? Okay, well, we’re coming up on three in a few months (and the big one has stopped, you’ll be glad to know, if you weren’t sure about that), so we’re definitely there now. She hardly ever nurses in public, so though we don’t have set times, I think it’s all ramping down gradually and I’m fine with that. There are days when she drags me to the sofa every five minutes, and I kvetch about how she needs to eat real food and stop bugging me, but then it turns out that she was starting a cold, or had been awake half the night, and she just really needs it.

Thing is, if I wasn’t nursing her, I don’t know when I would take that time to just sit down and have a cuddle with my two-year-old. She’s a big girl – I keep telling her that every time I try to entice the underpants back on. She’s starting nursery school next week. She’ll talk to you till the cows come home and she knows that cheetahs are the fastest animal and that Iron Man has repulsor blasts. (Oh yes he does.) She can climb anything, run anywhere, reach every damn thing she shouldn’t. But she’s still two, and even when she’s three, there will be times when she needs to decompress by being close to her mama for a while.

If I wasn’t still nursing Mabel, if she didn’t hold on to me every now and then in the most vital (and painful) way possible, I’d get up and walk away far too much. I’d say “Just a minute” and “Hold on a sec” and “I’ll be there in a moment” and “I have to get this done” even more than I already do, and I’d expect her to be fully self-sufficient all the time. She’s canny, this one, and she knows how to get her own way. Cuteness works, asking nicely works, whining works sometimes even though it shouldn’t; but when push comes to shove and she needs what she needs, she knows how to get me and keep me.

Because she’s right. The babies know. They always know. Listen to your baby.

Because one day they’ll walk off to big school with aplomb, and they won’t let you kiss them any more.

Toddler on balance bike
She was just about this big, and/or this small, back then.